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Confronting COVID-19

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.

A national health data infrastructure could manage pandemics with less disruption

 

A young man on a subway wears a mask
Using data to manage the spread of coronavirus means that work and everyday life could quickly resume. (Shutterstock)

If we did not know it before, we know it now: pandemics present dire threats to our lives, similar to climate change and nuclear proliferation. Confronting these threats requires social and technical innovation and the willingness to view potential solutions in entirely new ways.

As Canada struggles with calibrating its response to COVID-19, the limits of our existing crisis strategies are plain to see.

Political leaders are stuck between controlling the spread of the pandemic and resuming commercial and economic activity. How quickly should restrictions on confinement and social distancing be relaxed? And for whom? Their responses rely largely on the extensive use of personal protective equipment (notably masks), deployment of immunity tests and test-and-tracing technologies.

There are two problems with this approach: first, they are based on after-the-fact views of COVID-19’s spread. And second, this approach treats the pandemic as a medical problem.

Managing the unknowns

The facts of this virus are becoming clear. While it is hard to know who is infected given that many may be asymptomatic, we do know that the vast majority of those who become infected will not experience severe symptoms. Data from France show that if everyone gets infected, only approximately one per cent of the population will experience symptoms severe enough to require admission to an intensive care unit.

Instead of using the blunt instrument approach of designing public health policy for an entire population, would it make more sense to predict who would fall into that highly vulnerable one per cent group and then devote the state’s resources to protecting them. That way, those who are less vulnerable can continue about their lives, while those who are more vulnerable would be better protected.

Different perspectives

Governments are not following this path. They see COVID-19 as primarily a medical problem when it is really an information problem. If it were to be seen as an information problem, then potential solutions are possible. These solutions use advanced information technologies that have proven successful in other contexts.

Consider personalized prediction. Machine-learning models fed with vast quantities of health data, for example, could be trained to make clinical risk predictions. Public health leaders could use these prediction models to identify those who are vulnerable and who would need to be quarantined and prioritized for access to scarce medical resources, such as personal protective equipment, dedicated health support, free delivery of groceries and other necessities.

Personalized prediction, based on machine learning and artificial intelligence, has transformed businesses over the last 20 years. Netflix evaluates consumers’ characteristics and past choices to make personalized recommendations about what they might watch next. Amazon uses the same approach to recommend future purchases based on past spending behaviour.

A similar approach could be taken to measure individuals’ clinical risk of suffering severe outcomes if infected during a pandemic such as COVID-19. What would this look like if rolled out on a country-wide scale?

Each person would receive an electronic message with their clinical risk score, which would be derived automatically from their medical records and reflect how vulnerable they are to a particular virus. Those with predicted scores above a certain threshold would be classified as “severe” or “high risk.” They would be temporarily isolated and supported. Those with scores below a threshold would be able to return to a more-or-less normal life.

A young man with a mask works at a laptop.
Identifying and protecting the more vulnerable members of a population would enable the development of herd immunity, and a quicker return to work. (Shutterstock)

Data-informed policies

A personalized approach to clinical risk during a pandemic outbreak has multiple benefits. It could protect medical systems from being overwhelmed and communities from the economic pain of indiscriminate lock-downs. It could help build herd immunity with lower mortality — and fast. It could also allow a more targeted and fairer allocation of resources, from test kits to hospital beds. Unlike medical tests that are scarce, expensive and slow to deploy, a data-driven digital personalization approach could be applied quickly and is relatively easy to scale.

An approach based on data science and machine learning could also enable safer de-confinement at a much faster rate than current best practices. In one study, my co-authors and I used COVID-19 data from France as of early May 2020 to understand the public health policies regarding the enacting and lifting of restrictions intended to control the spread of disease.

Our simulations show that isolation entry and exit policies could be substantially faster and safer using personalized prediction models. Our simulations indicated that the complete lifting of COVID-19 restrictions could be undertaken in six months, with only 30 per cent of the population being under strict isolation for longer than three months — all without overwhelming the medical system. In contrast, using conventional methods, simulations indicated that the complete exit would take 17 months, and 40 per cent of the population would be subject to strict isolation for more than one year.

This ideal scenario may seem like a moonshot, but a simple version could be designed and rolled out fairly quickly. Governments can focus on the data and models that can be deployed for COVID-19. For example, age, body mass index and hypertension and diabetes data for each person — all of which can be assessed at a community pharmacy for everyone within weeks and applied to an individual’s health card — can be used to train models. Even with just this information, public policy can be much more targeted.

National data infrastructure

What would need to happen to implement this new model on a province- or country-wide basis? For one thing, a deep data pool. Training a machine learning model for a pandemic such as COVID-19 would require data on thousands of people who tested positive and were hospitalized for the virus. It would also require medical data for everyone else in the population, akin to the information dossiers that big tech firms such as Facebook or Netflix have on consumers.

