Coronavirus COVID-19 Information

[Banner: COVID-19 Information: It's Our Community. Keep it safe.]
[Banner: COVID-19 Information: It's Our Community. Keep it safe.]

Updates

Statement from the Principal on COVID-19 and Queen’s Student Code of Conduct

Sep. 16, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly changed the way all of us go about our daily lives. Concerns about spreading the virus are real and each member of our community must take responsibility for reducing the threat of infection. At this time, it is imperative that Queen’s students clearly understand the university’s position regarding student behaviour that disregards public health directives. The Student Code of Conduct applies to both on- and off-campus behaviors that risk or have potential to risk the safety of our community members in the university’s living, learning, or working environments.

Medical experts, including the KFL&A Medical Officer of Health and Queen’s Special Advisor on COVID-19, Dr. David Walker, have warned of the exponential risk of community spread caused by large social gatherings, particularly when people are not observing public health safety measures such as physical distancing, wearing face coverings, and simple hand hygiene. Gatherings of this sort have occurred in the university district and they must stop. While Kingston Police and bylaw officers have been responding to these gatherings, some students continue to engage in risky behaviour. This is not just disappointing but increasingly concerning as it presents a real and significant risk to our entire community. The university will take action to hold accountable those who flagrantly disregard these risks.

All students, whether living on or off campus, are expected to uphold public health directives, safety measures, and to demonstrate cooperative behaviour with our community enforcement agencies and Kingston neighbours. I know many students are adhering to public health guidelines and government regulations, and I appreciate their diligence in helping to limit the spread of COVID-19 in our community. Any student whose behaviour ignores provincial and other applicable regulations and is identified as a potential community safety risk, will be referred for review under our Student Code of Conduct and will be subject to sanctions available under the Code, including expulsion from the university.

Signed,

Patrick Deane
Principal & Vice-Chancellor

 

Important welcome message from the Principal and Student Leaders: Sept. 4, 2020

Dear Queen’s Students,

This is the time of year when the Principal would normally send out a welcome letter. In many ways, this is just such a letter, but these are unusual times and we are doing things differently this year. We are pleased to see some students have arrived in Kingston. You are important, integral members of the Kingston community and it is nice to have you back.

Over the summer, the administration and student leaders have been planning for your arrival and creatively addressing how we deliver both educational and co-curricular programming in a largely remote world. One thing has been guiding everything we do – the concern for the health and safety of our students, staff, faculty, and all residents of Kingston. COVID-19 has turned our world upside down but so far Canada and, in particular, the City of Kingston have managed to keep this virus under control.

This has taken concerted effort on the part of many including the hospitals, public health, the municipality, and the police. We need your help to continue to keep this virus at bay. Outbreaks within our student population will be disastrous, not only for us but for many others. We do not want to see the university forced to close its doors and students leaving the City as we saw in March.

We all have a role to play. The City, police, and campus security will be using their authority to enforce physical distancing and ensure that people do not congregate in ways that promote the spread of COVID-19.  We support their efforts.

Please familiarize yourself with the public health requirements as they will be enforced and penalties for failing to abide by them will be utilized. We cannot afford to let COVID-19 get the upper hand. 

A great deal of public health information is available on our website and students will be receiving our Off-Campus Student Living Guide, both digitally and in person, which contains important information about safe practices and community expectations with regard to prevention.

We want this year at Queen’s to be a positive one for all and, most importantly, for you to stay safe and well. We will continue to provide information, guidance, and resources for students on COVID-19-related issues.

Signed,

Patrick Deane, Principal and Vice Chancellor

Sam Hiemstra, University Rector

Justine Aman, President of Society for Graduate and Professional Students (SGPS)

Jared den Otter, President of Alma Mater Society (AMS)


Here are links with helpful information and resources from our community partners:

Provost message to campus neighbours regarding fall term COVID-19 safety measures: Sept. 1 , 2020

Queen’s University fall term COVID-19 safety measures Dear campus neighbours, The past few months have been a time of great disruption and challenge for everyone in the Kingston community. As we collectively tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, I offer the university’s sincere thanks to everyone working on the front lines. With the fall term getting underway, I wanted to give you an update on the university’s COVID-19 safety measures.

Back in March, as the severity of the COVID-19 situation became clear, Queen’s took a number of actions to protect the health and safety of its students, employees, and the broader community. These included suspending in-person teaching in favour of remote delivery of classes, closing campus facilities, asking students to move out of residence, and instructing all employees who did not have to be on campus to work from home. I am also proud to say that many at Queen’s mobilized quickly to aid our community’s response – everything from donating PPE, taking up the challenge of designing ventilators, and offering Queen’s residences to local health care providers.

