Providence University College & Theological Seminary has decided to follow suit with other Manitoba post-secondary institutions in requiring vaccinations for students, staff and faculty for the upcoming school year.

In a post to their website on Friday, the school says they “found it necessary to revise our policy” for their Otterburne campus.

“Effective for the 2021-22 academic year, Providence will require full vaccination and/or proof of negative testing at reasonable and appropriate intervals for all staff, faculty, and students who are engaging regularly with the campus community. This requirement will take effect at some point later this fall so as to give our people adequate time to respond. A specific timeframe is yet to be determined. We will provide additional information to our Providence community in the coming days, including details about requests for medical exemptions.

“While we recognize and appreciate the disruption that a change to our current policy may cause to some members of our community, we find ourselves without a choice. Some of our rationale is outlined below.”

The rest of the school’s statement reads as follows:

Foremost in our minds is the health and safety of our community. Due to the increased threat of the Delta variant, we need to protect ourselves against the potential outbreak of COVID-19 across our campus. As well, many of you will be aware of the recent decision of our fellow universities and colleges across the province of Manitoba to require full vaccinations for everybody on their campuses. We find ourselves now in a position where we face serious legal jeopardy as an institution if we fail to align and take the necessary precautions.

Providence believes that education should be as accessible as possible to the widest audience possible. We also believe in science. We believe that vaccination will be the quickest way out of this pandemic. We also believe that being fully vaccinated is showing love to our neighbours.

We recognize that some of our students and friends will struggle with this decision. We appreciate this struggle. Providence continues to pray and act for the health, wellness and safety of each member of our community.