Latest Covid-19 Updates

King’s latest Covid-19 updates

April 20 - COVID update: Masking requirements extended at King’s and Dalhousie; Campus check to be suspended

Dear students, faculty and staff,

As communicated on March 2, there is an ongoing obligation of everyone on the King’s campus to wear at least a 3-ply mask in all indoor spaces and to continue to comply with Campus Check until May 1.

Reflecting concerns regarding the current increase in Covid-19 cases in Nova Scotia and with the advice of the Occupational Health and Safety Committee (OH&S), King’s will be extending our mask mandate to include Encaenia events scheduled at the end of May. Additionally, in our continued effort to work in tandem with Dalhousie, we are, like Dalhousie, extending King’s 3-ply masking requirements until at least June 10.   

We continue to encourage all members of the King’s community to get their vaccine and booster doses to help maintain and strengthen our already impressive vaccination rates. As of May 1, students, faculty, and staff will no longer be asked to provide proof of full vaccination to work and study on campus. Although the Campus Check program will be suspended, we will continue to monitor health and safety risks to our community and will consider reinstating Campus Check if necessary. This would only happen at King’s with the advice of our OH&S committee and any further deliberation on the matter we want to have as a community.

Given the current Covid situation, extending our mask requirements is the right thing to do for King’s and Dalhousie. As we have done throughout the pandemic, we will continue to consult with Public Health. If the situation improves, we may lift mask requirements earlier than June 10; we will also be prepared to extend them further if need be.

We continue to encourage the King’s community to take important additional steps for our shared health and wellness:

  • Stay home if you have symptoms or aren’t feeling well and get tested. Remember, it’s still a legal requirement to self-isolate if you have Covid symptoms or if you test positive—it’s also the right thing to do.
  • Consider wearing your mask in all situations that may present a greater risk of infection. In places where you are in close contact with others, assembled in large numbers, or simply shopping for groceries, etc., wearing a mask helps protect your health and the health of those around you.
  • Get your booster shot(s) and keep up with the latest vaccine guidance. As vaccine guidance evolves, stay up to date with your shots as additional booster doses become available to reduce your risk of infection and serious illness.

For the latest Covid information, including important government resources for testing and self-isolation, visit the Nova Scotia Health website or ukings.ca/coronavirus.

Sincerely,

Bill

William Lahey
President, Vice-Chancellor and Professor of Law

March 2 - Important Covid Update

Dear students, faculty and staff,

Last week, the province updated its schedule for lifting public health measures to limit the spread of Covid infections that are still mandatory under the Public Health Order. Already, gathering limits have been loosened and organizations, including universities, which have been required under Public Health Orders to require proof of vaccination for participation in discretionary activities, are no longer required or authorized by the Public Health Order to require proof of vaccinations. On March 7, gathering limits for performing arts, weddings, funerals, and concerts will be loosened further. On March 21, unless the province decides before then to extend them, the requirement to wear masks, to observe gathering limits and to maintain social distancing, will also no longer be mandatory.

Our Occupational Health and Safety Committee has begun consideration of these changes and how we should respond to them at King’s. The consideration is complicated given that our safety policies are intertwined with the provisions of previous Public Health Orders. But in general terms, the view of the committee is that King’s should maintain the mandatory requirements set out in our Covid safety policies until the end of this academic term.

So far, the committee has given me more specific advice which allows me to communicate the following decisions on behalf of the university:

  • The obligation of everyone on the King’s campus to wear at least a 3-ply mask continues and will remain in effect at King’s until May 1, 2022;
  • The obligation of students, faculty and staff to be vaccinated unless they have been medically exempted from this requirement or were submitting two negative rapid test results per week in the fall term, in accordance with the Dalhousie/King’s vaccination or testing policies (generally called Campus Check), as updated for the winter term, will remain in effect at King’s at least until May 1, as previously recommended by the Occupational Health and Safety Committee
    (It should be noted that everyone who studies or works at King’s who is required to be vaccinated is vaccinated. Nevertheless, I agree with the committee that the requirement should continue to be in force for the duration of this academic year);
  • Loosening the limits on the size of permitted gatherings will change at King’s in parallel to the loosening of gathering limits in the Public Health Order;
  • The provisions of King’s Covid safety policies that require organizers of specified kinds of events and gatherings to submit a safety plan to the Occupational Health and Safety Committee for its review before the event or gatherings happens will remain in place until May 1, 2022; and
  • King’s will no longer continue to require proof of vaccination for public attendance at discretionary events and gatherings for the rest of this academic term.

Further updates will be provided as decisions are made on the basis of the ongoing deliberations and advice of the Committee. Further changes to our policies at King’s may also be required to maintain consistency, to the extent possible, between the policies in effect at King’s and those in effect at Dalhousie, where a parallel process of deliberation is underway. We will continue to pay attention to the decisions announced at Dalhousie since we must comply with them when we are on the Dalhousie campus.

To end, I want to stress what Dr. Robert Strang has stressed: the pandemic is not over and we are therefore encouraged to continue to follow public health measures such as maintaining social distance, practising proper hygiene, and wearing a mask after they cease to be required by law. I also want to once again say, “get boosted” if you are eligible and have not done so already. The additional protection this provides both to those who are boosted and those they interact with will only become more important after the termination of the province’s Public Health Order and the revocation of Covid related public health requirements across the country and beyond.

Sincerely,

Bill

William Lahey
President and Vice-Chancellor

January 27 - Returning to Campus, Winter 2022

Dear King’s students,

We’re excited that many of you will be returning to campus soon! Given the different circumstances of the public health situation this winter, we understand there will be anxiety about the return to campus so we thought the following FAQ would be helpful.

The information you’ll find here deals mainly with academics and classroom protocols. Check your email regularly for information about wider campus Covid-19 safety procedures. As always, consult the student support directory for resources to keep yourself safe this semester.

Best wishes,

Sarah

Sarah Clift
Vice-President

Academic Q&A: Returning to campus for Winter 2022

Is it safe to be back on campus?

Yes, it is safe to be on campus. King’s classrooms are made safe because close to 99% of King’s students, faculty and staff are fully vaccinated, and everyone on campus is required to stay home when they are sick. Ventilation systems in classrooms are operating at an increased capacity. Additionally, everyone on campus is required to wear a three-ply mask. Students must always wear three-ply masks when attending classes, including when entering and exiting the room. Students should not bring food or drink that requires them to remove their mask entirely. Together, these measures create safe spaces to resume in-person learning.

How can I attend my virtual classes while I’m on campus?

Several classrooms on campus have, for certain times of the day, been designated as Quiet Rooms. These rooms are set aside for you in case you need a quiet place to connect to Wi-Fi and attend virtual classes. Consult the Quiet Rooms directory for details on the schedule and location of these rooms.

What will happen with my participation in classes if I’m sick?

If you’re sick, it’s crucial that you stay home. Instructors have individual discretion over making accommodations, but students who are self-isolating will not be penalized for their absence. For your part, be sure to communicate with your instructor as soon as possible if you will be absent, and they will inform you of how to continue participating in the class.

What happens if I test positive for Covid?

In the event a student who has recently been in an in-person class tests positive, they are encouraged to inform their instructor so that other students can be made aware that a potential exposure has occurred. Students should rest assured that their instructor will be careful to safeguard the student’s privacy by not disclosing their identity. Instructors are not being asked to perform follow-up contact tracing.

The current direction from Public Health directs close contacts to monitor for symptoms and to contact Public Health for testing. Close contacts with symptoms must stay home. Close contacts with no symptoms are still permitted to do essential activities, such as attending classes. They must continue to closely follow all Public Health directives, including wearing masks and physical distancing. Additional information can be obtained from Public Health.

Students can also email ukcscreen@ukings.ca to obtain assistance in finding out about the latest direction from Public Health.

What if I want to drop a class?

The deadline to add or drop classes without financial implications was January 14. You can complete the Application for Waiver of Academic Regulation Form (found in the Web for Students section of Dal Online) to apply to be considered for retroactively adjusting your registration for the winter term. If you wish to adjust your registration, please discuss options for each course with your instructor first. You may also wish to talk through any impacts of changing your registration on your plans with an advisor. Please email registrar@ukings.ca to set up an advising appointment.