This is why government commitment to building a robust health data infrastructure is so important. Unfortunately, in Canada as elsewhere, the state of electronic health records varies widely. Depending on the jurisdiction, records may be incomplete or difficult to access, and information may not be standardized. A commitment to address these shortcomings is paramount. Privacy protections and cybersecurity provisions would need to be developed and well communicated.

As COVID-19 shows, the upside of applying advanced analytical tools used successfully elsewhere vastly outweighs the downside of staying the course. The question is not whether countries can apply artificial intelligence at a health-system scale. It is already being used at scale for commercial purposes that hardly involve life-or-death issues. The question for policy makers is: Can we afford not to go down this path?The Conversation

_________________________________________________________________

Anton Ovchinnikov, Distinguished Professor of Management Analytics at Smith School of Business, Queen's University.

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

Supporting research at Queen’s University

The Vice-Principal (Research) at Queen’s provides internal funding to help researchers accelerate their programs and engage in knowledge mobilization.

Queen’s University has awarded more than $1 million in funding to its researchers. Through unique competitions such as Wicked Ideas, Queen's Research Opportunities Fund, and national programs like the SSHRC Institutional Grant (SIG), the Vice-Principal (Research) is supporting researchers at all stages of their careers and across all disciplines – from discovering innovative solutions, to artistic production, and knowledge mobilization.

In its inaugural year, the Wicked Ideas initiative was designed to support research collaborations across disciplines tackling wicked problems, issues so multi-dimensional and complex that they require multiple perspectives to solve them. Some of the successful projects include exploring cleantech, Lyme disease, and microplastics.

Additionally, through the internal funding initiatives several grants were also awarded to Queen’s researchers who have pivoted their research to help confront COVID-19. These projects ranged from determinants of self-rated health, to understanding resilience and fragility, and the spatial implications of the Bank of Canada’s response to COVID-19.

“It is extraordinarily exciting to see the research ideas that are brewing here on campus, matched with the commitment we have to making things happen," says Kimberly Woodhouse, Vice-Principal (Research). "I truly look forward to the outcomes of these awards.”

Learn more about the 2020 recipients and the individual internal funds below. For more information on the research happening at Queen’s, as well as Queen’s researchers’ efforts to confront COVID-19, visit the Research@Queen’s website.


Wicked Ideas

The Wicked Ideas Competition is a Vice-Principal (Research) pilot initiative to fund and support research collaboration and excellence. Wicked Problems are issues so complex and dependent on so many factors that it is hard to grasp what exactly the problem is, or how to tackle it. Wicked Ideas are needed to solve these problems and demand the input of multiple disciplines with relevant practical expertise.

2020 Recipients

Investigator Project Title
David Lyon (Sociology) &
Dan Cohen (Geography and Planning)
Big Data Exposed: What Smartphone Metadata Reveals about Users
John Allingham (Biomedical and Molecular Sciences) &
Chantelle Capicciotti (Chemistry)
Design and Development of Novel Classes of Actin-Targeting Toxin-Glycan-Antibody Conjugates
Susan Bartels (Emergency Medicine) &
Stéfanie von Hlatky (Political Studies)
Peace Support Operations (PSO) in Countries Affected by Political Instability, Armed Conflict, and Insecurity
Joe Bramante (Physics, Engineering Physics and Astronomy) &
James Fraser (Physics, Engineering Physics and Astronomy)
Macro Coherent Quantum Transitions in Parahydrogen
Kevin Stamplecoskie (Chemistry) &
Cathy Crudden (Chemistry)
Immortal Solar Cells
Kerry Rowe (Civil Engineering) &
Fady Abdelaal (Civil Engineering)
Using Cleantech to Monitor Geosynthetic Liners in Frozen Grounds for Sustainable Development of Sub-Arctic and Arctic Mineral Resources
Graeme Howe (Chemistry) &
Philip Jessop (Chemistry)
Solving the Water-Removal Bottleneck in Sustainable Chemistry
Nora Fayed (Rehabilitation Therapy) &
Claire Davies (Mechanical and Materials Engineering)
SOCIALITE: An Emotional Augmentation System for Children with Profound Communication Disability
Laurence Yang (Chemical Engineering) &
Pascale Champagne (Civil Engineering)
Reducing the Greenhouse Gas Burden of Livestock by Harnessing Carbon-Neutral Algae to Produce Milk
Robert Colautti (Biology) &
Nader Ghasemlou (Biomedical and Molecular Sciences)
The E.D.G.E. of Lyme
Mark Daymond (Mechanical and Materials Engineering) & 
Suraj Persaud (Mechanical and Materials Engineering)
Materials Performance in Molten Salt Reactor (MSR) Environments Proposed for Advanced Nuclear Systems
Heather Castleden (Geography and Planning) &
Diane Orihel (Biology)
The Spirit of the Lakes and All Their Relations: Two-Eyed Seeing in Microplastics Research

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Institutional Grant

Through its SSHRC Institutional Grant (SIG) funding opportunity, SSHRC provides annual block grants to help eligible Canadian postsecondary institutions fund, through their own merit review processes, small-scale research and research-related activities by their faculty in the social sciences and humanities.

