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