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Queen’s appoints COVID-19 response lead

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Former Dean, Faculty of Health Sciences, David Walker, to lead university’s coronavirus response.

As part of Queen's University’s continuing response to COVID-19, Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane has appointed David Walker as Special Advisor to the Principal on Planning and Preparation for COVID-19.

Dr. Walker, the former dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, is a professor of emergency medicine, family medicine, and policy studies at Queen’s. He also chaired Ontario’s Expert Panel on SARS and Infectious Disease Control in 2003. Under his leadership, Dr. Walker will chair two committees at Queen’s, an operational committee and a stakeholder management committee that will inform the university’s response to this evolving public health issue.

“The time for planning for a pandemic is now,” says Dr. Walker. “We can no longer think about if the virus might come to Canada. It is here and we have to deal with it. The best way to address COVID-19 is with up-to-date and consistent messaging so people have the information they need, and know what to do should there be an outbreak in our community.”

Dr. Walker will be the point person for all matters related to COVID-19 and will work with university stakeholders with advice and instruction from local, regional, and national public health authorities. His role is to ensure the institution is able to continue its operations through prevention if possible and with proactive planning should disruption of services occur. The operational committee will meet daily while the stakeholder management committee, comprised of senior leadership, faculty representatives, students, and local community members including city officials will meet weekly in an effort to coordinate and quickly implement the university’s response to emerging issues. Prevention measures and comprehensive communication, policy updates, and contingency planning will be rolled out under Dr. Walker’s leadership. The university currently has an ad hoc committee that has been meeting daily since mid-January to address COVID-19 concerns largely overseas. This group will now become part of the operational committee as focus shifts to campus concerns.

“The health and safety of our students, faculty, staff, and visitors to Queen’s are our top priorities,” says Principal Deane. “Although the risk on campus is low at this time, the situation is constantly evolving and the potential for this virus to affect our campus and the Kingston community cannot be ignored. Dr. Walker is an expert in this field and I know his leadership on this will be invaluable to Queen’s as we face this public health challenge.”

For updates regarding the university’s response to COVID-19, visit the university’s Coronavirus COVID-19 Information website.

Questions and concerns can be directed to covidinfo@queensu.ca.