Explore Grant

This grant supports social sciences and humanities researchers at any career stage with funds to allow for small-scale research project development or pilot work, or to allow for participation of students in research projects.

2020 Recipients

Investigator Project Title
Cynthia Levine-Rasky (Sociology) The Good Fight: Voices of Elder Activists
Theodore Christou (Education) Map Making and Indigenous History Education: Supporting Reconciliatory Education by Visualizing Canada’s Indian Day Schools
Heather McGregor (Education) History Education in the Anthropocene
Grégoire Webber (Law) Recovering the Good in the Law
Jennifer Hosek (Languages, Literatures, and Cultures) Cultures of Resilience and Fragility under COVID: Does Money Matter?
Leandre Fabrigar (Psychology) Exploring Objective and Subjective Measures of Attitude Bases
Dan Cohen (Geography and Planning) The Spatial Implications of Bank of Canada’s COVID-19 Response
Richard Ascough (Religion) Associations and Christ Groups under Roman Colonization: Assimilation and Resistance in the Western Provinces
Gabriel Menotti Miglio Pinto Gonring (Film and Media) Audiovisual-made Museums: An Archaeology of Video as an Exhibition Platform
Danielle Blouin (Emergency Medicine) Accreditation of Medical Education Programs: What are the Effective Components?
Heather Macfarlane (English Language and Literature) How to be at Home in Canada: Literary Land Claims in Indigenous and Diaspora Texts
Sergio Sismondo (Philosophy) Epistemic Corruption
Collin Grey (Law) Humanitarianism and Deportation
Martha Munezhi (Policy Studies) Determinants of Self-rated Health in the Midst of COVID-19
Ian Robinson (Film and Media) Film and Placemaking
Ruqu Wang (Economics) Modeling International Trade Disputes
Marcus Taylor (Global Development Studies) Sustainability Transformations in Eastern Ontario Agriculture
Alison Murray (Art History and Art Conservation) Teaching Science to Art Conservation Students: Threshold Concepts as a Revitalizing Tool
Amanda Ross-White (Library) Predatory, Deceptive or Imitation: What Motivates Publishers and Editors on the Margins of Scholarly Literature?

Exchange Grant

This grant supports the organization of small-scale knowledge mobilization activities in order to encourage collaboration and dissemination of research results both within and beyond the academic community, as well as allow researchers to attend or present research at scholarly conferences and other venues to advance their careers and promote the exchange of ideas.

2020 Recipients

Investigator Project Title
Elizabeth Brule (Gender Studies) Indigenous Resurgence, Decolonization and the Politics of Solidarity Work
Elizabeth Anne Kelley (Psychology) Utilitarianism: A New Strengths-Based Approach to ASD

Queen’s Research Opportunities Funds

QROF represent a strategic investment in areas of institutional research strength that provide researchers and scholars opportunities to accelerate their programs and research goals.

Catalyst Fund

This fund was created to enhance areas of research excellence that are of strategic importance to the university by giving scholars an opportunity to accelerate their research programs. Ten awards were allocated with a minimum of six awards designated for Early Career Researchers, defined as those who are within 10 years of their first academic appointment. Applicants were required to hold Tri-Council funding or have applied for Tri-Council funding within the last two years.

2020 Recipients

Investigator Project Title
SSHRC  
Grégoire Webber (Law) Human Goods and Human Laws
Meredith Chivers (Psychology)

Racializing and Diversifying Sexual Response: The Effects of Racial Identification, Emotional Appraisal, and Racial Bias on the Physiological and Psychological Sexual Responses of Black and White Women Viewing Racially Diverse Erotic Stimuli

Grace Adeniyi-Ogunyankin (Geography and Planning) Started from the Bottom: Youth Social Mobility and Affective Labour in Ibadan, Nigeria
NSERC  
Vicki Friesen (Biology) Using Whole Genome Sequencing to help Protect the Potential of Wildlife to Adapt to Changing Arctic Ecosystems, Focusing on Species Important to Indigenous Subsistence and Culture  
Chantelle Capicciotti (Chemistry) Targeting Cancer Glycans with Imaging Probes - New Frontiers to Chemically Map Tissue Surfaces
Jennifer Day (Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering)

