Message from the President: Updates about COVID-19 Measures & the Class of 2020
This message was distributed to UPEI students, faculty, and staff on April 23, 2020 to their @upei.ca emails. While we will continue to update our COVID-19 website, the latest news will be first shared with the UPEI community by email and notifications will be sent via and/or posted to UPEI SAFE, the University’s safety app (available on The App Store and Google Play).
Dear Members of the University Community,
As we near the six-week mark of COVID-19 measures at the University of Prince Edward Island, we remain vigilant in ensuring our University community remains healthy and safe, but are buoyed by the signs of hope for the future.
The UPEI recruitment team held an extremely successful “Virtual Open House” on Monday, April 20, and the pace of course registration is swift, both signalling that there is strong interest in the University of Prince Edward Island. We are thankful that many students are choosing UPEI as their post-secondary education destination.
With the exam period ending on May 2, we are also grateful for the resiliency of our current students. We are committed to supporting them through to the fall and beyond to ensure their academic plans stay on track. I sincerely thank our faculty and staff for continuing to make our students and their education a priority.
The University Senate has now moved the second summer session online, which means the full Summer Semester (May–August 2020) will be delivered through technology, with the exception of clinical courses in the Faculty of Nursing and clinical rotations in the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. While the University administration is working diligently and preparing contingency plans, it is too early to know what the 2020 Fall Semester will look like, but we will advise everyone as soon as the Senate determines the appropriate course of action.
While we are in a fortunate situation on PEI and our Chief Public Health Officer has indicated that some COVID-19 measures will be relaxed, social and physical distancing will need to be maintained for some time. Based on this and after consulting with many senior administrators, the University has made the difficult decision to extend the cancellation/postponement of University events. UPEI in-person events, gatherings, and activities are now cancelled or postponed until July 31, 2020.
Many of our instructors are focused on ensuring marks are tabulated and submitted for the 2020 Winter Semester. This is especially important for our graduating students, whose credentials will be confirmed by the University Senate at its May meeting. When the Senate took the necessary decision to cancel in-person May 2020 Convocation ceremonies, we also committed to holding the event at a later date. While that commitment continues, it is important to acknowledge our graduating students. I am excited to share with you that we will recognize our Class of 2020 in May and mark their achievements in several ways. At the end of May, graduates will be mailed a package including their parchment, alumni pin, and any senior class awards they have received. We will also announce the list of graduates and award winners and feature congratulatory messages from the University’s Deans on the upei.ca website. We will continue to communicate directly with graduating students as more details become available.
UPEI is dedicated to supporting all members of our community during these unprecedented times. Please reach out to your instructors and advisors if you have questions about your studies, contact our counselling team at Student Affairs or the Employee Assistance Program if you need to talk, and call the UPEI Health and Wellness Centre if you need to see or speak with a health-care professional.
I must also mention another wonderful example of how UPEI is contributing to the greater Island community. The Atlantic Veterinary College, under the leadership of Dr. Greg Keefe, Dean; Liz Dobbin and Dr. Carmencita Yason from Diagnostic Services; and Dr. Mark Fast, Professor of Fish Health and Immunology, is assisting the Chief Public Health Office by loaning diagnostic equipment to help with Health PEI’s laboratory testing of COVID-19.
Again, I thank each and every one of you for your contributions toward building a stronger and even more connected UPEI community.
Dr. Alaa S. Abd-El-Aziz
President and Vice-Chancellor
University of Prince Edward Island