Health and Safety Guidance and Resources

Updated January 7, 2022

UPEI's Operational Ease-Back Plan was a staged approach to returning safely to study, learn, and work on campus in 2020. In 2021, UPEI has continued to update and communicate security and health and safety guidance in alignment with PEI-CPHO guidance. In August 2021, UPEI launched its Safe Return to Campus–2021–2022 website that outlines the most current guidance under the following categories for the 2021–2022 academic year.

Vaccinations

Closed spaces such as classrooms and residences continue to represent a higher risk for COVID-19 transmission and vaccination reduces this risk. UPEI will work with the PEI-CPHO in implementing strategies that encourage high rates of vaccination for on-campus students, staff, and faculty. Already UPEI has:

On August 24, 2021, UPEI announced that the University will require that all faculty, staff, and students be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by October 18, 2021. Read the UPEI COVID-19 Mandatory Vaccination Policy

For those individuals who are unable to be vaccinated due to medical, cultural, or religious reasons, they will be allowed to continue working and studying at UPEI. However, they will need to disclose to the University that they have not been vaccinated, undergo free, weekly COVID-19 testing, and wear a mask at all times.

On August 31, 2021, UPEI updated the attestation and exemption request form to include the requirement for those who are fully vaccinated to provide proof of vaccination. Faculty, staff, and students are asked to submit their information as quickly as possible and no later than September 8, 2021

Mandatory Vaccination Process
  1. Students, faculty, and staff are asked to read the UPEI Mandatory Vaccination Policy and complete the online attestation form. Students, staff, and faculty who are fully vaccinated (with either two doses of a Canadian-approved vaccine or the Janssen single-dose vaccine) are now required to fill out the attestation form and upload their proof of vaccination. Information will be kept confidential at the UPEI Health and Wellness Centre.  
  2. For those students, faculty, and staff who are not fully vaccinated, when they fill out the attestation form, they will be given an option to apply for an exemption based on medical, religious, or cultural reasons. All those who are not fully vaccinated are required to either call 902-566-0616 or email the UPEI Health and Wellness Centre at healthcentre@upei.ca to book an appointment to be tested. Individuals who are not fully vaccinated will be tested weekly. 
  3. Individuals will be notified of their results within two hours, only if they test positive. The PEI Chief Public Health Office (PEI-CPHO) will be notified and will provide direction to the individual. 
  4. Individuals who are not fully vaccinated will be required to always wear a mask indoors unless eating or drinking. 
  5. When individuals receive their second dose of vaccine, they will need to update and resubmit their attestation form. If they received one dose of the Janssen vaccine, they are considered fully vaccinated.  

If you have any questions regarding the Policy or Process, please review our “Frequently Asked Questions,” or email vaccine@upei.ca 

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

  • On January 6, 2022, UPEI announced that is a mandatory requirement to wear a mask in all indoor spaces at all times except when you are actively drinking or eating, or teaching. Read the message  This means that a mask must be worn when seated in classrooms, lounges, or other spaces, and while moving through hallways and stairways. In accordance with the PEI-CPHO, UPEI also recommends that community members wear a good quality, properly fitting three-layer mask (versus two-layer mask) to increase protection. 
  • Instructors who are greater than six feet from students may remove their masks if they prefer. If they interact with students within six feet, they will be required to don their mask. Individuals who are not fully vaccinated must continue to wear a mask at all times, except when eating or drinking.
  • Consideration is given to individuals who are unable to wear a mask due to certain health conditions. 
  • In laboratories, the requirement for gloves and eye protection will revert to pre-COVID-19 protocols and depend on the type of laboratory.
  • Supervisors can continue request PPE including masks, gloves, (and hand sanitizer) from Health, Safety, and Environment.
  • Laboratory workers should use their own supply of non-medical masks. Once this supply has been depleted, supervisors can request a supply from Health, Safety, and Environment.

Physical distancing

  • Physical distancing means staying at least two (2) meters, or six (6) feet apart from those not in your household, and must be employed in public, common areas at UPEI. These areas include but are not limited to hallways, lounges, stairwells, Robertson Library, UPEI Chi-Wan Young Sports Centre, etc.

