McMaster to pause vaccine and mask requirements from May 1: A letter from the President and Provost
Dear Members of the McMaster Community,
McMaster’s approach to the COVID pandemic is continuing to evolve as Ontario’s health restrictions ease. We wanted to share as early as possible the changes that will take place at the end of the winter term.
As of May 1, the University will pause its vaccine policy and masking requirement for the spring and summer terms. We are able to take this step, which allows us to align with government requirements, because of the respect that people across the University have shown to each other by getting vaccinated and wearing masks.
We extended many of our precautions through the winter term as part of our ongoing commitment to health and safety. These measures included maintaining our mask requirement and vaccine policy beyond the province’s timeframe. These decisions have helped support the return to campus and have provided a more stable environment for students, staff, and faculty.
While these measures will be paused, surgical masks will continue to be available on campus and everyone is encouraged to continue to wear masks indoors, especially in classrooms, the libraries, crowded spaces, or close workspaces.
The Daily MacCheck will no longer be required as of May 1, but anyone experiencing COVID symptoms should not come to campus or a McMaster facility.
The vaccine policy, which has been in place since October 2021, will be paused as of May 1 until the end of the summer term. However, students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to make sure they are fully vaccinated, including booster shots, and to ensure that their MacCheck vaccination status is up to date. For those who have received their booster dose, MacCheck will offer the option to upload this additional vaccination information beginning in early April.
Keeping your vaccinations updated and having proof of vaccination makes our campus and community safer and will help to ease any disruption that any future changes in the pandemic may cause.
If pandemic circumstances and public health advice shifts and government requirements change, we may need to quickly re-instate a mask requirement and a vaccine policy. Resumption of a vaccine mandate would mean that access to campus is limited to those who are vaccinated. This would impact the ability for students to complete fully in-person courses, and employees may not be able to attend University property and could be subject to other outcomes based on their vaccination status. We will continue to work with McMaster experts as we manage this next stage of the pandemic.
McMaster faculty, staff, and learners may need to attend other organizations and institutions, such as Hamilton Health Sciences, that will continue to have their own COVID policies and protocols and these need to be followed.
As we head towards the end of the winter term, our sincerest thank you to everyone who has worked hard to keep campus safe and to support the transition back to Mac. It hasn’t been easy and the past two years of pandemic continue to impact the health, well-being, and mental health of many in our community. We encourage anyone who needs assistance to reach out to the support services McMaster offers.
It is wonderful to have our students, faculty, and staff back in-person. We want to thank McMaster community members for their cooperation and patience as we continue to navigate the COVID pandemic.
President and Vice-Chancellor
Provost and Vice-President (Academic)