Dear students, faculty and staff,
Following the notice by Dr. Strang yesterday about today’s new COVID restrictions I have a few updates and reminders I wish to share.
In terms of our facilities, the gym is now closed. You have already heard from the library. Residence students will be hearing from the residence staff soon if they have not already.
There are not many other changes called for, given that we have for the whole year been operating under safety policies and practices that have consistently given priority to protecting health and contributing as Haligonians to Nova Scotia’s beautiful response to the pandemic.
Our revised policies, in compliance with the new public health orders and deliberations of our Occupational Health and Safety Committee, limit gatherings in or outdoors, to five physically distanced people. Masks will now be worn outside wherever 2 metres of social distance cannot be maintained. Doubling your masks when on campus—and maybe whenever you are out and about—is encouraged.
I remind all faculty and staff that we again request that all who can work from home, do so. Our strategy of limiting the number of people on campus at one time is as important as ever, as the virulence of the virus grows and as we continue to have students and others living on campus and some staff working on campus.
We recognize that with the temporary closure of schools, the parents among us will be giving priority to ensuring their children are taken care of. The necessary flexibility in work hours will be provided. Please contact your direct supervisor to discuss options.
Today’s changes are, like others, falling heavily on our students, who have finished their difficult years only to find themselves in lockdown here or elsewhere. I am particularly sad for our Halifax-based graduating students who have lost the planned opportunity to have pictures taken in the Quad and to gather once again, 30 at a time, in the ‘Wardy.’ Inadequate as it may be, I say to you on behalf of all the rest of us that we are broken hearted for you.
I am sure we all took note yesterday when Dr. Strang said he was “scared” because of the new variants and the speed with which they are now spreading in Halifax. He has never used this kind of language before. More than the growing number of cases per day, this shows how serious the COVID 19 situation in our city has suddenly become.
Hard as it will be when we are all tired after a long and difficult year of endless “compliance” at the cost of so much in our lives, I hope we can all take encouragement and inspiration for what we now have to do from all that we, and the whole of Halifax, have achieved over the year with our compliance and care and concern for each other. With population immunity through vaccination on the near horizon, I am very confident the people of Halifax and of Nova Scotia, including all of us in the King’s community, can once more do what is needed and what Dr. Strang has asked from us when it is both so badly needed and so likely to get us to a beautiful summer of relative normalcy.
Thank you all for everything you have done and continue to do to contribute to the solution to a challenge that can only be met by our collective action for each other. Stay safe and well, and in good spirits as we look forward to once again being a community of physical togetherness in the fall.
President and Vice-Chancellor