Investigation of Sea Stack Stability in Popular Geotourism Destinations, Prediction of Their Structural Collapse, Evaluation of the Effects of Sea Stack Collapse on Public Safety, and Forecasting Risk Associated with Climate Change Evolution

CIHR  
Nader Ghasemlou (Anesthesiology & Perioperative Medicine, Biomedical & Molecular sciences) Circadian Control of Pain and Neuroinflammation
Eun-Young Lee (School of Kinesiology and Health Studies) Knowledge into Action: Development of Carbon Footprint Equivalences that Incorporate Lifestyle Behaviours for Dual Benefits of Environmental Sustainability and Human Health
Susan Bartels (Emergency Medicine) Improving Emergency Department Care Experiences for Equity-Seeking Groups in Kingston: A Mixed Methods Research Study
David Maslove (Critical Care Medicine & Medicine)

Deep Learning Applied to High-Frequency Physiologic Waveforms for the Detection of Atrial Fibrillation in Critical Illness

Arts Funds

This fund makes an institutional commitments in support of artistic production and expression that strategically align with the university’s scholarly strengths and priorities. This includes supporting artists, their contribution to the scholarly community and to advancing Queen’s University. The Arts Fund is also intended to attract outstanding artists to Queen’s University each year.

Artistic Production

This fund assists in the actual production of a work of art, such as the creation of a piece of visual art; the writing of a novel, poem, play or screen play; the composition of music; the production of a motion picture; the performance of a play, a musical composition, a piece of performance art, or the production of a master recording.

2020 Recipients

Investigator Project Title
Gabriel Menotti Miglio Pinto Gonring (Film and Media) Hollow Constructions
Matthew Rogalsky (Film and Media) Highly Directional Loudspeakers: Research and Development for Distanced Sound Performance and Installation

Visiting Artist in Residence

To enrich the cultural life of the university and to encourage exchange between artists at Queen’s University and the broader community. It is intended to provide educational and scholarly opportunities for artists by facilitating the extended presence on campus of visiting artists. Residencies are normally two to eight weeks in duration.

2020 Recipients

Investigator Project Title
Carolyn Smart (English Language and Literature) Writer-in-Residence for Queen's University: Kaie Kellough
Juliana Bevilacqua (Art History and Art Conservation) Rosana Paulino: Project North-South Dialogues
Karen Dubinsky (Global Development Studies) Cuban Roots in Canadian Soil: Canada's Cuban Musical History
 

Dunin-Deshpande Summer Pitch Competition winners announced

The winning pitches of the ninth Queen’s Innovation Centre Summer Initiative (QICSI) have been announced with seven teams receiving funding.

This year’s edition moved online and hosted its biggest-ever cohort with more than 170 participants from around the globe and 42 teams taking part in QICSI and the newly-launched SpreadInnovation (COVID-19 innovation) challenge.

By introducing the SpreadInnovation Challenge stream, the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre (DDQIC) stepped up to provide opportunities for students and community members who had lost opportunities due to the pandemic. Specifically geared toward COVID-19, participants were tasked with building a solution for one of the pressing challenges facing our healthcare systems, livelihoods, economies, and communities. Teams were provided more than 100 days of free online training, mentorship and support from the QICSI program.

The Final Pitch Competition

After 16 weeks of hard work, 11 teams from the QICSI and the SpreadInnovation Challenge QICSI competed alongside two regional ventures in the Dunin-Deshpande Summer Pitch Competition.

The virtual format of the final pitch competition allowed DDQIC to invite a judging panel of esteemed Queen’s University alumni hailing from the Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Kingston innovation ecosystems. The judging panel was comprised of Gururaj "Desh" Deshpande (Sc’79), founder and chairman of Sparta Group LLC and founder of the Deshpande Foundation; Lauren Long (ArtSci’11), senior software engineer at Google; Anton Toutov (ArtSci’11), founder and chief science officer at Fuzionaire; and Brian Dodo (Sc;’16), founder and principal designer at BmDodo Strategic Design.

Bino Books, founded by Andena Xhiku (Comm’21), Danielle Baxter (ArtSci’19), Sydney Terry (ArtSci’20), Jessica Dassanayake (Comp’20), won the Grand Prize of $20,000, and received $10,000 in additional funding.

RESULTS

Learn more about all the finalists and their projects.

Strengthening student and community safety

New campaign to help students protect themselves and the Kingston community from COVID-19. 

Campaign sample imagery. "It's our community. Keep it safe."
Health and safety guidance and resources will start to appear in students' social media feeds as they return to Kingston.

Queen’s students returning to Kingston should soon see a number of helpful resources and directives in their social media feeds designed to help keep them and the Kingston community safe from COVID-19. A targeted communications and advertising campaign launched today will direct students to important information, ranging from health and safety precautions to special tools created to help them return safely and responsibly to campus and the community. 

