Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Last updated January 5, 2021
Students are encouraged to visit the Current Students page for information, resources, and pre-travel requirements for the 2020–21 academic year.
UPEI Response to COVID-19
The University of Prince Edward Island continues to monitor developments about the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
UPEI recommends that you seek information from official government sources as they are continually updating their websites:
Students are encouraged to visit the Current Students page for information, resources, and pre-travel requirements for the 2020–21 academic year.
Information about the University's gradual return to full campus operations is available on UPEI's Operational Ease-Back Plan—Planning the Way Forward web page.
We encourage you take the same general health precautions for COVID-19 as you would for influenza. The best defence against any type of flu is following routine prevention measures:
- wash your hands frequently with soap and water and use hand sanitizer when needed,
- cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue,
- if you have a severe cold or the flu, stay home, and
- avoid contact with people who are sick.
Anyone who feels unwell, thinks they may have been exposed to COVID-19, and/or has developed COVID-19 symptoms should call 8-1-1.
Classes / Courses / Labs / Exams
As indicated in the Message to Students on March 13, 2020, because the situation with COVID-19 is changing rapidly, the University of Prince Edward Island advised that it may need to suspend in-person classes prior to the previously announced date of March 20, 2020.
With the PEI Chief Public Health Office announcing on Saturday, March 14, 2020 that there was a first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the province, the University of Prince Edward Island decided to suspend in-person classes and in-person labs effective Monday, March 16, 2020.
This decision to suspend in-person classes, labs, and exams represented a measure to reduce large gatherings of people in line with physical distancing advice from the PEI Chief Public Health Office. Any course delivery would occur through alternative means—in most cases, this meant email communication and/or online delivery through tools such as Moodle, Google Meet, Collaborate, etc.
Instruction was paused from Monday, March 16 to Friday, March 20, 2020, to allow instructors time to focus on transitioning to alternative course delivery, and develop their plan for teaching through to the end of the semester. Instruction resumed on March 23, 2020, via alternative methods. In-person classes, in-person labs, and in-person exams did not resume during the Winter 2020 Semester.
All courses for the Summer 2020 Semester (First Summer Session, May 11–June 18, and the Second Summer Session, July 6–August 21) were moved online except clinical rotations in the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and clinical courses in the Faculty of Nursing.
On May 15, the University Senate met and approved to adopt a blended delivery model for the 2020 Fall Academic Semester. Read more in the Message from the President.
UPEI courses were primarily online for the 2020 Fall Academic Semester (September–December) with exceptions for in-person, on-campus instruction. These exceptions were for accredited programs in health and clinical-based programming (such as Nursing, Veterinary Medicine, Doctor of Psychology, and Sustainable Design Engineering), as well as for some lab-based courses in Science and performance-based programming in Arts (such as Music and Theatre).
On September 18, 2020, the University Senate unanimously decided that UPEI would continue with a blended delivery model for the 2021 Winter Academic Semester (January to April), but would identify opportunities to provide additional in-person experiences and activities, where possible, that align with PEI Chief Public Health Office guidance. Read more in the Message from the Vice-President.
Admissions / Registration
While UPEI continues to monitor the COVID-19 situation, our Recruitment, First-Year Advisement, and Admissions teams are gladly accepting applications. If you have questions about applying or have been accepted already and would like to register, please contact email@example.com for more information, or visit upei.ca/apply.
UPEI held Virtual Open Houses on April 20, 2020 and November 20, 2020. If you couldn't catch them live, view the Facebook video here.
Classes for the 2020 Fall Academic Semester began on Tuesday, September 8, 2020 (with the exception of some classes at the Atlantic Veterinary College that began in August.)
Classes for the 2021 Winter Academic Semester begin on Monday, January 11, 2021 (with the exception of some classes at the Atlantic Veterinary College that began on January 4, 2021.)
Research at UPEI
Research is a vital part of UPEI. As an institution of learning and discovery, we are committed to research and innovation, and providing positive impacts for our communities.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for all of society, including higher learning. The University began a partial return to campus on May 25, 2020, the starting date of UPEI’s Operational Ease-Back Plan. UPEI’s plan follows the guidance of the PEI Chief Public Health Office and features measures unique to our institution as well as outlining—over three stages—a graduated return to some activities, including research and graduate studies.
For more information, refer to Stage Three of UPEI's Operational Ease-Back Plan and the FAQs regarding research and graduate studies at UPEI. Further questions can be directed to your respective Dean, Dean of Graduate Studies and Research, and the Health, Safety, and Environment Department.
Working at UPEI
While UPEI was operating under an essential services delivery model since March 17, University employees began the gradual return to working on campus on May 25, the starting date for Stage One of UPEI's Operational Ease-Back Plan.
