UVic launches vaccination platform, expands on rapid testing requirements

Campus News

Vaccination status will be randomly checked

uvic vaccination thrive health
Graphic by Kate Korte, screen capture of UVic website.

UVic has launched the online platform where students, staff, and faculty can declare their COVID-19 vaccination status. The platform will be open until Sept. 26 at midnight, but UVic is encouraging students to declare their status as soon as possible by logging in with their NetLink ID. 

According to a statement by the co-chairs of the UVic COVID-19 Transition Team, Kane Kilbey and Susan Lewis, all students and employees who visit campus or participate in UVic activities off campus must declare their vaccination status. Those who do not declare they are fully vaccinated will be expected to undergo rapid testing every week. 

The self-declaration platform, administered by Thrive Health, asks students and employees to declare whether they are fully vaccinated, partially vaccinated, or unvaccinated. Students, staff, and faculty can also choose not to disclose their vaccination status and can update their status at any time.

“‘Fully vaccinated’ means that you have received two doses of Health Canada or World Health Organization approved vaccines or a single dose of the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine,” says the platform. 

However, the statement does not explain how the self-declaration and testing requirements will be enforced. The university says they will release details about how to provide proof of vaccination in the future. They also say that the program will be subject to audits, and that students and employees who participate in testing may be required to provide test results. Students and staff must be ready to provide proof, “if and when required by the university.” 

Karen Johnston, UVic’s associate director for public affairs, says the university will be randomly checking vaccination status and asking for documentation. This documentation would include the self-declaration on the Thrive Health app and the BC Vaccination Card.

UVic is warning students and employees against lying about their vaccination status. The platform states that “making a false declaration or failing to undergo testing when required to do so constitutes misconduct that may result in serious consequences including discipline, the loss of the ability to access UVic services, activities or premises, or the loss of other privileges in accordance with applicable university policies.” The Environmental Health and Safety Policy details the specifics of the vaccination and masking requirements.

According to the university’s website, rapid testing will begin on Sept. 13 for asymptomatic students, faculty, and staff who are coming to campus and are not fully vaccinated or do not declare their status. Symptomatic students, faculty, and staff — regardless of their vaccination status — should self-isolate and book a test through Island Health.

Tests are available by appointment only, which can be booked through the Thrive Health platform. The testing centre is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday and is located at the Continuing Studies Building. 

UVic’s website says test results will be available within 15 minutes. They can also track who has been tested and send reminders.

“If your result is negative, you can proceed with your on-campus activities for the week,” says UVic’s website. “If you test positive for COVID-19, the station attendant will provide you with instructions. You will be required to go home immediately.”

UVic’s testing program relies on antigen testing, which produces quicker results than a PCR test but has a higher error rate. 

The platform also requires students to verify that they are working or studying on a UVic campus in the Fall 2021 semester. It describes the mask mandate for indoor public spaces in B.C., which includes the university, and asks whether students believe they are exempt from the mandate. It indicates the university will contact those that believe they are exempt.