Since that time, the university has worked closely with KFL&A Public Health and other community partners to adapt and plan for the new and evolving COVID-19 environment. In all of our planning and decision-making, the university’s top priority has been the health and safety of all members of the Queen’s and Kingston community. That is why the university has worked with Public Health to plan a limited and safe re-opening this fall. Among the many measures that Queen’s has put in place to protect students, staff, faculty, and the broader community are:

  • Continuing with remote delivery of classes this fall, with only select classes delivered in-person (where access to on-campus facilities is necessary for students to continue their path to graduation, in programs such as medicine, nursing, rehabilitation therapy, and in some master’s and PhD programs)
  • Ensuring physical distancing and other COVID-19 safety practices are in place for all in-person classes
  • Reducing occupancy in Queen’s residences to less than 50%, and ensuring comprehensive COVID-19 safety, monitoring, and isolation protocols
  • Making masks mandatory in all indoor public and common spaces on campus
  • Encouraging students with symptoms, or from areas with active outbreaks or community transmission, to get tested before travelling to Kingston
  • Encouraging all students to limit contact with others for 14 days upon arrival in Kingston
  • Encouraging students to avoid non-essential travel outside of the Kingston area
  • Working with KFL&A Public Health to establish a COVID-19 testing centre on campus

With only a select number of in-person classes this fall, and residences operating at half-capacity, we expect approximately 6,100 students to be living or attending classes on campus. This compares to the more than 24,000 students normally at Queen’s.

However, the university understands that some students, even though they are not required to be on campus this fall, may decide individually to return to their homes in Kingston. Queen’s will continue to communicate with all students about the COVID-19 safety guidelines and expectations that apply to everyone in our community.

At Queen’s, our message to all students, staff, and faculty is simple: it’s our community, let’s work together to keep it safe. While new COVID-19 cases in our community are inevitable, we all have a responsibility to help fight this pandemic. If you would like more information about Queen’s COVID-19 measures, or have any questions, please visit queensu.ca/covidinfo or contact us at community@queensu.ca.

Sincerely,

Mark F. Green, PhD, PEng
Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic)

KFL&A Public Health’s letter to returning post-secondary students: Sep. 1

As posted on the KFL&A Public Health website

Dear returning college and university students:

Welcome back! As you well know, COVID-19 makes this school year very different. Though the pandemic is new, and we continue to learn more about it, we know the choices we make—the choices you make—impact transmission rates in our community.

For those of you who are returning to Kingston for the school year, we expect you to join our community with the same spirit Kingstonians are very proud of: putting in the work to reduce the impact of this virus.

As a community member, your cooperation and adherence to public health guidelines influences whether we can keep our businesses and services open and prevent our health care system from becoming overwhelmed.

KFL&A Public Health has enacted two section 22 orders for our region. This means that while you live here, face coverings must be worn at all times inside commercial establishments, including bars and restaurants and that hand hygiene protocols and products are to be followed and used. You must also follow Public Health instruction to isolate if you have tested positive for COVID-19 or selfquarantine if you have come in contact with an infected COVID-19 individual.

KFL&A takes community safety very seriously. Large parties will not be tolerated. Indoor public or social gatherings over a maximum of 50 people, and outdoor over a maximum of 100 people, will be& enforced under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act by the City of Kingston By-law or police services. We encourage you to stick to your social circle of less than 10 people as per the provincial guidelines. It’s the safest choice.

Making the effort to practice physical distancing (staying 2 metres away from others), wearing a mask where you cannot physically distance, cleaning your hands frequently to maintain hand hygiene, getting tested if you think you have symptoms of COVID-19, and staying home if you are sick, will prevent community transmission.

Currently, people aged 20 to 29 years of age are the most at-risk group for becoming infected with COVID-19, directly impacting the pandemic in Canada. This is because young people who become infected at bars or parties, and who often have mild versions of the COVID-19 illness, unknowingly transmit the virus, before they know they are sick, to people in the community, including older family members and people at high risk of serious illness because of other health conditions. The choices you make and the efforts you take to follow public health advice will keep all of us safe. The community will be grateful to you for doing so.

For some of you, this may be the first time you’re away from home. I urge you to set a good example for yourself and your friends by showing how you choose to act in your own life. We all want to continue to reopen Ontario businesses and public spaces safely and gradually. We don’t want to have to pause or tighten public health measures. KFL&A Public Health is working hard to support adjustments to ensure your school experience, though different this year, is fulfilling and rewarding.

We want you to have a successful year and, with your help, we will steer this new normal to keep our infection rates low and allow our communities economy to recover.

Sincerely,

Dr. Kieran Moore, MD, CCFP(EM), FCFP, MPH, DTM&H, FRCPC
Medical Officer of Health and CEO
KFL&A Public Health

Overview of Public Health Recommendations for Queen’s Students Travelling to Kingston: August 20, 2020

To all Queen’s students:

The Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington (KFL&A) community has worked together to limit the spread of COVID-19 in the region. As incoming members of the Kingston community, you have an important role in helping further that effort. We know that this year brings with it some exceptional challenges, but we also know that our students are resilient and understand that coming to Queen’s carries with it the benefits and responsibilities of both learning and living in Kingston. To support your personal health and safety, that of your fellow students, as well as the Kingston community, the KFL&A Medical Officer of Health and Queen’s University are strongly recommending that all students* coming to Kingston take the following precautions in preparation for the fall term:

Testing for COVID-19 Prior to Travel

If you have any symptoms compatible with COVID-19, you should get tested and receive confirmation of a negative test prior to travelling to Kingston. You cannot travel if you are a known contact of a person with COVID -19 until you receive confirmation that you are allowed to do so by your local public health agency.

