Updated September 21, 2022
NOTE that the requirements outlined in this protocol may be subject to change, based on the evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The management of the COVID19 pandemic is evolving as new variants continue to be identified and circulate in our region. In response to the changing landscape, we have maintained a Residence Isolation Protocol aligned with the current requirements and guidance from Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington Public Health, and the Government of Ontario. Updates may be made as needed over the course of the 22-23 academic year.
General Public Health measures continue to be critically important:
- While masks are not required in residence, students are welcome to wear one should they wish. Residents are expected to demonstrate respect and support for the individual choices of others with respect to mask wearing. The ASTM F2100 Level 2 medical-grade mask continues to be recommended. Fit is important – make sure the mask is well-fitted to your face, and covers your mouth, nose and chin. For additional guidance visit: university masking guidance.
- Practice good hand hygiene. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use the hand sanitizer available throughout residence buildings.
- Cleaning materials and instructions are available for use in individual spaces/fixtures where needed.
- Residence common kitchens are supplied with additional cleaning materials and instructions, which students are expected to use during/after use of kitchen common counters, appliances, or equipment.
- All front-line staff are trained in safe workplace procedures, and provided PPE where necessary.
The university strongly encourages everyone to receive updated vaccinations and boosters, as these remain the best way to protect yourself and the community against serious illness from COVID-19. Though no longer mandatory to participate in university activities, students, faculty, staff, volunteers, and guests are encouraged to continue to follow best practices for controlling disease transmission, including getting vaccinated and boosted.
Vaccines are available on campus through Student Wellness Services and clinics are being planned to ensure easy access to vaccinations as needed. Note that the university may reinstate vaccine requirements at any point. If this occurs, you will be notified of any updated requirements.
In light of the updated PCR testing eligibility for Ontario, most residence students will not be eligible for PCR tests to confirm positive cases of COVID19. Currently, all students with symptoms of COVID19 will be presumed positive and must follow isolation and/or self-monitoring guidelines (outlined below).
Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) can be used to reasonably confirm COVID19, but please note that a negative result on a RAT is not a definitive confirmation that you are not infected. If you are symptomatic you must follow the below isolation instructions, regardless of RAT results. RATs are available for student use at the Jean Royce, Albert Street, and Victoria Hall front desks.
If you take a RAT and have a negative result on the first test and are symptomatic, you should continue to isolate and do another test in 24-48 hours. If the second result is also negative, you can discontinue isolation 24 hours after your symptoms are improving (48 hours if your symptoms are gastrointestinal).
If you Develop Symptoms of COVID-19
Given the continued prevalence of COVID-19, and the highly transmissible Omicron variants, symptomatic isolation provides us with the best protection against the spread of the virus.
COVID19 symptoms include:
- fever or chills
- shortness of breath
- decreased or loss of taste or smell
- two or more of:
- runny nose or nasal congestion
- extreme fatigue
- sore throat
- muscle aches or joint pain
- gastrointestinal symptoms (such as vomiting or diarrhea)
If you develop symptoms of COVID19, you must follow the Provincial Guidelines for symptomatic individuals; in the residence setting this includes:
- Self-isolate in your own room until:
- Respiratory symptoms have improved for at least 24 hours
- Fever is gone
- Gastrointestinal symptoms have been improving for at least 48 hours
- Continue to wear a mask in public settings for 10 days from symptom onset or a positive test result, regardless of whether or not you still have symptoms.
- If you are immunocompromised, you must isolate for 10 days from symptom onset.
- If you test positive but remain asymptomatic, you are not required to self-isolate, but must wear a mask for 10 days after a positive test and avoid vulnerable individuals/populations.
- If there is a unique circumstance that would suggest isolating in place is a concern, contact the front desk and request assistance from the manager-on-call.
2. Notify all your close contacts and advise them that you have developed symptoms and are presumed positive for COVID-19. Please see below for additional requirements regarding roommates and close contacts. Close contacts are individuals who interacted with you while you were contagious (i.e – 48 hours before your symptoms started or positive test date, up until your isolation is complete). Examples of close contacts include:
- Your roommate, if applicable
- Someone you were within less than 2 meters of for 15 minutes or longer (masked or unmasked)
- Someone you had multiple close encounters within the span of 24hrs (even if individual contacts were less than 15 minutes)
- Someone you had close physical contact with (ex. Hug or handshake) within 24 hours
3. Register for takeout meals from the dining hall via the Meal Services Assistance/COVID19 Related Form on the Residence and Dining Portal. For more information, please go to the Hospitality Services website.
4. Remain in your residence room. You may leave your residence room wearing an ASTM F2100 Level 2 medical-grade mask only when:
- using shared washroom facilities
- picking up take-out meals from the dining hall (see #3 above); note that you may not enter the servery to select your own items – you must pre-order and come to the dining hall only for pick up.
- picking up urgent parcels (eg pharmacy items) or RATs from the front desk
- non-urgent items may be picked up when your isolation period ends
- evacuating in the event of an emergency, or seeking urgent medical care
5. Access academic considerations through your Faculty/Program’s processes. Supports are available for students unable to attend classes due to isolation requirements.
6. Isolating students are not permitted to:
- have close contact with other students or staff (do not enter other students’ rooms)
- access common rooms, lounges or laundry facilities
- use campus facilities (ex. libraries, labs, in-person resources)
- access seated dining or servery areas in dining halls and retail locations
If you are identified as a roommate/close contact
If you have potentially been exposed to a positive case of COVID19, the symptomatic individual will reach out to notify you directly. It is important to have conversations regarding COVID19 safety measures within your friend group(s) to ensure that everyone understands the notification requirements, and the importance of limiting close contact.
If you are notified of a potential exposure, you must follow the Provincial Guidelines for individuals who may have been exposed, for 10 days after exposure.
1. Monitor yourself closely for symptoms.
- Wear a mask in all public settings and avoid non-essential contact with vulnerable individuals/populations
- Please note that negative RAT results do not decrease the length of time for self-monitoring
- You may continue participation in activities where masks can be worn (ex. Class attendance) but should avoid activities where you would be unmasked (ex. optional social gatherings/parties)
- You do not need to notify any of your close contacts, unless you also develop symptoms or have a positive test result
2. If symptoms develop, follow the isolation protocol above and notify your close contacts
Residence Wastewater Testing
Queen’s University researchers from the Beaty Water Research Centre (BWRC) have launched an on-campus wastewater monitoring initiative in partnership with Utilities Kingston and Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington Public Health (KFLAPH) as a complement to the university’s existing COVID-19 health and safety measures. In the absence of PCR testing, measuring COVID-19 in wastewater is one method that helps us estimate if the number of cases in residence are increasing or decreasing according to trends in virus counts in our wastewater. Select residence buildings have been included in the study, and results gathered so far this year indicate the presence of COVID19 in our communities.
This testing is also happening in the Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington region, and the results are available on their website. The on-campus and regional wastewater data demonstrates that vigilance is still important in order to keep yourself, our residence staff, and your community safe.
Test results will be periodically communicated via the Student Weekly Newsletter when they become available. It is important for everyone in our community to continue to do their part to keep each other safe including isolating when symptomatic, ensuring up-to-date vaccinations, and being diligent about hand washing.
Additional COVID-19 Resources
University's COVID-19 Information Website
download from the iTunes AppStore, Google Play or Blackberry App World
Student Wellness Services
8:00am – 4:30pm
1-800-445-1822 (24 hours)
KFLA Public Health
613-549-1232 or 1-800-267-7875
866-925-5454 (24 hours)
or text GOOD2TALKON to 686868
1-844-741-6389 (24 hours)