Though the majority of students will continue to learn remotely this fall, a limited number are returning to campus for in-person classes and many others will be moving into Kingston, either to residences operating at 50 per cent capacity or off-campus accommodations.

“Our new campaign has been carefully designed, with the help of students and our community partners, to effectively reach students and give them the health and safety guidance and resources they will need to keep themselves and others in the city healthy and safe,” says Michael Fraser, Vice-Principal (University Relations).

The digital campaign will be running for the next four weeks and it will deliver a series of health and safety messages directly to students. These messages will be animated and will highlight such essential public health protocols as handwashing, physical distancing, avoiding large gatherings, and wearing of face coverings. 

The campaign will also encourage students to click through to a number of important student resources developed by Student Affairs to help them prepare for a safe and healthy fall term. These include an off-campus living guide, a COVID-19 student prevention checklist, and a student household COVID-19 Plan worksheet. These resources will be publicly available on the university’s COVID-19 website, which will also be updated regularly with key information for students around academics and student support services.

The campaign is one part of a broader plan aimed at ensuring a safe and gradual return to normal operations, as evolving public health guidance permits. Queen’s continues to work with partners in government and at KFL&A public health to inform this ongoing process. Queen’s student associations – the Alma Mater Society (AMS) and Society of Graduate and Professional Students (SGPS) – are also providing guidance and will be reaching out to students to ensure they are informed.

Learn more about the university’s broader coronavirus safety planning and gradual and safe return to campus on our COVID-19 Information website.

Keeping campus and Kingston safe

New and returning students arriving in Kingston are being asked to take important safety measures.

Aerial view of Queen's campus
Queen’s University and KFL&A Public Health are asking that all students take a number of precautions before arriving in Kingston, as part of ongoing efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19. (University Communications)

As part of ongoing efforts to limit cases of COVID-19 in the Kingston region, Queen’s University, and KFL&A Public Health are asking that all students take a number of precautions before coming to Kingston. These steps – which cover testing, limiting contact, what to do upon arrival, and more – will help keep both students and the greater Kingston community safe.

“Though most students will take part in remote learning this fall, those returning to the city have an important role, as members of the community, in helping prevent the local spread of COVID-19,” says Mark Green, Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic), who shared the guidelines with new and returning students via email this week. “We know that this year brings with it some exceptional challenges, but we also know that our students are resilient and understand that coming to Queen’s carries with it the benefits and responsibilities of both learning and living in Kingston. Together, we can overcome these challenges.”

With the exception of students in on-campus Health Sciences programs – who will receive additional instructions specific to their departments and students arriving from international locations who have specific requirements ­– all students are being asked to undertake the following important steps.

Encouraging testing before coming to Kingston

Students from areas with community outbreaks or active community transmission are being encouraged to get tested for COVID-19, even without symptoms, at their local testing site before travelling to Kingston given that there is the potential for asymptomatic transmission. They are being asked to allow for enough time to receive their test results prior to departure.

Students who have already been residing in the KFL&A, Hastings and Prince Edward counties, and Leeds, Grenville, and Lanark area for 14 days are not being encouraged to get tested unless they are symptomatic.

Following any testing, while awaiting results, students should follow all public health guidelines, including the use of face coverings, handwashing, physical distancing, and limiting contact with those outside their immediate social circle, prior to arrival.

Should a student receive a positive test result, it is expected that they delay their travel to Kingston until they test negative for COVID-19. In this situation, students with on-campus programs should contact their central faculty or school office for further information. Late arrival to residence can also be arranged.

The first two weeks in Kingston

Under the direction of KFL&A Public Health, the university strongly recommends that all students upon arrival limit contact with anyone outside their household for a period of 14 days. Students who have already been residing in Kingston or the surrounding regions for 14 days, and who display no symptoms consistent with COVID-19, are not being asked to observe these requirements, but are encouraged to avoid contact with others outside their households as much as possible if their housemates are travelling from outside the region.

All students arriving in Kingston are encouraged to bring supplies and groceries needed for 14 days to help limit contact with others. Those living in residences will have access to a Queen’s dining hall. For essential shopping, ­students are encouraged to use online ordering, or to wear a mask, wash hands, and physically distance should they attend a store in person. The provost’s letter to students provides more details.

Students staying in Queen’s residences can find residence-specific health and safety protocols and information online, and those living off-campus can find more on the Queen’s University COVID-19 Information website.

International students

International students arriving in Canada must follow the federal rules set out by the emergency orders under the Quarantine Act and quarantine for 14 days without contact with others. Additionally, the Ontario government is requiring that institutions ensure that both international and domestic students who are in quarantine as a result of having entered Canada within two weeks prior to the start of their studies be tested for the COVID-19 virus at least once during their quarantine period. This requirement is over and above the normal protocols for individuals who show symptoms. It is recommended that this testing take place within five to seven days after the arrival period to address the virus incubation period.

