When Brock Badgers varsity and club athletes return to competition this fall for the first time in a year and a half, they’ll do so with the added protection of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Brock University announced Thursday, July 29 that all student-athletes on a varsity or club team roster must be fully vaccinated in order to compete in the 2021-22 season.
The decision follows Brock’s announcement earlier this week that all students living in on-campus residences must also be fully vaccinated.
“We’re grateful that varsity and club sports have been given the green light to resume this fall, but we want to make sure they’re being conducted in a way that keeps our athletes, coaches, supporting staff and fans safe,” said Anna Lathrop, Vice-Provost and Associate Vice-President, Students. “This vaccination requirement is an important part of that effort, and will help us get back to the exceptional student experience Brock is known for.”
Melissa Krist, Director, Brock Sports, said the University is doing everything it can to create a safe environment for its 900 student-athletes.
“It comes down to setting that standard for duty of care for our athletes and ensuring their health and safety is part of our return-to-play strategy,” she said. “Keeping our student-athletes safe is our No. 1 job at all times, but especially as we deal with this ongoing pandemic.”
The vaccine mandate will not include students participating in on-campus athletics such as intramural competitions or apply to those using the University’s athletic facilities for recreational purposes.
With the first exhibition games of the season set to get underway by mid-September, all student-athletes will be required to be fully vaccinated by Saturday, Sept. 4 or 14 days prior to competition, whichever date is sooner.
More information will be sent to coaches and student-athletes in the coming days.
“The message we really want to send to our student-athletes, and all members of the Brock community, is to get fully vaccinated as soon as possible,” said Brock University Vice-President, Administration Ken Chan, who previously served as Assistant Deputy Minister of the Ontario Government’s COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force Secretariat. “Being fully vaccinated not only offers protection from the harmful effects of COVID-19, but it also enables students to participate in student life safely.”
The University will recognize Health Canada-approved vaccines as well as vaccines on the World Health Organization’s Emergency Use Listing. Requests for accommodations on human rights grounds such as due to medical conditions or religious beliefs will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
“What we’re trying to do is create a safe environment for our student-athletes who may travel and come into contact with other athletes who aren’t vaccinated,” said Krist. “We want to ensure the health and safety of our student-athletes and the best way to mitigate the risk is to have them fully vaccinated.”
Students who are not yet vaccinated are encouraged to take advantage of one of the walk-in clinics now available or book online through the provincial booking system in their home province. Brock University’s Student Health Services has also been running a vaccination clinic at Harrison Hall for all students, including those starting at Brock this fall. To register, visit the Student Wellness and Accessibility website.
With the provincial regulations around indoor and outdoor gatherings easing, Brock Sports will allow spectators at its events this fall, but with limited capacity and safety measures in place. A plan is also in the works to expand the live video streaming offerings of athletic events on campus.