Dear King’s community,
Last week, Dalhousie announced its intention to implement vaccination and testing requirements this fall.
It will require students, faculty and staff accessing the Dalhousie campus, including students, faculty and staff from King’s, to show either that they are fully vaccinated or to be tested twice weekly.
The King’s announcement that followed explained that the question of whether King’s should adopt its own vaccine requirements had already been referred to the King’s Occupational Health and Safety Committee (OH&S Committee) for its advice.
The OH&S Committee met the morning of August 25, prior to Dalhousie’s announcement.
In its advice, the OH&S Committee acknowledged King’s is “… already well-positioned with near full [vaccination] of students, faculty and staff. The King’s community has already been diligent to take the appropriate actions that assure our mutual safety. We also recognize that Nova Scotia has achieved a high standard of response to the pandemic, including a relatively high level of immunization.”
But the committee recognized that “… there is a risk to students, faculty and staff if we do not provide clarity and concord with the requirements of Dalhousie.” The committee stated that if Dalhousie decided to adopt vaccine requirements, “… we would then support [the same requirements] for the King’s community in the interest of clarity for our community.”
The committee’s recommendations were reviewed last week at a meeting of the Executive Committee of the Board of Governors and this week at a meeting of faculty.
Although King’s is already a highly vaccinated community, as is Dalhousie, to receive the extra level of protection afforded by vaccine and testing requirements, and to achieve “clarity and concord” within our highly integrated association with Dalhousie, which includes a shared campus and services, King’s is working with Dalhousie to adopt the Dalhousie vaccine and testing requirements as Dalhousie/King’s requirements.
Students, faculty and staff will be asked electronically if they are fully vaccinated. If they do not answer, answer they are not fully vaccinated or take the option of declining to share their vaccination status, they will be electronically informed they are required to be tested twice weekly and to submit their test results electronically.
Vice President Sarah Clift is on the Dalhousie committee developing both the vaccine or testing requirement and its associated app. Dr. Clift will be taking specific questions to that forum, that have come from faculty and others regarding procedures and assurances to do with privacy, equity, individual freedom, coerciveness, the trust and confidence we have in each other, and other issues. I have told the Executive Committee and Faculty that members of the King’s community will be supported in meeting the vaccination and testing requirement, which is consistent with the central emphasis our existing safety plans for the fall place on vaccination and testing.
The Dal committee tasked with this work is meeting three times a week with a view to having the vaccination and testing requirement operational in the near future. We will share more information with you as we are able.
I end by urging everyone who will be studying, living and working on our campus in the coming days to get double vaccinated if you are medically able to do so, and have not already done so. This is our fundamental assurance of health and safety and a successful and sustained return to in-person learning and community life. Likewise, I remind everyone that being tested regularly is a duty that all of us owe to each other in the coming year, whether or not we are required to do so because we are not vaccinated or because we choose not to share our vaccination status.
As always, we will continue to work positively together and to care for each other.
President and Vice Chancellor