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COVID-19

Return to Campus Update

March 28 2022

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Queen’s has been working closely with provincial and local public health experts with the primary objective of protecting the health and safety of our community and to preserve the ability of our healthcare system to serve the local community.

Over the past six weeks, the pandemic outlook across the province has changed significantly. The Ontario government has lifted most public health measures.  Locally, health care authorities are indicating a continued decline in the number of COVID cases requiring hospitalization.

With this in mind, Queen’s is announcing the following changes to our COVID-19 health and safety measures for the start of the spring/summer term – as of May 1, 2022:

  • The university’s vaccination requirement will be suspended, at which point most students, faculty, and staff will no longer be required to provide proof that they are fully vaccinated to participate in in-person university activities. Most students looking to register for classes in the summer term with in-person components will now be able to do so, regardless of their vaccination status.
  • The university’s mandatory masking policy will be suspended.
  • The SeQure app daily screening will no longer need to be completed before attending in-person university activities
  • Certain activities and roles that involve third parties (such as health clinics, hospitals, elementary and secondary schools, and other organizations where students complete their placements) may have different requirements for both masking and vaccination that will still have to be followed. Students, staff, and faculty members should contact their respective Faculty for details.

Everyone should be aware that the suspension of these measures is based on the current state of the pandemic and corresponding public health considerations. If the situation changes, Queen’s may bring back vaccination and/or masking requirements on short notice. If government mandates or Public Health Instructions re-instate masking and/or vaccination requirements at any time after May 1, Queen’s will, of course, comply with any such mandates and implement appropriate processes to do so.To that end, the university will be looking at ways to continue to collect community vaccination information and we will update you with more details about that process when available.

If the university does need to reinstate its proof of vaccination requirement, students, faculty, and staff who are not fully vaccinated in accordance with the definition that is applicable at the time could find their in-person activities interrupted and/or may not be able to get necessary vaccinations in time to be able to return to campus. This may impact eligibility to remain in classes, employment status, eligibility to remain in residence, and access to on-campus resources or facilities. We strongly recommend maintaining up to date vaccination status to reduce the risk of interruption to your studies or work.

As we look ahead with cautious optimism, we must also emphasize that this pandemic is not yet over and preventing the spread of COVID-19 remains a priority. We strongly encourage all students, faculty, and staff to receive updated vaccinations and boosters, as these remain the best way to protect yourself and the community against serious illness from COVID-19. We would also encourage all community members to continue wearing masks indoors when in places that are crowded or involve close contact with others. Some individuals may prefer to continue wearing masks at all times when indoors, and some may choose not to do so. As a community, we need to be respectful of everyone’s choices and keep in mind that everyone’s situation is unique.

As always, we urge you to remain vigilant. If you are in contact with a COVID-19 case or experience symptoms of COVID-19, please consult the Ontario government’s COVID-19 self-assessment to determine if you should be tested or refer to the university’s Updated Isolation Protocols.

While the current situation is encouraging, we have seen that circumstances can change at any time, and the risks of new variants and outbreaks remain a very real possibility. Our entire community needs to remain flexible and adaptive in responding to ‘real time’ changes. In suspending the mask and proof of vaccination requirements for in-person university activities, the ability to reinstate either or both of these requirements if necessary is essential.

We anticipate that this announcement is welcome news to many but understand others may have concerns or questions.  Support for staff and faculty is available through the Employee and Family Assistance Program and additional wellness resources are available on the Human Resources website.  Undergraduate and graduate students can contact Empower Me, 24/7 from countries around the worldGood2Talk, a 24/7 support line for post-secondary students, or Student Wellness Services.

The last two years have been extraordinarily challenging for all of us, and we trust that you will continue to do your part to keep yourself and those in our community healthy and safe.  Queen’s will continue to monitor public health directives and government decisions, and we will be updating the community as things change. We also recognize that many people may have more specific questions about how the lifting of health and safety measures may impact their work or study. More information on these topics will be shared as soon as it is available through email and on the Safe Return to Campus website.


March 1, 2022

As you transition back to on-campus activities, please ensure you are familiar with the university’s updated health and safety requirements:

  • New Mask Requirements: All students, staff, faculty, and visitors are required to wear an ASTM F2100 Level 2 medical-grade mask indoors on campus. This includes all building common areas (hallways, stairwells, elevators, laundry rooms, lobbies, bike storage rooms, and the Community Housing office). Information for students regarding mask distribution locations is being communicated by faculties and schools. Further details on mask requirements are available in the university’s COVID-19 mask requirements.
  • Daily Screening and Staying Home if Ill: All students, staff, and faculty are required to complete daily self-screening questions through Queen’s SeQure app prior to coming to campus. Individuals with symptoms, however mild they may seem, cannot come to campus.
  • COVID-19 Case Management: All students, staff, and faculty must follow the provincial requirements regarding self-isolation. Please review the COVID-19 Case Management webpage for information on self-isolation requirements, notifying your close contacts, and what to do if you have symptoms or test positive.
  • Campus Operations: All buildings that are normally accessible to the public will be open as of February 28. Many on-campus services are currently open, such as retail food outlets, Athletic and Recreation facilities, meeting spaces, and student support and student life program offices. Please check unit websites for details on their operating hours. Except for students on a meal plan, enhanced proof of vaccination (i.e., the Ontario QR Code) will continue to be required to access dine-in areas of retail food outlets. Enhanced proof of vaccination is still required to access athletics and recreation facilities.
  • The university’s Meeting and Event Protocols have been updated to align with the current provincial regulations. In-person meetings, events, and co-curricular student and university-led activities are now permitted on-campus, with comprehensive health and safety protocols in place. Distancing requirements are no longer in place for spaces where masking continues to be required.

COVID-19 Vaccination: As noted by Public Health experts, vaccination remains the most important tool to protect individuals from severe outcomes of COVID-19. In line with the recent statement from the Council of Ontario Universities, Queen’s COVID-19 Vaccination Policy will remain in place until at least the end of the current term to minimize disruption for the Queen’s community.

The pandemic has been challenging for all members of the Queen’s community. Undergraduate and graduate students can contact Empower Me, 24/7 from countries around the worldGood2Talk, a 24/7 support line for post-secondary students, or Student Wellness Services.

 

Please check the Safe Return website regularly for further updates.