Take a walk with us. On this episode of On the Record, your hosts Naama Weingarten and Rachael Masih explore what’s buzzing around the Ryerson campus this fall as some students get back to in-person classes. They’re revisiting their favourite spots and soaking up the atmosphere. But between incomplete ventilation testing and a loosely enforced vaccine mandate, how safe is our return actually?
2:30 Back on campus
4:53 Healthcare panel – Is campus safe?
6:14 Vaccine effectiveness and the delta variant
8:12 Vaccine mandates and enforcement
12:42 Incomplete ventilation tests
Here’s what Ryerson University spokesperson Jessica Leach had to say about students who weren’t checked for proof of vaccination on campus, contrary to the school’s policy:
“We all share the responsibility of protecting our community and reducing the spread of COVID-19. The vaccination policy applies to all community members. Compliance is audited by the university and individuals may be prohibited from accessing the campus and subject to disciplinary measures if not in compliance.”
She also noted that Ryerson expanded their health screening questionnaire to include a confirmation of vaccination status. Students may be asked to show proof that they’ve passed the health screening to access areas like the Ryerson Library or Student Learning Centre.
About the ventilation assessments, Leach said:
“In preparation for an increase in activity on campus, the university worked with a consultant to ensure best practices and standards for HVAC and air filtration with regards to COVID-19 were implemented at Ryerson with calculations based on full occupancy (i.e. not the current reduced population).”
This includes processes like buying filters that meet guidelines and replacing those filters regularly to bring in fresher air. When this is not sufficient, Ryerson uses portable air purifiers.
As for the untested rooms, Leach attributes those to offices where one person may be working alone and therefore has a low-risk of getting infected.
As to the possibility of another university shut down, Leach said:
“Any decision to return to essential-services-only will be in line with government and public health agencies’ directives as we continue to prioritize the safety and well-being of our entire community.”
More information about Ryerson’s ventilation system
Who we spoke with in order of appearance
Arjumand Siddiqi – Professor at the University of Toronto Dalla Lana School of Public Health Epidemiology Division
Isabelle Roizin – 4th-year, TRSM
Malique Stonechild – Skateboarder
Grant Shivers – 2nd-year, Creative Industries
Jeffrey Siegel – Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Toronto
Ashleigh Tuite – Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto Dalla Lana School of Public Health Epidemiology Division
David Fisman – Professor at the University of Toronto Dalla Lana School of Public Health Epidemiology Division
Lori Jacqueline – President of CUPE 3904 representing contract faculty and teaching assistants at Ryerson University