Dear students, faculty and staff,
Please read the Dalhousie University memo below carefully. It contains information relevant to all members of the King’s community who spend time on Dalhousie’s campus.
Among other important updates, beginning in January Dalhousie will require proof of full vaccination from all students, faculty and staff who plan to be on campus. Accommodations will be available for those who are not fully vaccinated owing to a reason that is considered protected. This means that the screening option that currently allows the Dalhousie community to participate in Campus Check by uploading twice weekly Covid test results will not be offered in the winter term. Reasons for this decision are outlined in the memo.
At this time, the University of King’s College has not made a decision on how Campus Check will operate in the winter term. As with all major decisions affecting the health and welfare of our community, we have asked the Occupational Health & Safety Committee to review this matter and to provide advice on the appropriate action for King’s. In light of the significant impact that any adjustment to Campus Check could have on some members of the community, a decision will be made and announced in the coming days.
Regardless of your vaccination status, regular testing remains vital to keeping ourselves and our community safe. King’s continues to operate a regular screening clinic offering both on-site and take-home tests and I encourage everyone to make use of this or other testing options.
William Lahey (he/him)
President and Vice-Chancellor
To: Dalhousie faculty and staff
From: Frank Harvey, Provost and Vice-President Academic
Jasmine Walsh, Assistant Vice-President Human Resources
Date: Tuesday, November 23, 2021
Re: COVID update: Winter term updates, proof-of-full-vaccination requirement & more
The following memo includes updates and information on:
After more than a full year where much of our instruction and work was conducted remotely, fall 2021 marked a return to largely in-person operations. We know the transition back required an enormous investment of time and effort by our entire community. With safety as our highest priority and benefitting from both widespread vaccination and a multi-layered approach to health and safety, we’ve been able to navigate this new normal with very strong results:
Given evolving epidemiology and public policy on COVID-19 and vaccination, along with continued gaps in Campus Check compliance and knowing the province will eventually conclude the workplace testing program that supports on-campus testing, Dalhousie will begin transitioning to a requirement for proof of full vaccination. This will apply to all students, faculty and staff involved in in-person activities on campus — with accommodations available for those whose reason for not being fully vaccinated is protected.
This will have no impact on the nearly 22,000 members of our Dal community who have already provided proof of full vaccination. For others, this transition will start in the coming weeks and continue through the winter term, beginning with the elimination of the testing option for those who have not been reporting their test results through Campus Check, as well as applying the proof-of-vaccination requirement to new students moving into residence in January 2022.
Students who fail to register with Campus Check to provide proof of vaccination, or do not request and receive accommodation, will not be permitted to participate in on-campus classes and other activities — and we expect the vast majority of courses to be in-person this winter, so the impact on non-compliant students will be significant. Employees (faculty/staff) who do not register with Campus Check to provide proof of vaccination, or do not request accommodation, will face disciplinary consequences consistent with the terms of their contracts of employment (including collective agreements) up to and including termination of employment.
Additional instructions, including further details on transition timing, accommodation and procedures for non-compliance, will be shared in a forthcoming communication ahead of the start of the winter term. We know many in our community will have questions about this expanded vaccine mandate and we ask for your patience as we work through the details, which we will share as soon as we can.
In the meantime, we strongly encourage those who have not yet registered with Campus Check and/or gotten vaccinated (and are able to do so) to do so as soon as possible to avoid any disruption in their studies and work. Please visit the Campus Check website or contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or concerns about completing your Campus Check.
Our multi-layered approach to campus safety will continue into the winter term as we look to build on our successes and continue further resumption of on-campus instruction and work. In addition to proof-of-vaccination process through Campus Check, this plan includes:
Our approach to academic planning during our fall transition back to campus has strived to balance the autonomy of Faculties to make academic programming decisions, and the preferences of individual instructors for delivering their courses online, in-person or in mixed format. For the start of the fall term, we were supportive of those faculty and instructors who chose to move courses or course elements online that were originally intended to be in-person. This reflected concerns about the rising fourth wave of COVID-19 and uncertainty around our Dal community’s vaccine status as we brought thousands of students, faculty and staff to campus again, most of them for the first time in 18 months.
Following the successful and safe delivery of in-person programs during our fall semester and our vaccine declaration and testing made through Campus Check (98%), we believe it is now time to focus our efforts on ensuring a strong and consistent student experience on campus. For this reason, Deans and Associate Deans Academic will be asking all instructors who are scheduled to teach on campus to deliver their courses in-person as scheduled. Of course, any course that was originally scheduled to be delivered online will continue online. Changes to the scheduled mode of delivery will be made by the relevant Dean based on operational requirements, or in cases where a formal accommodation necessitates such a change.
A robust on-campus learning experience is essential to the success of students in many of our academic programs. As we continue to exercise care in ensuring our community’s continued safety, vaccination and our multi-layered safety plan have proven successful at allowing increased on-campus activity this fall and we will rely on them to do so again this winter. Faculty and instructors with questions or concerns should contact their Chairs or Associate Dean Academic.
We understand Faculties and units are continuing to have important discussions about balancing working from home and in the office, and related consultations around office space planning. These are critical conversations as we transition towards a post-COVID new normal and we encourage colleagues to engage in these exchanges with their Chairs, Directors, Deans and unit leaders.
Returns to on-campus work have been continuing throughout the fall, managed by individual Faculty and admin unit leads. Additionally, many units have explored hybrid models this fall, supported by the new guidelines for flexible work arrangements.
We continue to encourage all units to take advantage of the resources available to them, including those on the Return to Campus internal website, to support these ongoing efforts
Unlike last year, many of us will be able to gather in-person this November/December to celebrate the end of the year and the upcoming holiday season.
Faculties, departments and teams are reminded that all gatherings must follow Dalhousie safety protocols if the event is held on campus (including masking, for example) and provincial COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions.
In most cases, this will include proof of vaccination requirements as these gatherings constitute discretionary activities outside of core campus operations. For more information, visit the Nova Scotia website.
Please continue to visit the COVID-19 Information and Updates website for the latest news and details.
Thank you to all for your ongoing impressive efforts supporting the continued health, safety and success of our university community.
Provost and Vice-President Academic
Assistant Vice-President Human Resources