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Confronting COVID-19

Library update for fall term

The Queen’s University Library is committed to continuing to support faculty, students, and staff with learning, teaching, research, and accessibility requests, while keeping everyone safe and adhering to provincial and university guidelines throughout the COVID-19 period.

The following is an update as to what the Queen’s community can expect in terms of access to spaces, materials, as well as library consultation and instruction.


Starting on Sept. 8, 150 seats in Stauffer Library were opened to all students, using a system similar to the library’s current group study room booking system. This unmediated, first-come first-serve service for Queen’s students has a limit of 32 hours per month per student in September. Safety protocols and other information is sent via email to students upon booking. All students must complete a wellness check through the SeQure app, or fill out a provided checklist if a smartphone is not available, before entering the library and library staff are available to answer questions about use of the space. Students who are registered with Queen’s Student Accessibility Services (QSAS) are now able to access the Adaptive Technology Centre. Alternate format services and access to adaptive technology are currently being provided remotely by Adaptive Technology staff. 

In the next phase, the library hopes to expand access, including plans to open additional seats in Stauffer Library and other library locations. The library is also exploring access to equipment such as computers and scanners. The date and location(s) of the next phase will be announced on the library website as soon as it is confirmed. The library will continue to expand access throughout the fall term, making adjustments as needed to prioritize everyone’s safety.


Online resources (e-journals, e-books, databases, etc.) continue to be available to support the university's academic and research mission. The library websitesubject guides and off-campus access instructions provide access to millions of information resources. Open access to the stacks will not be available during the fall term, but the library has been working on innovative ways to expand Queen’s student, faculty, and staff access to materials in the print collections including curbside pickup, scanning services, HathiTrust, a reserve reading room, and limited access to archival and special collections materials via in-person consultation.

The library’s Omni search tool can be used to request a curbside pickup of physical materials at Stauffer Library, or make a “Request for Scan” for a single book chapter, journal article, or similar fair dealing amount, subject to copyright, using the new scanning service. The library has activated the HathiTrust Emergency Temporary Access Service, which offers access to approximately 36 per cent of the print collection. Faculty are also invited to view the eReserves page for faculty and OnQ eReserves page for instructions on how to request electronic course readings for courses that will be delivered remotely this fall. 

The library is working on plans to open a reserve reading room on the main floor of Douglas Library to provide access to print course reserves for approved on-campus courses only.

Reference Consultations

Faculty, staff, and students are invited to contact liaison librarians, archivists, and special collections staff, and the Ask Us service remotely. Online consultations continue to be offered in archives and special collections from Monday to Friday and as of Sept. 21, 2020 Queen’s University Archives and W.D. Jordan Rare Books and Special Collections are welcoming researchers back into their reading rooms to consult their collections by appointment on Mondays and Tuesdays, between 9 am and 12 pm, and 1 pm and 4 pm.


The library will be offering instruction remotely this fall. Please contact your liaison librarian, archivists, or special collections staff to make arrangements.

Library plans will continue to evolve as library staff and users continue to identify priorities, within the context of the pandemic.

The library is working through a phased plan that is guiding how we will expand services and continue to support your teaching, learning, and research this fall term in a safe and supportive way. Our plans and services are being adjusted as new information is available, and we will continue to release details on the COVID-19 updates section of our website. If you have a need that is not currently addressed, ask us! We’re here to help.” says Michael Vandenburg, Interim Vice-Provost and University Librarian.

Remote learning to continue for 2021 Winter Term

The following letter by Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) Mark Green was sent to all students at Queen’s University confirming that the majority of Winter Term courses will be delivered remotely. A similar letter has also been sent to faculty and staff.

To Queen’s University Students:

I hope you are settling into your classes and adjusting to learning in these extraordinary circumstances. I would like to update you on the status of plans for the 2021 Winter Term.

With some exceptions, most courses will continue to be delivered remotely in the 2021 Winter Term. A small number of on-campus academic activities will be held based on the need for some students to access specialized facilities, such as labs or clinical settings, and to ensure all students can meet the academic requirements of their programs.

Your faculty or school will be in touch with you to confirm course delivery details for your program once plans are finalized. Information on the Bader International Study Centre (BISC) operations will be shared as soon as possible.