The last day to drop a Winter Term course without a “W” is Friday, January 28, and the last day to drop a full-year course without a “W” is Monday, January 31.

January 14 - Plan to allow a return to in-person learning on January 31

Dear King’s community,

Thank you for the flexibility and patience you have demonstrated as we waited for more clarity from Public Health regarding the impact of Omicron.

The message from Public Health is now a clear recommendation for the return to in-person classes.

Earlier today, Dalhousie circulated a memo–below–about its decision to allow for the return to in-person teaching on Monday, January 31. Also today, we received recommendation from the King’s Occupational Health and Safety Committee to allow for a return to in-person teaching at King’s starting January 31. To be clear, we are allowing for a return to in-person teaching; however, some courses will remain online. Today’s announcement signals the end of the requirement for courses to be online, but this is not a full return to in-person classes.

Like Dalhousie, King’s faculty will make the decision about their course delivery mode on either a program or an individual basis. King’s and Dalhousie faculty will notify students about the details of how their classes will proceed in the coming months, including mode of delivery, possible phased return to in-person class, etc., by Tuesday, January 18.

There will be differing comfort levels with this decision. We acknowledge that our students, too, will need to make choices. As throughout the pandemic, we will continue to do our best to respond to and accommodate our students’ individual needs as much as possible, providing the care and compassion this situation demands of all of us. As we transition back to a policy under which teaching and learning in our classrooms is permitted, we do so with full respect for the concerns that will arise and with determined efforts to address them.

Public Health indicates that the risk is everywhere, not just on campus. As a society, and as individuals, we need to focus our attention on all protections in place – vaccination, staying home when sick, three-ply masking, hygiene, ventilation–and for those who can, boosting. Additionally, we can also continue to protect ourselves by living in accordance with the Public Health guidance in the rest of their lives, including limiting our social contacts outside of the classroom. Public Health holds fast to the conviction that in-person teaching–as much as possible–is beneficial to the long-term health, well-being, success and happiness of our students. That also is my view and the view of the King’s leadership team.

In the next two weeks, further communications will address other campus activities, which, for now, remain limited as previously communicated on January 5.

Please read Dalhousie’s memo carefully and fully. Be assured King’s is also a highly vaccinated community (98.6%) and we will also operate in full compliance with our Covid Safety Plan.

We are taking this step together, as a community. And we will continue to look after each other, and all those in our community.

Bill

William Lahey
President and Vice Chancellor


Dalhousie Memorandum

Thank you to our entire Dal community for your patience and cooperation over these past few weeks. As much as the measures we’ve taken together were necessary considering the rapid spread of the Omicron variant in our province, we appreciate the burden these decisions impose on everyone — students, faculty and staff alike.

With apologies for the length of this memo, please review this entire message carefully as it contains several critical updates on the following topics:

  1. COVID overview: Insights from our Scientific Advisory Committee
  2. Plans for return to in-person learning: Most programs returning to in-person beginning Jan 31
  3. Revised mask guidance: Three-ply masks now required – medical masks preferred
  4. Residence: Reopening to new and returning students on Jan 29
  5. On-campus work, campus operations, research, meetings, events: Remote work continues to be recommended in January with a return to campus starting Jan 31 based on operational needs; research spaces remain open
  6. Cases and exposures: Information on what to do if you test positive and more
  7. On-campus testing: Remaining test supply will be used for high-priority groups
  8. Campus Check: Update on vaccination requirements and compliance
  1. COVID overview

We continue to consult closely with Public Health and the provincial government on our plans, ensuring full alignment with the postsecondary safety framework that applies to all Nova Scotian universities and colleges.

We have also engaged the expert advice of our COVID-19 Science Advisory Council. Established by the President, the committee brings together some of our Faculty of Medicine’s leading infectious disease researchers, helping ensure our COVID-related decisions are informed by the latest scientific evidence and understanding of current variants including Omicron. The committee’s insights have helped guide our collaborative work with Faculties and units on a path forward for the rest of the winter term. A few takeaways from these shared discussions:

  • While Omicron is more infectious than previous COVID strains, the risks of serious illness are notably lower in fully vaccinated individuals. It remains vital that we continue to protect our community from infection as much as possible, especially those who are more vulnerable. But we can take confidence that our Dal community’s extremely high rate of full vaccination (98.8%), our winter term vaccine requirements and associated vaccine mandate, and our Campus Check compliance strategy are all helping to avoid more serious consequences of COVID.
  • Adherence to multiple layers of safety can help prevent Omicron spread. Dedicated mask-wearing, quality ventilation, cleaning and hygiene, each of us looking after our personal health — these simple measures are still effective against the Omicron variant, despite its increased infectiousness. When these are adhered to properly, and supported by strong vaccination rates, the risk in spaces like classrooms remains low.
  • While COVID risks can be managed through our comprehensive health and safety planning, the serious negative consequences of losing another full term of in-person learning are very real, as we learned from multiple student surveys throughout our COVID shutdown last year. In most of our academic programs, the best student experience is in the classroom — and in our classrooms, a shared commitment to layered safety measures will help keep one another safe. In this, the guidance we’ve received from Public Health reflects similar direction as in the P-12 school system, with the added benefit of our university’s strong vaccination rates.

By redoubling our efforts to adhere to safety protocols, we can begin resuming in-person activities while continuing to limit COVID spread, protecting not only critical health-care capacities in our province but also the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff.

