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Learn how Queen's is planning for our safe return to campus.

Principal Deane cautions against large unsanctioned gatherings

With all official Homecoming events taking place online, Queen’s strongly urges students to respect COVID-19 safety guidelines over the coming weekends.

 

Ahead of an entirely virtual Homecoming 2021 weekend, Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane sent a message to all Queen’s students today cautioning against unsanctioned gatherings and urging respect for pandemic safety rules and guidelines. 

His message highlights concern from local health care and public service organizations about unsanctioned gatherings and asks students to do their part to keep groups small and within legal limits, and to act responsibly. 

Principal Deane will also be releasing an accompanying video message across the university’s social media channels to emphasize this message to the community, and an online ad campaign targeting students will run on popular apps to reinforce awareness of penalties associated with hosting or attending large gatherings.

Numerous university departments are engaged closely with campus and community partners — including the AMS, SGPS, KFL&A Public Health, Kingston Health Sciences Centre, Kingston Police, City of Kingston, Frontenac Paramedics, and others — to communicate to students about risks of large gatherings. Coordinated outreach efforts are underway, including door-to-door visits in the University District, to ensure wide awareness.

Our community partners have also launched alcohol safety campaigns targeting students, and the municipal government is set to activate the University District Safety Initiative in an effort to curb large, unsafe gatherings. Mayor Bryan Paterson shared a video message to students and those considering travel to Kingston from out of town to urge caution and restraint.

Read Principal Deane’s letter to students in full, below:

Dear Students,

As you may be aware, Homecoming celebrations this year will take place virtually, Oct. 15-16, 2021. We made the decision to go virtual due to ongoing concerns regarding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our community.

Our priority is and will always be the health and well-being of our residents while we work to fulfill our academic mission. Our alumni understand this, and while they are disappointed, they know the serious nature of the pandemic requires extraordinary actions.

Despite the measures we have taken to protect public health, the university has been made aware that unsanctioned gatherings are planned not only for this homecoming weekend but for the following weekend as well. Our partners across Kingston, particularly our public service professionals and hospital administrators have raised serious concerns about the city’s ability to absorb and address large numbers of young people in Kingston if these gatherings involve alcohol and substance use and create additional pressures on emergency services that are already operating under considerable duress with limited resources and exhausted staff.

I am asking for your assistance in helping contain the social gatherings and to act responsibly over the coming weekends. Being fully vaccinated is not a pass to ignore Ontario’s gathering limits (social gatherings up to 100 people outdoors or up to 25 people indoors). As members of both the Queen’s and Kingston community, we all must demonstrate leadership, respect one another and be mindful and aware of the provincial laws and local bylaws that are in place to protect us. No one is above the law. If you are getting together with friends, please wear your masks and keep your group small and within legal limits. Avoid large crowds and keep roadways clear for emergency vehicles.

I am proud that Queen’s has been able to open its doors and resume in person teaching. We are an institution of higher education and this university, at its core, is about learning in an environment of respect where knowledge, intellectual and social development are paramount. In these precarious times when the future is still uncertain and the good health of our community remains at risk, I ask that you think about the impact of your actions and you hold one another accountable. I trust I can count on you to act responsibly and together, help keep everyone safe and healthy so we can continue to enjoy being back on our beautiful campus.

Patrick Deane
Principal and Vice-Chancellor