Students, faculty and staff at Dalhousie University campuses and the University of King's College will need to provide proof of full vaccination this fall or be tested twice a week for COVID-19.
"As we learn to live with COVID-19 and adapt to the spread of new variants, the Dalhousie community needs to continue to do its part to prioritize our collective safety and well-being as many of us return to campus," Frank Harvey, Dalhousie's provost and vice-president academic, said in a statement.
Harvey said health officials in Nova Scotia have left it up to universities and colleges to decide whether to make immunization mandatory.
Prior to today, Dalhousie had said vaccines would be encouraged, but not required.
"However, several factors make these extra measures prudent at this time," said Harvey. "The first is the more infectious Delta variant and the emerging fourth wave across North America — largely among un- or under-vaccinated individuals.
"The second is that details of the final phase of Nova Scotia's re-opening plan have now been shared, in which most public health restrictions (excepting travel) will be lifted as we move into 'living with COVID' in an endemic rather than pandemic model. This increases our responsibility to help protect less-vaccinated individuals and prevent outbreaks and breakthrough cases."
The school plans to address equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility concerns related to both vaccination and testing.
In addition, masks will be required in all on-campus indoor common spaces throughout the month of September.
"And we are currently exploring extending this mask direction even further into the fall term," Harvey stated.
Dalhousie and King's are the latest post-secondary institutions in the Halifax area to require full immunization.
Saint Mary's University will require students living in residence or participating in varsity and club sports to be fully vaccinated, along with coaches and staff in the Department of Athletics and Recreation.
SMU has cautioned the protocol could be expanded to other groups in the future.
NSCAD says vaccines are not required "but expected."
"However, if the second dose rates do not meet the provincial targets and continue to slow, we are prepared to act accordingly," the art and design school cautions in a post on its website. "This may mean that vaccines could be made mandatory."