  1. Plans for return to in-person learning
  • Dalhousie programs are returning to in-person learning beginning Monday, January 31. Some courses or course components will continue to be online.
  • Students can expect to receive clear direction on how their specific courses and programs will be delivered by Tuesday, January 18. This information will be provided through their Faculties and instructors.
  • If you have not received any updates on your courses by then, please contact your instructor, program director, academic advisor or Associate Dean Academic as appropriate.
  • All in-person learning will be conducted in full compliance with Dalhousie’s safety plan and the postsecondary safety framework. Students and instructors will be required to adhere to our vaccine requirements and revised mask guidance (see below). All learning will take place in classroom and lab spaces that actually exceed minimum targets for air exchange as outlined in our ventilation strategy. And there will be a continued focus on cleaning, disinfection and personal hygiene. It is the protection we gain from all layers of health and safety that will help get students back to class and keep everyone safe.
  • As always, students who need advice or require guidance on their academic plan are encouraged to reach out to their advisors or Assistant/Associate Deans. Visit our Academic Support website.
  1. Revised mask guidance
  • All masks worn on campus should be made of at least three layers, in alignment with the latest Nova Scotia Public Health directive and guidance from our COVID-19 Science Advisory Council — the three-layered blue medical masks are appropriate, for example.
  • Given Omicron’s increased infectiousness, homemade or store-bought non-medical masks (ie. cloth masks) must contain at least three layers to offer sufficient protection. If you are unsure, we strongly encourage you to wear a three-ply medical mask. Disposable masks will be available on campus in a variety of locations should they be needed.
  • A reminder that masks must be worn in all common spaces for the duration of the winter term, including in all classrooms and in spaces such as libraries, hallways, common rooms in residence, meeting spaces, washrooms, etc. For a summary of updated mask guidance, visit our “Wearing your mask” page.
  • Given Omicron’s spread, adherence to mask protocol is critical. Masks should be well-fitting and should always remain on and never lowered for more than a very short period of time (for example, taking a quick sip of water) in spaces where they are required.
  1. Residence
  • Residences will re-open to returning and new residents on Saturday, January 29. Dining halls will also reopen beginning with dinner that Saturday.
  • Residence students should watch their Dalhousie email for an update from the Residence Office (residence@dal.ca) with revised community standards, COVID protocols, dining hall information, etc.
  1. On-campus work, campus operations, research, meetings, events
  • It is recommended that employees who can work remotely continue to do so as much as possible during the next two weeks.
  • As of January 31, we invite leaders to begin to return employees in their units to on-campus work based on operational need. As always, leaders will be asked to moderate the pace and nature of their teams’ return, balancing the values of employee experience with service excellence, and prioritizing health and safety. Accommodations, as needed, will be processed through Accessible Employment.
  • Until the Omicron wave is behind us, we discourage in-person employee meetings or congregating in lunch rooms or other common spaces, particularly while eating or drinking.
  • Research spaces remain open. All safety precautions must be followed.
  • Events or activities that are indoor and unmasked should not be taking place at this time.
  • We expect some services will continue to operate in virtual or mixed mode of delivery, while in-person campus services essential to supporting our students, faculty, staff and general operations will remain open. In-person service will be available at the Libraries, the Bookstore and many other services.
  • As COVID continues to circulate in Nova Scotia, cases and close-contact exposures will continue to have some operational impacts in departments and units. Leaders are encouraged to develop contingency plans to ensure core operations continue.
  1. Cases and exposures
  • We’ve developed a resource for students, faculty and staff on current Nova Scotia testing protocols and instructions if you test positive. Visit “How to test and what to do if you test positive” to learn more.
  • Formal exposure notices will only be issued by request of Nova Scotia Public Health. At the moment, these requests are unlikely given that most contact tracing is being managed by individuals, not Public Health.
  • This change to contact tracing also changes our procedures for case information in lower-risk settings such as classrooms and labs. As confirmed by conversations with Dr. Strang and Public Health, a potential exposure in a classroom space where safety protocols are followed is low risk and does not meet the threshold for testing. In the event a student who has been in class tests positive and informs their instructor, the instructor will be encouraged to share with the class that a potential exposure has occurred and to advise students to monitor for symptoms and, if symptoms start, follow testing protocols.
  • There is no change to our current residence procedure in that students who test positive must notify their residence life manager and the Residence Life team by phone (Halifax 902-220-9038 / Truro 902-956-0750) so they can immediately help support self-isolation.
  • At times, including during December’s outbreak, Dalhousie has shared statistics regarding campus COVID cases. Under current provincial testing procedures, providing accurate data in this manner is no longer feasible. Where helpful and in the interest of transparency and community safety, Dalhousie will endeavour to share general assessments of COVID activity on campus to the best of our abilities.
  1. On-campus testing
  • The Province of Nova Scotia has currently halted its workplace testing program that supplied Dalhousie’s rapid tests in the fall. As a result, we are not able to provide general asymptomatic testing to our Dal community. If you are symptomatic or a close contact and require testing, you can access testing through Nova Scotia Health by completing the NS COVID-19 self-assessment tool.
  • We do have some rapid tests remaining from our fall supply. We plan to use this limited number of tests to provide efficient access to rapid testing for high-priority groups including:
    • Residence students and on-campus staff/faculty who are symptomatic
    • Staff/faculty required to work on-campus in close contact environments
    • Accommodated students/staff/faculty who are required to test as part of our vaccination requirements.
    • Our health faculties to support front-line clinical setting requirements
  • Information on accessing these tests will be provided directly to these groups through the appropriate channels. We continue to work with Public Health to obtain additional tests.
  1. Campus Check vaccination requirements
  • All students, faculty and staff are required to submit proof of full vaccination through the Campus Check program or receive an accommodation, following the procedures announced back in December. Whether you are on- or off-campus, or if you are part- or full-time or casual, everyone needs to complete their Campus Check. The requirement to submit proof of vaccination through Campus Check also applies to those who may have provided proof of vaccination through other processes (for example, in our health Faculties).
  • Code of Student Conduct violations have been issued to those students who have failed to meet their Campus Check requirements, and appropriate remedial procedures are also underway with non-compliant faculty and staff.
  • We are now up to a 98.8% rate of full vaccination on campus. Efforts to increase Campus Check compliance have raised the percentage of students, faculty and staff who have completed the Campus Check process to 97%, with nearly all the remaining outliers being part-time or occasional individuals with limited engagement with the university. We continue work to improve this completion percentage to as close to 100% as possible.
  • Some have asked about whether boosters will be required for Campus Check. At this time, booster information does not need to be uploaded into Campus Check as we are continuing to align our definition of “fully vaccinated” with that of the province. In the future, should the province’s definition change to include boosters, we would look to revise our own requirements accordingly. We encourage all members of the Dal community to get their booster shot as soon as they can.

We plan to share further updates, and important reminders about our safety plan, ahead of returns at the end of the month. In the meantime, please consult dal.ca/coronavirus for more information.

Stay safe, and we look forward to seeing you again,

Frank Harvey
Provost and Vice-President Academic

January 5 - Updated Residence Information for the Start of Winter Term

Dear students in the residence community,

As noted in President Lahey’s COVID Update from this morning, we wanted to provide more details about living in residence during the Winter 2022 term. With the information and resources laid out below, you’ll be able to support yourself and others in the residence community through this wave of COVID. Below is the most current information we have available.

What is happening in residence right now?

As of January 4, residence is open for those who wish to be here. Whatever the right decision for you is, it is your choice when or whether to return to residence.

What if I want to return to residence later in the term?

Complete this quick and easy one-question arrival date form. If you don’t know your plans yet but expect to arrive at some point later in the term, email Senior Don Brianna Legere to let her know.

What will life in residence be like when I return?

Information and guidelines from Public Health are always subject to change. However, based on what we know today, these are the notable arrangements in residence right now:

  • Upon arriving at residence, students must complete a rapid test, which will be provided to you at the Alex Hall front desk. Complete the rapid test as soon as possible and contact Senior Don Brianna (contact information below) if your test comes back positive. Even a faint line is considered a positive result. Check your email from January 4 for a message with the subject line, “Instructions for Rapid Tests for Residence Students” for instructions on what to do if you test positive for Covid.
  • Prince Hall: In-person dining will only be available to those living in residence, and the Hall’s overall capacity will be limited to 150 people. Seating has been re-arranged to promote physical distancing and smaller table seating. Take-out options are also available. Mask wearing will be strictly enforced when people are not actively eating or drinking.
  • Masks: Public Health now requires the use of three-ply masks in all settings. King’s-branded three-ply cloth masks are available for pickup at the Alex Hall front desk. Disposable three-ply masks are also available throughout residence. Three-ply masks are required at all times when not in your room. This includes hallways, common rooms, Prince Hall when not actively eating, and anytime you are with others. No food or drink will be permitted in common rooms to ensure proper masking is upheld at all times. The longer you are in proximity to someone unmasked, the greater your chances of contracting COVID if one of you is positive. To help protect one another, please insist your friends wear three-ply masks whenever you’re together. Strict mask enforcement will be followed. Not wearing a three-ply mask could lead to disciplinary action without additional warning. Again, all masks supplied by King’s, both branded and disposable will be three-ply.
  • Programming: Virtual and limited in-person programming will continue following necessary COVID guidelines.
  • Limit contact with others: We expect you to keep to a consistent social group of no more than the required limit (currently 10 consistent people). Keep track of who you eat meals with and who you spend extended time with—these are your close contacts in case you get sick. Common room occupancy and in-person programming will also be limited to this number.

What happens if I get sick with Covid or any other illness?

  • If you are a close contact or are symptomatic, self-isolate in your room immediately and text or call Senior Don Brianna, who will support your next steps.
  • If you get sick with COVID it can be frustrating and scary, especially if you’ve been doing “everything right”, but there is no shame in contracting COVID. Your privacy is paramount. You may choose to share that you’re sick with others, but you do not have to. King’s will only notify a small group of staff confidentially on a need-to-know basis. Community-wide communications will not go out unless directed by Public Health, and even then, individual privacy will always be protected. We will take care of you—bring you meals, offer check-ins, provide you access to mental and physical health supports. It won’t be easy, but we will be in it together as a residence community.

What if I don’t want to return to residence?

  • If you are at increased risk for severe outcomes, residence may not be an appropriate living environment. If you are not comfortable returning to residence given the likelihood of COVID in our community, complete this withdrawal form and you will receive a pro-rated refund of residence fees.
  • We are working on plans to support students who want to withdraw from residence and still have belongings on campus. Please stay tuned for more information.

