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Confronting COVID-19

Province approves in-person academic activities for fall term

Under updated framework Queen’s proceeding with in-person academic instruction, while other campus activities will remain under provincial Step 3 requirements.

With the fall academic term set to start, the provincial government has announced important updates to its Postsecondary Educational Health Measures Framework for Fall 2021 to support the health and safety of students, faculty, and staff.

Effective Sept. 7, 2021, universities and colleges will not be subject to physical distancing or capacity limit requirements for indoor instructional spaces, including classrooms, labs, libraries, and in-person experiential learning etc. This change allows Queen’s to proceed with our detailed plans for in-person academic activities throughout the fall term.

At the same time, all members of the Queen’s community must be aware that this change applies only to indoor instructional activities. In outdoor instructional spaces, capacity limits apply and physical distancing of at least two metres from everyone else is still required, except for necessary teaching and instruction that cannot be effectively provided with physical distancing.

All other requirements under Step 3 of the Roadmap for Reopening Ontario remain in place on university property indefinitely. This includes mandatory masking in all indoor settings, maintaining physical distancing in all indoor areas open to the public, and adherence to the current limit on outdoor gatherings and public events to a maximum of 100 people.

The framework also confirms that students will be allowed to live in residences and other on-campus accommodations as planned with some restrictions, including masking, capacity level limits in some common areas, and reduced in-person programs and activities.

The university is seeking more guidance from the province on how the framework updates may impact the many dining and restaurant facilities on campus.

Other restrictions on campus services that will remain in place under Step 3 include capacity limits at the Athletics and Recreation Centre, as well as on campus museums and performance venues, such as the Agnes Etherington Art Centre and the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts. Some non-essential retail services may be increasing service in the coming days. Please check the relevant service websites for up-to-date information.

Mandatory vaccination and provincial passport

Along with the updated framework, the provincial government is also requiring universities and colleges to implement mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for everyone taking part in university activities in person. Today Queen’s launched a vaccination status declaration form for students, faculty, and staff to complete as soon as possible. More information and a link to the declaration form are now available on the Safe Return to Campus website.

Queen’s is also seeking guidance from the provincial government about the new vaccination certification system it announced. Under the plan, in order to access certain high-risk indoor public settings and facilities, Ontarians will need to be fully vaccinated by Sept. 22, 2021 and provide proof of their vaccination, along with photo ID. The province will follow this up with the introduction of a digital vaccination receipt that features a QR code and a new app for businesses and organizations to verify full vaccination.

Queen’s will share more information of this certification system and how it might support university operations as more details become available.

For more information on Queen’s ongoing efforts to prioritize the health and safety of everyone in the Queen’s and Kingston communities, visit the Safe Return to Campus website.

Queen’s launches online vaccination status declaration form

Principal Patrick Deane sends email to Queen’s community to launch form and encourage everyone to share their vaccination status as soon as possible.

Dear Queen’s community,

As we prepare for the beginning of the fall term, your health and safety remains the highest priority of the university. That is why on Aug. 26 we strengthened our safety measures against COVID-19 by joining other universities and colleges in Ontario in implementing mandatory COVID-19 vaccination requirements. Under the new policy, all individuals (students, staff, faculty, contractors, and visitors) who are participating in university activities in person, either on Queen’s campus or other Queen’s property, must be vaccinated.

To effectively implement this new mandate, we must collect information about the vaccination status of all members of the Queen’s community. To that end, I am writing to inform you that the university has today launched a vaccination status declaration form that must be completed by all students, faculty members, and staff.

Individuals who declare they are fully vaccinated will be required to upload proof of their vaccination status. For individuals who request an accommodation for reasons protected under the Ontario Human Rights Code, a confidential process for assessing those requests through the relevant offices will be followed.

Ensuring high vaccination rates remains the most important way we can protect the public health during the pandemic and reduce the spread of COVID-19.

You can find the vaccination status declaration form, further details about our vaccine requirement, and information on obtaining vaccination on the Queen’s Safe Return website.

