The province of Prince Edward Island continues to be in a fortunate situation with few cases of COVID-19 and no incidence of community spread. UPEI has met regularly with the PEI Chief Public Health Office (PEI-CPHO) to develop plans for both university operations and the 2020–21 and 2021–22 academic years.
UPEI is a multifaceted institution with a diverse community. In addition, the physical campus houses a number of independent entities such as the UPEI Student Union, National Research Council, Bell Aliant Centre, PEI BIO|FOOD|TECH, Andrews Hockey Growth, PEI Seniors College, Reactive Health Physiotherapy, Synapse, and Campus Kids Day Care. UPEI continues to work closely with its campus partners to ensure there is a coordinated approach to campus operations.
Cleaning, sanitizing, and ventilation
To help mitigate the spread of COVID-19, UPEI has enhanced cleaning procedures and increased the frequency of cleaning in high-traffic areas.
- There will be no disinfecting of classrooms between classes; instead, classrooms will be given a thorough cleaning at the end of each day.
- A supply of cleaning disinfectant (and microfibre cloths) and hand sanitizer will be available in each classroom.
- A supply of cleaning disinfectant (and microfibre cloths—two per bottle of cleaning disinfectant) over and above a department’s regular supply of cleaning products is available for high-traffic reception/administration areas only, where access is not controlled. Cleaning disinfectant can be requested by contacting Health, Safety, and Environment at HSE@upei.ca.
- Common areas, such as lounges, kitchens, door knobs and handles, railings, elevator buttons, washroom fixtures, etc., will continue to be disinfected by Facilities Management on a regular schedule.
- Laboratories will use their own disinfectant for frequent touch points (as listed in their Return to Laboratory Work Plan). For any lab or general area that does not use disinfectant as part of their daily protocols, they can contact Health, Safety, and Environment for direction.
- UPEI will continue its rigorous preventative maintenance program for mechanical ventilation systems on campus, following PEI occupational health and safety standards.
Based on PEI-CPHO guidance in August 2021, UPEI Security Services will return to pre-COVID-19 operational procedures, including operational hours.
General administration operating hours for the UPEI campus is 8:00 am–5:00 pm; however, please check with particular offices/departments as some services and hours may vary.
However, depending on evolving public health conditions and requirements, UPEI is prepared to revert back COVID-19 protocols that include reduction of operating hours, limiting building access, installing directional signage to control traffic flow, etc.
Food services at UPEI are provided under contract with Chartwells. In addition to catering services, Chartwells operates the Wanda Wyatt Dining Hall, AVC Cafeteria, and Tim Horton’s outlet in the W.A. Murphy Student Centre, and is following guidance as established by the PEI-CPHO for food premises, including collecting contact information in sit-down food venues.
Events, meetings, and gatherings
UPEI-organized events resumed in 2020 during Stage Three of UPEI's Operational Ease-Back Plan, subject to approval by the offices of the Vice-President Administration and Finance and Vice-President Academic and Research. In keeping with PEI-CPHO guidance received for September 2021, UPEI has increased gathering size and occupancy limits of spaces on campus, and will allow rental of UPEI facilities by external groups or organizations for events and meetings.
The UPEI Event Approval Process remains in place for all UPEI-organized events (on- and off-campus), but has been expanded to include external rentals.
For the purpose of the UPEI Events Approval Process, an “Event” is a gathering that involves the attendance of people (faculty and staff; students; parents of students; members of industry and the community; dignitaries; and/or invited guests) for a specific purpose at a designated time and date, or for a series of dates. These include but are not limited to national/regional sport events; alumni/class reunion events; conferences; public celebrations, lectures, and workshops; and expos, open houses, and announcements. In order to hold an event, whether it is organized by a UPEI entity or non-UPEI group or organization, it must be pre-approved by submitting the UPEI Event Form as part of the UPEI Event Approval Process.
For events that exceed 100 people, inside or outside, in addition to submitting the UPEI Event Form, a PEI government public health COVID-19 Operational Plan must be completed using the template and submitted to email@example.com as part of the event application package. Once submitted and reviewed by UPEI, the plan will be sent by UPEI Health, Safety, and Environment to the PEI Environmental Health for their approval.
“Normal academic/operational activities” are classroom lectures, tutorials, labs, workshops (that are delivered by a department/faculty for colleagues and/or students), block courses, field trips, and meetings. Normal academic/operational activities are not considered events unless a dignitary (i.e., high-ranking government official or senior-level industry member) is in attendance. If any person(s) who is not a member of the UPEI community attends a normal academic/operational activity, their current contact information (including name and phone number) must be obtained for contact tracing purposes.
In line with physical distancing guidelines from the PEI Chief Public Health Office, we advise that people avoid gatherings where a two-metre distance is not possible.
In 2020, all University-related travel outside the province was suspended for UPEI students, faculty, and staff. However, due some travel restrictions easing in 2021 in the province, region, and country, UPEI will allow essential University-related travel on a pre-approved basis by the Office of the Vice-President Administration and Finance (for administrative staff) and the Office of the Vice-President Academic and Research (for faculty members and students).
University-related travel for faculty members, which is funded through a research account or professional development travel reimbursement, can be authorized at the Dean (or Chair in departmentalized faculties) level. This is the same manner in which University-related travel was authorized before the COVID-19 pandemic. Travellers need to observe all provincial and federal guidelines and restrictions.
Because of the evolving nature of the COVID-19 situation, the University is strongly advising students, faculty, and staff to monitor Government of Canada travel health notices and PEI-CPHO guidance before undertaking any travel. In keeping with the recommendations from federal and provincial health authorities, anyone who travels outside of PEI and/or Canada (including the United States) may need to be tested and/or self-isolate upon return to PEI.