Important Contact Information

Brianna Legere (she/her)
Senior Don
902-266-7359
br979317@dal.ca

Ashley Nixon (they/them)
Assistant Dean of Residence
902-499-0071
ashley.nixon@dal.ca

It’s tough to embrace these new measures when we’ve all already done so much to keep our community safe. We’re implementing these new measures on the direction of Public Health and because it’s helps us to continue receiving the benefits of living together in community, which comes with its advantages like mental health, social, and academic supports. As always, remember that there are people around you who can help you, as well as people who are counting on your help.

Take care,

Katie

Katie Merwin (she/her)
Dean of Students

January 5 - Covid update: Start of Winter term

Dear students, faculty and staff,

Welcome back! Despite the adjustments we are once again making for Covid, I send best wishes to all of you for the year ahead.

As you know, on December 23 we joined Dalhousie to announce the extension of online class delivery to January 28. And on December 17, we communicated that King’s residences will reopen as originally planned on January 4, so that the social, academic and mental health benefits of living in community can be maintained and continued while teaching and learning is online.

These two decisions, along with the latest updates from Public Health, have impacted protocols at King’s. Residence students will receive further, detailed correspondence from the Dean of Students and the residence team.

The following is a general update regarding the new protocols on campus.

Masks

To provide the recommended protection against the more transmissible Omicron variant, King’s requires everyone on campus to use 3-ply masks. For your reference, the King’s branded masks distributed to all earlier in the pandemic are three ply. To help make following this requirement as easy as possible, the university will maintain a reasonable supply of 3-ply cloth and disposable masks. These can be picked up in the foyer of the A&A between 9 and 5, Monday through Friday. There will also be a supply of 3-ply masks in residences.

Visitors

Until further notice, the university campus will be closed to unnecessary external visitors who are not part of a necessary in-person university activity.

Gatherings

  • University teaching and learning-related activities have been moved online through January.
  • Journalism is in the process of assembling a request for a limited exemption that would allow students in specific senior-level courses access to instructional/technical resources and support for the second half of January. Affected students will be contacted directly by their instructor.
  • Employees who can work from home should do so.
  • University business-related in-person meetings are only allowed among people who are required to work together on campus when an in-person meeting is necessary. All meetings will comply with masking, ventilation and distancing requirements, including a reduced room capacity of 50% maximum.
  • Residence will have a gathering limit of 10 people in common rooms. No food or drink is allowed in common rooms to support proper masking when students are not in their rooms.
  • Prince Hall is now and until further notice limited to residence occupants and to a limit of 150 people, which is less than the 50% maximum.
    • Take-out meals will be offered to reduce occupancy as much as possible.
    • Mask wearing will be strictly enforced when people are not actively eating or drinking.

All other gatherings, greater than 10 people will be considered a special event and must follow the current procedure for special events.

Screening Kits and COVID Clinic

  • All incoming residence occupants will have one test upon entry.
  • A supply of kits will be available for people who require tests as part of the Campus Check system.
  • All remaining test kits will be dedicated to residence use for symptomatic testing, as per the new Public Health guidelines.

The COVID clinic will be put on pause until support for this program returns from Public Health.

COVID Cases On-Campus: Communications Protocol

While we are continuing and strengthening precautions to prevent and minimize Covid infections within the King’s community, we can, with the prevalence of the omicron variant, be sure there will be positive cases in our community and on campus. Privacy of health information will remain paramount; when there is a need to communicate about a positive case, no names will be used. We will follow these protocols:

  • A positive COVID case in residence will only be communicated to those who must know. This includes:
  • Staff from residence, facilities management and the custodial service provider. Only the location of the room with the COVID infection will be provided.
  • Close-contact tracing will be undertaken when possible, and only to those directly affected.
  • COVID close-contact tracing communications will be provided to the broader community only when directed by Public Health.
  • General statistics of COVID cases on campus, as available, may be communicated to provide transparency or when relevant to the interests of community safety.

Department Updates

  • Athletics – Athletics will remain in compliance with the current Public Health requirements. All sports events including games are halted. Practice and exercise activities are still permitted for King’s students in a reduced capacity.
  • Chapel – The Anglican Church has closed all churches until January 12. Father Ingalls is working with the Occupational Health and Safety Committee and others to determine if some Chapel events in small groups may gather. In the meantime, Father Ingalls will pray the Daily Offices and invites those who wish to, to do the same wherever they are.
  • Residence – Students who must self-isolate will now do so in their rooms, with the exception of Alex Hall double-room occupants. The separate isolation rooms will be reserved for double room occupants. Residence students will receive further, detailed correspondence from the Dean of Students and the residence team.
  • Wardroom / Galley– The Wardroom and Galley will remain closed until mid-January at the earliest.
  • Library – The library will remain closed until January 24th at the earliest. Renovations of the floor in the main level of the library continues.

We will continue to monitor updates from Public Health and we are committed to communicating with you on a regular basis as the situation evolves.

Thank you for your dedication as we continue to balance safety with remaining a vibrant collegial academic and residential community under extraordinary circumstances. Our continuing solidarity throughout this pandemic has been exemplary and is deeply appreciated.

Sincerely,

Bill

William Lahey
President and Vice-Chancellor

December 23 - Covid update: Extension of online learning to Jan 28 at King’s

Dear students, faculty and staff,

Today, Dalhousie announced their decision to extend the online start to the winter term to January 28. Reasons for this extension, beyond the January 17 date earlier jointly communicated by King’s and Dalhousie, is explained in today’s memo from Dalhousie’s which is copied below. To achieve the clarity and concord with Dalhousie that we typically seek for our community, we are today announcing that King’s classes will also be online until January 28.

There is one possible exception to this: classes in the School of Journalism may start after January 17 and before January 28. Journalism students will receive more information on this from the School of Journalism.

This extension of the temporary return to online learning is in keeping with the purpose for the delay in returning to in-person learning announced on December 17, which is two-fold: (1) to allow us to resume in-person learning with better information and understanding than we now have that it will be safe to do so; and (2) to be part of the work of Haligonians and Nova Scotians under way to bring the current wave of the pandemic under control in Halifax and Nova Scotia, which will create the conditions for a safe return to in-person learning.

Dalhousie also announced today that its residences will remain closed until January 28. As communicated on December 17, King’s residences will reopen on January 4, as originally planned, so that the social, academic and mental health benefits of living in community can be maintained and continued while teaching and learning is online.

King’s and King’s faculty have demonstrated that we have the ability to offer quality teaching and learning online. Our preference will, however, always be strongly for the holistic in-person experience, with all the academic, social and mental health advantages it includes over online even when online is done to a very high standard. We will bear this strongly in mind if there is discussion of extending online learning beyond January 28, considering all relevant factors, including: the priority we give to safety; the public health situation and the guidance of Public Health on the question, the decisions of Dalhousie, and the advice of the King’s Occupational Health and Safety Committee.

As noted in the Dalhousie memo, Public Health is, for the time being, no longer supplying campus clinics such as those that have been operating at King’s and Dalhousie with Covid rapid test kits. This is to dedicate available resources to people and locations where they are needed more urgently. King’s will adjust to this change in the supply of Covid rapid tests by prioritizing our supply for our incoming residence students.

You will hear from us again in the early new year. Until then, we hope you have a well-deserved restful break. We wish you all the best over the holiday season.

Sincerely,

Bill

William Lahey
President and Vice-Chancellor


Dalhousie Memorandum

We continue to see higher numbers of COVID cases in Nova Scotia requiring new Public Health restrictions and significant shifts in the provincial testing mandate. We expect to see additional directives from Public Health as the province continues to manage the growing spread of the Omicron variant.

These new developments have directly impacted our approach to the start of winter term and will require adjustments to key aspects of our Campus Check testing requirements and the transition to our full vaccine mandate. We will need more time for our academic community as a whole to assess, understand and prepare for how best to deliver a safe and successful winter term.

For these reasons, we are taking the following actions:

Online learning extended to at least January 28. The earliest in-person learning would resume is Monday, January 31. As previously communicated, the only exceptions at this point in time will be in select courses (or course components) where in-person learning is required (for example, accredited programming in our three health Faculties), and these exceptions will be communicated to those students by their Faculties. If you have questions as to whether this applies to you, please contact your Faculty’s Associate Dean Academic. To support instructors with this transition, both Academic Technology Services and the Centre for Learning and Teaching are providing additional hours of operation during the December break — we appreciate their support.