To adjust the current Winter Term timetable and provide classrooms for the small number of academic activities that will occur on-campus, access to your Winter Term course enrolments will be suspended during the period of Sept. 23 through Nov. 8, 2020.  Access to SOLUS will reopen on Monday, Nov. 9, 2020, to allow you to view time and room changes to Winter Term classes and make academic adjustments to your Winter Term class schedule.]

I realize the decision not to expand our on-campus academic activities in the Winter term will be disappointing to some students. Keeping students, instructors, and staff safe is always our first priority, and regardless of the class delivery format, the university remains committed to ensuring all students receive an equitable and robust learning experience.  

Programs and services to support your academic progression and personal well-being continue to be available, including academic advising, library services, and wellness support. Please reach out to your instructors or to one of the many support resources available to you if you need assistance.

Residences will be communicating in the coming weeks to all first-year students who have indicated an interest in a ‘winter term only’ residence space. Spaces will be prioritized for students with new or increasing on-campus academic activities.

Updated information will continue to be posted on the Queen’s COVID-19 website.

- Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) Mark Green

Positive test for COVID-19 confirmed at Queen’s University

Queen’s has been advised by Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox and Addington Public Health (KFL&A Public Health) of a confirmed positive COVID-19 case in the Queen’s community.

Queen’s is working closely with KFL&A Public Health and has detailed processes and protocols in place to respond quickly. Contact tracing is being conducted by KFL&A Public Health and all close contacts will be contacted directly by Public Health. The individual has followed appropriate protocols and is self-isolating.  

Our priority is the health and safety of everyone, including students, staff, faculty and the Kingston community. It is good ongoing practice to self-monitor for COVID19 symptoms including but not limited to fever, difficulty breathing, and new or worsening cough and to follow precautionary public health measures, including the use of a face covering, physical distancing, frequent hand washing, and staying home when sick. Members of the Queen’s community are encouraged to download the Queen’s SeQure App and/or the COVID Alert app to aid in contact tracing.

As a reminder, any member of the Queen's community that reports feeling ill should self-isolate and do a self-assessment. Students who screen as requiring a test should call Student Wellness Services at
(613) 533-2506 to make an appointment to visit the Campus COVID-19 Assessment Centre.  Staff and faculty who need a test should go to the Community Testing Centre (currently at the Leon’s Centre). More information on appropriate protocols is available on Queen’s COVID-19 Information website at www.queensu.ca/covidinfo.


Contacts for students and families

COVID-19 testing options on campus:

  • Campus COVID-19 Assessment Centre (Mitchell Hall, Rose Event Commons Room across from Student Wellness Centre): For students experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, who have travelled outside of Canada in the last 14 days, or who need testing due to contact tracing. Open Monday to Friday, 5pm-8pm, by appointment. Contact Student Wellness Services at 613-533-2506 to book.

Health related inquiries:

Non-health related inquires: 

  • Students in need of support should access Student Wellness Services, or the 24/7 crisis and counselling services available through Empower Me at 1-844-741-6389 (learn more about Empower Me), and Good2Talk, a provincial 24/7 post-secondary student helpline, at 1-866-925-5454.

  • The Division of Student Affairs provides information for Queen's parents, families, and supporters.

Additional COVID-19 resources:

COVID-19 preparedness an essential part of Queen’s planning

Over the last month, Queen’s has been educating students arriving in Kingston about the role they need to play in helping keep the community safe from the spread of COVID-19. At the same time, Principal Patrick Deane has directed the university to create a new Incident Command Structure to help manage possible or confirmed cases of the virus within the university community to further support efforts to protect the health and safety of all faculty, staff, and students – and the Kingston community at large.

“As this fall term gets underway, ensuring we are prepared to manage any cases of COVID-19 within our community is critical,” says Principal Deane. “I have asked Provost Mark Green to lead this effort at Queen’s. We know we must remain vigilant and have the right structure in place to help us act quickly.”

Under the Incident Command Structure, members of the Incident Command Team Executive now meet three times a week to review information on the status of any possible or known cases of COVID-19, and address any required changes to campus operations and communications. Along with the Provost, the meeting includes Dr. David Walker, Special Advisor to the Principal on COVID-19, as well as the Vice-Principal (Finance and Administration), Vice-Principal (Research), Vice-Principal (University Relations), and others.  