Students from an area with community outbreaks or active community transmission are also encouraged to get tested for COVID-19, even without symptoms, at your local testing site before you travel to Kingston given that there is the potential for asymptomatic transmission. You should allow for enough time to receive your test results prior to departure.

If you test positive for COVID-19 or have symptoms compatible with COVID-19, it is expected you will delay your travel to Kingston until you follow all local public health guidance and have approval for travel. If your travel to Kingston is delayed, students with on-campus programs should contact your central faculty or school office for further information. Late arrival to residence can also be arranged. Students who have already been residing in the KFL&A, Hastings and Prince Edward Counties, and Leeds, Grenville, and Lanark area for 14 days are not being encouraged to get tested unless symptomatic.

Following any testing, while awaiting results, it is strongly recommended that you follow all public health guidelines, including the use of face coverings, handwashing, physical distancing, and isolating yourself from others.

Students Arriving from International Locations - Quarantine Requirements

To limit the spread of COVID-19, federal travel restrictions, exemptions, and advice require that all students arriving in Canada from international locations must follow the federal rules set out by the emergency orders under the Quarantine Act and quarantine for 14 days without contact with others.

Additionally, the Ontario government is requiring that institutions ensure that both international and domestic students who are in quarantine as a result of having entered Canada within two weeks prior to the start of their studies be tested for the COVID-19 virus at least once during their quarantine period. This requirement is over and above the normal protocols for individuals who show symptoms. It is recommended that this testing take place within 5 to 7 days after the arrival period to address the virus incubation period.

Students from international locations staying in Queen’s residences can find residence-specific information online. Further information for all students arriving from international locations is available on the Queen’s University International Centre website.

Students Arriving from within Canada - Limit Contact with Others for 14 days Upon Arrival

Under the direction of KFL&A Public Health officials, the university strongly recommends that all students arriving from outside of the Kingston-area health region limit their contact with anyone outside their household for a period of 14 days. Students who have already been residing in the KFL&A, Hastings and Prince Edward Counties, Leeds, and Grenville, and Lanark region continuously for 14 days (and who display no symptoms consistent with COVID-19) are not being asked to observe this recommendation, but are encouraged to avoid contact with others outside their households as much as possible if their housemates are travelling from outside the region.

For your first 14 days in Kingston, all students are strongly encouraged to:

  • Limit contact with anyone outside your household or immediate social circle;
  • Come prepared with the supplies and groceries you need for 14 days;
  • You can go to a Queen’s dining hall if living in residence;
  • If you live off-campus, consider using online ordering if you need food or essential items;
  • If you go to a store for groceries or items, wear a mask, wash your hands and use physical distancing;
  • Go outdoors to exercise, respecting physical distancing and limiting contact with individuals outside your household;
  • If you attend medical appointments, respect physical distancing; and,
  • Avoid public areas and public transportation (buses or taxis).

Students with on-campus courses will receive further information from their faculties and schools regarding their classes and on-campus academic activities.

Travel Outside Kingston

As members of the Kingston community, all Queen’s students are expected to adhere to local, provincial, and federal regulations to help limit the spread of COVID-19. As part of our collective community responsibility, we all must work together to combat this virus and ensure the university does its part to keep everyone safe and healthy. It is essential that we all follow guidelines on physical distancing, social gathering limits, hand washing, and the use of face coverings inside all public spaces. Up-to-date information on COVID-19 and preventative measures can be found on the KFL&A Public Health website and on this, the Queen’s COVID-19 website.

Many students may be accustomed to travelling to and from Kingston throughout the semester. Given the unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, we encourage you to limit travel outside the KFL&A region as much as possible throughout the fall term to assist local efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19. We know that being away from home for extended periods can be challenging, and this recommendation is not meant to discourage students from seeing their family and friends as needed to support their mental health and wellness. There are also wellness resources on campus, and we are committed to supporting you while you are in Kingston.

If you choose to, or must, travel outside the KFL&A region during the fall semester, you are strongly encouraged to limit your contacts for 14 days upon your return. To stop the spread of COVID-19, we must be vigilant about the risks we bring into the community and each do our part to ensure we limit any community spread.

On-Campus COVID-19 Testing Centre

The university is currently working with Kingston Health Sciences Centre and local Public Health authorities to establish a COVID-19 testing centre on campus. More information will be available on this website once details are confirmed. In the meantime, students can access the city’s COVID-19 assessment centre as needed. Details on the operating hours and location of the city’s assessment centre are listed on KFL&A’s Public Health website.

A Strong Queen’s Community

The challenges set before us by the COVID-19 pandemic are real.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation in helping limit the spread of COVID-19. We want our students to be able to return to Kingston and take part in a thriving campus environment surrounded by a healthy and welcoming community. This pandemic puts that reality at risk. To ensure that one day Queen’s will be able to fully operate like it once did, we must take significant precautions so that we can manage COVID-19 and keep the promise of a brighter future within our grasp. This will be a challenging year, but together we can overcome the challenges! Be kind, check on your friends, and look out for one another. We all have a role to play and everyone must do their part.