Dalhousie residences will also remain closed until at least January 29. Those students who are staying in residence over the break will be able to continue to stay with us, but we will not be opening for new or returning students until at least Saturday, January 29. We appreciate the challenges these continued changes may pose for some students — please know that we are here to help. Before making travel plans, please ensure that you check your Dalhousie email for the latest information. If you have concerns, contact our Residence Office.

On-campus asymptomatic rapid tests will no longer be available for general pickup as per recently announced changes to the provincial testing mandate and supply. These changes, designed to ensure rapid tests are available for required symptomatic testing, means our rapid testing program will not be able to function as it did this fall. We have paused most of our test distribution as we work to determine how best to utilize the limited supply we have remaining. This shift also has implications for some aspects of our Campus Check program, as a small number of individuals were expecting to have access to rapid tests as part of their requirements or accommodations. We need more time to work through these changes and will communicate as soon as we can in the new year. If you are unvaccinated, and can get vaccinated, we strongly encourage you to make time this December break to get your first shot. Information on how to do so in Nova Scotia can be found here.

In early January, we will work with Deans, Associate Deans Academic, faculty and leaders across campus to assess the situation and develop approaches for the remainder of the winter term. We expect there may be different models applied in different programs, but it will take time to work through these details. We thank everyone for your patience and promise to communicate more information as soon as we can in the new year.

In the meantime, please be safe over the break. This includes following local gathering limits (10 consistent individuals here in Nova Scotia), limiting your contacts, wearing your mask and seeking out testing if required.

We appreciate these developments are not what anyone would have wanted heading into the December break and the start of our next academic term. But by working collaboratively and relying on our community’s care and commitment to health and safety, we will steer our way through this together.

We hope you and your loved ones, wherever you may be, find time to rest and recharge over the break.

Sincerely,

Frank Harvey
Provost and Vice-President Academic

December 17 - King's Residence Update: Winter 2022

Dear students in the King’s residence community,

Earlier today, King’s and Dalhousie circulated a joint memo that details changes to the Winter Term 2022 for both institutions: most notably, classes will be delivered online until at least January 17. This change applies to both King’s and Dalhousie.

However, while Dalhousie residences will open later than originally scheduled in 2022, King’s residences will open as planned on January 4, 2022.

We recognize that the new pandemic developments and the virtual start to classes in the Winter Term may impact when you return to residence. We want to give you flexibility and choice. Here are options for the Winter Term 2022:

  • Residences will be open on January 4, 2022 for all students. Students with approved early arrival dates for residence can proceed as planned, otherwise students can return as of January 4.
  • If your plans change and you choose to return to residence later in January since classes are online, let us know your new expected date of arrival by following this link.
  • If you choose to withdraw from residence, you will receive a pro-rated refund for the Winter Term. Follow this link to request to withdraw.

All residence students should complete a COVID rapid test prior to departing residence and prior to moving back into their rooms. Tests will be available at Dalhousie, and at the King’s COVID-19 Screening Clinic, which is open until December 23 on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and on Fridays from 1:30 to 3:00 p.m. Rapids tests will also be available at the Alex Hall Front Desk in the new year.

Remember that the federal government has advised against non-essential international travel. As a reminder, here is what you need to consider if you are out of Canada over the break:

  • Students who need to self-isolate after returning from international travel cannot do so in residence due to limited self-isolation rooms.
  • If you are traveling internationally, reach out to the Dal International Centre to ensure you’re prepared for any additional steps you may need to take when returning to Canada. You can also check out to their website for information about current international travel restrictions.

Whether you are travelling internationally or outside of the province, please keep an eye on Nova Scotia’s travel restrictions for any changes that may affect you. Changes may come into effect at any time.

Public Health tells us that the Omicron variant is highly transmissible, especially in social settings, and that the severity of symptoms is lower than other variants, especially in lower-risk populations who are fully vaccinated, based on the current information available. There is always risk living in a congregate setting like residences—this was true before COVID and continues during the pandemic. As we learn to live with COVID, the social, academic, and mental health benefits of living in community outweigh the risk of transmission for some. For others, the risk of transmission that is likely in residence if there is a positive case may not be worth it given their personal circumstances.

King’s will continue to follow all Public Health directives as it has throughout the pandemic. These are subject to change and may impact your residence experience in the Winter Term.

We’ve been here before and made it through by taking responsibility for our health and others’ by strictly adhering to Public Health guidelines, such as masking when outside your room, vaccination, respecting gathering limits, keeping social circles small, etc. We are confident in Public Health’s leadership and in the plans we have to support the residence community during the pandemic. We will continue to adapt those plans to align with Public Health advice.

As always, take note of the supports that are available to you as King’s students in our Student Support Directory [PDF]. Reach out to residence@ukings.ca with questions in the meantime.  We look forward to welcoming you back in the new year.  We are in this together.

Take care, and have a safe holiday,

Katie

Katie Merwin
Dean of Students

December 17 - COVID update: Online start to winter term

Despite a remarkably successful and safe fall term, the COVID-19 situation has changed significantly over the past two weeks.  At last count, we have had 38 confirmed cases in the Dal community in the past week, including 23 in residence. Although the immunity from a two-dose vaccination appears to be holding strong against the Omicron variant in preventing serious illness, out of an abundance of caution and given the current epidemiology Dalhousie and the University of King’s College are modifying our approach to the start of the winter term.  

The safety measures we have in place — our collective commitment to our vaccination mandate, to masking, to testing, to looking after our personal health — are more important than ever. But additional measures are necessary at this time, given both the uncertainty of this current moment and the fact that our community is about to disperse for the December break.

Please review the following instructions carefully as they apply to the start of winter term. 

Winter term to begin online 

The winter term will begin on schedule, but nearly all course delivery will move online for the first two weeks of January. The only exceptions to this will be in select courses (or course components) where in-person learning is required (for example, accredited programming in our three health Faculties), and those exceptions will be communicated to those students by their Faculties. If you have questions as to whether this applies to you, please contact your Faculty’s Associate Dean Academic.

We will continue to evaluate the situation on a daily basis, in consultation with Public Health and the provincial government, and determine whether in-person learning will be able to resume on Monday, January 17 or if online learning will need to continue. It is our intention to provide updates as soon and as often as possible to ensure faculty, staff and students (including residence staff and students) can make informed decisions.

We know this situation is challenging for all involved, and how important it is for both our instructors and our learners to get back into the classroom as soon as possible. However, our decisions with respect to academic delivery must continue to be driven by our collective health and safety, with full consideration of the best available Public Health guidance.

On-campus work, research and campus operations

While campus will open on January 4, faculty and staff who are able to work remotely should do so for at least the first two weeks of January. Meetings and non-essential activities should happen virtually wherever possible within the discretion of the unit leader. Individuals who are providing front-line support who have questions about how this applies to them should speak to their unit leader or supervisor.

Research spaces will remain open. As per the guidance above, however, any activities that can take place remotely should do so. All safety precautions such as masking, hand-washing and social distancing (where possible) should be followed.

In-person campus services that are essential to supporting our students, faculty, staff and general operations will remain open, but we expect many services will transition to virtual or mixed mode of delivery during this period if they can. Most Dalhousie Libraries will be open on January 4, with some changes to regular operating hours — please see posted hours for each location on the Libraries website (“Locations” section under the search box) and additional updates here. For other services, please make sure to consult with individual service providers on specific details. We will also keep updating the Campus Services page on our COVID-19 website as specifics are available.

King’s College individuals should check the COVID-19 section of the King’s website for community updates.      

Residence 

Dalhousie residences in Truro are already closed and Halifax residences will close at noon on Monday, December 20 for all students not staying through the break or who are not in accredited programs with in-person classes. All Dalhousie residences (including dining halls) will remain closed until at least Friday, January 14. Please make sure to monitor your Dalhousie email for the latest information before making any travel plans. All residence students should complete a COVID rapid test prior to departing residence and prior to moving back in to their rooms. Tests will be available at building entrances.

