COVID-19 Update for the 2022 Fall Academic Semester

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photo of two women walking on campus wearing masks

The following message was distributed by email to students, faculty, and staff on August 9, 2022, on behalf of the Office of the President.

Dear Members of the Campus Community,

While many aspects of our lives have returned to pre-pandemic normal, COVID-19 remains very prevalent on PEI, and the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff remains our top priority.

When the 2022 Fall Academic Semester begins in late August, we will see many more people congregating on campus as we continue to work in-person and hold regular-capacity classes. In anticipation of more densely populated spaces, senior leadership at the University has been meeting over the last month to discuss the next phase of our COVID-19 management program. I also recently met with Dr. Sandy MacDonald, president of Holland College, and representatives from the PEI Chief Public Health Office (PEI-CPHO) to ensure that UPEI is aligned with other post-secondary education (PSE) institutions and current public health guidance.  

The University will continue to keep the UPEI community updated about risks and health and safety guidance associated with COVID-19 as early as possible. We will also continue to make policy and operational changes with caution and a science-based approach—making necessary adjustments to our protocols as the COVID-19 situation evolves and as our unique PSE environment warrants.

To help minimize the spread of COVID-19:

  1. Masks will become mandatory in all indoor spaces effective August 25

Effective August 25, 2022, masks will be mandatory at UPEI in indoor settings with the following exceptions:

a.  In teaching spaces (classrooms/theatres, laboratories, studios, and performing arts spaces), faculty and instructors, and students who are presenting, may remove their masks when speaking or performing (voice or woodwind/brass) if they are physically distanced by a minimum of 2 metres/6 feet. For all others, masks are mandatory in teaching spaces regardless of physical distancing.

b. In all other indoor spaces, individuals may remove their masks if they are seated and physically distanced by 2 metres/6 feet.

c. Individuals may remove their mask when eating or drinking in UPEI eating establishments, in lounge spaces, and at UPEI-catered events.

d. Individuals may remove their mask when actively participating in fitness, recreation, or varsity and club athletics programming.

Masks are strongly recommended in outdoor settings, especially at events and gatherings, but not required.

All masks are helpful, but you are encouraged to wear the highest quality, proper-fitting mask you can source. Please refer to the Government of PEI’s Wearing Masks in the Community and Workplaces for more information.

Note: Specific clinical spaces such as the veterinary teaching hospital and UPEI Health and Wellness Centre may have unique protocols.

  1. Get fully vaccinated and/or your booster shots when eligible

Vaccination is an important way to prevent serious illness and infection; therefore, you are strongly encouraged to become fully vaccinated, including obtaining your booster shots when eligible, and where possible, before returning to campus. Visit the Government of PEI’s COVID-19 vaccine web page to learn about expanded options to get vaccinated and booster doses. The UPEI Health and Wellness Centre is planning COVID-19 vaccine and booster clinics for September—more information will be shared once details are confirmed.

  1. Stay home if you feel sick    

If you are showing symptoms of COVID-19, please stay home. Follow the PEI-CPHO’s guidance and use their online assessment tool to determine whether you need a PCR or rapid test, and follow the directions as indicated with regard to self-isolation. The self-isolation plan for incoming international students who test positive upon arrival to Canada is being updated and will be distributed as soon as it is available. Students who are ill and require academic accommodations for missed classes, assignments, midterms, or tests are to contact their instructors. We are working with the PEI-CPHO to provide access to rapid testing kits on campus—more information to come.

  1. Keep up to date with the latest information from the PEI-CPHO and UPEI

UPEI will update the campus community via email and at upei.ca/covid-19-information as information becomes available; however, the best source for the latest information about the COVID-19 situation and measures on PEI is the provincial COVID-19 website.
 

UPEI remains committed to providing high quality education, as well as access to engaging and rewarding learning experiences, in a safe and responsible manner. We will continue to monitor evolving public health conditions and base our campus operations on guidance from the PEI-CPHO, adjusting as necessary to ensure the successful delivery of the 2022–2023 academic year.

I look forward to welcoming everyone back to campus for Fall 2022.

Regards,

Greg

 

GREG KEEFE, DVM, MSc, MBA (he/him)
President and Vice-Chancellor (Interim)

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