Important Update on the 2022 Winter Academic Semester
The following message was also distributed to members of the UPEI community via their @upei.ca emails on behalf of the Office of the President.
Dear Members of the UPEI Community,
Despite a safe fall semester, due to the rising cases of COVID-19 in the region and the arrival of the highly transmissible Omicron variant to PEI, UPEI is making some important health and safety changes as we near the holiday break and approach the 2022 Winter Academic Semester.
UPEI has continued to prioritize the health and safety of our community throughout the pandemic by implementing proactive measures such as mandatory vaccination and masking, reducing contact and gathering sizes, and enhancing cleaning protocols. However, the changing nature of the virus means that we need to be constantly reviewing and assessing the current situation and introduce additional measures when necessary.
Given the evolving landscape, I called an emergency meeting of the University Senate today to discuss how to navigate the start of the 2022 Winter Academic Semester. It was decided that the 2022 Winter Academic Semester will begin on schedule on January 10, 2022, but that teaching and learning will move to online delivery until at least January 17, 2022.
The only exceptions to this will be in select courses or course components where in-person learning is required. Therefore, some laboratories and clinical activities in the faculties of Nursing, Veterinary Medicine, and Sustainable Design Engineering will be in person, following PEI-CPHO guidance. These exceptions will be communicated to students by their faculties. If you are unsure whether this applies to you, please contact the Dean’s Office in your Faculty.
Faculty, researchers, and graduate and honours students will continue to be able to conduct research on-campus and in the field following PEI-CPHO guidance.
We will continue to monitor the situation over the holiday break, in consultation with the PEI Chief Public Health Office, to determine whether in-person learning will be able to resume on Monday, January 17, 2022. To ensure faculty, staff, and students have sufficient time to adjust their plans and make informed decisions, we will endeavour to communicate any further changes by January 6, 2022, or sooner should conditions dictate. Please continue to watch your upei.ca email for any further updates or visit https://www.upei.ca/covid-19-information
While the campus will open as scheduled on January 4, 2022, faculty and staff who have permission to work from home can continue to do so until January 10, 2022.
Please note the following operational information:
- The Atlantic Veterinary College Veterinary Teaching Hospital, Diagnostic Services, Animal Resources, and Central Services will provide emergency/essential services over the holiday break and follow plans in relation to external clients.
- The UPEI Chi-Wan Young Sports Centre gymnasium and fitness centre will remain open, (except for statutory holidays), but will operate at 50 per cent capacity, under their pre-approved PEI-CPHO plan. Please visit https://www.upei.ca/ar for more information.
- The Robertson Library will reopen on January 4, 2022, but operate at 50 per cent capacity, under their pre-approved PEI-CPHO plan. Please visit https://library.upei.ca/ for more information.
- The UPEI Health and Wellness Centre will reopen on January 4, 2022. Please visit https://www.upei.ca/health-centre for more information.
With almost two years of pandemic uncertainty, this situation is challenging for everyone involved. However, decisions are driven by our priority to keep the UPEI community safe. I am very proud of how everyone has united through these common challenges by exhibiting compassion, understanding, and patience. I encourage everyone to stay connected virtually during these difficult times to support one another through the holiday break. The Office of the President will continue the tradition of matching donations for the UPEI Campus Food Bank through to December 31, 2021.
I extend my deepest appreciation to all of you who are going over and above to support students and university operations as well as doing your part in keeping one another safe. UPEI has a number of resources for students through UPEI Student Affairs, including personal counselling (firstname.lastname@example.org), and the International Student Office (email@example.com). UPEI faculty and staff can access the Employee Assistance Program at 1-800-387-4765 for support.
Our UPEI community remains strong, and we will get through this together. I wish you all the best for a happy and safe holiday season.
GREG KEEFE, DVM, MSc, MBA (he/him)
President and Vice-Chancellor (Interim)
University of Prince Edward Island