Message from the President: UPEI moving back to essential services model
The following message was distributed to faculty and staff on December 6, 2020, via their @upei.ca emails.
With today’s announcement by the PEI Chief Public Health Office (PEI-CPHO) to move from the “new normal” to the “caution”, or yellow, alert level, it became very evident how quickly PEI’s situation in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic can change.
In response to the restrictions put in place by the PEI-CPHO, I called an emergency meeting this evening with the Vice-Presidents, Chief Information Officer, Deans, University Librarian, Associate Vice-Presidents, Directors, and other key members of the management team to determine how these measures will impact UPEI and what our next steps should be.
Effective Monday, December 7, 2020 and until Monday, December 21, 2020, the University will implement measures similar to those announced for Stage One of UPEI’s Ease-Back Plan in May, and move back to an essential services model, where only limited number of employees will remain working on campus:
- UPEI will continue to follow public health guidance including limiting gathering size, employing physical distancing (2m/6ft), and wearing masks in indoor public spaces.
- Teaching and learning will move to virtual/online delivery models. If any essential exams need to be conducted in-person, the Dean will work with the Health, Safety, and Environment Manager to ensure PEI-CPHO guidance can be followed. Instructors will communicate any changes to scheduled exams/evaluations with their students.
- Employees are encouraged to work from home if possible.
- Employees providing essential services will continue to work according to the schedule assigned by their supervisor.
- Employees who need to obtain items from campus should arrange a time with their supervisors so that it can be done in a staggered fashion.
- Supervisors in on-campus essential service areas will need to advise Security Services and Health, Safety, and Environment of any personnel or operational changes.
- Management and key individuals will be able to work on-campus if it is deemed necessary, but they must observe public health guidance at all times.
- Faculty, researchers, and graduate and honours students will be able to conduct research on-campus and in the field, if public health guidance can be followed, but they are encouraged to do so from home.
- UPEI will limit in-person gathering/meeting size to a maximum of 10 people, if such gatherings are necessary and if public health guidance is followed. However, it is encouraged that meetings are held virtually and/or online.
- The Atlantic Veterinary College Veterinary Teaching Hospital, Diagnostic Services, Animal Resources, and Central Services will continue to provide essential services and will follow plans in relation to external clients.
- Other essential service areas that will continue to provide in-person services include UPEI Residence Services (including the Wanda Wyatt Dining Hall); UPEI Athletics and Recreation (for only the Panther Academy After-School Program); and the UPEI Campus Food Bank.
- The UPEI Chi-Wan Young Sports Centre gymnasium and fitness centre will be closed, and all in-person training for UPEI varsity and club teams will cease.
- The Robertson Library will be closed for in-person services.
- The UPEI Bookstore will remain operating on its regular schedule, but will reduce occupancy to a maximum of 10 people.
- Campus buildings, with the exception of the W.A. Murphy Student Centre, will remain locked. Staff, faculty, researchers, and graduate students are to enter buildings using their Salto proximity card, one at a time, maintaining physically distancing (2m/6ft).
I recognize that this has been an extraordinary year, and extremely stressful situation, and I am so proud of how our entire University community has responded since March. I realize how hard you have been working to deliver and support quality post-secondary education for our students, while ensuring their safety and security.
In recognition of your dedication, to help alleviate further stress, and allow you to prepare for the New Year, the University will close an additional three days earlier, and the Christmas Schedule will now be in effect from December 21, 2020–January 3, 2021, inclusive. For those employees who must work on any of these days, time off will be given at a later date in acknowledgement of their service. On behalf of our University, I would like to extend our sincere appreciation to those who perform essential services during this unprecedented time.
The Associate Vice-President of Students and Registrar will be sending a message to all students to let them know how today’s directives from the PEI-CPHO will impact them. I urge you to keep them in your thoughts as we enter the holiday season. The Office of the President will continue the tradition of matching donations for the UPEI Campus Food Bank through to December 31, 2020.
While we have had a very difficult year, we have remained strong, and supportive of one another and our students. I wish you, your family, and friends all the best during the holidays and look forward to the New Year with hope and optimism.
Dr. Alaa Abd-El-Aziz
President and Vice-Chancellor