By Gavin Axelrod
Varsity and competitive club level student athletes at Ryerson will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Sept. 16, executive director, athletics and recreation Louise Cowin announced Wednesday.
Vaccine exemptions for medical reasons will be available, but require a doctor’s signature. In addition, exemptions based on religion or creed will require the completion of a personal attestation signed by a notary.
“This decision is in the best interests of our student athletes’ safety, health and wellbeing [and] their fellow Ryerson classmates, families and social circles,” said Cowin.
Unvaccinated student athletes will have to participate in rapid antigen testing up to five times per week, according to a statement sent to Rams athletes obtained by The Eyeopener. Testing will take place twice between Mondays and Thursdays, as well as on travel and game days.
The emailed statement from Cowin and director, sport Brian Finniss notified Rams student athletes of the decision.
“We are writing to inform you that, like several other Ontario universities, our university will require all student athletes competing on varsity or competitive club teams to be double-vaccinated by September 16, 2021,” the statement reads.
Ryerson’s athletic make-up consists of a combined 33 varsity and competitive club teams. They now join a growing list of Ontario University Athletics (OUA) member programs, including Carleton University and the University of Toronto, that require student athletes to be vaccinated.
According to Cowin, discussions are ongoing as to what policies will be in place for visiting teams if their university doesn’t require vaccinations for athletes. The university says it’s still working on where proof of vaccination from student athletes will be submitted and will provide more information about exemptions.
“There are a lot of details to be worked through, and as of [today], are undecided,” said Cowin.