Vaccination requirements for the campus community
Dear Colleagues and Students,
We would like to welcome everyone back for the new academic year. Although the pandemic is far from over, the situation in Hong Kong is thankfully relatively stable, thanks in no small measure to the stringent infection control measures adopted by the city. It is heartwarming to see students returning to campus. With the campus brimming with life once more, however, we would also need to exercise continued vigilance to safeguard the health and safety of the CUHK community.
It is now evident that the COVID-19 pandemic will persist for the foreseeable future. With the Delta variant taking root and new variants on the horizon, COVID-19 is almost certain to become endemic. The scientific evidence is equally unequivocal that vaccination remains critical for defending against SARS-CoV-2.
The health and wellbeing of the CUHK community has been the topmost concern in our response to the pandemic. The infection control measures we have already introduced do inevitably cause some inconvenience. Nevertheless, we all agree it is only right that we exercise every caution in ensuring the health and safety of the community.
We have earlier announced that all students residing on campus must be vaccinated or undergo regular testing. After much deliberation and consultation with medical experts, the University has come to the conclusion that vaccination for all staff and students will be in the best interest of the community. For those who are unable to receive vaccination for medical reasons, regular self-testing at least once every two weeks will be required.
To effect compliance, an online vaccination/testing report form will be launched on 11 October 2021. This is similar to the reporting of body temperature and travel history introduced earlier. All staff and students are required to report whether they have been vaccinated by 18 October 2021. The results of self-testing must be reported once every two weeks for those who are unable to receive vaccination. The respective department/unit heads will be in contact with those staff and students who fail to report their record of vaccination or submit the test results.
For students living in College or hostel residences, vaccination is even more important. College life enriches learning experience, but it also raises the risk of COVID transmission. College and hostel residents are therefore required to submit their certificate of vaccination to hostel management staff by 18 October. For those who are prevented from receiving vaccination because of medical reasons, regular self-testing once every two weeks will apply, as already announced. Colleges and hostels will provide testing kits at affordable rates for their residents and non-resident students.
We are fully cognizant of the demand this will place on colleagues and students. However, there is nothing more important than safeguarding the community against the debilitating effect that COVID-19 infections will bring. It is also our responsibility, as a public institution, to do our part in fighting against the pandemic. Previously, we assumed that a 70% vaccination rate would be sufficient for communal immunity, but the COVID mutations we are witnessing now compel us to take a more forceful defense. We therefore earnestly seek your understanding as we brace ourselves for an uncertain new normal. For more information on COVID-19 and the vaccination programme, please visit the HKSAR official website: https://www.covidvaccine.gov.hk/en/
Alan K.L. Chan
The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK)