URGENT UPDATE re: COVID-19 measures at UPEI

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This message was distributed to UPEI students, faculty, and staff on March 15, 2020 via their @upei.ca emails. While we will continue to update our website, the latest news will be shared with the UPEI community by email and notifications will be sent by UPEI SAFE, the University’s safety app (available on The App Store and Google Play).
 

Dear Members of the University Community,

As indicated in the Message to Students on March 13, 2020, because the situation with COVID-19 is changing rapidly, the University of Prince Edward Island advised that it may need to suspend in-person classes prior to the previously announced date of March 20, 2020. 

With the PEI Chief Public Health Office announcing on Saturday, March 14, 2020 that there is now a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the province, the University of Prince Edward Island has decided to suspend in-person classes and in-person labs effective Monday, March 16, 2020.

To be absolutely clear, in-person classes, in-person labs, and in-person exams will not resume this semester. 

This decision to suspend in-person classes, labs, and exams represents a measure to reduce large gatherings of people in line with social distancing advice from the PEI Chief Public Health Office. Any course delivery will occur through alternative means—in most cases, this will mean email communication and/or online delivery through tools such as Moodle, Google Meet, Collaborate, etc.

Instruction will be paused from Monday, March 16 to Friday, March 20, 2020 to allow instructors time to focus on transitioning to alternative course delivery and develop their plan for teaching through to the end of the semester.

Campus Operations

UPEI remains open for operations, including research operations, and UPEI buildings are open. This includes residences and the UPEI Health and Wellness Centre, Robertson Library, AVC Veterinary Teaching Hospital, and the Registrar’s Office. Please note that some services and hours of operation may vary from normal operations in order to accommodate changing circumstances. 

The UPEI Chi-Wan Young Sports Centre is closed effective March 15, 2020 at 6 pm with the exception of Reactive Health, a physiotherapy clinic located in the building. All Sports Centre programming, including the Panther Academy March Break camps, and offerings such as the walking track, are cancelled.

In line with social distancing guidelines from the PEI Chief Public Health Office, we advise that people should avoid social gatherings where a 2-metre distance is not possible. To help mitigate the spread of COVID-19, UPEI has enhanced cleaning procedures and increased the frequency of cleaning in high-traffic areas.

Events

All university events are cancelled or postponed. At this point, this is in effect until April 30, 2020 at a minimum. Do not book university events until further notice as we continue to monitor the situation.

The UPEI Senate will discuss Convocation (currently scheduled for May 7 and 8, 2020) on Monday, March 16 via an online conference to determine a plan. Regardless of a decision, students will still be awarded their degree(s)/credentials. More information will be shared with prospective graduates in the near future.

Travel Restrictions

University-related travel outside the province is suspended for UPEI students, faculty, and staff until further notice. 

Because of the evolving nature of the COVID-19 situation, the University is strongly advising student, faculty, and staff to monitor Government of Canada travel health notices before undertaking any personal travel. In keeping with federal and provincial health authorities’ recommendations, anyone who travels outside of Canada (including the United States) must self-isolate for 14 days upon return. 

Students with questions about 
1. international travel as part of their academic program should contact their Program Coordinator or Study Abroad and International Collaboration at sdacorn@upei.ca or 902-894-2837. 
2. travel medical emergency insurance coverage with the UPEI Student Union should contact admin@upeisu.ca
3. returning home to countries other than Canada or arriving to UPEI from countries other than Canada may direct inquiries to the International Student Office at irostu@upei.ca or 902-566-0576.  

Special Work Arrangements 

Employees should report to work as usual. Employees who are in self-isolation who are able to sustain their work function remotely may make arrangements with their supervisor. These arrangements will require approval by a Vice-President. Human Resources has developed a FAQ specific to employees, which will be available on my.upei.ca as of Monday, March 16, 2020.

We appreciate your patience as we work through this ever-changing situation to ensure that our students will be able to complete their academic term. We will be reassessing and evaluating the situation continuously and issuing regular communication updates.

The health and safety of our UPEI community is our top priority and I recognize how this evolving global situation is very stressful. UPEI has a number of supports for students through UPEI Student Affairs, including personal counselling (902-566-0488, studentserv@upei.ca) and the International Student Office (902-566-0576, irostu@upei.ca). UPEI faculty and staff can access the Employee Assistance Program at 1-800-387-4765. I encourage you to care for each other, and reach out if you have concerns.

Sincerely,



Dr. Alaa Abd-El-Aziz
President and Vice-Chancellor
 

Media Contact

Nicole Phillips
Director of Communications
Marketing and Communications
902-566-0947