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Quiet Queen’s - photo essay

With students, faculty, and staff now learning, researching, and working remotely in response to COVID-19, the iconic Queen’s campus looks like never before.

Come early April, campus typically settles into a quiet study routine. Students attend their last classes and then pack the libraries to prepare for exams. A hushed, focused murmur fills the air, interrupted only by the flipping of pages or the squeak of highlighters, and maybe the last, sputtering sips of a second round of coffee.

Given this year’s exceptional circumstances brought upon us by COVID-19, the campus is a new kind of quiet. Beside essential staff and a group of international students waiting to travel, much of the Queen’s community has returned home to complete the term safely online.

The Queen’s Gazette visited campus to capture the remarkable silence of this unprecedented moment.

The intersection of University Avenue and Union Street. Stauffer Library visible on the corner.

The intersection of Union Street and University Avenue at the heart of the campus is often abuzz, but it is now missing its usual scramble of pedestrians headed to classes. Stauffer Library stands tall on the northwest corner (centre), clad in a banner celebrating its 25th anniversary. It starts its next 25 years behind temporarily-closed doors, and instead remains open online for students and researchers.

View down an deserted University Ave.

A look south down campus’ University Avenue with Richardson Hall on the right and Ontario Hall on the left; Grant Hall’s clock tower in the distance. One of the main thoroughfares, it is now vacant except for a lone dog-walker.

Grant Hall

Every year, Grant Hall hosts dozens of convocation ceremonies, but celebrations for Spring 2020 graduates have been postponed indefinitely. Students have worked hard to attain their academic success, so the university is looking at ways to deliver a special experience for graduates so as to celebrate their achievements.

In the foreground, a Research@Queen’s banner hangs from a streetlamp. Faculty researchers and experts continue to work hard to share knowledge as part of our community’s broad efforts to confront COVID-19.

Closed sign at one of Queen's athletic fields.

Like much of the campus, outdoor recreation amenities have been closed until further notice. The health and safety of the Queen’s community is the university’s top priority, so access to gathering places has been limited to promote physical distancing. For up-to-date coronavirus information from Queen’s University visit our COVID-19 website.

Campus security staff patrols a residence lounge.

Campus security is on-site to keep our remaining staff and students safe. Here, a member of Queen's Campus Security and Emergency Services makes the rounds in a second-floor residence lounge. Only a small group of students are still living in residences; primarily international students awaiting their opportunities to return home, with the support of the university’s international programming staff.

Physical Plant Services (PPS) vehicles.

Many members of Physical Plant Services (PPS) are also present on campus to ensure facilities stay maintained for students and for essential staff, and in preparation for the eventual return of the campus community. PPS’ Custodial Support Services even has a special response cleaning team ready to confront COVID-19.

Chairs stacked for storage at a Queen's cafeteria.

Chairs are stacked and stored in the cafeteria at Leonard Hall. Hospitality services have closed most locations, with Ban Righ dining hall left open to serve remaining staff and students. Left with large amounts of perishable food after the closure of most dining facilities, Queen’s Hospitality Services increased regular food donations to local shelters and organizations in Kingston; organizations that have also been impacted greatly by COVID-19.

Poster for CFRC Pandemic Radio show.

A poster promoting CFRC 101.9’s Radio Pandemic displayed near the entrance of David C. Smith House. The new call-in show on Queen’s campus radio station focuses on crucial news and events related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Posters promoting physical distancing are posted across campus.

Physical distancing signage has been posted widely, urging everyone to maintain two metres between themselves and others, to avoid group gatherings, and to instead try communicating in different ways, such as by video conference, telephone, or online chat.

Squirrel sits atop a colourful bin.

Faculty, staff, and students have been flexible, resourceful, and resilient as campus life has transitioned online, and our sustained efforts at physical distancing will help health care workers curtail the spread of coronavirus. Queen’s looks forward to welcoming everyone back to campus when the time is right, but for now we must be together from afar. Until then, the ever-popular campus squirrels can scurry about in peace.

For all coronavirus COVID-19 information from Queen’s, visit our website.