Given the extended holiday closure, refunds will be issued for room and board for all Dalhousie residence students for the period between January 4 and 14.

At the moment, we expect approximately 15 residence students in Halifax will be required to spend the December break with us, unplanned, as a result of self-isolation requirements. They will join the 130 or so students we would typically have staying in residence over the break. We understand this is going to be a challenging time for those students (and their families) required to self-isolate during the holidays. Some of the ways we’re working to make their experience as comfortable and supportive as possible include:

  • 24/7 access to support staff and with in-person daily check-ins
  • Outdoor time for asymptomatic individuals, as authorized by Public Health.
  • Customized meal delivery three times a day and support for other deliveries as required.
  • Access to same-day counselling if required.
  • Online events and programming throughout the isolation timeframe, particularly as we near the holiday period.
  • Delivery of care packages and holiday treats.

If you are still in Halifax until the 23rd and want to assist these place-bound students, there are opportunities available to help support outdoor time for non-symptomatic students. Learn how to sign up here.

King’s College residences will reopen on January 4 as planned. Residence students will soon receive direct communication from the King’s residence office.

Travel and health guidance 

For the many members of our community required or expecting to travel this December break, please follow all restrictions and guidance (including gathering limits) and make rapid testing a regular part of your plans.  

  • We are updating our COVID cases and exposures page as information is provided by Public Health. Visit it regularly for the latest instructions, along with Nova Scotia’s community exposures page.
  • Be prepared for things to change rapidly, as the current situation is incredibly volatile. On Wednesday, the Government of Canada advised against non-essential travel outside of Canada.
  • If you have to travel outside of Nova Scotia, plan to complete a rapid test before you leave and to test again when you return. (Get tested while you’re away, too, if you can.) Rapid tests can be picked up on campus or at community libraries.
  • If you are eligible for a booster shot of vaccine, please get your booster as soon as possible.
  • Stay vigilant when it comes to masks, limiting unnecessary social engagements, and all other precautions designed to keep yourself and your family and friends safe over the break. 

Having spent nearly two years living and working through uncertainty, to be here at another moment of significant uncertainty — especially after all the gains this past year — will be incredibly frustrating for everyone. But we have learned over the past two years to work through these moments by relying on our compassion, our understanding and our patience. This is what unites us as a university community — that we are in this together, and we will get through this together.

We want to offer our thanks and appreciation for the extraordinary efforts so many are putting in at this time, including but not limited to the staff (including student staff) going above-and-beyond to support our residence community; our faculty, instructors, advisors and support staff managing major academic transitions with short notice; and the continuing efforts of our collective community to continue our work while keeping one another safe. Thank you.

Please continue to watch your dal.ca email for any further updates or visit dal.ca/coronavirus for the latest. King’s, please keep watch your university email account and ukings.ca/coronavirus

Stay well and stay safe,

Frank Harvey
Provost and Vice-President Academic, Dalhousie University

Bill Lahey
President, University of King’s College

December 16 - Proof of full vaccination procedures for winter term

Dear King’s Community,

On December 8, Dalhousie provided important clarification and additional details about changes to the vaccination requirement (announced on November 23) that will apply at Dalhousie in the winter term. Under these changes, the testing option will no longer be available to those who either have not participated in Campus Check, or who opted for the testing option but who have not fulfilled their obligation by uploading twice weekly test results. Only those who opted for testing in the fall and who have fulfilled their obligation to submit test results will be permitted to continue with this option during the winter term. With the exception of this group, Dalhousie will be requiring everyone who has not already confirmed they are fully vaccinated to provide proof of full vaccination in the winter term by the dates set out below unless they apply for medical accommodation by December 23 and are subsequently granted the accommodation.

Dalhousie’s revised full vaccination requirement, with these limited exceptions, will apply to King’s students, faculty, and staff accessing the Dalhousie campus.

As I communicated on December 8, the King’s Occupational Health and Safety Committee has recommended that King’s should adopt the same proof-of-full-vaccination requirement as Dalhousie for the winter term. This recommendation accords with the recommendation the committee gave at the beginning of the academic year, which was that the vaccination and testing requirement of King’s should mirror that of Dalhousie. This recommendation, which was accepted, was based on the importance of “clarity and concord” within our highly integrated association with Dalhousie.

As recommended by the committee, King’s will for the winter term adopt the same proof-of-full-vaccination policy for the King’s campus as Dalhousie has adopted for the Dalhousie campus. This means that in the winter term, proof of vaccination is required of all students, faculty, and staff of King’s, except for those:

  • who apply for and receive a medical exemption and;
  • those who opted for testing in the Campus Check process in the fall term and who have submitted test results during the fall term as required by that option.

As at Dalhousie, applications for medical exemptions amust be made by December 23. Information on how to apply for an exemption is found below.

Dalhousie has also decided that, beginning May 1, 2022, it will require full vaccination of everyone except those who receive a medical exemption. This will mean that those permitted by Dalhousie to use the testing option through the winter term will no longer have that option after May 1. The King’s Occupational Health and Safety Committee has recommended that King’s make no decision at this time on what will be required by King’s as of May 1, 2022, to allow this decision to be made closer to that date. This recommendation has also been accepted. There will be a further announcement before May 1 as to what King’s will require after May 1.

Instructions and next steps

The following table summarizes the Winter term 2022 vaccination requirements for participation in on-campus activities (courses, employment, services, programming & events, etc.), based on information compiled through the Campus Check process.

For those who have not provided proof of full vaccination, there are important deadlines below that need to be met through the winter term. Please review these deadlines carefully.

Campus Check status Action required Next steps
You have already provided proof of full vaccination through Campus Check. No action required—your Campus Check submission from the fall is still valid for the winter.n/a
You answered “No” in Campus Check to the question about being on campus during the fall term. You will need to complete Campus Check again, identifying whether you plan to partake in on-campus activities this winter by December 23, 2021.

If the answer is yes, you will be required to provide proof of full vaccination or request an accommodation.

If you are applying for an accommodation, you should do so by December 23, 2021. You will be required to undertake and confirm through Campus Check twice-weekly testing beginning January 4 until your application can be reviewed.

Visit campus-check.dal.ca as soon as possible to complete your Campus Check.

For information on accommodations, see below or visit the Campus Check website.

You indicated through Campus Check you were not fully vaccinated or preferred not to disclose,

AND

we have confirmed that you have been consistently submitting your twice-weekly test results.

If you have been consistently uploading your twice weekly testing results through Campus Check throughout the fall term, you will be allowed to continue with twice-weekly testing in lieu of proof of full vaccination for the winter term. You will not need to request a formal accommodation provided you continue to successfully report your testing results.

We strongly urge you to consider getting vaccinated. Testing will remain an option through the winter term for those who have remained compliant, however this policy will be reviewed and is subject to change following the winter term.

If you have become fully vaccinated since completing your Campus Check, please update your Campus Check data immediately.

Please check your King’s email regularly. Specific instruction will be sent to you shortly.

You can also visit the Campus Check website for more information.

Information on how and where to book your vaccination appointment while in Nova Scotia can be found here.

You indicated through Campus Check you were not fully vaccinated or preferred not to disclose

AND

You have NOT been consistently submitting your twice-weekly test results.

If you have not been consistently uploading your twice weekly testing results, you are required to provide proof of full vaccination or request an accommodation to take part in on-campus activities.

  • Log-in and register with Campus Check at campus-check.dal.ca
  • Proof of vaccination must be provided by the following dates:
    • First dose: December 23, 2021
    • Second dose: February 28, 2022
    • Until you are considered fully vaccinated (two weeks after second dose), you will be required to submit and confirm through Campus Check twice-weekly test results.
  • If you are applying for an accommodation, you should do so by December 23, 2021. You will be required to undertake twice-weekly testing (confirmed through Campus Check) beginning January 4 until your application can be reviewed and a decision is finalized.

If you have become fully vaccinated since completing your Campus Check, please update your Campus Check data immediately.

