Latest Covid-19 Updates

King’s latest Covid-19 updates

January 6 - Winter term mask policy reminder

Dear King’s Community,

First, allow me to wish you a happy new year!

With the term about to begin, I write to recirculate the information about King’s masking policy for the winter, first shared November 30.

A mask mandate remains in effect at King’s this winter term, with some changes from the policy that applied during the fall. This decision maintains King’s alignment with Dalhousie, which also announced the extension of its mask mandate through the winter.

As a reminder, masks remain mandatory in the following spaces, with the exceptions listed:

  • Campus classrooms: mask wearing remains mandatory. Lecturers and instructors will continue to be allowed to remove their masks to minimize interference with student learning.
  • Library: mask wearing remains mandatory by library patrons except when seated alone for quiet reading or study.

Masks are highly recommended in the following spaces, with the exceptions listed:

  • Prince Hall: mask wearing is no longer mandatory but is highly recommended, except when eating and/or drinking.
  • Hallways and common areas in academic buildings: mask wearing is no longer mandatory but is highly recommended.
  • Gym: Mask wearing remains highly recommended in public areas, including among spectators at athletics games. Participants in games, practices, workouts and other athletic activities, including aerobics and weight room users, do not need to wear masks.
  • Chapel: Mask wearing continues to be highly recommended by congregants or visitors.
  • Wardroom (and Galley): Mask wearing remains highly recommended among visitors.
  • Residences: Mask wearing remains highly recommended in common areas.

To support these recommendations and requirements, masks remain available at the main points of entry to our academic buildings.

In addition to wearing a mask there are other things we can all continue to do to protect ourselves and those around us:

  • Stay home when you feel sick.
  • If you must leave home while feeling sick, wear a mask at all times.
  • If you feel sick or have been around people who are sick, be careful of socializing with vulnerable populations such as babies or the elderly.
  • Get your flu vaccination and Covid booster.
  • Follow hygiene best practices, including continuing to wash your hands and common touch points.

Thank you for your continued participation in these important measures.

Sincerely,

Bill

William Lahey President, Vice-Chancellor and Professor of Law

November 30 - Fall masking policy extended through winter term

Dear King’s Community,

Throughout the fall term, masks have been required indoors on King’s campus. First announced on August 10 and later extended to the end of the fall term, King’s relaxed its requirement for communal residence spaces on September 3. This created an important policy distinction: masks are required in “academic spaces,” that is, spaces where people on campus must be present; and masks are strongly encouraged in spaces where people on campus have an option whether or not to be present. This policy was established with the support of King’s Occupational Health & Safety Committee (OH&S), and with its adoption, King’s maintained its important alignment with our neighbour, Dalhousie.

With the end of the fall term approaching, I write to advise that I have accepted the advice of OH&S to retain a mask mandate through the winter term, with some changes. These changes will take effect at the beginning of the winter term. This decision will, I’m sure, cause relief in some and frustration in others. Experiences of the pandemic have varied significantly from one person to the next, and the same is true of our levels of tolerance toward the restrictions and policies introduced to mitigate its risks. This decision was not taken lightly. The OH&S committee’s recommendation was informed by reports of the rise of Covid and flu across the country, placing provincial health care systems under excessive strain and, by extension, placing those in our campus and wider community at greater risk. In addition to this, this decision maintains our alignment with Dalhousie, which announced that it will extend its mask mandate through the winter term, earlier today.

Through the winter term, masks will remain mandatory in the following spaces, with the exceptions listed:

  • Campus classrooms: mask wearing remains mandatory. Lecturers and instructors will continue to be allowed to remove their masks to minimize interference with student learning.
  • Library: mask wearing remains mandatory by library patrons except when seated alone for quiet reading or study.

Through the winter term, masks will be highly recommended in the following spaces, with the exceptions listed:

  • Prince Hall: mask wearing will no longer be mandatory but will be highly recommended, except when eating and/or drinking.
  • Hallways and common areas in academic buildings: mask wearing will no longer be mandatory but will be highly recommended.
  • Gym: Mask wearing remains highly recommended in public areas, including among spectators at athletics games. Participants in games, practices, workouts and other athletic activities, including aerobics and weight room users, do not need to wear masks.
  • Chapel: Mask wearing continues to be highly recommended by congregants or visitors. Choir singers and officiants do not need to wear masks.
  • Wardroom (and Galley) remains highly recommended among visitors.
  • Residences: Mask wearing remains highly recommended in common areas.

To support these recommendations and requirements, masks will remain available at the main points of entry to our academic buildings.

In addition to wearing a mask there are other things we can all continue to do to protect ourselves and those around us:

  • Stay home when you feel sick.
  • If you must leave home while feeling sick, wear a mask at all times.
  • If you feel sick or have been around people who are sick, be careful of socializing with vulnerable populations such as babies or the elderly.
  • Get your flu vaccination and Covid booster.
  • Follow hygiene best practices, including continuing to wash your hands and common touch points.

Thank you for continuing to support these important acts of community care.

Sincerely,

Bill

William Lahey
President, Vice-Chancellor and Professor of Law

September 21 - Covid Update: Further Refinements About Masking

Dear King’s community,

Following the September 13 Covid update that confirmed the continuation of mask requirements to the end of term, the King’s Occupational Health and Safety Committee (OH&S) met last week to discuss implementation challenges with the Fall term mask mandate. I have accepted their recommended refinements to distinguish between spaces where people must be present and spaces where people have the option to be present or not.

Masks continue to be mandatory in all the spaces that are mandatory to our core function as a university where attendance and participation is mandatory –

  • our classrooms (except for those lecturing, teaching or presenting)
  • the library (except when seated alone for quiet reading or study)
  • Prince Hall (except when eating and/or drinking)
  • hallways and common areas in academic buildings

To assist with this, facilities have set up masking stations at the main points of entrance to our academic buildings.

Masks continue to be highly recommended in the areas of our college where attendance and participation is voluntary –

  • audience members at athletic games
  • congregants or visitors to the Chapel
  • Wardroom and Galley visitors
  • common areas in residences

Thank you for the continued care and concern you show for each other by wearing your mask.

Yours truly,

Bill

William Lahey
President, Vice-Chancellor and Professor of Law

September 13 - Covid Update: Masking Requirement Extended

Dear King’s community,

As you know, the university announced on August 10 that masking would be required in public indoor spaces at least until Saturday, September 18. With the agreement of the Occupational Health and Safety Committee, this requirement was relaxed on September 3 for communal spaces in residences. Since September 3, masking has been strongly encouraged but not required in those residence spaces.

I am now writing to advise that I have accepted the advice of the Occupational Health and Safety Committee to extend the requirement to wear masks in “academic spaces” until the end of the fall term. Academic spaces include classrooms and public hallways in the Arts & Administration Building, the New Academic Building and the Link. Lecturers and instructors will continue to be allowed to remove their masks to minimize interference with student learning. In addition to the value of masking as a safety measure, the intent of the committee’s advice, which I agree with, is to “to ensure continuity of academic safety rules across institutions.” This refers to the decision of Dalhousie, announced earlier, to require mask wearing in academic spaces until the end of the fall term.

The following summarizes the other mask wearing requirements that will remain in place until further notice or the end of term, whichever comes first:

  • Gym: Mask wearing continues to be required in public areas, including by spectators. Participants in games, practices, workouts and other athletic activities, including aerobics and weight room users, do not need to wear masks.
  • Chapel: Mask wearing continues to be required. Choir singers and officiants do not need to wear masks.
  • Library: Mask wearing continues to be required by library patrons except when seated alone for quiet reading or study.
  • Prince Hall: Mask wearing continues to be required except when eating or drinking.
  • Wardroom (and Galley): Staff will wear masks and patrons can expect to be asked to wear a mask when not eating or drinking.

Thank you for your cooperation and care and concern for each other by wearing your mask so far and thank you for your anticipated cooperation over the rest of the term.

Yours truly,

Bill

William Lahey
President, Vice-Chancellor and Professor of Law

August 10 - Covid update: Change to mask guidance as of August 25

Dear King’s community,

Following the advice of King’s Occupational Health and Safety Committee (OH&S), as of August 25, when ‘early arrival’ students begin their return to campus, we will again require three-ply masks in all indoor common spaces on the King’s campus. A supply of masks will be available at reception in the A&A.

This mask mandate will be in effect until at least September 18. Prior to that date, the OH&S Committee will reconvene to assess the situation on campus and advise if the mandate should be lifted or maintained. We are committed to reviewing this policy on a regular basis.

We are mindful that the ‘new normal’ includes new variants and more Covid cases. The usual increase in our population at the start of the fall semester will heighten the associated risks.  As we begin a new term, taking appropriate steps to support our collective health and wellness—including mask wearing—will be especially important as there are those among us who are at higher risk and remain vulnerable.

We also encourage you to get vaccinated if you have not already done so and to get boosted as soon as boosters become available to you. For the latest information and instruction on these topics, please visit the Nova Scotia Health website.

If you feel unwell with symptoms of Covid-19, we ask you to get tested and stay at home. Please do not attend classes or work on campus until your symptoms improve. Self-isolation is recommended by Public Health, and we continue to ask our community members to do their part to avoid spreading Covid-19 and other illnesses on campus.

More King’s safety planning details for faculty and staff, off-campus students and students in residence will be communicated in the coming days and weeks, but we wanted to advise you of the decision we’ve made to return to a mask mandate later this month and into the beginning of term. And you can always find Covid updates on the King’s website.  Dalhousie’s announcements for Covid safety measures on its campus will be shared with you as they become available and are also available on their website.

Throughout the pandemic, considerable collective and individual efforts have been made in the name of community health and safety. Let’s continue to look out for each other.

Sincerely,
Sarah Clift
Vice President