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Confronting COVID-19

Research community town hall scheduled for June 10

The Vice-Principal (Research) will host a Zoom town hall meeting on Thursday, June 10 at 10 am for members of the Queen’s research community.

This forum will allow researchers to ask questions, and importantly, stay connected to the wider research community during a time of remote work. While there will be an opportunity to actively ask questions during the town hall, for efficiency researchers are encouraged to send questions and concerns in advance to research@queensu.ca with the subject line “Town Hall Question”.

Please register in advance for this meeting using your Queen’s or KHSC email address. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about how to join the meeting.

Please note that the event will be recorded to confirm that appropriate follow up can be made with participants, if necessary.

Return to Campus town hall with the Principal and Medical Officer of Health

Principal Patrick Deane is hosting a virtual town Hall meeting for all faculty and staff on Thursday, May 27 starting at noon to help answer questions about what the future will look like as we transition to on-campus learning in the fall.

The principal will be joined by Kieran Moore, Medical Officer of Health, Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington (KFLA) Public Health, who can answer questions regarding public health directives, vaccinations, and how we are working together on matters of health and safety for our entire community. Provost Mark Green, Vice-Principal (Finance and Administration) Donna Janiec, Vice-Provost (Teaching and Learning) John Pierce, as well as David Walker, the Principal's Special Advisor on COVID-19, will also be present to answer questions. 

Register details for faculty, staff, and students are available on the Queen's Events Calendar.

If you wish to submit questions in advance, please send an email to principal.events@queensu.ca before noon on Wednesday, May 26. 

Queen’s opens limited outdoor facilities

The Government of Ontario recently announced a three-step roadmap to safely reopen the province, including permitting access to outdoor recreational amenities prior to the end of the Stay-at-Home Order. 

Effective Tuesday, May 25, Queen's University will re-open the following outdoor facilities for individual fitness use:
•    Nixon Field
•    Tindall Field
•    Tindall Field Running Track
•    Summerhill Tennis Courts

All provincial emergency measures and City of Kingston bylaws must be followed at all times.  

Conditions for facility use: 

  • Compliance with all provincial and public health requirements 
  • Individual activities only (e.g. singles tennis) – no team activities, no games, no classes
  • Physical distancing – minimum of 3 metres apart – required at all times 
  • Any group is limited to five people 
  • Individuals must remain at least 3 metres apart from each other
  • Face coverings must be worn at all times
  • Bring hand sanitizer/water; wash hands before/after use of the facility
  • No dogs permitted
  • Use of facilities is at one’s own risk
  • Directions of Queen's Campus Security and university staff must be followed

All other Athletics & Recreation facilities, including the Athletics and Recreation Centre and all fields and buildings at West Campus, remain closed.

Campus Security and Emergency Services will monitor facilities and enforce these conditions.

Failure to comply with all posted conditions of use will result in the closure of the facilities.

For more information, visit gogaelsgo.com/covidupdate.

Fall planning working group established

Team of faculty and staff representatives set to assist senior leadership with fall term operations planning.

Vice-Principal (Finance and Administration) Donna Janiec and Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) Mark Green provided a message on Monday updating Queen’s faculty and staff regarding the planning efforts for the fall term starting in September.

_____________________

Queen’s Faculty and Staff, 

We are writing in follow-up to Principal Deane’s fall planning message, which noted that the university is planning for a resumption of in-person activity in September. We anticipate a return to full in-person, on-campus instruction starting in the fall of 2021.  We are supported in this plan by advice from KFL&A Public Health and other health professionals, who have indicated that a return to in-person instruction can be done safely this fall based on the progress of the vaccine roll-out and the expected lifting of restrictions.

A Fall Planning Operations Working Group has been established to support senior leadership in planning for the transition. The group includes representatives from faculties, schools, and shared service units and will focus on operational matters. Senior leadership has directed this group to provide advice and create resources to assist units in the transition to on-campus work in Kingston. Plans will be subject to public health advice and guidelines and may change depending on the circumstances.

There are many complexities to consider when planning for the significant expansion of in-person campus operations. We do not have all the answers yet and we appreciate your patience as we work to identify issues and develop resources to assist units in the transition.

The university’s plans are ultimately subject to the authority of the provincial government and public health officials.  The university will continue regular discussions with public health officials for advice on the best and safest course of action as the situation evolves.

Thank you for your commitment and flexibility as we plan for the fall term.

Information on the Fall Planning Operations Working Group membership and mandate is available on the Vice-Principal (Finance and Administration) website. All updates on fall planning will continue to be posted on Queen’s COVID-19 Information website.

