New Delhi: Vaccination against COVID-19 will be mandatory for students and staff living and working in Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington-operated student accommodation in 2022.
Students wanting to live in one of the University’s halls of residence will be required to show evidence they have been fully vaccinated before they will be able to move into a room in the halls, which will open for next year in February 2022. Staff working in the halls will be required to provide evidence of full vaccination by 10 January 2022. Offers of employment to prospective new Residential Assistants will include a requirement that they provide evidence they are fully vaccinated as a condition of their new employment.
Arrangements for students who provide evidence that they meet the Ministry of Health guidance as being unable to receive any approved vaccination on medical grounds will be discussed with those students on a case-by-case basis.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Grant Guilford says the decision follows a detailed risk assessment, including reviewing the University’s obligations under the Health and Safety at Work Act and the Pastoral Care Code of Practice. Consultation with staff and with student representative groups and the Tertiary Education Union has also taken place.
“The health and safety of our students and staff is a priority for the University. Our halls of residence provide a 24/7 living environment where students are in close proximity to each other and also with members of University staff who work, and in some cases, live in the halls.
“We already have a wide range of measures in place to reduce the risk of exposure to and spread of COVID-19 but our risk assessment has shown the higher level of protection provided by vaccination is required given that the Delta variant is now spreading within New Zealand.
“We are satisfied that given the living environment in our halls of residence, mandatory vaccination for those residing and working there is the right response to the existence of COVID-19 in the community.”
The University has been supporting the nationwide vaccine rollout with its Student Health and Counselling Service (Mauri Ora) running a vaccination clinic on its Kelburn campus and three days of walk-in vaccinations held recently, with one of the days focused on vaccinating Pasifika students and their families.
The University is currently considering requirements for others who work in its halls of residence, such as contractors and external providers of maintenance and other services.