We recognize that this is a difficult time for many. If you need wellness support, please do not hesitate to access Student Wellness Services, or the 24/7 crisis and counselling services available through Empower Me at 1-844-741-6389 (learn more about Empower Me), and Good2Talk, a provincial 24/7 post-secondary student helpline, at 1-866-925-5454.

No matter where you are living this fall, please make sure you have updated your Fall 2020 address, phone number, and emergency contact information in SOLUS. Look for the link in your "To Do' list for next steps.

For up-to-date information, please refer to the information on this site, or for residence-specific information, please visit the Residence website.

*Given their access to hospitals and patients, students in Health Sciences on-campus programs have additional responsibilities for health and safety. These students are required to follow the instructions provided by their Faculty and should direct any questions or concerns to their respective departments.

Sincerely,

Mark Green
Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic)

2021 Winter Term Academic Planning for First-Year Undergraduate Students: July 30, 2020

As some of Queen’s incoming students are making decisions about their residence offers, several faculties and schools have worked to finalize their plans for first-year undergraduate programs in the 2021 winter term.

In developing their plans, the faculties and schools followed the following principles:

  • Supporting academic excellence and academic integrity in all courses, programs, and degrees
  • Promoting and protecting equity, diversity, inclusivity, and Indigeneity in all aspects of the educational experience
  • Providing equitable access to educational materials for all students
  • Ensuring that the individual academic accommodation needs of students are met
  • Seeking cooperation between different units and faculties, and being mindful that a decision made in one part of the institution will have consequences elsewhere
  • Supporting the progression and retention of students through academic program requirements

The faculty and school proposals were reviewed by the Academic Operations Group and the Senior Leadership Team. All plans are in alignment with current Public Health guidelines; however, these plans may change as requirements evolve between now and January.

With some exceptions, most first-year lectures will be delivered remotely. Other on-campus academic activities will vary somewhat across programs. The decision to hold some academic activities on-campus was determined based on the need for students to access specialized facilities, such as labs, and to ensure all students can progress in their studies and meet the academic requirements of their programs.

Regardless of the course delivery format, the university is committed to ensuring all students receive an equitable and robust learning experience. Programs and services to support academic success continue to be available to all students, including academic advising, library services, and wellness support.

Information on residence operations for the 2021 winter term will be available in early fall, and plans for upper-year students are in development. We appreciate your patience as we take the time to ensure our planning aligns with Public Health guidelines.

Detailed information on winter term academic programming for first-year students will be shared with students directly by their faculty, once their plans are finalized.

Queen's makes face masks mandatory in all public areas of campus: July 22, 2020

To help reduce the potential spread of COVID-19, all individuals in indoor public or common spaces at Queen’s will be required to wear a face covering starting July 24. This includes lobbies, hallways, stairwells, restrooms, elevators, and other areas that are shared with others.

Examples of where face coverings are not required include:

  • while working alone in one’s own (non-public/non-student) work area/office/lab/research space
  • while working behind plexiglass servicing people and where a physical distancing of at least 2m can be maintained
  • when eating or drinking (with 2m physical distancing being maintained)

Exemptions are provided for people with underlying medical conditions that inhibit their ability to wear masks as noted by KFL&A Public Health. It should also be noted that face coverings do not replace required job-specific Personal Protective Equipment, such as medical/procedure masks, face shields or respirators. Also, the use of reusable cloth face masks may not be suitable in certain environments (i.e. chemical, radiological, biological labs). In these instances, disposable masks, appropriate to the hazard, need to be considered if physical distancing cannot be maintained.

In addition to wearing a face mask, it’s important everyone continues to carry out a range of health and safety actions, including physical distancing where possible, frequent hand-washing, using hand sanitizer, avoiding touching your face, disinfecting high-touch surfaces, and self-monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms.

Please refer to guidelines for current information on who is currently allowed to be attending the Queen’s campus.

Information on face mask distribution

To support this important safety measure, Queen’s has purchased two cloth face masks for each employee. These masks will be distributed to employees as they are permitted to return to campus as part of a phased return to regular operations.

Cloth masks can be picked up by Queen’s employees at the Queen’s Postal & Print Services (QPPS) office in Fleming Hall, Jemmett Wing, Room 001. Employees are reminded to practice physical distancing when entering the building. As this wing is not considered accessible, if you need assistance please contact QPPS at (613) 533-6305 and your items will be delivered curbside to your vehicle.

We ask that only those authorized to be on campus pick up their cloth masks. Strategic Procurement Services will work with Faculties and departments on a broader distribution plan as campus operations are approved to resume.

The Office of the Vice-Principal (Research) has additional guidance for the research community on non-medical face coverings.

Cloth masks will be made available to students who are required to be on campus and a process for distribution is currently being determined.

Individuals can also use their own masks or face covering.