What are the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings?

Looking at the social impacts post-secondary institutions are creating locally and abroad.

The Times Higher Education Impact Rankings are the only global performance tables that assess universities against the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through their research, teaching, outreach, and stewardship efforts.

Over 1,000 institutions based around the globe were assessed in this year's rankings, and you can view their performance toward each of the 17 SDGs on the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings website. Find out how universities are moving toward eradicating poverty and hunger, increasing health and wellbeing, achieving gender equality, advancing climate action and clean energy, stimulating economic growth and innovation, and improving education. You can also explore Queen's University's Times Higher Education profile.

 

Moving out safely

With final exams underway and Winter Term 2021 coming to an end, many students, including those in residence, are preparing to move.

Moving is a big task and good planning is a key to moving safely. Following public health protocols is essential to helping prevent the spread of COVID-19. Currently, under the provincial stay-at-home emergency order, moving residences qualifies as an essential reason for travel.

The Mindful Move-Out page provides a wealth of information for a safe, smooth, and sustainable move out.   

Moving out of residence

Students in residence are required to move out by 3 pm on the day after their final exam. The final day for moving out of Queen’s residence is April 29. Students who are not able to move out by the scheduled timeline must fill out a Residence Extension Request, available at the Residence and Dining Portal. Students needing to stay in residence after April 29 at 3 pm, must first apply to do so by emailing reslife@queensu.ca.

Students in residence are required to:

  • Remove all belongings from their room
  • Take garbage and recycling to their building’s garbage room
  • Lock the door and ensure windows are closed
  • Hand residence keys in at the Victoria Hall front desk or the Jean Royce Hall front desk (open 24 hours)

For additional information regarding move-out procedures and storage options visit the move-out page.

Moving safely

Queen’s Residence Life and Services has worked with KFL&A Public Health to ensure a safe move-out process for all students, staff, families, and supporters. Every student can have up to two people assisting them with move-out. All visitors to campus must fill out the COVID-19 self-assessment via the SeQure app before arriving, disclosing any symptoms/contacts/direction from public health offices in the past 14 days.

Face coverings must be worn in residence at all times during the move-out process.

Please, respect social distancing expectations, including the following guidelines:

  • Maintain a space of 1-2 meters between yourself and others, including facilities and desk staff
  • Use the available hand sanitizers at each building entrance
  • Follow proper and frequent handwashing guidelines
  • Limit the number of people that come to assist you to just two
  • Bring your own move out cart if you are able

For more residence specific answers to COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions visit the Residence COVID-19 page.

Off-campus moving

To limit the number of people moving at the same time, housemates should stagger moving days and times. Maintain physical distance and wear a face covering.

Restrict the number of people you ask to help you move to those already in your household.

If hiring a moving company, do not have additional family or friends help.

For more tips on how to move safely during COVID-19 visit the KFL&A Public Health website.

For up-to-date information about COVID-19, visit the Queen's Coronavirus COVID-19 Information website.

Principal shares update on Fall Term planning

Dear members of the Queen’s University community,

Many people are wondering about our expectations and plans for the Fall Term, so I hope the following observations will be helpful and encouraging. The key message for everyone is that the imminent roll-out of mass vaccinations is giving rise to a new optimism, and despite some immediate and continuing COVID-19 challenges, we can all look with justification towards a brighter future. Because of what our public health experts are predicting, in fact, the university is planning for a resumption of in-person activity in September.

Members of the administration, students, staff and faculty have been meeting regularly to discuss how we can bring people back to campus. There are of course still many things unknown, but we are hopeful that by the time classes resume in September, most of the restrictions will be lifted and our daily operations able to return to a condition much closer to what prevailed prior to the pandemic. As we have done throughout the last year, we will continue to work with local public health, and follow whatever guidelines they and the province provide. Keeping our community safe and healthy is integral to all our planning for the future.

Our first priority lies in fulfilling our academic mission and to this end, bringing our students back into classrooms. Our research activity has also been significantly impacted by the pandemic, so we are looking to see it renewed and expanded. As we plan, we are mindful of what will be required to support faculty and students while ensuring that no one’s health is at risk. Our current planning includes flexibility for staff with a gradual return so that we can be ready to support in-person teaching and learning in September. It is likely that there will still be some restrictions in place at that time, but while these may impact our ability to host large gatherings and certain events, we believe they will not prevent our academic program moving forward.

I know that this has been a difficult time and the ups and downs of the pandemic have taken a toll. At Queen’s, we have nevertheless done an exceptional job weathering the challenges and uncertainties, and I believe the worst will soon be behind us. Together, we will regain much of what we have lost, and I believe we will be better and stronger for it.