Further information is available on the Queen's University International Centre (QUIC) website.

On-campus testing centre

The university is currently working with Kingston Health Sciences Centre and local public health authorities to establish a COVID-19 testing centre on campus. More information will be available on the COVID-19 Information website as it becomes available. For now, testing is available at the city’s local COVID-19 assessment centre. Details on hours and location are listed on KFL&A’s Public Health website.

Travelling outside Kingston

Many students may be accustomed to traveling to and from Kingston throughout the semester. Given the unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, students are being encouraged to limit travel outside of the KFL&A region as much as possible throughout the fall term to assist in local efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19. If students choose to, or must, travel outside the KFL&A region during the fall semester, they are strongly encouraged to limit contacts for 14 days upon return. This recommendation is not meant to discourage students from seeing their families and friends as needed to support their mental health and wellness.

A strong Queen’s community

“We express our thanks to students in advance for their cooperation in helping to keep themselves, their friends and the community safe,” says Provost Green. “Be kind, check on your friends, and look out for one another. We know we can count on you to do your part to support the Queen’s and Kingston community.”

The detailed recommendations were communicated to all students through a letter from the Provost, which is posted on the COVID-19 Information website.

Redesigning Canada for physical distancing and COVID-19

People sit in circles in a park for social distancing.
Some cities are drawing circles in the grass at parks to ensure physical distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As Canada slowly re-opens during the COVID-19 outbreak, urban planners and politicians are working to re-configure their cities to adjust to life with physical distancing and reduce the spread of the virus.

City officials drawing large circles in the grass in parks to space people out and closing street lanes to create a wider area for people to walk, and stores dedicating the first hour of shopping to seniors and people-at-risk are examples of society adjusting to the new reality of COVID-19.

John Meligrana (MPL’91), a professor in the Department of Geography and Planning, has launched a study to discover the new policies and protocols that cities have successfully adopted. The research will be compiled in a report and shared with urban planners, politicians, and municipal leaders across Canada in the fall to help them re-open their towns as safely as possible.

While the world waits for a vaccine to be found in the next year or two, public health officials say physical distancing is one of the top weapons against COVID-19. Designing how thousands of people interact within neighbourhoods, buildings, and public spaces is what urban planners do, so Dr. Meligrana hopes his report can play a role in saving lives during the pandemic.

“We are all praying for a vaccine,” says Dr. Meligrana. “I am praying for all our first responders and praying for scientists to resolve this. But in the meantime, we need to rethink how we are using our cities. How do you achieve physical distancing in Canada’s most densely populated cities? That’s the question. That’s where we can contribute.”

The project is being funded by Rapid Response, a Queen’s project supporting research that contributes to the development, testing, and implementation of medical or social countermeasures to mitigate the rapid spread of COVID-19.

Dr. Meligrana has hired two grad students (Claire Lee and Stephan Kukkonen) and is working with two fellow Department of Geography and Planning faculty members (Patricia Collins and Ajay Agarwal) to research and complete the report by the end of October.

They plan to look issues at related to public places (such as parks and sports fields), transportation, and vulnerable communities that have been impacted harder than affluent communities.

Dr. Meligrana is already seeing emerging trends, such as a movement toward “quiet streets.” With fewer people driving, some cities are closing roads to create more room for pedestrians. It doesn’t always work. Kingston recently closed parts of two downtown streets, but re-opened them a few days later after a public outcry. These experiences can provide valuable lessons to city planners.

“We know there are a lot of these good ideas out there,” Dr. Meligrana says. “We hope to catalogue them, package them, and share them with as many people as possible. Planners can play a big role in making communities safer.”

How to calmly navigate personal interactions during COVID-19

Two men wearing masks speak with each other during an outdoor workout.
Across Canada, as we enter new, expanded phases of reopening and increased contact, we may feel uncomfortable interacting in person again. There are many options available. (Unsplash / Kate Trifo) 

Thanks to COVID-19, we’ve slowly built new routines centred on being at home. But as we start to enter various phases of reopening and increased contact, we may feel uncomfortable interacting in person again.

Treating each interaction as a type of micro-negotiation provides a helpful road map for navigating these potentially tricky situations.

What once were automatic interpersonal behaviours now require explicit agreement.

What do you do if someone enters the elevator with you without a mask?

If a friend rushes close to greet you?

If someone stands too closely in line?

What if you are (perhaps unintentionally) the offending party?

These situations are increasingly common and can escalate quickly into full-blown conflicts if not handled carefully. I draw on research on effective negotiations and conflict management to offer concrete suggestions and practical tips for how to ensure everyone walks away happy — and safe.

Overall, treating each interaction as a micro-negotiation first involves a change of mindset. Productive changes to your behaviour will then follow more easily.

It is important to note that many interactions won’t require all the recommendations below. But thinking about each in advance can help you be ready in the moment. A negotiation done well in this case may be one in which you don’t even realize you’ve successfully negotiated until after it’s over. Practice and preparation are key so that these tactics become second nature.

Prepare and have a plan beforehand

In negotiations, an important concept is what’s known as BATNA, which stands for the Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement. It is what you will do instead if you don’t reach agreement with your negotiation counterpart.

For daily interactions during the pandemic, this means you should have a clear idea in advance of what you will do if a situation gets too uncomfortable. Research shows that having a defined, desirable alternative in mind helps negotiators perform better; the psychological comfort of having an attractive backup plan helps you feel more powerful and removes unnecessary stress in the current moment.

Rather than storming away in a huff, or escalating a conflict unnecessarily, plan ahead and have explicit options in mind. For example, if mask-wearing doesn’t seem to be enforced in a particular place, know before you leave your home what you will do: you might get takeout from a different restaurant, order groceries for pickup or delivery or simply come back at a different time.

Having your alternative in mind will help you remain calm, knowing that you always have a perfectly acceptable alternative. In fact, research shows that simply feeling that you can handle a tense situation can help you avoid reacting unproductively.

A couple wearing masks descend concrete stairs.
Despite our best intentions, it is likely that some interactions may lead to strong emotions, even anger. (Unsplash / Cheng Feng)

Respect other perspectives, but be creative

Although it might seem inconceivable that someone may have a different comfort level in terms of interactions than you do, it’s bound to happen and doesn’t mean the other person is crazy. (In fact, they may be thinking you are the crazy one.)

A more productive approach is to try to understand the other person’s perspective, and how you can satisfy both of your underlying needs in a creative way. Separate the position (the behaviour, or the “what” that makes you feel uncomfortable) from the interest (the “why” of the behaviour).

For example, if you’re not comfortable attending the “small” get-together of friends that somehow grew much larger in number, that’s OK. Simply say so explicitly, but also suggest an alternative that could meet both your and the host’s interests (to connect with an old friend) in a different format (taking a physically distant walk together later in the week).

Remember that respecting the other person doesn’t mean you have to agree with their position.

But by being creative and focusing on deeper, underlying interests rather than more superficial positions, you can keep everyone happy.

Don’t take it personally, and use threats wisely

Despite our best intentions, it is likely that some interactions may lead to strong emotions, even anger.

However, rather than reacting angrily to a situation, which can backfire depending on how it is received, take a step back and reconsider the situation from an open-minded, problem-solving perspective.

Use the other person’s reactions and emotions as a trigger to help you find out what’s really going on at a deeper level, which research shows shows can help you reach a more mutually beneficial solution without having to simply give in to the other person’s demands.

If you feel that you need to resort to ultimatums, do so carefully and purposefully. Research suggests that WISE threats — those that you are willing to enact, that serve your underlying interests, that help the other person save face or maintain their dignity and that are exact rather than vague — are more likely to lead to effective conflict resolution.

Thinking about each interaction you have as a form of micro-negotiation will help you practise a few fairly minor behavioural and mindset changes so that you, and those around you, are more likely to have positive interactions and avoid unnecessary conflict.

It’s important to remember that we’re all navigating uncharted waters, and negotiating what used to be mundane but now feels uncomfortable may not come naturally. However, with conscious practice and an open mind, it’s possible to approach even the most challenging interactions from a productive problem-solving mindset.The Conversation

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Laura Rees, Assistant Professor of Organizational Behaviour, Smith School of Business, Queen's University.

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

To change coronavirus behaviours, think like a marketer

A couple wear facemasks and glasses
Wearing masks in public is the new norm, however, there remains some significant resistance and rates of COVID-19 infection continue to rise rapidly across the United States, as well as among Canadians aged 20-29. (Unsplash / Nathan Dumlao)

COVID-19 has been a humbling experience. From a frayed pandemic early-warning system to a shortage of personal protective equipment for front-line workers, public health experts have been playing catch up.

But it has also been a teachable moment. We now know, for example, that the usual approaches to convince fellow citizens to prioritize societal well-being over personal desires are not working. Rates of COVID-19 infection continue to rise rapidly across the United States, but also among Canadians aged 20-29. Public health messaging is clearly not convincing this age cohort to change behaviours.

This is a call to action for social marketing to evolve and leverage powerful behavioural and technological tools that successfully engage hard-to-reach groups. There is compelling evidence from here in Canada that such an approach can work.

Social marketing applies commercial marketing technologies to motivate voluntary social behaviour. These techniques have been used to boost home-based recycling, safe sex, to encourage people to quit smoking and use seat belts, among many other behaviours.