Queen's steps up face mask recommendations & requirements for those on campus: June 29, 2020

In response to the recent COVID-19 outbreak in the Kingston region, Queen’s is strongly encouraging employees and students currently on campus to wear a face covering in all common areas, particularly in spaces where maintaining physical distancing is challenging.

To support this important safety measure, Queen’s has purchased two cloth face masks for each employee. These masks will be distributed to employees as they are permitted to return to campus as part of a phased return to regular operations. Please refer to guidelines for current information on who is currently allowed to be attending the Queen’s campus.

At this time, Queen’s is also complying with the new order from KFL&A Public Health requiring everyone to wear a face covering while inside a public facing commercial establishment. This currently applies to employees and customers in just a few areas of campus, including the Queen’s Centre and the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, which has been approved to reopen shortly.

Protecting the health and safety of those on campus, as well as of the broader Kingston community, is the university's primary concern. It is important to note the local community and Queen’s are safe despite the recent increase in local cases. As always, everyone in the campus community is strongly encouraged to remain calm and vigilant and to follow the latest infection prevention and control measures provided by KFL&A Public Health. In addition to wearing a face mask, it’s important everyone carries out a range of health and safety actions, including frequent hand-washing, using hand sanitizer, avoiding touching your face, disinfecting high-touch surfaces, and self-monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms. Everyone is also strongly encouraged to practice physical distancing of two metres (six feet), limit the size of groups, and avoid confined spaces, like elevators. More information on measures in place at Queen’s is also available on the university’s COVID-19 website.

Information on face mask distribution

Cloth masks can be picked up by Queen’s employees at the Queen’s Postal & Print Services (QPPS) office in Fleming Hall, Jemmett Wing, Room 001. Employees are reminded to practice physical distancing as there are others picking up mail and/or COVID supply packages. As this building is not considered accessible, if you need assistance please contact QPPS at (613) 533-6305 and your items will be delivered curbside to your vehicle.

At this time we ask that only those authorized to be on campus pick up their cloth masks. Strategic Procurement Services will work with Faculties and departments on a broader distribution plan as campus operations are approved to resume.

Employees can also use their own masks or face covering.

Principal's message on university-wide staff & faculty holidays: June 22, 2020

Dear Staff and Faculty,

It hardly needs to be said that the last few months have been exceedingly busy for us all.  That we have had to adapt to a new way of life that none of us could have foreseen has been stressful and frankly, exhausting.  But our community has weathered this difficult time with a great deal of creativity, flexibility and resilience, and I am very proud of what we have accomplished and of everyone’s hard work and dedication preparing for a very different fall and a future that is still largely uncertain. Recently a number of my colleagues at other universities have announced university-wide holidays to both recognize the extraordinary work being undertaken and to offer some time to rest and recharge for what lies ahead.  I am following suit and declaring July 2nd and 3rd university-wide holidays.  For those who already have July 2nd and 3rd scheduled as vacation, the days should not be deducted from your vacation allotment. Employees who are required to work on July 2nd and 3rd should speak to their managers to find an alternative time to use these designated university holidays.

I know that the last several months have taken a toll.  It has not been easy but I want you to know that I am very optimistic about our future and that is because I know our institution is being sustained by our talented and committed staff and faculty.   I am grateful to you all for the time and energy you have devoted to Queen’s.  Please enjoy your days off – you deserve them.

Patrick Deane
Principal and Vice-Chancellor

Provost's update on planning for Fall 2020: May 15, 2020

The Queen’s University community is giving its full attention to the coming year and the university will welcome new and returning students this fall with the same eagerness and excitement as in any other year.

Queen’s is working closely with Public Health officials on operational planning for the fall term, and communications will be sent to students, staff, and faculty when final decisions are made. When planning for the fall term, our commitment to the health and wellness of our community, as well as equity, inclusion, and accessibility, will help guide our decision making.  

In preparing for the fall term, we need to ensure we are ready for the likely possibility that we will face significant restrictions on classroom space given the anticipated need for physical distancing measures. As such, we expect most course delivery will need to be done through remote means in the fall and we are accelerating our efforts in planning for remote courses to ensure we are ready to offer the exceptional academic experience Queen’s students have come to expect.

We know that the on-campus student experience is a hallmark of Queen’s, and we continue to explore options to enable as many of our students as possible to be on campus in the fall while adhering to provincial legislation and public health guidelines. Should a significant number of students be able to return to campus in the fall, there may be opportunities for limited, in-person, course-related activities, such as a lab demonstration in a large auditorium, or small in-person seminars or program offerings. 

We also know that some courses and programs will require on-campus components this fall, even if physical distancing measures are still in place in September and classroom space is limited. Programs that have been identified as priorities for consistent on-campus delivery include:

  • The professional programs in Medicine, Nursing, and Rehabilitation Therapy in the Faculty of Health Sciences. These programs require on-campus delivery because of the need for on-site access for clinical skills training.
  • Research graduate master's, PhD, and some professional graduate and second entry programs, such as Law. These programs will likely need a combination of on-campus and remote delivery models to accommodate on-site access needs regarding labs and other critical teaching and research resources that cannot be accessed remotely.

