East Gate at Mount Royal University. PHOTO: TAYLOR CHARLEBOIS

When Mount Royal University reopens this fall, it won’t require students to be vaccinated – a decision that’s creating some concerns and mixed feelings.

Peter Glenn, senior media relations officer for Mount Royal University, says Mount Royal strongly encourages vaccinations among the campus community.

“It’s the best way to protect individuals and the community,” he said in a statement.

However, the statement noted it would be legally difficult to require vaccinations.

“It would be challenging to require mandatory vaccines on our campus or require people to disclose if they have been vaccinated because that is personal health information,” he said.

Mount Royal is following health guidelines and asking students, staff and faculty to stay home if feeling unwell and to screen themselves daily before going to campus, Glenn said.

Some students are apprehensive about the implications of going back while the pandemic is still going, but others are looking forward to in-class learning again.

Richard Creaghan, a fourth-year student at MRU says COVID is going to be a matter of worry for a lot of students, particularly those with compromised immune systems.

“The government’s decision to stop requiring quarantine for those who test positive seems dangerous, especially with the Delta variant now going around,” he said.

Being in close proximity to other students with what feels like no regulation by the university is a cause for concern, Creaghan said.

“Understanding that makes going back to MRU a little nerve racking.”

But other students are looking forward to returning back to school — especially after more than a year of virtual learning. Fourth-year student Austin Robertson is excited to get back to school — and a sense of normalcy.

“I didn’t realize how important of a role school played in my weekly routine until I wasn’t able to do it,” he said.

Robertson suspects both his mental and physical health will prosper as a result of getting back into the swing of things.

“I’m just happy to be able to physically go to school again.”

COVID-19 screening protocols can be found at every major entrance on campus. PHOTO: TAYLOR CHARLEBOIS