Message from the President: New guidance for post-secondary education on PEI
The following Message from the President was also distributed to students, faculty, and staff via their @upei.ca emails.
Dear Members of the University Community,
Earlier today UPEI participated in a virtual meeting with Dr. Heather Morrison and representatives from the PEI Chief Public Health Office, as well as Holland College and Collège de l’Île, to discuss updated, temporary public health guidance that goes into effect immediately for post-secondary education on PEI.
While most in-person classes at UPEI are not scheduled to resume before January 31 at the earliest, and employees are able to work from home (with their supervisor’s permission) until January 24, we do have some programs and services that are currently being delivered on campus for which the following updates will require adapting our current practices. The two key changes in PEI-CPHO guidance for the Winter semester are regarding physical distancing and masking.
Physical Distancing: All students, faculty, and staff from different households are required to maintain physical distancing of two metres (six feet) or more. Physical distancing requirements now apply to classrooms, laboratories, office/workspaces as well as to all indoor and outdoor spaces on campus. (Deans, chairs, faculty, and supervisors will adapt current activities to comply with this guidance, which will in large part bring processes temporarily back to approaches used in Fall 2020 and Winter 2021.)
Masking: All students, faculty, and staff are now required to wear a three-layer mask in all indoor areas including classrooms. (UPEI has procured an initial supply of three-layer masks, and has ordered more, so that anyone who does not have access to a good quality three-layer mask can obtain one. More information about distribution points will be provided in the coming days.)
Vaccination: All students, faculty, and staff are recommended to be vaccinated with a complete series of Health Canada-approved COVID-19 vaccines including booster doses as recommended. (The UPEI Mandatory Vaccination Policy remains in place, and we have been encouraging the community to obtain booster vaccines. UPEI Health and Wellness Centre began offering on-campus booster clinics on January 13. Appointments have been in high demand, so additional clinics are being added as clinics become full. To check availability and to book an appointment for a vaccine booster (or to obtain your first or second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine), visit this link: https://app.upei.ca/HCBookings.)
Screening and Testing: All students, faculty, and staff should stay home and seek testing if feeling unwell or experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, however mild. Testing may be accessed at a drop-in testing clinic and individuals should self-isolate until the results are back. Up-to-date information regarding testing can be found here.
Gatherings and Events: Current PEI public health measures for organized gatherings and events can be found here: https://www.princeedwardisland.ca/en/information/temporary-covid19-meas… (At UPEI, we will be reviewing our event approval process and following up with any event leads who have upcoming approved in-person events.)
Personal Hygiene: Signage on personal hygiene such as handwashing and respiratory etiquette (sneezing and coughing) should be clearly posted throughout facilities. Handwashing supplies and alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol should be readily available. (UPEI has continued to comply with this guidance throughout the pandemic.)
Cleaning and Disinfection: Maintain enhanced cleaning and disinfection of frequently touched surfaces. (UPEI has continued to place and re-stock cleaning and disinfection supplies throughout campus during the pandemic. We continue to comply with this guidance.)
I realize that the only constant in our lives right now seems to be change. We are all growing weary with the many updates to protocols and the uncertainty that comes along with our evolving environment. Please reach out if you need support. UPEI has several 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.
GREG KEEFE, DVM, MSc, MBA (he/him)
President and Vice-Chancellor (Interim)
University of Prince Edward Island