Any on-campus classes, labs, and training would be conducted in accordance with Public Health protocols.

Senior leaders are working closely with Public Health officials to assess options for safe campus operations, including classroom use, office use, and timetabling. This is extremely complex work, and we will provide more detail as we have more information.

We recognize that needs may vary across departments in terms of the infrastructure and expertise needed to prepare for remote learning. The Principal is assessing supports needed to assist with remote delivery and will be working closely with the Centre for Teaching and Learning to help faculty members across the campus.

Mark Green
Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic)

Principal's update on planning for Fall 2020: May 4, 2020

With the 2019-2020 academic year wrapping up, the Queen’s University community is giving its full attention to the coming year and to the question of how we will provide our students with the same outstanding experience that for 179 years has defined our institution. What impact the COVID-19 pandemic will still be having on life in our city and province this fall is impossible to predict with certainty, so we are having to make decisions to prepare for a variety of scenarios. This is of course a challenging and complex situation, with September more than four months away and so much unknown.

One thing we do know for certain is that Queen’s will welcome new and returning students this fall with the same eagerness and excitement as in any other year. We will be open, but how “normal” life at Queen’s will be will depend on the best advice available from public health authorities to ensure that students enjoy stable, safe and stimulating conditions for their studies. It is certainly our hope that students will be on campus, but we are also preparing for the possibility of remote delivery should physical distancing still be required and significant concentrations of people be prohibited.

Whether such restrictions will be less or more severe is impossible to say at present. As I announced just a few weeks ago, we have teams of staff, faculty and students hard at work reviewing all the possible ways we might operate in the fall. They are committed to ensuring that whatever limits may be placed on our physical presence, the vitality of the community experience and the excellence of a Queen’s education are not compromised. What has drawn generations of students to Queen’s, and what has nourished and stimulated them while they were here, will be available to students this fall, regardless of the ways in which we might be forced to adapt to COVID-19. 

In the weeks and months ahead we will learn more, and as we do so we will take care to provide timely and clear information on the various decisions that we know will have to be made. Because academic programs vary widely in their needs, and because the conditions of learning and research differ across faculties and other units, aspects of course delivery will inevitably diverge across the institution. For that reason, it is the faculties that will increasingly be sources of information and guidance as we gain clarity on the implications of COVID-19 for our fall operations. It is too early yet to make final decisions, but I can commit to you that our goal will always be the full return of our students, staff and faculty. But if we are to be realistic, this is likely to be achieved in stages as we see public health restrictions being lifted. 

I am sure everyone understands how difficult it is to make these decisions in a context that is extremely changeable. The best I can do is promise to keep everyone — students returning, students arriving, staff and faculty — properly informed of the situation in which Queen’s will continue to pursue its distinguished mission.

Sincerely,
Patrick Deane
Principal and Vice-Chancellor

Message from the Principal to graduating students: April 7, 2020

Dear graduating students,

Yesterday you received an email message from Queen's Interim University Registrar inviting you to take a survey to indicate your preferences for a possible virtual convocation ceremony. While that message was sent with the best of intentions-seeking your input on a matter of great personal significance-I understand why it may have been upsetting to many of you.

I know that the opportunity to celebrate your success in the company of friends and family is enormously important for all students, especially at this university where our sense of community is so strong and so integral to the whole Queen's experience. A virtual ceremony, however well done, can be no substitute for that, and I am not surprised some of you have reacted with grief and anger at the message.

We have every intention of providing you, in the fall, with the kind of convocation experience you all hope for, but with the longer-term impact of the pandemic still unclear, we also know that this can change. Over the next few months, my office will lead a working group to address convocation and ensure that we are ready, once restrictions are lifted, to give you the graduation celebration you have worked so hard to attain. We will be looking for students to assist us with the planning.

Receiving your degree is one of life's milestones. Right now, perhaps more than ever, we are all acutely aware of just how precious such moments are. I will do everything I can to ensure Queen's delivers the convocation you so rightly deserve.

Patrick Deane
Principal and Vice-Chancellor

Message from Principal Deane: April 2, 2020

Dear members of the Queen’s Community,

The University has recently learned that one of our community members in Kingston has tested positive for COVID-19. With the number of cases in Canada, and Ontario, rising so quickly, the appearance of a case in our community was inevitable. Privacy prevents us from sharing personal details of the individual in question, but KFL&A Public Health is aware and involved with the case. The affected individual has been put on self-isolation and is being monitored. KFL&A Public Health is investigating and following up with close contacts of this individual. We have also reached out to offer our support.

Unfortunately, we know this will not be the only case to appear in our community. By now, you should all be aware of the efforts being made across the country and throughout our community to exercise physical distancing to flatten the curve of infection.

While not unexpected, this news is nevertheless unsettling, and I remind you all that there are supports in place, and links to a variety of information and resources on our COVID-19 website. I am also confident that we have taken the steps that we need to protect our community, by establishing remote course delivery for students and where possible, our employees are working from home. In addition, we have instituted physical distancing and other infection control practices amongst those employees who need to continue to work on campus. All of these measures are intended to flatten the curve on the rate of infection throughout our community.

Our team of staff members and public health officials monitoring the COVID-19 situation continue to meet regularly under the guidance of Dr. David Walker, and we are well prepared for these situations. As this was the first positive case at Queen’s, it was felt a notice to the community in this instance was appropriate, but in keeping with the practices of similar institutions and KFL&A Public Health, we will not be reporting on every case that is identified going forward.

I encourage you to stay informed with expert resources including KFL&A Public Health, the Ontario Ministry of Health or the Public Health Agency of Canada. Again, links to all of these sources and university-specific information for employees and students can be found on the Queen’s COVID-19 website. As a community, we are at a critical stage in our efforts to flatten the curve of infection and protect our health system and its workers. Together, we will prevail.

Patrick Deane
Principal and Vice-Chancellor

Message from Principal Deane: March 23, 2020

Dear Queen’s Community,

Just one week ago I wrote to all of you that we were entering an entirely new reality, one that would test us in ways we never imagined. I asked you to work differently and to prepare for a new way of delivering higher education. After a week’s hiatus during which faculty and staff have worked assiduously and creatively to find alternatives to face-to-face learning, Queen’s students are resuming their studies. Absorbed as we have been in addressing our local challenges, it is easy to overlook the momentous shift that has occurred over the last seven days as over a million university students across Canada have moved their learning online or onto other remote platforms. I have remarked to a few people that had we planned to do the same thing outside of the context of a public health emergency, we would have been hard pressed to manage it in less than a decade!

That we have done so here at Queen’s is testimony to the dedication and resolve of our university community. Of course, such rapid change comes at a price. For the remainder of the academic year our students have lost aspects of their Queen’s experience that are very important, in particular that sense of physical community which has always defined the institution. The University remains determined, however, that they should have every opportunity to complete their courses, and despite altered methods of assessment, to do so to the normal standard expected. Flexibility, innovative thinking and extraordinary efforts on the part of faculty and staff are prerequisites for that outcome, and I am grateful to colleagues across the university for their single-minded and unreserved commitment to the good of our students at all levels.

The challenges with regard to our research mission are also extremely complex and sometimes intractable. The need for social distancing and the shift towards working from home pose particular problems for research laboratories, and for many scholars the closing of the library to physical access is a serious impediment to their continuing research. While we may be forced to close our doors for a time, we will reopen and what we need now is patience, creativity and trust from everyone.

The paradox of our situation right now is that we are doing everything we can to keep ourselves, our institution and its mission together—even while the health crisis is driving all of those things apart. Public Health officials remind us daily that at times like these the public good trumps the needs and desires of the individual. I am grateful to all the individuals within the Queen’s community who have worked to support and advance the university mission despite the unprecedented challenges we are facing, and I am optimistic that we will emerge from this crisis with vitality, determination, and a renewed sense of purpose.

I wrote in my open letter last fall that we need to be ambitious for ourselves, that we need to be self-excelling, our eyes fixed on ways in which we can serve the greater human good. Unexpectedly we find ourselves confronted in our daily lives with an almost unimaginable threat to that good, and we must not fail to address it in our teaching, learning, and research. We must also confound it in the ways we relate to our community outside the university and in society at large. The university has been asked by health authorities and public leaders to offer its facilities and the talents of its members to support the people of Kingston and the surrounding region during this time of crisis. We will naturally work to do so. This is a time to demonstrate the values without which our university could not succeed, even in the best of times: compassion, understanding, trust and selflessness.

A week ago I expressed the hope that we would together face the challenges that lie ahead, and that in our unity we would prevail. Over this last week, I feel more confident than ever that our university will come through this crisis.  I am proud of what we have accomplished thus far and how we have rallied to support our institution and its members and I am humbled to be your Principal.

Patrick Deane
Principal and Vice-Chancellor

Message from Principal Deane: March 16, 2020

Read a summary of the key points from the statement

STATEMENT SUMMARY

Meetings and Gatherings

  • All gatherings, including work-related activities or events, are limited to no more than 10 people.
  • Social events and non-essential gatherings should be cancelled.
  • Essential meetings should be moved online.
  • Everyone should avoid any public spaces where personal distancing of two metres or more is not possible.

Academic Programming

  • Effective immediately, graduate programs will move to remote delivery. Last week, it was announced that undergraduate classes were to be moved to remote delivery. This now means all academic programs will move to remote delivery until the end of the semester.
  • Graduate student research activities should be accessed remotely whenever possible and where not, continue with appropriate social distancing, limiting any activities to 10 people or less.
  • No more in-person classes or labs for duration of the term for undergraduate and graduate courses.
  • No in-person examinations, except for comprehensives/dissertation defences. Consult your supervisor for more information.
  • Students will still complete the academic year, gaining course credits as appropriate, and those set to complete their programs, will do so.
  • Students in Kingston, or in any of our other locations where they may temporarily reside in order to access or academic services, should go home. However, we are not requiring people to leave.
  • Any summer course offerings that are not online are cancelled.
  • Summer programming at the Bader International Study Centre will not take place.

Convocation and Degrees

  • Students will graduate and degrees will be conferred, but spring convocation ceremonies will not take place.

Services

  • Residences, food halls, libraries, and essential administration offices will remain open. With fewer students using services, there will be some reduction in what can be provided.

Faculty and Staff

  • Human Resources will work with managers and staff to find flexible arrangements for staff and faculty affected by the closing of schools in the province.
  • Where possible, faculty and staff are being encouraged to work from home.
  • Over the next week, senior leadership will determine what services are essential .

Dear Queen’s Community,

I recognize that the last few days have given rise to many questions and concerns about the continuing operation of our university. COVID-19 is spreading around the world at a rapid pace and we are working to make the right decisions to protect our communities. On Friday, you received an email from me indicating that undergraduate classes (with the exception of health professional programs) would be suspended for the coming week as we move toward remote delivery of our programs. We made this decision in step with other post-secondary institutions quickly trying to decide what might be the best preventative approach to curb the spread of the virus. We are having to make decisions in real time, in the face of an ever-changing reality that is nearly impossible to predict. Many staff are working around the clock to ensure that those decisions are made with the latest science considered and with the best advice of our experts in public health. We want to deal with this situation in the best possible way, but to some extent it is a guessing game and no one knows with any certainty what lies ahead.

Some things are certain, however. The virus will come to our campuses, and when it does so we will need to manage it. While it is inevitable that members of our community will get sick, most will have only mild symptoms. They should stay home until they are well and take all possible measures to avoid infecting others. The point is to avoid all of us getting sick at once, because if we can slow the rate of infection through preventative measures like good hygiene and social distancing, we can keep our healthcare system whole and ensure that those few who might be more seriously affected by the virus will have access to the additional medical services they require. This must always be our goal.

We need to protect our community which includes our staff, faculty and students. With that in mind, I am announcing additional preventative measures for us all. Effective immediately, and upon the advice of public health, we are limiting all gatherings, including any work-related activities or events to no more than ten people. Social events and non-essential gatherings should be cancelled. Essential meetings should be moved on-line. Everyone should avoid any public spaces where personal distancing of two metres or more is not possible.

For students, an immediate change is that graduate programs will also be moved to remote delivery. There will be no more in person classes or labs for the duration of the term for undergraduate or graduate courses. There will be no in person exams (with the exception of comprehensives/dissertation defences). Graduate student research activities should be accessed remotely whenever possible and where not, continue with appropriate social distancing. All of the university’s academic programs will move to remote delivery until the end of the semester. Despite this change in format, our expectation is that students will complete the academic year, gaining course credits as appropriate, and those who are set to complete their programs, will do so. We are working diligently to avoid shutting down operations, but we must change the way we do things.

This leads me to convocation. For the foreseeable future social distancing will be critical to containing the spread of the virus, and for that reason convocation ceremonies in the conventional form will simply not be possible. Students will graduate and degrees will be conferred, but mass gatherings of hundreds of people will likely be no less hazardous in two months’ time than they are today. As we work out alternative arrangements we will communicate them, but it seems prudent to let you know now that traditional spring convocation ceremonies will not take place.

In addition, any summer course offerings that are not online are cancelled, and summer programming at the Bader International Centre will not take place.

Moving to remote delivery of academic programming means many students will now complete courses from their homes. We are strongly suggesting that students living in Kingston or any of our other locations where they may temporarily reside in order to access our academic services, should go home. We are not, however, requiring people to leave. We understand not everyone has that option and we will continue to strive to keep required services in order to support those that must remain. However, with fewer students using these services and with much of the staffing provided by students, there will be a reduction in what we are able to provide. This is a natural consequence.

For our staff and faculty, the most important first step is to speak with your manager or Dean about your specific circumstances. Recent announcements from the province closing schools for three weeks creates pressures on parents. Our Human Resources Department is asking managers and staff to find flexibility to accommodate this strain on a significant proportion of our work force. Although the university remains open at this time, we are encouraging staff, where possible, to work remotely. In light of advice from public health for greater social distancing, all offices should think about ways to organize their work to promote this. Please also refer to communication provided by your own Faculties and Divisions about continued operations.

This is an evolving and unprecedented situation and I am asking for your patience, support and creativity as we respond to it. Missteps in this process are inevitable, but I can promise you that the leadership of the university will always be guided by the desire to do what is best for the health and safety of all our students, staff and faculty. COVID-19 will test our health care system, certainly, but it will also test our social institutions in ways that have become vividly apparent in the last few weeks. So far it has challenged our university to find new ways to do its work, to ensure that our communal goal—the education of students and the advancement of knowledge—remains in sight even while the opportunity for personal interactions vital to that mission is reduced or eliminated. This test of our institution is also a test of every individual within it. In proportion to the disaggregating demands placed on us by the virus, we need to show patience, kindness and compassion, to pursue cooperation and to support each other at every opportunity.

I am confident we will prevail.

Patrick Deane
Principal and Vice-Chancellor