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Confronting COVID-19

Principal’s statement on suspension of undergraduate classes

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Queen’s University suspends classes for week of March 16-20 in response to COVID-19.

Dear Queen’s Community,

The COVID-19 situation is rapidly evolving across the globe. The university recognizes that there is a great deal of concern amongst students, staff and faculty. Our experts, including Public Health officials have advised and stated that the risk to our community remains low because we have no active cases at this time and no community spread.  For purely operational reasons starting on Monday, all undergraduate classes (excluding health professional programs) will be suspended for one week after which we will communicate our plans for alternative delivery.  We need to take time to assess how our educational programs will proceed.  The university will maintain all operations.  Some students may decide to return home and that is left to individual choice.  Residences will remain open. 

With public schools closed across Canada for the next three weeks, additional pressure has been placed on the institution.  We are working on plans for staff and faculty to assist them with childcare pressures due to school closures.  The administration will continue to work daily on communications to support those still on campus here or at our satellite offices in Canada.  Public health is an essential partner and as things change, we will be in constant communication with our community to let them know of any new direction or changes to operations.  The Coronavirus COVID-19 website  is also an excellent source of information so please check it for current information.

Please note that classes and operations at the Bader International Study Centre will continue and any changes regarding that campus will be communicated directly.

Patrick Deane, Principal and Vice-Chancellor

Prevention and response to COVID-19

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Queen’s increases communication to assist campus in coronavirus preparedness.

Following the appointment of David Walker as lead of the university’s response to coronavirus COVID-19, Queen’s is focusing its efforts on increasing communication and awareness of the virus and potential impact on the community. The university is sending out a message from the Principal to all students about the virus, current prevention strategies, and information on planning underway to address the possibility of a positive case at the university. Additional resources to promote safety and prevention have been created. Up-to-date information on the illness and the institution’s response has been posted to a central Coronavirus COVID-19 Information website, and an infographic to help promote a healthy and respectful campus community is being dispersed through social media.

“The best tool to help us prepare for the potential arrival of COVID-19 on our campus is the sharing of up-to-date information,” says Dr. Walker, Special Advisor to the Principal on Planning and Preparation for COVID-19. “As the global situation with the novel coronavirus continues to evolve, and as Canada logs new cases, Queen’s is readying its response. We hope all of our students, faculty, staff, and visitors familiarize themselves with how to best prevent infection and potential spread within our community.”

There are no identified cases of COVID-19 yet reported in Kingston and the risk on campus is low at this time. The university’s Coronavirus COVID-19 Information website also includes information about COVID-19 symptoms and response, prevention, links to public health authorities, travel advisories, and more. It will be updated daily as new developments and operational plans continue to take shape.

The newly created coronavirus COVID-19 infographic addresses common worries about the outbreak and suggests helpful tips to keep the Queen’s community safe. You can find it on Queen’s Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter accounts. People are urged to share it widely. Poster and digital screen versions of the infographic will also be displayed around campus.

Queen’s community members should contact covidinfo@queensu.ca with questions and concerns.

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.


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