Hygiene practices

  • Staff, faculty, researchers, and students continue to be instructed to:
    • wash hands with soap and water frequently, and use hand sanitizer when soap and water is not available,
    • cough or sneeze into elbow or a tissue,
    • avoid contact with people who are sick
    • sanitize hands when entering and exiting buildings on campus

Recognizing symptoms of COVID-19*

  • New or worsening cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose, sneezing, congestion
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Unusual fatigue
  • Acute loss of sense of smell or taste

*gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea have been reported, but typically in conjunction with other COVID-19 symptoms, and may be more frequent in children.

Conditions for staying home or self-isolating

Consideration must be given if an individual feels they have been potentially exposed to COVID-19 or are feeling ill. If feeling ill, it is difficult to differentiate between COVID-19 and other infectious diseases such as influenza. Staff, faculty, researchers, and students are asked to adhere to the following:

  • Anyone who feels unwell, thinks they may have been exposed to COVID-19, and/or has developed COVID-19 symptoms, should stay at home or in their residence room and call 8-1-1. 
  • Staff, faculty, and students who develop symptoms of COVID-19 on campus must immediately perform hand hygiene, report to their supervisor/instructor, avoid contact with others, and leave campus as soon as it is safe to do so. Once at home, they should call 8-1-1. 
  • Students who live in residence and who develop symptoms of COVID-19 in another area of campus should return to their room, self-isolate, and contact their Residence Life Advisor (RLA).
  • Symptomatic staff, faculty, and students will be required to self-isolate until tested for COVID-19 and the results are confirmed.
  • If diagnosed with COVID-19, staff, faculty, and students must self-isolate until cleared by a PEI Public Health Official.
  • If test results are negative for COVID-19 and the individual is cleared by a PEI Public Health Official, but they still feel unwell and/or symptomatic, they should remain at home.
  • If an individual’s test results are negative for COVID-19 and they are not exhibiting any COVID-19-related symptoms, unless otherwise directed by a PEI Public Health Official, they may return to work.
  • If an individual has been exposed to someone who has been confirmed as having COVID-19, they must be tested and continue to self-isolate from the date of the test, regardless of whether a negative result is received.
  • If an employee is required to stay home for any of the above reasons, they can refer to the COVID-19 FAQ in the UPEI Employees section of myUPEI.
  • If staff, faculty, researchers, or students have arrived on PEI from outside of Atlantic Canada, they may need to self-isolate depending on their vaccination levels. Exemptions from self-isolation may apply to essential health-care providers returning from work outside Atlantic Canada, but this work must be pre-approved by their supervisors.

Student self-isolation protocols

UPEI operated self-isolation accommodations in Bernardine Hall for students between August 15 (first arrival day) and August 30 (last departure day), 2021, in partnership with the Government of PEI. After August 30, international students who are living in residence for the 2021–22 academic year completed their federal requirement to self-isolate for a total of 14 days in their residence room. To ensure the safety of students and staff, the following protocols have been developed:

