By Alayna Bourke

In a recent update to the ANU’s vaccine requirements, on-campus accommodation services have introduced a new condition for all students moving into residential halls and lodges to be fully vaccinated as a part of their contract. This announcement is the latest step in the University’s commitment to a COVID-safe campus, as students begin to move into the higher-risk communal setting over the next few weeks for the start of Semester One.

An email sent out to students states the requirement includes “all vaccinations for which they are eligible” as well as the “need to maintain their vaccination status throughout their period of occupancy … including getting any booster shots for which they are eligible.”

Evidence of vaccination status or a medical exemption are to be verified at marquee check-in stations across campus before students enter each residential hall. Additionally, students must show evidence of a negative RAT or PCR test taken within the previous 24 hours in order to move in. 

Students currently residing in their 2022 accommodation will also need to provide evidence of their vaccination status as part of their occupancy agreement by 8 February, the day before move-in for Semester 1. The email also addressed residents with specific circumstances that prevent them from being vaccinated, such as medical exemptions, stating further options will be discussed on a case-by-case basis with their Head of Residence to ensure the best outcome for both the individual and the community.

An ANU spokesperson informed Observer  “a formal risk assessment was conducted, which showed that [requiring] all students in the residencies to be vaccinated against COVID-19 would significantly reduce this risk” and that “student representatives from ANUSA, PARSA and the Inter Halls Council were supportive of vaccination being a requirement”.

Vaccines and booster shots are available at no cost from the ANU health clinic and Kambri pharmacy. However, the university is yet to confirm further details regarding the provision of Covid-safe ‘starter kit; containing RAT tests and masks.

As for an ANU-wide vaccine requirement, the University will continue its conversation with the community as new vaccine requirements are considered and is “[encouraging] everyone to get vaccinated as soon as they are eligible.” A recent survey into the ANU community’s stance on a campus-wide vaccine requirement found that over 80% of the 6858 staff and students surveyed agreed or strongly agreed that they feel “more comfortable coming to work/campus if others are vaccinated”. More updates are expected in the event of any changes to the current vaccine policy.

 

Graphics by Joseph Oh