In the event of an outbreak, the Provost will take on the role of University Incident Commander and will activate the larger Incident Command Team, which will operate in accordance with the university’s Emergency Management Plan. If there is an impacted area or unit on campus, the relevant Dean or portfolio lead will be included in the Incident Command Team.

“The Incident Command Team has completed several scenario planning exercises with local public health officials to ensure we are prepared to make the decisions required to protect the health and safety of our community,” says Provost Green. “Gaps identified during these scenario exercises are being addressed. Of significance is the need for clear and fast communications.”

Public health support  

In the event of a confirmed case within the Queen’s community, public health will alert the university when warranted. If a student or staff member in residence tests positive, public health will immediately contact the university, as there are special protocols in place. For all other members of the Queen’s community, public health will only notify the university if they have the permission of the faculty, staff, or student involved, or if it is essential that the university be contacted for purposes of contract tracing. All guidelines make it clear that anyone who becomes aware of a confirmed case on campus should immediately inform Dan Langham (613-533-6000 x74980; dan.langham@queensu.ca) or call the Queen’s Emergency Report Centre (613-533-6111). Langham will then contact public health for confirmation and will also alert the Incident Command Team.

It is important to note there are legal restrictions to sharing personal health information under the Personal Health Information Privacy Act (PHIPA). If a member of the Queen’s community is notified of a confirmed or potential positive case, including a notice from someone who is self-reporting, any identifying personal information must be removed in emails – including the email address, name, signature block, and any other identifying information about the original sender. 


When Queen’s receives detailed information about a confirmed case of COVID-19, the Incident Command Team will determine the appropriate communications in consultation with public health and all communications must ultimately be approved by the University Incident Commander.

To limit the spread of unconfirmed or incomplete information, and to protect personal health information, units across campus should refrain from sending communications about cases of COVID-19.

More details about the university’s pandemic planning are available on the COVID-19 website which is updated daily.

Promoting active transportation during the pandemic

A Queen’s student and professor are helping Kingston imagine new possibilities for its streets.

Photograph of signs for Kingston Quiet Streets Initiative
The Kingston Quiet Streets Initiative diverts through traffic from residential streets to make room for walking, cycling, and other forms of active transportation.

Queen’s students and faculty often look for ways to make an impact on the Kingston community that they learn, teach, and research in. Recently, a professor and graduate student have been involved in Kingston Quiet Streets, a project led by the Kingston Coalition for Active Transportation (KCAT) that is making active transportation easier on several residential streets near campus during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Kingston Quiet Streets Initiative has been a great way to make a positive contribution to Kingston. It has taken months of intensive planning, but now we can see local residents taking advantage of the reduced number of cars on the quiet streets by getting out and walking, cycling, or rolling at an appropriate physical distance,” says Stephan Kukkonen, the second-year master's student in the School of Urban and Regional Planning who has been assisting with the project. “As I hope to pursue city planning after my time at Queen’s, Quiet Streets has also been a great way to get practical experience.”

The aim of Quiet Streets is to enable people using active transportation to make use of the entire roadway, not just sidewalks or the side of the street. With strategically placed signs and barriers at 44 intersections, Quiet Streets diverts motorized through traffic from select streets, asking drivers to reserve these roads for walking, cycling, and other forms of active transportation. The increased amount of available space on the streets makes it easier for people to get active outside while maintaining physical distance. All streets involved in the project remain open to the local traffic.

Kukkonen got involved in Quiet Streets through his position as a project assistant for Patricia Collins, associate professor in the School of Urban and Regional Planning. Dr. Collins and Kukkonen have worked with KCAT on all stages of the project, from identifying locations, to securing approval from the City of Kingston and setting up the signs and barriers.

“Without the help of Stephan and Dr. Collins, Quiet Streets would not have come about as quickly as it has. We hope that this pilot initiative shows the value of having streets more accessible to active transportation, and that we can continue, expand, and improve the program in the future,” says Bruce Bursey, a volunteer for KCAT. “During the pandemic, it’s more important than ever for people to have safe ways to be active outdoors.”

Early in the planning process, Kukkonen and Dr. Collins measured traffic patterns on potential streets to determine suitability. Once the pilot has been in place for several weeks, they will observe patterns again to measure the effectiveness of the program. They are also surveying both users of the Quiet Streets and residents who live on them to gauge the community’s attitudes on the pilot.