Please check your King’s email regularly as specific instruction will be sent to you shortly.

For information on accommodations, see below or visit the Campus Check website.

Information on how and where to book your vaccination appointment while in Nova Scotia can be found here.

You did not complete your Campus Check for the fall term. You are required to provide proof of full vaccination or request an accommodation to take part in on-campus activities.

  • Log in and register with Campus Check at campus-check.dal.ca
  • Proof of vaccination must be provided by the following dates:
    • First dose: December 23, 2021
    • Second dose: February 28, 2022
    • Until you are considered fully vaccinated (two weeks after second dose), you will be required to submit and confirm through Campus Check twice-weekly test results.
  • If you are applying for an accommodation, you should do so by December 23, 2021. You will be required to undertake twice-weekly testing (confirmed through Campus Check) beginning January 4 until your application can be reviewed and a decision is finalized.
Please check your King’s email regularly as specific instruction will be sent to you shortly.

For information on accommodations, see below or visit the Campus Check website.

You are a student, staff or faculty member who is new to King’s this winter. You are required to provide proof of full vaccination or request an accommodation to take part in on-campus activities.

  • Log in and register with Campus Check at campus-check.dal.ca
  • Proof of vaccination must be provided by the following dates:
    • First dose: December 23, 2021
    • Second dose: February 28, 2022
    • Until you are considered fully vaccinated (two weeks after second dose), you will be required to submit and confirm through Campus Check twice-weekly test results.
  • If you are applying for an accommodation, you should do so by December 23, 2021. You will be required to undertake twice-weekly testing (confirmed through Campus Check) beginning January 4 until your application can be reviewed and a decision is finalized.
New students will be receiving more information via their ukings.ca email.

For information on accommodations, see below or visit the Campus Check website.

Consequences for non-compliance with vaccine requirements

Students

Students who do not follow the applicable actions outlined above or as outlined in subsequent communications will not be allowed to attend in-person classes or on-campus activities in the winter term as per the timelines outlined above. It is important to note that instructors and faculty members will not accommodate non-compliant students who are unwilling to get vaccinated or who do not have an approved accommodation.

Based on the deadlines outlined in this memo, if you do not comply with revised Campus Check requirements as set out above, action will be taken to prevent you from attending classes or being on campus for any other purpose, up to and including suspension or revocation of your registration as a King’s student. Depending on the circumstances, disciplinary action may also be taken in accordance with the University’s Code of Conduct.

Faculty and staff

Employees (faculty/staff) who do not follow the applicable actions outlined above or outlined in subsequent emails will not be allowed to work on campus or be present on campus for any other purpose. Depending on the circumstances, disciplinary action may also be taken in accordance with all applicable contracts of employment, collective agreements and laws, up to and including unpaid leave and termination of employment.

Accommodations

Individuals may seek an accommodation from King’s vaccine requirements for valid medical reasons. Accommodations will be handled through the standard accommodation process. If an accommodation for vaccine exemption is approved, testing will be required in the majority of cases. It is anticipated that most accommodations will be a result of medical exemptions and that accommodations based on other grounds will be infrequent. Members of the King’s community with questions related to grounds for accommodations can contact Human Rights and Equity Services at Dalhousie for more information.

If you are applying for an accommodation, you should do so by December 23, 2021. You will be required to undertake twice-weekly testing beginning January 4 (confirmed through Campus Check) until your application can be reviewed and a decision is finalized.

Students: Please refer to the Student Accommodation Policy [PDF]. If you have specific questions about impacts on your progress of study, please contact the registrar’s office.

Faculty and staff: Please contact Dalhousie’s Accessible Employment branch of Human Resources at accessible.employment@dal.ca.

More information

Further details and FAQs regarding the updated vaccination process can be found on the Campus Check website. You can also email campuscheck@dal.ca with questions.

Final Thoughts

In the Nova Scotia provincial government’s press briefing of December 13, Dr. Strang emphasized that, with the emergence of the Omicron variant and confirmed cases now in Nova Scotia, regular screening and vaccination for everyone who is medically able are the best tools we have as the pandemic persists. Everyone at King’s is encouraged to visit the regular screening clinic, where you can access both on-site and take-home tests. For the sake of your own health and the safety of those around you, we urge you to make use of this or other testing options, even if you are vaccinated.

Sincerely,

Bill

William Lahey
President and Vice-Chancellor

December 13 - Important Covid Update, Dalhousie Exams, Exposures and Testing

Dear King’s students, faculty and staff,

This evening, Dalhousie circulated the memo below with important information about Dalhousie’s exams. King’s examinations have concluded for the semester, but if you are a King’s student taking classes at Dalhousie and still waiting to take exams, it is vital that you read this information.

With case numbers in Nova Scotia again on the rise, we encourage you to take careful note of the following steps for members of the King’s community who screen positive on a rapid test.

What to do if you screen positive on a rapid test

  • Begin self-isolating immediately. At this time, other members of your household do not need to self-isolate (subject to change by Public Health).
  • Book a PCR Covid test online.
  • Email ukcscreen@ukings.ca. You will receive a lab requisition form to take with you to your PCR test appointment. Students living in residence must also contact Senior Don, Brianna Legere, at 902-266-7359.
  • Continue to self-isolate until Public Health contacts you with your PCR test results.

All students, faculty and staff are encouraged to continue getting tested regularly, throughout the holiday season. Consider getting a negative rapid test result before traveling. Frequent testing remains critical to keeping our community safe.

Regardless of vaccination status, it is important that anyone who tests positive on a rapid test proceed to self-isolate and get a PCR lab test. If that confirmatory PCR test is negative, the individual may stop isolating if they have no symptoms, or unless otherwise directed by Public Health.

King’s screening clinic is open through December 23. It is in the KTS Lecture Hall, in the NAB and is open Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and on Fridays from 1:30 to 3:00 p.m. You can also pick up take-home tests at the King’s clinic. In Dalhousie’s memo you will also find information about increased testing capacity on the Dalhousie campus.

Stay up to date on Covid exposure locations. All close contacts, including those who are fully vaccinated, now need to isolate until they have a negative result from a lab-based (PCR) test. The lab test should be performed at least 72 hours after the exposure.

We remind you to stay home if you feel unwell and self-monitor for symptoms.

Sincerely,

William Lahey
President and Vice-Chancellor

Sarah Clift
Vice-President


Memorandum

We continue to closely monitor the emerging COVID-19 cases in our community and on our campuses. Since our last update on Saturday, we have seen an increase in confirmed and presumptive cases among our student community, and one initial presumptive case among faculty/staff. We have also been in ongoing conversations with Public Health and the provincial government on our collective response to keep our students, faculty, staff and community safe.

Out of an abundance of caution, Dalhousie is implementing the following measures:

  • With a few limited exceptions, today (Monday, Dec. 13) is the last day for In-person exams. All remaining December exams (originally scheduled for Tuesday and all subsequent dates) will be online, postponed or cancelled. Where in-person assessments are physically required, students will be contacted and expected to attend in person.
    • Recognizing that time is required to plan and support this change, please be patient as you await further instructions. Faculty and staff should expect to hear from the Registrar’s Office via Associate Deans Academic about their options. Students should expect to hear from their instructors directly.
  • Residences remain open as we support all students, including those who are self-isolating. Students in residence will be receiving additional information today and should be completing regular rapid tests.
  • We are recommending that faculty and staff who can work remotely should do so and be prepared to do so until the new year. Please consult with your supervisor or administrative head for direction on whether any in-person services that you are currently providing can be moved online.
  • Research spaces remain open but all appropriate safety precautions such as masking, hand-washing and social distancing (where possible) should be followed.
  • Many campus services will likely shift or modify their mode of delivery over the coming days. Please refer to specific campus services for instruction. We will also aim to update the Campus Services page on the COVID-19 website as information becomes available.

We have a great deal of confidence in our institutional safety plan, guided by the approved postsecondary framework and Public Health advice. However, the speed at which this emerging COVID-19 situation is moving asks us to take these strong measures to support our community’s safety while ensuing continuity of university operations.

