Students and staff at Northlands College will soon be required to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination status, or participate in regular testing.

The College’s policy, follows other post-secondary institutions in the province, as Saskatchewan is in the midst of the fourth wave of the pandemic, which is seeing record new infections and increased deaths. A high percentage of cases and hospitalizations are among the unvaccinated.

“It’s going to come down to a choice of two options, providing voluntary proof of vaccination. And in the absence of that, or the refusal of that, submitting to regular testing,” said CEO Guy Penney.

Testing of staff will come at the employee’s expense and on their own time. Penney said initially, students will have testing costs covered by the College, but this will not be indefinite.

“If you’re eligible, we strongly encourage all of you to get vaccinated,” Penney said. “This is more than a mitigation factor. This is a public health issue that needs to be addressed in the best way possible.”

Penney said the College will offer more details about the vaccination policy next week. He stressed that people who do not comply with testing or getting immunized will be dealt with accordingly.

The College will make accommodations to students and staff who are medically or religiously exempt from getting the vaccine.