The signs and barriers went up on several Kingston streets in late August, and the pilot will run until mid-November.

Learn more about the Kingston Quiet Streets Pilot Initiative on the KCAT website.

While most university operations will still be conducted remotely throughout the fall semester, Queen’s has programs in place to promote active transportation to campus for all students, faculty, and staff. Learn more on the Sustainable Queen’s website.

Making sense of COVID-19 tests and terminology

Drawing of a medical professional administering a COVID-19 test

During the COVID-19 pandemic, words and phrases that have typically been limited to epidemiologists and public health professionals have entered the public sphere. Although we’ve rapidly accepted epidemiology-based news, the public hasn’t been given the chance to fully absorb what all these terms really mean.

As with all disease tests, a false positive result on a COVID-19 test can cause undue stress on individuals as they try to navigate their diagnosis, take days off work and isolate from family. One high-profile example was Ohio Governor Mike DeWine whose false positive result led him to cancel a meeting with President Donald Trump.

False negative test results are even more dangerous, as people may think it is safe and appropriate for them to engage in social activities. Of course, factors such as the type of test, whether the individual had symptoms before being tested and the timing of the test can also impact how well the test predicts whether someone is infected.

Sensitivity and specificity are two extremely important scientific concepts for understanding the results of COVID-19 tests.

In the epidemiological context, sensitivity is the proportion of true positives that are correctly identified. If 100 people have a disease, and the test identifies 90 of these people as having the disease, the sensitivity of the test is 90 per cent.

A lab technician handles a specimen that has tested positive for COVID-19
A lab technician handles a specimen that has tested positive for COVID-19. (Unsplash/Prasesh Shiwakoti)

Specificity is the ability of a test to correctly identify those without the disease. If 100 people don’t have the disease, and the test correctly identifies 90 people as disease-free, the test has a specificity of 90 per cent.

This simple table helps outline how sensitivity and specificity are calculated when the prevalence — the percentage of the population that actually has the disease — is 25 per cent (totals in bold):

Table showing number of positive and negative tests in rows, and number or disease cases (total 25,000) and disease-free cases (total 75,000) in columns, along with the sensitivity of 80 per cent and the specificity of 90 per cent.
Sensitivity and specificity at 25 per cent disease prevalence. (Priyanka Gogna), Author provided


A test sensitivity of 80 per cent can seem great for a newly released test (like for the made-up case numbers I reported above).

Predictive value

But these numbers don’t convey the whole message. The usefulness of a test in a population is not determined by its sensitivity and specificity. When we use sensitivity and specificity, we are figuring out how well a test works when we already know which people do, and don’t, have the disease.

But the true value of a test in a real-world setting comes from its ability to correctly predict who is infected and who is not. This makes sense because in a real-world setting, we don’t know who truly has the disease — we rely on the test itself to tell us. We use the positive predictive value and negative predictive value of a test to summarize that test’s predictive ability.

A health-care worker prepares a swab at a walk-in COVID-19 test clinic. (Unsplash/Mufid Majnun)

To drive the point home, think about this: in a population in which no one has the disease, even a test that is terrible at detecting anyone with the disease will appear to work great. It will “correctly” identify most people as not having the disease. This has more to do with how many people have the disease in a population (prevalence) rather than how well the test works.

Using the same numbers as above, we can estimate the positive predictive value (PPV) and negative predictive value (NPV), but this time we focus on the row totals (in bold).

The PPV is calculated as the number of true positives divided by the total number of people identified as positive by the test.

Table showing number of positive and negative tests in rows, and columns with numbers of disease cases, disease-free cases, totals and PPV of 73 per cent and NPV of 93 per cent.
Positive and negative predictive value at 25 per cent disease prevalence. (Priyanka Gogna), Author provided


The PPV is interpreted as the probability that someone that has tested positive actually has the disease. The NPV is the probability that someone that tested negative does not have the disease. Although sensitivity and specificity do not change as the proportion of diseased individuals changes in a population, the PPV and NPV are heavily dependent on the prevalence.

Let’s see what happens when we redraw our disease table when the population prevalence sits at one per cent instead of 25 per cent (much closer to the true prevalence of COVID-19 in Canada).

