16 Oct 2021

Students living in Victoria University accommodation will need to be fully vaccinated

3:16 pm on 16 October 2021

Students and staff living in halls of residence operated by Victoria University of Wellington next year will have to be fully vaccinated.

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Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

Students who want to live in university-operated accommodation will be required to show evidence they've been fully vaccinated before they move in in February.

Staff working in the halls will be required to be fully vaccinated by January 10 and this will be included in offers of employment to prospective new residents assistants.

Arrangements for students who can't be vaccinated on medical grounds - and provide eviedence they meet Ministry of Health guidance on this - will be discussed on a case by case basis.

Vice-Chancellor Grant Guilford said the decision was made following a detail risk assessment, including a reviewing of the university's obligations under health and safety laws and the pastoral care code of practice.

There has been consultation with staff, student representative groups and the Tertiary Education Union.

"The health and safety of our students and staff is a priority for the university," Guilford said.

"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."

Guilford said making vaccination mandatory in halls of residence is the right response.

The university is considering requirements for others who work in its halls of residence, such as contractors and external providers of maintenance and other services.

The University of Otago said it's waiting for more information on any requirements or guidelines from the Ministry of Education before it makes any decisions about the halls of residence it runs.

However, it said so-called affiliated colleges are independent of the university, so are able to develop their own requirements.

The University of Canterbury said its 10 affiliated halls of residence are managed independently and are not run by the university.

The University of Waikato said it's considering the issue and would need to undertake further consultation before making a decision.

The University of Auckland said it has a proposed a vaccine policy and it's been consulting with staff.

"We have had extensive feedback which is now being reviewed. There is more engagement planned, including with students, and we anticipate being able to finalise the policy in the next two weeks," it said in a statement.

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