I also want to make you aware that late last night the provincial government informed us that we will be able to proceed with our plans for in-person instruction this fall. We are not yet sure of the implications for non-academic offerings, such as on-campus dining. Additional information will be provided as we work through the details of the announcement. The government is also expected to make another announcement about vaccination passports. We will inform the community of the impact of all these announcements as we learn more. As always, I want to thank you for your patience and resiliency as we navigate the new challenges of managing our operations during the pandemic.  

Patrick Deane
Principal and Vice-Chancellor

Update to Queen’s mandatory COVID-19 vaccination requirements

Queen’s implementing mandatory COVID-19 vaccination requirements for all individuals participating in university activities in person.

The health and safety of the Queen’s and Kingston communities remains our highest priority. Recently, all universities and colleges in Ontario received a letter from the Council of Ontario Medical Officers of Health (COMOH), recommending mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policies at all post-secondary institutions across the 34 Public Health regions in the province. Building upon our previous announcement and in response to these recommendations, Queen’s University is joining other universities and colleges in Ontario in implementing mandatory COVID-19 vaccination requirements for all individuals (students, staff, faculty, contractors, and visitors) participating in university activities in person, either on Queen’s campus or other Queen’s property.

All individuals who are participating in university activities in person must attest to receiving their first dose of a Health Canada- or World Health Organization (WHO)-approved vaccine before they come to campus via an online tool, which is expected to be launched by Sept. 1, and must receive their final required dose of vaccine no later than Oct. 15, 2021.

Individuals will also be required to upload proof of their vaccination status via the online tool. More information about how to access the tool and how to provide proof of vaccination status will be announced in the coming days. Individuals coming to campus prior to Sept. 1 are expected to comply with this mandatory vaccination direction.

Any individual who requires an accommodation under the Ontario Human Rights Code with respect to vaccination status must formally request such an accommodation and provide supporting documentation. All individuals who are not fully vaccinated due to an approved accommodated need or who are awaiting their second or final dose are required to adhere to additional health and safety measures, including, but not limited to, twice weekly rapid testing.

Individuals are not considered fully vaccinated until 14 days after their second and/or final dose of a vaccine protocol. Questions regarding vaccine status should be directed to an individual’s local public health office. Until full vaccination status is reached, individuals must adhere to additional health and safety measures.

Unvaccinated individuals without an approved accommodation will not be able to attend campus or participate in any university activity in person.

This update recognizes that vaccination against COVID-19 remains the single most effective public health measure to reduce the spread of the virus. We will continue to work closely with public health officials and stress adherence to all other public health measures. We will continue to adapt our requirements as public health recommendations evolve.

Queen’s is facilitating access to vaccines starting the week of Sept. 1 with a pop-up clinic at Richardson Stadium, however we encourage all members of the Queen’s community to receive vaccinations as soon as possible as they are widely available. Find a vaccination clinic near you in Ontario or contact your local public health unit, if elsewhere.

International students travelling to Canada with questions can get more information about their vaccine regime on the Student Wellness Services website. It is important that individuals receiving vaccines outside of Canada contact public health for information on additional COVID-19 vaccines that may be required as well as any timing concerns for receiving those vaccines in order to be considered fully vaccinated. 

Students in the health professions (medicine, nursing, rehabilitation therapy) will receive information from their programs about additional requirements.

Students, faculty, and staff who are engaged in research activity off campus, including field and in-person human participant research, are also subject to the mandatory vaccination requirement. Additional details will be available on the Vice-Principal (Research) website.

For more information regarding Queen’s response to COVID-19, please visit the Safe Return to Campus website.

Step Two of Reopening Ontario Plan

The provincial government has announced that Step 2 of the Reopening Ontario Plan will begin on Wednesday, June 30.

