Message from the President: UPEI COVID-19 protocols after April 30
The following message was distributed to students, faculty, and staff via their @upei.ca email addresses on behalf of the Office of the President.
Dear Members of the University Community,
The UPEI COVID-19 team met recently to consider procedures for the next phase of our COVID-19 management program (after the Winter Academic Semester ends on April 30). In preparation for that meeting, we consulted with the UPEI Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee (JOHSC) and other community stakeholders.
While there was no consensus among those consulted, the team felt we should continue with a cautionary approach. We will be extending the mandatory mask requirement from April 30 until the end of the first summer session (June 21). Masks will remain mandatory in all indoor spaces on campus during this phase with the following additional exception to the current policy: People may remove their mask if they are seated and a minimum of six feet/two metres from others. This change will only come into effect after April 30—current restrictions remain in effect until that time.
The vaccination rate among community members is very high—thank you for contributing to this result. Vaccination does not fully prevent infection with current variants but there is strong evidence that it decreases the severity of disease. With the University community’s very high level of vaccination, the risk posed by individuals who are unvaccinated is primarily to themselves, not to the broader vaccinated community. We will continue to encourage vaccination, but with the recent lifting of the public health emergency, we will no longer require proof of vaccination after April 30. Similarly, mandatory testing of unvaccinated community members will end on that date.
Masking and vaccination remain important components of protection. Other key components include good hand and respiratory hygiene, physical distancing, and staying home when ill. Physical distancing will no longer be mandated under the policy, but we encourage people to maintain distancing when possible.
Thank you to everyone who continues to work very hard to make the campus community a safe and collegial workplace. We will continue to make policy changes with caution and make necessary adjustment to protocols as the COVID-19 situation evolves.
GREG KEEFE, DVM, MSc, MBA (he/him)
President and Vice-Chancellor (Interim)
University of Prince Edward Island