Patrick Deane
Principal and Vice-Chancellor

Principal Deane addresses community concerns over COVID-19 cases

Principal Patrick Deane on the university’s commitment to help protect the health and safety of all community members.

On-campus COVID-19 safety signage.
Signage displaying COVID-19 safety messaging have been placed at locations across campus.

Over the last few weeks, Queen’s University has seen a significant rise in COVID-19 cases amongst our students. This began with an outbreak in our residences but we are now seeing cases both on and off campus. It is understandable that this has created a great deal of concern for many people in Kingston. It is important that the community knows Queen’s takes its responsibility to help protect the health of all the citizens of Kingston very seriously and we are actively engaged in addressing and combating any further spread of the virus. Since the start of the pandemic, the university has worked in partnership with KFL&A Public Health, Kingston Police, the City, and Kingston Health Sciences Centre to promote awareness of public health regulations and respond to actions that put the health of the Kingston community at risk. On our campus, we have strict COVID protocols in place both within the residence community and in other areas.

Sadly, the poor choices of a relatively small group of students have influenced public perceptions of our whole student body. The vast majority of Queen’s students have worked hard to comply with the provincial government’s regulations and public health guidelines throughout the pandemic. Queen’s students, like all residents of Kingston, are subject to government regulations and enforcement measures related to COVID-19. Cases referred to the university from Kingston Police or City By-Law that involve students who are alleged to have violated public health measures are considered under the Queen’s Non-Academic Misconduct process.

The current wave of this pandemic is affecting many of our young people. Controlling the spread of the new, highly contagious variants is challenging. As an additional measure of prevention, Queen’s has implemented asymptomatic testing for students on and off campus and hundreds of students have voluntarily visited our clinics for testing. Being able to identify cases early and implement contact tracing is key to stopping the spread of the virus. We also took additional precautions last week, closing our Athletics & Recreation Centre, significantly reducing food services on campus, and reducing common study spaces all in support of public health’s effort to control the virus. The Chief Medical Officer of Health has indicated that our numbers of infections are declining and that there is reason to be optimistic about any continued threat of spread of the virus.

Nevertheless, at the same time the university is redoubling efforts to reach students in the Kingston community with a social media advertising campaign that features messages focused on the heightened transmissibility of the variants of concern and the need to limit close contacts to those in their household.

No one is without fear or immune to the impact of this virus. It has isolated us at a time when kindness, compassion and caring is so essential. Queen’s does not exist apart from Kingston. The university is committed to working together and our future depends upon our continued and combined efforts to stay safe and healthy so that we all might enjoy a brighter future.

Patrick Deane
Principal and Vice-Chancellor

Queen’s medical students helping with Kingston’s vaccination rollout

More than 200 of Queen’s medical students have answered the call for assistance and have begun volunteering with Kingston Health Sciences Centre.

Queen's medical student Tania Yavorska prepares to vaccinate a patient
Queen's medical student Tania Yavorska prepares to vaccinate a patient at Kingston Health Sciences Centre (Photo by Matthew Manor / KHSC)

Canada’s vaccination rollout is picking up across the country and within the Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington region. This rapidly increasing rollout has sparked the beginning of the largest immunization campaign in Canadian history, and in order for it to run smoothly healthcare professionals across the country are being called upon to administer the delivery. As Kingston has begun to receive an increasing supply of the vaccine over the last several weeks, more than 200 of Queen’s medical students have answered the call for assistance and have begun volunteering with Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC). Every day the site, which is primarily staffed by these students, vaccinates hundreds of frontline workers, health care professionals, and senior community members. 

Tony Li, who is in his second year of medical school and is president of the Aesculapian Society, has been involved with the vaccination rollout for the last three weeks. The opportunity was borne from a medical school graduate who approached Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences Jane Philpott asking for assistance.  

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, students in the Faculty of Health Sciences have been looking for ways to support the community, and they have led many fantastic initiatives. A few weeks ago, a QMed grad, Dr. Elaine Ma, reached out to ask if the medical students would be available to help support with the rollout,” says Dean Philpott. “Our students are so eager to contribute, I was not surprised when I reached out to the Aesculapian Society and received a resounding ‘yes!’”  

Initially upper-year medical students were engaged in the vaccination clinic, but the campaign grew so quickly that all four years of medical students have had the opportunity to be involved. 

Each day at KHSC there are two four-hour shifts where medical students take part in all aspects of the vaccination process. This includes screening patients, tracking information, administering the vaccine and monitoring for adverse effects. Li describes the process as an assembly line and notes how impressed he is with its efficiency. 

“It’s a non-stop process and the four hours just fly by,” he says. “Each medical student can administer upwards of 40 to 80 vaccines in a single shift.” 

Right now, Li and his classmates are vaccinating healthcare workers, but moving forward, as the KFL&A region looks to expand its community rollout, Queen’s students will play a critical role in serving the wider community.

The School of Nursing has already created a unique placement which has allowed a student to be involved in the rollout in long-term care facilities in Kingston. Various teams, including upper-year nursing and medical students, have also been involved in the delivery of the vaccinations to priority communities, many located in the geographic north, through the Operation Remote Immunity initiative. 

As the rollout ramps up, so will the ways in which students from across health professional programs in the Faculty of Health Sciences participate. 

“I’ve been working with KFL&A Public Health,” Li says. “We built scenarios for the community rollout of a vaccine and worked out various roles for medical students, nursing students and other healthcare professionals in the faculty so that we can do our part to assist with the vaccination distribution and implementation plan. It’s exciting to know that our involvement can continue to grow.” 

While participating in the administration of the immunization campaign has served a functional role for the hospitals and community members, this experience has also provided an excellent learning opportunity for those involved. In addition to developing technical skills, the students are also practicing interacting with patients and to working effectively on inter-professional teams.  

“Before the COVID-19 pandemic, most people would go through medical school without having the experience of administering vaccines at a large-scale like we have,” Li says. “In just a few days, each medical student has already given over 100 vaccines. This will now be something that we will all be comfortable with moving forward in our training. On top of that we’re strengthening valuable clinical skills such as how to approach patients and communicate with them. There are so many benefits all around, and we’re all just so proud to be a part of it and give back to the community.”

Queen’s announces additional closures and restrictions to help prevent spread of COVID-19

Queen’s University is taking additional proactive measures to help curb the spread of COVID-19 variants of concern (VOC). On the advice of KFL&A Public Health and the university’s public health advisors, a range of campus services are being closed or restricted as a precaution. These changes are in addition to Wednesday’s announced closure of the Athletics and Recreation Centre (ARC) and include the following:

  • All retail food outlets on campus, including the Grad Club, will be restricted to takeout service only. Each operator will have the latitude to decide if they will remain open with the restrictions, or to close
  • Casual seating areas in congregate areas such as the John Deutsch University Centre (JDUC), all retail food areas in the Queen’s Centre, and casual seating in Mackintosh-Corry Hall are closed
  • The University Club remains closed

“The arrival of variants within our community is cause for much concern and we are going to do our part to help prevent further spread of the virus on our campus and beyond,” says Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) Mark Green. “We are all in this together and we are cooperating closely with our community partners to ensure all of our students are aware of what’s expected of them and to strongly encourage everyone to adhere closely to the incredibly important public health measures in place.”

The university is working closely with KFL&A Public Health to manage the growing number of COVID-19 cases in the community and continues to closely monitor students in residence through established protocols.

“Today, Public Health confirmed the virus is now spreading in small social circles, rather than through any large gatherings,” says Provost Green. “We are grateful to the vast majority of our students who have been staying home and limiting their contact with others. This was particularly apparent over the past few days as this is a time of year where we usually see St. Patrick’s Day gatherings.”

Residence dining hall operations are unchanged by today’s announcement. Take-out and online ordering is available for all students in residence and is encouraged.

Bookable study spaces remain available to students as those spaces are controlled to ensure compliance with Public Health protocols including recording information for contact tracing and masking at all times. Bookable spaces in Stauffer Library, the Education Library, Douglas Library and Mackintosh-Corry Hall remain available for use and can be reserved through the Bookable Spaces library page. Existing bookable Faculty-specific spaces also remain available for use.

COVID-19 testing on campus:

All members of the Queen’s community are reminded that even those without symptoms can spread the virus. The variants are very contagious, and the university is strongly encouraging students who have been in close contact with anyone outside their household without wearing a face covering or physical distancing, to get tested during the next two weeks, even if they are not experiencing symptoms.

Anyone developing COVID-19 symptoms should also get tested right away.

The KHSC satellite COVID-19 assessment centre located in Mitchell Hall, is regularly open to test students from Monday to Friday, 9 am to 4 pm. Appointments can be booked by calling Student Wellness Services at 613-533-2506.

The COVID-19 Assessment Centre at the Beechgrove Complex at 51 Heakes Lane, Kingston, is also available. It is open daily from 9 am to 4 pm, by appointment only.

For the latest information from the university on COVID-19, please visit https://www.queensu.ca/covidinfo/updates.

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