Table showing numbers of positive and negative test results in rows, and disease cases, disease-free cases and totals in columns, along with values for sensitivity (80 per cent), specificity (90 per cent), PPV (seven per cent) and NPV (99.8 per cent)
Sensitivity, specificity, PPV and NPV at one per cent disease prevalence. (Priyanka Gogna), Author provided


So, when the disease has low prevalence, the PPV of the test can be very low. This means that the probability that someone that tested positive actually has COVID-19 is low. Of course, depending on the sensitivity, specificity and the prevalence in the population, the reverse can be true as well: someone that tested negative might not truly be disease-free.

False positive and false negative tests in real life

What does this mean as mass testing begins for COVID-19? At the very least it means the public should have clear information about the implications of false positives. All individuals should be aware of the possibility of a false positive or false negative test, especially as we move to a heavier reliance on testing this fall to inform our actions and decisions. As we can see using some simple tables and math above, the PPV and NPV can be limiting even in the face of a “good” test with high sensitivity and specificity.

Without adequate understanding of the science behind testing and why false positives and false negatives happen, we might drive the public to further mistrust — and even question the usefulness — of public health and testing. Knowledge is power in this pandemic.The Conversation


Priyanka Gogna, PhD Candidate, Epidemiology, Queen's University.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Informing and welcoming off-campus students

Queen’s leadership and staff are distributing COVID-19 information kits in near-campus neighbourhoods.

Queen's senior leadership team members welcome Queen's students in the University District
Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) Mark Green, left, and Vice-Principal (University Relations) Michael Fraser stop at a house in the University District to welcome back students and provide important information related to COVID-19. (University Communications)

As the fall semester gets underway, Queen’s is going door-to-door to make sure students living off campus in Kingston feel welcomed, safe, and fully informed about their role during the pandemic. Over the past week, Queen’s staff and leadership have been walking through the university district neighbourhoods to hand out welcome kits full of important information related to COVID-19 to students in rented houses and apartments near the campus.

“This is an unusual year where students living in Kingston will have limited activity on campus, and we want to make sure that they feel welcomed and supported by the university. Their responsibilities to the community also look different this year, as they have a critical role to play to help keep everyone safe during the pandemic,” says Mark Green, Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic).  “These packages are a part of the university’s larger ongoing plan to educate students on protecting themselves and the Kingston community.”

As they knock on doors, the Queen’s representatives are also having frank and productive conversations with students. All interactions are happening at an appropriate physical distance and with masks. And welcome kits are left outside the door so students can pick them up without contact.

“We are having great conversations with students and have been able to answer a lot of their questions about COVID-19 and about what it takes to be a good neighbour and citizen. And we’ve also gotten a good sense of how students are feeling and what their concerns are. This will help us support them going forward,” says Lindsay Winger, Assistant Dean, Support Services and Student Engagement.

The welcome kits include the COVID-19 Prevention Checklist and the Know your Student Household COVID-19 Plan. These documents help students understand the steps they can take to protect themselves from COVID-19 and how to develop a plan in case someone in their household becomes ill or needs to self-isolate.  

The Off-Campus Student Living Guide, also included in the welcome kits, helps connect students to all of the services and supports available from the university. It also helps them understand how to play a positive role in the community during the pandemic. The guide covers a wide variety of topics, including tips on staying informed, getting engaged in the community, keeping the community safe, and exploring Kingston.  

Rounding out the kits are some useful items for student households. Each kit comes with a bottle of hand sanitizer, courtesy of Student Wellness Services, and also a refrigerator magnet, so that students can keep important documents in a common area where all housemates can access them. A poster supplied by the Arts and Science Undergraduate Society (ASUS) provides helpful information about utilities and garbage in Kingston. And KFL&A Public Health contributes some documents about health and safety guidelines.

Jenn Stephenson at the door
Associate Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science Jenn Stephenson, left, and student volunteer Emma Ritcey, right, provide a welcome package and speak with a student living in the University District. (University Communications) 

Keeping the campus and community safe

This outreach effort is part of the broader campaign Queen’s has been engaged in to promote public health and safety for new and returning students. Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane and student leaders have sent a message to all students, encouraging them to follow all public health guidelines while in Kingston. Queen’s has also been sending a high volume of safety messages to students through a social media campaign.

