Message from the President: Details for Stage Three
This message was distributed to UPEI students, faculty, and staff on July 27, 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 on UPEI SAFE, the University’s safety app (available on The App Store and Google Play). Read UPEI's Operational Ease-Back Plan for full details about the University's plan to gradually return to campus.
Dear Members of the University Community,
During Stage Two, I have enjoyed being able to meet with so many colleagues in person, while observing physical distancing, about various projects and initiatives as we prepare for the beginning of the 2020 Fall Academic Semester. With the arrival of summer, the campus has become alive again and it is exciting to see that we are ready to move to the next stage.
When UPEI’s Operational Ease-Back Plan—Planning the Way Forward was released in May, we committed to providing details about each stage one week prior to its starting date. I am pleased to report that the first and second stage have gone very well, and that we are able to proceed to Stage Three on August 3, 2020.
UPEI’s Stage Three reflects the final stage in expanding the gradual return to working, teaching, learning, and conducting research on campus. The focus of this stage will be preparing for the 2020 Fall Academic Semester, which begins for most students on September 8, 2020 (students at the Atlantic Veterinary College begin August 31).
Major changes for Stage Three include:
- broadening the scope of who is able to be on campus. For example, all employees will return to work on campus during Stage Three, and we have introduced and outlined measures to ensure they can do so safely. The Vice-President Academic and Research and Vice-President Administration and Finance will approve any required accommodation if needed;
- strongly recommending the wearing of masks while in campus buildings, in keeping with PEI Chief Public Health Office guidance;
- unlocking campus buildings from 8 am to 5 pm, with exceptions being made for scheduled classes, laboratories, and other approved activity that take place outside of these hours. Staff, faculty, researchers, and graduate and undergraduate honours students (conducting research) can also continue to enter buildings outside of these hours, using their Salto proximity access; and
- resuming UPEI-organized events, upon approval.
Since March, both our academic and administrative teams have been constantly re-evaluating our situation, consulting with the PEI Chief Public Health Office on a variety of matters, to ensure we have the proper protocols in place for our unique, multi-faceted setting. I do remind everyone that the University will continue to follow public health guidance, including maintaining physical distancing of 2 metres/6 feet, and introduce additional measures, over and above that of other organizations when necessary, to ensure the health and safety of those on campus. Remaining in Stage Three will entirely depend on how we respond and react to the guidance in UPEI’s Operational Ease-Back Plan—Planning the Way Forward. While Stage Three represents the end of the stages that we have outlined in the plan, we will continue to provide regular updates as needed, for example, when public health guidance changes. We will also continue to communicate with students as plans develop for the 2020 Fall Academic Semester.
The Deans and Chairs, as well as our University Librarian and Associate Vice-President of Students and Registrar, under the leadership of our Vice-President Academic and Research, are also taking a responsive, yet proactive approach with regard to program delivery for the 2020 Fall Academic Semester. From an operational point of view, the employees in Health, Safety and Environment; Facilities Management; Finance; and Residence Services, under the leadership of our Vice-President Administration and Finance, have been working diligently to prepare for the increase in employees on campus as of August 3 as well as students in the Fall.
I would like to take this opportunity to highlight a wonderful working relationship that the University has forged with the new executive of the UPEI Student Union. I have had the opportunity to meet with the President and Vice-Presidents of the Student Union and I was very impressed with their energy, leadership, and dedication to the student body. Together, we are finding as many ways as possible to support our students.
I would also like to acknowledge our faculty and staff for the outstanding job they are doing during what has been a very difficult and unprecedented time. Not only did they help our students complete the Winter semester, but they have also supported and celebrated the success of our students through an outstanding Summer semester. I know that this coming academic year will be equally as successful because of the commitment and dedication of our exceptional faculty members and academic leaders as well as the tremendous support that we receive from our wonderful staff.
We have many reasons to be hopeful. We are very fortunate that we have found ways to come together in many ways, virtually and in-person, to support each other. We are very fortunate that teaching and learning has continued at UPEI, as has our commitment to student success. We are also very fortunate that UPEI is in a position to continue returning to many on-campus activities in a gradual, staged way.
I look forward to welcoming more faculty, staff, and students to the campus for Stage Three on August 3. Together, we are successfully planning the way forward.
Dr. Alaa S. Abd-El-Aziz
President and Vice-Chancellor
University of Prince Edward Island