During Stage Two, which began on June 15, more employees were on campus. Employees who have an individual office space were allowed to work on campus. Individuals who share a workspace could work on campus if physical distancing was maintained. Supervisors employed tactics such as scheduling shifts (one day on campus, one day off or half-day on campus, half day working from home), if necessary, in order to reduce overall numbers on floors, in buildings, and on campus at any one time. Individuals can continue to work from home if approved by their supervisors.
UPEI’s Stage Three reflected the final stage in expanding the gradual return to working, teaching, learning, and conducting research on campus. The focus of this stage was to prepare for the Fall 2020 Academic Semester. Major changes for Stage Three included: strongly recommending the wearing of masks while in buildings (now updated to a mandatory protocol); unlocking campus buildings from 8 am to 5 pm; broadening the scope of who was able to be on campus; and resuming UPEI-organized events, upon approval by the Vice-President Administration and Finance.
The University will continue to introduce additional measures, when necessary, to ensure the health and safety of those on campus.
IT Systems and Services has developed a "Working Remotely" instruction guide, which is available on my.upei.ca
Human Resources has developed a FAQ for employees, which is available on my.upei.ca
It was announced that effective March 17, 2020, only essential services would be delivered on the UPEI campus, in an effort to reduce the number of people working on campus. Stage One of UPEI's Operational Ease-Back Plan, began on May 25, 2020, signalling the gradual return to working, teaching, learning, and conducting research on campus. Stage Two began on June 15, 2020, and Stage Three began on August 2, 2020.
General administration operating hours for the UPEI campus is 8 am–5 pm; however, please check with particular offices/departments as hours may vary.
The UPEI Health and Wellness Centre; Accessibility Services and Counselling Services at UPEI Student Affairs; the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, Diagnostic Services, Animal Resources, and Central Services at the Atlantic Veterinary College; UPEI Security Services; UPEI Chaplaincy Centre; and the UPEI Residences have continued to offer services throughout the essential services period as well as during all three stages of UPEI's Operational Ease-Back Plan.
The W.A. Murphy Student Centre remains open for students, where they can continue to access and utilize the UPEI Student Union Food Bank.
The hours of operation for the UPEI Chaplaincy Centre Food Bank are Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 am–12 pm. The Food Bank accepts monetary donations online at upei.ca/donate (please designate your option in the dropdown menu), and food donations when it is open.
Some services may continue to be provided virtually or by employees who are working remotely according to their area's Stage Three plan. Please note that some services and hours of operation may vary in order to accommodate changing circumstances.
The Robertson Library closed for in-person services on March 17, 2020. However, students, researchers, faculty, and staff still had access to the Library’s extensive online services, and access to a pick-up service during stages two and three of UPEI's Operational Ease-Back Plan. The Library developed a re-opening plan in advance of the 2020 Fall Academic Semester and opened with COVID-19 measures in place on September 8, 2020, for students, staff, and faculty and on October 1, 2020, for members of the public. Visit the Robertson Library's website to learn more about services, resources, operating hours and booking procedures, and any updates.
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. The UPEI Fitness Centre began re-opening in phases on June 23, 2020, with reduced operating hours and to current members only. New memberships and day passes are not at this time. In order to meet physical distancing requirements and capacity limits, a process to book sessions/classes at the UPEI Fitness Centre has been established. The UPEI Artificial Turf Field and UPEI Alumni Canada Games Place reopened on Wednesday, June 24, 2020. Booking information and guidelines
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. To help mitigate the spread of COVID-19, UPEI has enhanced cleaning procedures and increased the frequency of cleaning in high-traffic areas. Effective November 20, 2020, wearing a mask in all indoor public spaces became mandatory on Prince Edward Island. Read more
All University-organized events were cancelled or postponed between March and August. UPEI-organized events were able to resume during Stage Three of UPEI's Operational Ease-Back Plan, after approval by the Office of the Vice-President Administration and Finance (to learn more about the approval process, read the "Events" section on the Stage Three webpage). There continues to be no use of UPEI facilities by external groups or organizations for events, meetings, and/or gatherings, with the exception of outdoor sport events.
UPEI Convocation 2020 ceremonies that were scheduled for May 7 and 8 were postponed to a later date. However, UPEI recognized and celebrated our Class of 2020 in May, though in new ways. The UPEI Senate met on Friday, May 8 to confirm that our graduates met the qualifications for their credentials. The list of graduates and senior class award winners were posted to a special celebratory Class of 2020 web page on May 15, and packages including their parchment, alumni pin, and any senior class awards received were mailed to graduates.
All University-related travel outside the province is suspended for UPEI students, faculty, and staff until further notice.