As Queen’s resumes limited on-campus activities, it is taking extensive measures to ensure health and safety. A reduced number of students moved into residences over a five-day period under a new process that ensured physical distancing. The Athletics and Recreation Centre has begun a phased reopening with many new health and safety protocols. And a COVID-19 assessment tool has been added to SeQure, the Queen’s mobile safety app.

To learn more, visit the COVID-19 information website.


Connecting students with Kingston

A group of students is launching a website to help their peers get involved in the local community.

Photograph of downtown Kingston
The KS ConnectHub will help students find ways to safely take part in and give back to the Kingston community during the pandemic.

Part of the student experience at Queen’s is taking part in the Kingston community. But due to COVID-19, the reduced number of students in Kingston may be wondering how they can safely and responsibly get involved in the city. That’s why a group of Queen’s students in the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre (DDQIC) Spread Innovation Challenge is creating the KS ConnectHub (Kingston-Student ConnectHub), a website to help the tricolour community find ways to safely take part in and give back to the Kingston community during the pandemic.

“We feel a strong sense of connection to the Kingston community, and we wanted to find a way to help the people and businesses in town during this time. And we also wanted to do something to help students safely stay involved with the community despite everything that’s going on,” says Taylore Dodd, a Queen’s undergraduate in Arts and Science and one of the founders of KS ConnectHub

KS ConnectHub serves as a hub for information about Kingston businesses and non-profit organizations. Profiling a wide range of organizations, the website is organized around three pillars: Support Local, Get Involved, and Donate. These three categories show users options for exploring local businesses, volunteering with community groups, and donating to non-profits, respectively. It is designed with Queen’s students in mind, but anyone will be able use the site.

KS ConnectHub is led by a team of four founders, all of them students in the Faculty of Arts and Science. In addition to Dodd, the founders are Jack Chen, Simmona Coelho, and Yuelin Ge.

Surveying students and working with local leaders

To make sure their website addressed a real need, the KS ConnectHub team surveyed the Queen’s student body to learn their attitudes about COVID-19 and the coming academic year. They found that many new and returning students were concerned that they might not have a sense of connection to the Kingston community due to physical distancing.

“When we saw that students felt like they needed ways to connect to Kingston and safely take part in the life of the area, we knew that KS ConnectHub would offer something of value to Queen’s students, no matter what year or program they’re in,” says Dodd. “We hope that KS ConnectHub can make students feel less isolated during the pandemic, even while practicing all physical distancing and safety measures.”

The KS ConnectHub team has also been consulting with local leaders, including officials in the municipal government, to make sure that they are directing potential volunteers and donations to organizations that would have the most significant impact on the community.

Launching the website

The KS ConnectHub website is scheduled to launch during orientation so that it is up and running for the start of the fall term, when a reduced number of students will be returning to campus and the Kingston area. A number of local businesses and organizations are already working with KS ConnectHub to be featured on the website. And the team is still welcoming suggestions for additional businesses and organizations to feature. They are also seeking student volunteers to help manage the website.

All suggestions and enquiries can be directed to ksconnecthub@gmail.com.

KS ConnectHub is just one of the student-led ventures taking part in the DDQIC Spread Innovation Challenge. Through the challenge, the DDQIC is providing funding and mentorship to teams of student entrepreneurs who are building solutions to tackle the challenges facing healthcare systems, livelihoods, economies, and communities during COVID-19.

To keep up with KS Connect Hub, follow them on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn @ksconnecthub.

A safe start to move-in

First-year students who opted for a residence room on campus will be carefully moving in this week.

  • A sign displays the steps for the key pick-up process
    Signs at Richardson Stadium lay out the steps for the contactless key pick-up process.
  • Student volunteers help guide people through the key pick-up process
    Students remain in their vehicles while staff members hand them their keys through the window.
  • A first-year student removes items from the back of an SUV as he moves into residence
    A student unloads boxes to move into Victoria Hall.
  • Carts are lined up at Victoria Hall behind a sign explaining the sanitization process
    Carts and frequently touched surfaces like door handles are sanitized routinely.
  • A student and a parent move items out of the back of an SUV as she moves into residence
    A student gets ready to move into Leonard Hall.
  • A student is helped as she uses carts to move in to residence.
    A student uses a sanitized cart to bring her belongings into her new residence room.