UPEI Robertson Library
For the 2021 Fall Academic Semester, the Robertson Library will install additional hand sanitizing units and provide "cleaning stations" within the Library for users. Physical distancing will continue to be encouraged. When entering the Library, users will be required to check in at the Service Desk to have the barcode on their UPEI ID card scanned for contact tracing purposes. Students will be able to book group and individual study rooms and to use computer workstations, study carrels, and tables without a booking. The Library continues to offer a variety of online services.
Visit the Robertson Library's website to learn more about services, resources, operating hours and booking procedures, and any updates.
UPEI Athletics and Recreation
UPEI Athletics and Recreation programming and facilities, including the UPEI Chi-Wan Young Sports Centre, were suspended/closed on March 15, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. UPEI Athletics and Recreation developed a plan to re-open in compliance with public health guidance and UPEI’s Operational Ease-Back Plan and re-opened its operations in phases beginning in June 2020. To learn more about UPEI Athletics and Recreation programming, visit upei.ca/ar.
Atlantic University Sport (AUS) is responsible for governing interuniversity sport in Atlantic Canada and is comprised of 11 member institutions and over 2,500 student-athletes who compete annually for 17 conference championships in 10 different sports. In June 2021, AUS announced it would move ahead with plans for exhibition, regular season, and championship competition beginning in fall of 2021. Visit gopanthersgo.ca for more information about UPEI’s varsity sports teams.
Atlantic Veterinary College
The Atlantic Veterinary College at UPEI has developed extensive plans in response to the COVID-19 pandemic for both its academic and research programs as well as the professional services offered at the AVC Teaching Hospital and Diagnostic Services department. For more information on AVC’s services, visit upei.ca/avc.
UPEI Residence Services
Given the fact that many students coming to live in residence are not from Prince Edward Island and COVID-19 continues to be a global pandemic, Residence Services reconfigured its operational plan in 2020 and has since updated it for 2021. This included procedures such as early arrivals, moving/checking in students, student staff training, food service, program delivery, and room assignments.
Residence Services will be maintaining strict enforcement of all processes and policies to ensure the safety of students and staff in Fall 2021. Confirmed students will be made aware of these policies and rules prior to arriving on campus. If a student decides to cancel their residence space because of this information, they will be required to forfeit their deposit. All students, who continue to plan their arrival, will be expected to sign an addendum to the Residence Life Agreement which will acknowledge their understanding of this direction.
UPEI Student Self-Isolation Plan for Fall 2021
Students who are from other parts of Canada or from around the world and are not eligible for a PEI Pass are required to self-isolate upon arrival to Prince Edward Island. UPEI Student Affairs and UPEI Residence Services have adapted their UPEI Student Self-Isolation Plan from 2020 for the Fall 2021 context.
The Government of PEI requires that students who do not have a PEI Pass must self-isolate for eight days, subject to a negative test result on day eight, or for the duration of their stay (if shorter than eight days). The isolation period in PEI must be at least eight days, regardless of how many days spent in isolation in another province or territory following international travel.
Students arriving from international locations must follow the Government of Canada quarantine requirements of 14 days (includes PEI requirement of eight days). The student self-isolation period begins on the day that they arrive in Canada, and, therefore, the federal quarantine period may vary depending on the status of arrival date.
In 2020, self-isolation for international students took place primarily in Charlottetown area hotels. Due to the unavailability of hotel rooms in August, the Government of Prince Edward Island asked both UPEI and Holland College to help with quarantining international students attending post-secondary institutions. In response, both UPEI and Holland College signed contracts with the Government of PEI to house international students. At UPEI, 50 rooms in Bernadine Hall were secured from August 15 to August 30, 2021, to support the self-isolation effort. The only people quarantining at UPEI were UPEI and Holland College students, and if applicable their spouse and children. If UPEI had not participated, many students would have missed the opportunity to participate in in-person learning.
UPEI international students who need to complete their eight-day PEI self-isolation requirement after August 30, 2021, will be placed in Government of PEI-designated hotels, and if living in residence for the 2021–22 academic year, will complete their further six-day federal quarantine requirement in their residence room.
UPEI Residence Services will be maintaining strict enforcement of all processes and policies to ensure the safety of students and staff. Confirmed students will be made aware of these policies and rules prior to arriving on campus. In addition, UPEI Student Affairs and International Student advisors in the International Student Office have supported international students in their preparation, travel, and experience while quarantining at UPEI.
Communication has been key for a successful self-isolation program, including that between UPEI and the Government of PEI and between UPEI and students. Students have received information directly, including the UPEI Student Quarantine Guide for Fall 2021, prior to their departure, and have access to several resources to help support them while quarantining and to prepare for academic year:
- Student Quarantine Guide (available upon request from the International Student Office at firstname.lastname@example.org)
- International Student Guide
- International students web page
- Apply to enter PEI as a student web page
- Online Orientation Module
International students have also been directed to the Government of Canada web site relating to travel to Canada.
Students are tested upon arrival to Canada and at day eight. COVID-19 test kits are provided to the students upon arrival to Canada. The student completes the test in their room and calls a courier service (Purolator) to ask for same-day pick-up. The student places the package outside their door for pick-up.
Students entering PEI from international locations are required to be further tested upon entry to PEI, and on days four and eight. All PEI testing is performed on-site by Island EMS to allow the student to remain in their place of self-isolation.
Once a student has completed eight days of self-isolation and received two negative COVID-19 tests, their Government of PEI requirement for self-isolation has been fulfilled. International students are required to do a further six days of self-isolation in order to meet the Government of Canada requirement to self-isolate for 14 days.
View UPEI's student self-isolation protocols on the Health and Safety Guidance and Resources web page.