Because of the evolving nature of the COVID-19 situation, the University is strongly advising student, faculty, and staff to monitor Government of Canada travel health notices before undertaking any personal travel. In keeping with federal and provincial health authorities’ recommendations, anyone who travels outside of PEI and/or Canada (including the United States) must self-isolate for 14 days upon return.
Effective January 7, 2021, the Government of Canada will require that all air passengers five years of age or older test negative for COVID-19 before travelling from another country to Canada. Please refer to the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada website for more information.
- travelling to PEI from from other Canadian provinces and from out of the country for the 2021 Winter Academic Semester should refer to the Current Students page for Pre-Travel Requirements for Students Arriving/Returning to PEI.
- international travel as part of their academic program should contact their Program Coordinator or Study Abroad and International Collaboration at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- travel medical emergency insurance coverage with the UPEI Student Union should contact email@example.com.
- returning home to countries other than Canada or arriving to UPEI from countries other than Canada may direct inquiries to the International Student Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On November 2, 2020, the Associate Vice-President of Students and Registrar issued a message to current students, encouraging those currently living on PEI to stay within the Atlantic Canada bubble over the holiday break between the Fall and Winter academic semesters.
Leaving PEI may increase your risk of infection and the risk of infecting others. If you are currently living on PEI and travel outside of Prince Edward Island, you will be subject to PEI public health regulations, including self-isolating for 14 days upon your return, at your own expense. You must have a pre-travel plan approved by the PEI Chief Public Health Office in advance of returning, or risk being denied entry to the province.
UPEI will take direction from the PEI Chief Public Health Office on the management of a potential outbreak of COVID-19. Please refer to the UPEI COVID-19 Pandemic Outbreak Plan for more information.
Reach Out For Support
We recognize how this situation may be stressful. UPEI has a number of supports for students through UPEI Student Affairs, including personal counselling (email@example.com), Accessibility Services (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. We encourage you to reach out if you have concerns.
We are actively working with the PEI Chief Public Health Office and other networks to keep the UPEI community updated about risks and health and safety guidance associated with COVID-19. Read previous messages:
- January 2, 2021 – Message from the VPs: UPEI to resume Stage Three operations on January 4, 2021
- December 6, 2020 – Message from the AVP of Students and Registrar: UPEI suspends in-person classes
- December 6, 2020 – Message from the President: UPEI moving back to essential services model
- November 26, 2020 – Updates re: Pre-Travel Requirements for travelling to and from PEI
- November 18, 2020 – Message from the VPs: Masks to become mandatory in all indoor public spaces on PEI
- November 2, 2020 – Message from the AVP Students & Registrar re: Travelling/Leaving PEI over the Holiday break
- October 22, 2020 – UPEI Health Guidance Update: Easing of Mandatory Mask-Wearing Measure
- October 7, 2020 – Message from the AVP Students & Registrar re: Travel requirements during Thanksgiving/Fall Reading Week
- September 25, 2020 – Message from the VP Academic and Research re: 2021 Winter Semester
- September 9, 2020 – Message from the President: Welcome to the 2020 Fall Academic Semester
- September 3, 2020 – New: Masks mandatory in UPEI campus buildings
- July 27, 2020 – Message from the President: Details for Stage Three
- June 12, 2020 – Message from the President: Step by Step
- June 5, 2020 – Message from the President: Details for Stage Two of UPEI's Operational Ease-Back Plan
- May 29, 2020 – Message from the President: Forging ahead to Fall 2020
- May 22, 2020 – Message from the President: Stage One begins Monday
- May 15, 2020 – Message from the President: A blended framework for the 2020 Fall Semester
- May 8, 2020 – Message from the President: UPEI’s Operational Ease-Back Plan
- May 1, 2020 – Message from the President: Planning the way forward
- April 23, 2020 – Message from the President: Updates about COVID-19 Measures & the Class of 2020
- April 16, 2020 – Message from the President: Supporting and taking care of one another
- April 9, 2020 – Message from the President: Signs of Spring
- April 3, 2020 – Message from the President: Let's take comfort in our united UPEI front
- March 27, 2020 – Message from the President: Building a stronger, more connected UPEI community
- March 20, 2020 – Message from the President: Update, reminder, and thank you
- March 17, 2020 – Message from the President: Update on COVID-19 measures
- March 16, 2020 – Message from the President re: Convocation 2020 and spring session
- March 15, 2020 – URGENT UPDATE re: COVID-19 measures at UPEI
- March 13, 2020 – Message to UPEI Students regarding COVID-19
- March 11, 2020 – COVID-19 Update: UPEI travel restrictions expanded, FAQ now available
- March 3, 2020 – COVID-19 update from the Vice-President Administration and Finance
- February 4, 2020 – Update on the 2019 Novel Coronavirus
- January 23, 2020 – Information regarding the 2019 Novel Coronavirus infection outbreak in China