Good social marketing is more important than ever, particularly during a pandemic. In general, however, public health officials have been slow to adopt approaches that have been used successfully in the for-profit world.

The four Ps

In marketing, the shorthand for selling a product or service is “the four Ps”: product, promotion, price and place. Social marketing takes the perspective that selling an idea can be approached in the same way. This includes aligning and customizing messages to specific audiences, rather than assuming everyone will respond the same way.

In the case of COVID-19, data suggest that people don’t share the same perceptions of risk, and this can be seen in their individual behaviour and resistance to public health messages. Similarly, there is a mismatch between the audience and medium. The current approach of relying on traditional news outlets and advertising, media releases and news conferences to communicate critical COVID-19 information is not proving effective at reaching younger adults.

Think of the difference among law, public health and marketing as sticks, promises and carrots. During COVID-19, there have been lots of sticks and promises (“stay home, stay safe”) and not much in the way of carrots. But carrots are needed.

Being confined to your home is a fundamentally unpalatable product for people for whom isolation is a significant psychological burden. Families with small children that are struggling with working, teaching and general caretaking and need specific guidance on how to meet child-care needs safely. Everyone needs access to outdoor space for transportation and recreation, regardless of preferred activity, especially when those correlate with income and race.

At the outset, little attention was paid to recognizing and addressing these barriers to compliance with the desired behaviour. Yet we have a Canadian example of how to take a complicated issue and break down barriers, in the context of physical activity.

Worldwide leader

ParticipAction has been a worldwide leader for decades in presenting a range of possible activities that people can do in small bursts throughout the day or week to meet recommended guidelines, all without having a gym membership or being part of organized sports.

By recognizing barriers that prevented people from being active, it opened up possibilities to Canadians who considered the product and place of physical activity unattractive.

The social marketing version of price has always been the most challenging of the four Ps to tackle. It is difficult for individuals to change a behaviour they enjoy or one that provides personal benefit, especially when such change may not benefit them directly.

But the behavioural economic concept of “nudging” that includes small financial incentives has proven to be financially more efficient than expensive advertising campaigns in convincing people to change behaviour.

Our research on a now-defunct made-in-Canada mobile app demonstrates the potential for using cutting-edge commercial marketing techniques and technologies to tackle the challenges of social marketing.

Carrot Rewards was a mobile app that gave users points from their loyalty program (such as Aeroplan, Scene and Petro Points) immediately after they completed a health intervention, such as completing an educational quiz, getting information about the flu shot or walking a certain distance or length of time. (Carrot Rewards folded in June 2019 but was purchased later that year by a technology firm with a plan to relaunch the wellness app.)

A woman shops while wearing a mask.
Social marketing applies commercial marketing technologies to motivate voluntary social behaviour. These techniques have been used to boost home-based recycling and encourage people to quit smoking. (Unsplash / Arturo Rey)

Canadians love their loyalty programs

Loyalty programs are tremendously popular in Canada. Some 90 per cent of Canadians are enrolled in at least one program. Studies show that, on average, there are four programs per person and 13 per household.

Carrot Rewards leveraged the desire for small financial incentives (in the form of reward points for movies, groceries and the like), and attracted an engaged and involved audience.

It employed a digital platform that allowed for customizable content and high message complexity. Using multiple choice “quizzes” of five to seven questions each, it both involved users through gamification as well as provided additional information on the topic in question.

The app was also able to target content to specific audiences based on demographic characteristics and answers to previous quizzes, as well as track physical movement and location via a smart watch or smartphone.

Engagement stayed high

With an existing base of 1.1 million users across Ontario, British Columbia and Newfoundland and Labrador — and 500,000 active monthly users — Carrot could have quickly expanded into other provinces as a key component of an integrated federal COVID-19 campaign for education, contact tracing and possibly even symptom tracking.

Our research has demonstrated that Carrot rapidly attracted and enrolled users, and maintained consistently high levels of user engagement over time, even as rewards diminished. That engagement remained high even at a modest average reward per user of 1.5 cents per day. The age and demographics of the users varied by loyalty program, and the app provided a relatively representative cross-section of Canadian society in terms of education, income and urban/rural/suburban locations.

All in all, Carrot showed impressive results.

Financial sustainability challenges aside, policy-makers and public health officials would be wise to consider maintaining this modern, data-driven approach to social marketing in their tool box. It would not only prove tremendously useful in the COVID-19 era, but it would place Canada at the forefront of innovation in social marketing around the world.The Conversation

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Monica C. LaBarge, Assistant Professor, Marketing, Smith School of Business at Queen's University and Jacob Brower, Associate Professor and Distinguished Faculty Fellow of Marketing, Smith School of Business at Queen's University.

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

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