Post has been updated – 09/13/2021
From the onset of the pandemic, Red River College has made the health and safety of our students, staff and community our priority.
This has included limiting capacity to essential activities, implementing a mandatory mask mandate in advance of public health orders, and distributing level three masks to address wide-spread issues surrounding variants of concern, along with a robust internal contact tracing protocol to relieve pressure on public health and notify our community sooner to keep them safe.
That’s why today, we are announcing that the College will make vaccinations a condition for students and employees to come on Campus for the fall term, starting Monday, September 20, 2021. The vaccine requirement on Campus will be a staged approach, with first doses required by September 20, 2021 and the second by October 17, 2021. All other existing health and safety protocols we currently have in place will remain.
This policy will include students living in RRC’s residence and employees working at all campuses in Winnipeg and at our Regional Campuses.
Over the past year, we have been on the leading edge of implementing public health restrictions that have met or exceeded all recommendations from Manitoba Public Health. That approach has allowed the College to create a safe working and learning environment while delivering the hands-on training our workforce depends on.
Red River College is Manitoba’s largest College, and applied learning is integral to our program delivery. With the plan for increased support and services being offered on Campus this fall, we have a duty to ensure the health and safety of our students and employees within our institution. We are taking another proactive measure to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and variants of concern in our community.
To be clear, we are not mandating anyone to get a vaccine. We will continue to respect medical and religious/creed-based exemptions upon presentation of appropriate documentation, and a process for this is in development.
COVID-19 vaccines are free and widely available to everyone over the age of 12 in Manitoba, and they are the most effective tool we have to protect one another and end this pandemic. This vaccine requirement is an additional measure we are taking as a College to protect the health and safety of our community.
Since the very beginning of the pandemic, we have been leaders, and we stepped up to respond to the needs of our health care system and community when they needed it the most. This included developing micro-credential training courses like the Nasopharyngeal Sample Collection, Laboratory Essentials for COVID-19 Testing, Health Care Support Worker, and COVID-19 Vaccine Administration.
We must continue to lead by example.
We are making this decision today with support from Manitoba Public Health encouraging all eligible Manitobans to get vaccinated, and with the overwhelming support from our community to take action and do their part to get vaccinated as soon as possible – to date exceeding vaccination milestone targets weeks in advance with, 81.0% of Manitobans receiving with their first dose and 74.6% fully immunized.
We will continue to support students and staff who need to access vaccines before the beginning of our fall semester. Our Health Centre is planning to have the COVID-19 vaccine available for anyone at our campuses this fall to help remove barriers to access, and to date, we have offered two vaccine clinics on Campus. The College also supports up to three hours of paid leave for staff and faculty to receive a vaccination or to support those who are taking a dependent to their vaccine appointment.
Over the next week, we will be working on the details of the vaccination policy and procedures, but we wanted to provide as much notice as possible as we prepare for the start of the fall 2021 term.
We are proud of the work that has been done and the commitment from this community to continue to go above and beyond to protect one another, and we are confident that this is one more thing we can all do reduce the risks of COVID-19 and to get back to the things we love.
Thank you for continuing to do your part to keep each other safe.
RRC President and CEO
RRC Chief Human Resource Officer