  • Self-Isolating students are to submit their travel information to the Government of PEI. Once processed, this information is forwarded to UPEI Conference Services for accommodation and meals.
  • UPEI Conference Services will allocate self-isolating students to a predetermined room within the second, third, or fourth floors of Bernardine Hall.
  • Updated arrival information of new students, cancellations, or date changes are provided to UPEI by the Government of PEI on a daily basis.
  • UPEI will update room assignment information and provide Food Services with updated meal requirements based on the information received from Government of PEI.
  • Rooms being used by self-isolating students are prepared by UPEI’s summer housekeeping services.
  • To ensure secure access to the building (in addition to the electronic lock system installed by UPEI), the Government of PEI has assigned a third-party security company. The security company will screen individuals as they enter the building. All visiting individuals (non-residents) are required to sign in and out. A security guard will be posted at the entrance at all times during the eight-day provincial self-isolation period, ending at end of day August 30.
  • UPEI will inform any individuals approaching Bernardine Hall of its current occupancy status on the predetermined floors by placing signage at the main entrance, main lobby, second-floor stairwell landing, exit doors, and at the base of the exterior steps near the drop-off zone. This signage also indicates that masks are mandatory, and that only one person is allowed in the shared kitchens.
  • When self-Isolating students arrive at the main entrance to Bernardine Hall, security personnel will provide them with a reservation card, key card, and a sheet listing various expectations while self-isolating in Bernardine Hall.
  • Students will have access to kitchenettes on the three floors, a TV lounge on the three floors, and two microwave stations per floor. Signage is posted in the kitchenettes to say “one person at a time.”
  • If the student wants time outdoors, they are to make arrangements with the security company to attend a designated outdoor space where Security is able to view the student.
  • UPEI’s food service provider will prepare meals as per the occupancy lists provided by UPEI Conference Services. UPEI Conference Services student staff will deliver the meals to the occupied rooms based on the list of names provided by the Government of PEI.  Security will also assist with this process.
  • Once a student completes their provincially required eight days of self-isolation, they will vacate their room and inform security that they are departing, with security retaining the student's key card.
  • Once notified of the departure, UPEI Conference Services will check the student out of the system, and remove the student from the meal list.
  • Security will identify any no-shows to UPEI Conference Services, which will then update the lists to have the name removed and open up a vacancy for another student.
  • UPEI custodial staff will disinfect the rooms and common areas on the three allocated quarantine floors on August 30.
  • UPEI has also identified a cohort of selected units in Blanchard Hall for emergency accommodations if contacted by the Government of Canada.
  • Students living in residence for the 2021–22 academic year will be moved from their eight-day provincial self-isolation room to their assigned residence room. If required, they will complete the further six days self-isolation required for the Government of Canada quarantine requirement. UPEI will identify their room with a pink sign on their door and on the hallway door indicating the status of their additional self-isolation period. 
  • Students requiring a further six-day self-isolation will be given a sheet with federal quarantine requirements and any additional UPEI guidelines. 
  • Signage has been/will be placed in all buildings to indicate that students are in six-day federal self-isolation. This includes pink signs on their door, in the hallway, on the front doors and side entrances. Signs for the cleaning instructions for the bathrooms and kitchenettes have also been posted.

To read about the UPEI Student Self-Isolation Plan, visit the Campus Operations web page or read the UPEI Operational Plan for the 2021 Academic Semester.

Collection of contact information

UPEI will collect contact information in the following ways to assist the PEI-CPHO should an outbreak occur and contact tracing be required.

  • UPEI will update/reset its online contact information form that must be completed before a student can advance to their Moodle account.
  • Contact information collection will take place in sit-down food venues on campus (Wanda Wyatt Dining Hall, AVC Cafeteria, Tim Horton’s outlet)
  • The Office of Ceremonies and Events has built contact-information collection into its event approval process. It will be essential that all attendees sign in at events and provide a contact phone number. The sign-in sheet will be provided to the event lead by Health, Safety, and Environment and must be returned with the kit within 24 hours of the event ending. The Health, Safety, and Environment and will store the records in a safe, secure location for one month after creation of the records and then disposed of using a secure destruction method to maintain the confidentiality of participants. 

Responding to an outbreak

The University has existing plans that address how UPEI will respond to illness and outbreaks in our campus setting. UPEI first established the UPEI Pandemic Preparedness Plan in 2009 in response to the H1N1 virus. The Plan aligns with the University’s broader Emergency Management Plan. 

UPEI takes the situation of a positive case of COVID-19 very seriously and will take direction from the PEI Chief Public Health Office (PEI-CPHO) on management of a potential outbreak. To support this effort, UPEI has developed a specific UPEI COVID-19 Pandemic Outbreak Plan.

Resources

We recognize how this situation may be stressful. UPEI has a number of supports for students through UPEI Student Affairs, including personal counselling (studentserv@upei.ca), Accessibility Services (studentserv@upei.ca), and the International Student Office (irostu@upei.ca). UPEI faculty and staff can access the Employee Assistance Program at 1-800-387-4765. We encourage you to reach out if you have concerns.

The UPEI Health and Wellness Centre provides a variety of medical services to the campus community.

UPEI Health, Safety, and Environment believes that keeping the lines of communication open in the workplace—wherever its location—is crucial in helping us stay mentally and physically healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are checking the incident@upei.ca inbox and a drop box in Kelley Memorial Building every day for any submitted incident reports. You may also contact the office at hse@upei.ca.

Many individuals, teams, and groups have been responsive and creative in developing resources to support their UPEI colleagues during the COVID-19 pandemic: