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Keeping campus and Kingston safe

New and returning students arriving in Kingston are being asked to take important safety measures.

Aerial view of Queen's campus
Queen’s University and KFL&A Public Health are asking that all students take a number of precautions before arriving in Kingston, as part of ongoing efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19. (University Communications)

As part of ongoing efforts to limit cases of COVID-19 in the Kingston region, Queen’s University, and KFL&A Public Health are asking that all students take a number of precautions before coming to Kingston. These steps – which cover testing, limiting contact, what to do upon arrival, and more – will help keep both students and the greater Kingston community safe.

“Though most students will take part in remote learning this fall, those returning to the city have an important role, as members of the community, in helping prevent the local spread of COVID-19,” says Mark Green, Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic), who shared the guidelines with new and returning students via email this week. “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. Together, we can overcome these challenges.”

With the exception of students in on-campus Health Sciences programs – who will receive additional instructions specific to their departments and students arriving from international locations who have specific requirements ­– all students are being asked to undertake the following important steps.

Encouraging testing before coming to Kingston

Students from areas with community outbreaks or active community transmission are being encouraged to get tested for COVID-19, even without symptoms, at their local testing site before travelling to Kingston given that there is the potential for asymptomatic transmission. They are being asked to allow for enough time to receive their test results prior to departure.

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 they are symptomatic.

Following any testing, while awaiting results, students should follow all public health guidelines, including the use of face coverings, handwashing, physical distancing, and limiting contact with those outside their immediate social circle, prior to arrival.

Should a student receive a positive test result, it is expected that they delay their travel to Kingston until they test negative for COVID-19. In this situation, students with on-campus programs should contact their central faculty or school office for further information. Late arrival to residence can also be arranged.

The first two weeks in Kingston

Under the direction of KFL&A Public Health, the university strongly recommends that all students upon arrival limit contact with anyone outside their household for a period of 14 days. Students who have already been residing in Kingston or the surrounding regions for 14 days, and who display no symptoms consistent with COVID-19, are not being asked to observe these requirements, but are encouraged to avoid contact with others outside their households as much as possible if their housemates are travelling from outside the region.

All students arriving in Kingston are encouraged to bring supplies and groceries needed for 14 days to help limit contact with others. Those living in residences will have access to a Queen’s dining hall. For essential shopping, ­students are encouraged to use online ordering, or to wear a mask, wash hands, and physically distance should they attend a store in person. The provost’s letter to students provides more details.

Students staying in Queen’s residences can find residence-specific health and safety protocols and information online, and those living off-campus can find more on the Queen’s University COVID-19 Information website.

International students

International students arriving in Canada 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 five to seven days after the arrival period to address the virus incubation period.

Further information is available on the Queen's University International Centre (QUIC) website.

On-campus 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 the COVID-19 Information website as it becomes available. For now, testing is available at the city’s local COVID-19 assessment centre. Details on hours and location are listed on KFL&A’s Public Health website.

Travelling outside Kingston

Many students may be accustomed to traveling to and from Kingston throughout the semester. Given the unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, students are being encouraged to limit travel outside of the KFL&A region as much as possible throughout the fall term to assist in local efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19. If students choose to, or must, travel outside the KFL&A region during the fall semester, they are strongly encouraged to limit contacts for 14 days upon return. This recommendation is not meant to discourage students from seeing their families and friends as needed to support their mental health and wellness.

A strong Queen’s community

“We express our thanks to students in advance for their cooperation in helping to keep themselves, their friends and the community safe,” says Provost Green. “Be kind, check on your friends, and look out for one another. We know we can count on you to do your part to support the Queen’s and Kingston community.”

The detailed recommendations were communicated to all students through a letter from the Provost, which is posted on the COVID-19 Information website.