The residence move-in process kicked off on Tuesday, Sept. 1. Typically, more than 4,000 students move in on one day over Labour Day weekend. This year, fewer than 2,000 students will be moving in over a five-day period that runs until Sept. 5.

Queen’s has put many physical distancing measures in place through all stages of the move-in process to promote the health and safety of the campus and the Kingston community. When students first arrive, they head to Richardson Stadium, where there is a contactless key pick-up location. Students remain in their cars, and a Queen’s staff member hands them their room keys through the window.

There are also staggered times for moving in during each of the five days, to ensure that students can practice physical distancing. At each residence hall, frequently touched surfaces, such as carts and elevator buttons, are sanitized routinely.

While they live in residence, students will be protected by a variety of safety measures. No guests will be permitted into any residence building. All students will be living in single rooms and sharing a bathroom with only a small number of other students. To limit the number of people students are in contact with, floors are being organized by academic program.

Move-in day usually marks the beginning of orientation. This year, orientation is entirely online, and it began on Aug. 24 and will run until Sept. 4.

To learn more, visit the residence website and the orientation website.

Safely moving into residence

New procedures for student move-in will support campus and community safety.

Photograph of Leonard Hall
Move-in for the reduced number of students living on campus will take place from Sept.1 to Sept. 5 at staggered times throughout the day.

The Labour Day weekend is usually an incredibly busy one at Queen’s, with first-year students all moving into residence for the start of the fall term. It’s also an important milestone for the students who move in, as unpacking their boxes in their residence room marks the beginning of their Queen’s experience.  

Due to COVID-19, moving in will look different this year for the reduced number of students living on campus. A new move-in process is being implemented to prioritize the health and safety of students, their families and supporters, staff, and the Kingston community.

This year, move in will take place over five days from Sept. 1 to Sept. 5 at staggered times throughout the day.

“Keeping students, families, supports, Queen’s staff, and the community safe during move-in is our top priority. Our new procedures will make it possible for everyone to maintain a safe physical distance throughout the process,” says Leah Wales, Executive Director, Housing and Ancillary Services.

For the fall, Queen’s has reduced the number of students who can live in residence to approximately half of the usual total. And only 10 of the 17 buildings will be in use.

During the move-in week, no more than 450 students will move into residence on one day, and students can bring a maximum of two people with them for assistance. When they arrive on campus, students will head to Richardson Stadium, where there is a contactless check-in station. Students will remain in their cars while they pick up the key to their room.  Queen’s staff will be present during the move-in days to provide information and directions, however the typical large numbers of volunteers will not be involved in move-in this year, in order to maintain physical distancing.

Additional measures have been put in place inside the residences to promote safety during all move-in days. There is a planned movement flow throughout the buildings to maximize physical distancing, everyone must wear a face covering, and the university has placed COVID-19 informational signs and hand sanitizers throughout all buildings. There will be frequent cleanings of surfaces such as door handles and elevator buttons throughout each day.

Traffic and parking

Compared to previous years, move-in days will have limited impact on traffic and parking in the campus area. There will be no closures of public streets around residence buildings.

Bader Lane will be restricted to one-way traffic, west-bound only, and no parking will be permitted on the street. These changes will be in effect from Tuesday Sept. 1 at 8 am through Saturday Sept. 5 at 9 pm. In addition, parking restrictions will be in place for the five-day period, on the following streets:

  • Lower Albert, from Queen’s Crescent to King St.
  • Queen’s Crescent
  • Collingwood St., from King to Queen’s Crescent
  • Stuart St., from University to Albert

Representatives from the City of Kingston have approved the university’s traffic management plan.

Safe return to campus

While they live in residence, students will be protected by a variety of safety measures. No guests will be permitted into any residence building. All students will be living in single rooms and sharing a bathroom with only a small number of other students. To limit the number of people students are in contact with, floors are being organized by academic program.

Queen’s is taking a variety of actions to ensure the safety of the campus and Kingston communities beyond residences as well. New and returning students are being asked to take important safety measures, including testing and limiting contact with others. The university has also launched a communications and advertising campaign that directs students to important information that will help them keep themselves and the campus and Kingston communities safe.

Learn more about plans for residence move-in days and residence safety on the Queen’s Residences website.

For more information about the university’s plans for the fall semester, see the Queen’s COVID-19 website.


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