Under the provincial regulations for Step 2 of the Reopening Ontario Plan, on-campus access for employees remains limited. Only employees with essential on-campus positions or those who must be on campus to do their work should be on campus. Approved research activity has been prioritized as essential and can continue subject to the Queen’s approval processes through Faculty Associate Deans of Research. All other faculty, staff, senior administration, and student leadership must continue to work remotely except for required ad hoc access (for example, to record a lecture, print documents, or retrieve files) or those with accommodation requirements.

The following changes to facility and on-campus operations will take effect in the coming days. All other on-campus restrictions remain in place.

Beginning June 30, in-person teaching or instruction for any program may open, subject to the following conditions:

     - a 2-metre physical distance is required, except where teaching and instruction cannot be effectively provided if physical distancing is maintained.

     - a 50-person capacity limit for indoor instructional space, and a 100-person limit for outdoor space.

Beginning July 6, outdoor group fitness, varsity training, intramural sports and sport leagues modified to avoid personal contact are permitted. Capacity is limited to 60 people per field and participants must maintain 3 metres of physical distance during exercise/training. Please see the Athletics & Recreation website for more details.

  • Beginning July 6, Stauffer Library will be open for seat booking, with up to 25 per cent of seating capacity. Curbside pickup, scanning, and digital services remain up and running. Detailed information is available on the library’s website.
  • Some non-essential retail services and restaurant patios may be expanding capacity in the coming days. Please check service websites for up-to-date information.
  • Other minor operational changes permitted under the guidelines will be communicated to specific units as needed. Please check service websites for up-to-date information on operations.

We will provide further updates regarding campus access when the regulations for Step 3 of the Reopening Ontario Plan are released.

Queen’s experts provide insight into our post-pandemic future

On June 29, multimedia journalist and Queen’s alumnus Elamin Abdelmahmoud will moderate a candid discussion on how we can move beyond COVID.

[Road to Recovery: Reintegration - Queen's Virtual Event]

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on our health, economy, and society. It has challenged individuals and institutions to think creatively about how they can harness their resources to help confront the crisis, politically, economically, and socially. As vaccination rates rise, cases drop, and businesses reopen, Canadians and global citizens are attempting to return to so-called “normal life.” This has led to myriad questions related to reintegration and reconnection – What does integration back to the classroom and office look like? What are the implications for our physical and mental health and how can we address them? How has society changed over the past 18 months and what have we learned about ourselves and each other?

To help answer some of these questions, University Relations, Advancement, and the Faculty of Health Sciences have joined forces to host Road to Recovery: Reintegration. This free, open-to-the-public event will be held virtually on Tuesday, June 29 at 11 a.m. EDT and will feature a panel of Queen’s alumni and research experts who will share their views on work, social norms, and life in a post-pandemic world.

The panel discussion will be moderated by Elamin Abdelmahmoud (Artsci’11) and host of CBC’s weekly pop culture podcast Pop Chat, co-host of CBC’s political podcast Party Lines, and culture editor for BuzzFeed news. In a recent interview about the series, Abdelmahmoud explained some of his reasons for hosting the event, saying, “When it comes to reintegration, I have a lot of questions. I am anxious to return to some semblance of normality but I don’t know what that looks like anymore. I would love to get some answers from people who study these questions for a living.”    

During Tuesday’s discussion, Abdelmahmoud will be joined by a number of experts in health care, education, research, and policy-making at the local, national, and international levels. They are:

  • Tina Dacin – Stephen J.R. Smith Chaired Professor of Strategy and Organizational Behaviour and the Director of the Community Impact Research Program in the Smith School of Business
  • Gerald Evans – Chair, Division of Infectious Diseases at Queen’s University and Attending Physician in Infectious Diseases at Kingston Health Sciences Centre
  • Allyson G. Harrison – Clinical Neuropsychologist and the Clinical Director of the Regional Assessment and Resource Center at Queen’s
  • Scott McFarlane, BA/BPHE’97, BEd’98, MEd’07 is a Vice-Principal with the Limestone District School Board 

To register for the event and join the discussion, visit the website.

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.

 

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