We understand these developments are concerning, particularly as they come at the end of term right before the December break. But this is a situation we anticipated was possible and have prepared for. Our top priority remains everyone’s safety and well-being. Now more than ever, everyone must follow Public Health and university safety protocols, including masks and rules/restrictions in residences.

Now is also the time to get tested. This is particularly important for our students who may be coming in contact with COVID-19 through their peer group. Identifying cases through rapid testing, before any symptoms, can help stop the spread. If you are on-campus, please pick up and complete two free rapid tests this week. Rapid tests are also available in the community, including at community libraries. If you have any COVID-19 symptoms or are told you are a close contact, self-isolate immediately and book a PCR (lab) test.

Below is a more detailed summary of current information. Please review relevant items carefully.

Cases and exposures

As of 3 p.m. Monday afternoon, the following confirmed and presumptive cases have been reported to the university:

Confirmed cases

(Positive PCR test)

Additional presumptive cases
(positive rapid test awaiting PCR results)
Residence students625
Off-campus students76
Faculty and staff01
TOTAL1332

All students in residence who have tested positive with either a rapid or a PCR test are self-isolating and receiving support from the Residence Life team. We thank all students for getting tested and cooperating in our efforts to keep our community safe.

We have been made aware of one positive rapid test among our faculty/staff community. That individual is self-isolating and awaiting a PCR test result.

All cases remain under investigation, and Public Health has not provided Dalhousie with any additional information to share at this time about the source of these cases or their transmission. Because of the spike in testing and positive cases across the province, Public Health is experiencing some delays in follow up with close contacts. If you are informed that you have been a close contact, either by Public Health or someone who has tested positive please self-isolate immediately and book a PCR test.

Please check our exposure webpage regularly for updates and instructions. Public Health will inform the university of any precaution or exposure notifications related to these cases.

Precaution notifications are currently posted for shared spaces in the Killam, Mona Campbell and Tupper buildings, as well as a close-contact exposure notification at Dalplex.

We also remind everyone to pay close attention to community exposures at this time, as updates related to current cases are being added daily.

Exams

In-person exams will cease effective 8 a.m. Tuesday, December 14. Remaining December exams will be online, postponed or cancelled — with exceptions in select accredited programs where physical in-person assessments are required. In these exceptions, students will be contacted and expected to attend in person.

The Registrar’s Office is working through the implication of this decision. Guidance will be provided directly to instructors through Associate Deans Academic as to how to manage exams that were originally scheduled for in-person.

Students: you should expect to hear from your instructor in the coming days on next steps. Please have patience as we work through the details with your instructor; once an alternative plan has been developed, your instructor will contact the class with details.

For students who are unable to complete exams due to a confirmed case of COVID-19, a sick note is not required. The requirement for a sick note was previously waived for the fall term and exam period. All students must inform their instructors. For residence students, please ensure you have contacted Residence Life at 902-220-9038 and for off-campus students, please inform the university through Student Health & Wellness of your illness.

Residence

This is a challenging time for our residence community, and our entire residence team is dedicated to supporting the safety and comfort of our students — including those who are self-isolating.

  • All residence students are reminded to keep getting tested regularly. Rapid tests are being supplied to the lobbies of all residence buildings.
  • With the news of the revised approach to exams, we do not recommend changing your travel plans. Please, if at all possible, stick to your original departure date from residence. For students who are currently in self-isolation within residence, they will receive additional information today.
  • It is likely most residence students who test positive via PCR test and are currently in self-isolation will be unable to travel home leading up to and potentially including the December break. Our community can be assured we will be doing everything we can to support these students through this difficult period.

Testing

Nova Scotia Public Health will be delivering additional supplies of rapid tests to our campuses today. By Tuesday we expect to have an additional 30,000 rapid tests available alongside our regular supply.

We know our students, faculty and staff are great at getting tested — you’ve picked up or completed more than 65,000 rapid tests since the start of September. We’re depending on your enthusiasm for testing now more than ever. Whether you’re a regular or a first-time tester, now is the time to get tested.

If you’re able to do so, we encourage you to pick up and complete a set of rapid tests (2) this week. Let’s do our part to keep ourselves and our community safe. Tests will be available at all residences and through all regular pick-up locations. Tests are also available in the community, including at community libraries.

TRAVEL AND TESTING: Nova Scotia Public Health recommends that all students complete at least one rapid test prior to leaving for home for the December break.

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED: We need help putting test kits together. Volunteers are needed at the Macdonald Building on Studley Campus between 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily — no sign-up necessary. Volunteers must provide proof of full vaccination.

Contact information

We will continue to provide updates regularly as more information becomes available. We also encourage our community to take advantage of the following resources:

If you are a student with a positive rapid test result: Confidentially notify Dalhousie Health & Wellness of your rapid test result — 902-494-2171 (Halifax) and 902-893-6369 (Truro). This notification will give your PCR test priority processing. You can book your PCR test here. Residence students must also call the Residence Life Manager on call at 902-220-9038.

If you are a faculty/staff with a positive rapid test result: Confidentially notify Accessible Employment (accempl@dal.ca) of your rapid test result and book a PCR test.

Students with general health concerns can make an appointment at Student Health & Wellness in Halifax or Truro.

Students with questions about requirements under Public Health can contact Dalhousie Health & Wellness— 902-494-2171 (Halifax) and 902-893-6369 (Truro).

Employees seeking additional support are encouraged to speak with their manager/supervisor or connect with supports available through our Employee Family Assistance Program, which can be accessed at workhealthlife.com or at login.lifeworks.com.

Stay safe and look out for one another. We have gotten through this pandemic thus far by supporting one another and will get through these next few weeks the same way.

Sincerely,

Deep Saini
President and Vice-Chancellor

Frank Harvey
Provost and Vice-President Academic

December 10 - Covid-related travel information for the December Break

Dear King’s students,

Today Dalhousie circulated the memo below with guidelines on travelling during the December break. It contains important information about the steps required for leaving and entering Nova Scotia. This information is relevant to the King’s community, and especially for international students. We ask you to review it carefully.

As Dr. Strang mentioned in his briefing on Tuesday, it’s important to continue to follow public health guidelines and to monitor the COVID-19 situation, as there is increased virus activity in other regions like New Brunswick, Ontario and Quebec. Border measures are subject to change with limited warning. Take this into consideration when they are making plans to travel, especially outside of Canada during the holiday period.

Have a safe and restful holiday season!

Katie Merwin (she/her)
Dean of Students


MEMORANDUM

Dear students,

As many of you make plans to travel for the December break, we wanted to provide you with important reminders—whether you are travelling locally or internationally—to help keep you safe and make your travel as stress-free as possible.

As of November 30, full vaccination is required to travel by air or train within and out of Canada (view news release) and temporary border restrictions are in place to reduce the risk of the importation and transmission of COVID-19 and its variants in Canada. Please make sure you stay up to date with evolving travel restrictions and regulations, as they can change quickly:

Government of Canada travel information
Nova Scotia travel information

Before leaving Nova Scotia

Review the regulations governing travel to your destination, as travel restrictions may change. If you are travelling within Canada, please review information specific to your province or territory.

If you are traveling internationally:

Before returning to Nova Scotia/Canada

If you are returning from another Canadian province or territory:

Complete the Nova Scotia Safe Check-In form prior to travel and show your confirmation email upon entry to the province.

If you are returning from another country:

  • Make sure you know the current restrictions and regulations for returning to Canada—including proof of vaccination, pre-departure, and post-arrival testing requirements.
  • Submit your information through the ArriveCAN mobile app or website within 72 hours of travelling to Canada.

International students: Please review the December 2, 2021 memo for more details on international travel and vaccination requirements. If you have any questions about travelling over the holidays, please contact the International Centre at international.centre@dal.ca or 902-494-1566.

The easiest way to keep yourself and others safe, and to travel within and outside Canada, is to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Remember that all students, staff, and faculty are required to follow Dalhousie’s new vaccination requirements to take part in on-campus activities (including living in residence) starting in January.

Thank you for continuing to do your part in keeping our community safe, and enjoy your holiday!

Sincerely,

Verity Turpin
Vice Provost, Student Affairs (Acting)