UPEI Health Guidance Update: Easing of Mandatory Mask-Wearing Measure
The following message was distributed to students, staff, and faculty on October 22, 2020, via their @upei.ca emails, as well as posted on the UPEI website and UPEI SAFE app.
Dear students, staff, and faculty:
After consultation with UPEI’s Manager of Health, Safety, and Environment, our Offices will jointly ease restrictions regarding the mandatory wearing of masks in campus buildings.
Due to the few cases of COVID-19 on PEI and how well the University community has responded to the health and safety guidance outlined in Stage Three of UPEI’s Operational Ease-Back Plan, UPEI will move from a mandatory measure back to a strong recommendation, which aligns with the current guidance from the PEI Chief Public Health Office.
Therefore, effective November 2, 2020, UPEI strongly recommends that a non-medical mask be worn in UPEI campus buildings when a physical distance of two metres/six feet (2m/6ft) cannot be maintained.
This means that if individuals are separated by 2m/6ft in a classroom, meeting space, or office, wearing a mask will no longer be mandatory. Individuals must continue to wear a non-medical mask in teaching laboratory settings as it is not possible to guarantee physical distancing. It is recommended that everyone carry a non-medical mask at all times so that it can be worn in places such as hallways, stairwells, and common spaces where physical distancing of 2m/6ft cannot be maintained. Should individuals wish to wear a mask at any time, they are able to do so.
Due to the implementation of comprehensive operational plans for the 2020 Fall Academic Semester, including the mandatory wearing of masks, UPEI was able to navigate through two potential situations with little or no health and safety impact: the influx of students from outside the Atlantic Canada bubble at the beginning of the September and the return of students after Fall Reading Week. We are currently updating our plans for the 2021 Winter Academic Semester and, in particular, about travel during the holiday break. We will begin communicating information about these plans by the end of this month.
UPEI remains committed to the health and safety of our campus, and that includes adapting protocols when conditions around the COVID-19 pandemic improve, and, alternatively, when they deteriorate. As public health guidance for COVID-19 continues to evolve, UPEI may need to change its protocols several times.
We appreciate the ongoing co-operation from all members of the campus community in following health and safety guidance in order to help keep all of us safe during these unprecedented times.
Dr. Katherine Gottschall-Pass, Interim Vice-President Academic and Research
Jackie Podger, Vice-President Administration and Finance