With the return of students to the university and the fall semester underway, we need to be aware that respiratory illnesses such as COVID-19, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and influenza continue to circulate in the community both on and off campus. It is also expected that COVID-19 will continue to mutate with new variants potentially causing increased case counts this fall and winter.
The information below is guidance on how to minimize the risk of illness and how to respond to symptoms should they arise.
The university continues to monitor the situation and the guidance issued by Public Health Ontario and KFL&A Public Health and will update this page as necessary.
Common spaces and areas include lobbies, hallways, stairwells, restrooms, elevators, lunchrooms, break areas, etc.
- Get immunized and stay up to date with influenza and COVID-19 vaccinations.
- Practice good cough and sneeze etiquette.
- Frequent hand washing is one of the most effective prevention measures.
- Stay home when you are you are sick.
As of October 10, 2023:
Queen’s University is a mask-friendly campus and some staff, faculty, students, and visitors may choose to continue to wear masks on campus. Please demonstrate consideration and respect for individual choices.
In line with current provincial and public health guidance, the university’s suspension of mandatory masking continues across campus at this time, however, members of the Queen’s community are still strongly encouraged to wear a medical-grade mask in indoor spaces where physical distancing cannot be maintained.
Some activities and roles may have mandatory requirements for masking, such as those in health clinics, hospitals, laboratories, and some organizations where students complete their placements. The status of the university’s mask mandate is subject to change at any time based on Public Health guidance. Medical-grade masks continue to be available across campus for those who need them.
Safe mask usage
For those who choose to continue masking:
The effectiveness of masks in preventing the spread of respiratory illness can vary based on many factors including the material, construction, fit, and proper use.
To help prevent you and others from being exposed to respiratory illness, make sure your medical-grade mask is:
Medical-grade masks are typically single-use and disposable but may be reused until visibly dirty, damp, or damaged.
Information on how to wear medical-grade masks can be found on the Government of Canada website (PDF 1.2 MB).
Don’t use medical-grade masks or respirators with exhalation valves. They allow infectious respiratory particles to escape.
While not a public health requirement, those choosing to wear a respirator (N95, KN95, etc.) are doing so as an added community health measure. As a result, the respirator does not require fit testing. However, it is important that you understand how to properly wear the respirator so as to provide the best seal possible. Where a respirator is being used in a workplace as personal protective equipment, fit testing is required as per the standard operating procedure for respiratory protection (Respiratory Protection PDF 130 KB). For additional information, contact the Department of Environmental Health & Safety (firstname.lastname@example.org or ext. 32999).
The following guidelines are provided for individuals who are on campus:
1. Self-monitor for symptoms
Screening for symptoms prior to attending campus continues to be an important way of reducing the potential for transmission of respiratory illness on campus. The Ontario COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool provides an easy way to self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19.
2. To help reduce the spread of respiratory illnesses, we encourage everyone to follow the steps outlined on the KFL&A Public Health website.
3. All individuals on campus are expected to adhere to all health and safety directives imposed by local and provincial public health agencies, and the provincial and federal government including:
- Practicing proper hand hygiene by washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and/or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your mouth, eyes, and nose with your hands.
- Using proper coughing and sneezing etiquette (PDF 4.9 MB).
- Ensure your immunizations are up-to-date.
4. All individuals on campus are expected to adhere to all health and safety directives put in place by the university as described in this guideline.
Individuals are encouraged to monitor for symptoms prior to coming to campus or attending class or activities.
Individuals who are ill are encouraged to follow the guidance of KFL&A Public Health with respect to managing their symptoms.
If you are ill, you should remain at home or in your residence room until your symptoms improve as outlined by KFL&A Public Health.
Students who are ill should connect with their faculty to understand the process for requesting academic considerations for the time they are not able to come to campus or attend classes.
If you see someone on campus not following the university and/or public health guidelines:
As with any health and safety concern, if you are comfortable having a conversation with someone who is not following the protocols, you can do so. It may simply be a situation where the person was not aware or forgot, and this could be a teachable moment. We are all in this together and everyone could play a part.
For immediate intervention - Call Campus Security and Emergency Services – ext. 36111.
For less urgent situations - Contact the Department of Environmental Health & Safety – ext. 32999.
For concerns regarding respiratory illness-related protocols in your work location or department:
Following the internal responsibility system, you should raise the issue with your supervisor.
If the issue is not resolved, contact the Department of Environmental Health & Safety – ext. 32999.
For concerns regarding building infrastructure (hand sanitizer at building entrances, refill of soap in washrooms, etc..)
For concerns regarding contractors on campus:
Rapid Antigen Test results should be interpreted with caution, and individuals must continue to adhere to the necessary COVID-19 infection prevention and control measures, such as appropriate distancing, use of PPE, and hand washing, to reduce the risk of infection.
If your rapid screening test result reads POSITIVE
Regardless of whether you are symptomatic or asymptomatic, a positive test result is highly indicative that you have COVID-19 and you must follow public health guidelines.
At this time, proof of vaccination is not required to attend most in-person university activities or to live in Queen’s residence. However, all Queen’s students, staff, and faculty are strongly encouraged to stay up to date on their COVID-19 and influenza vaccinations.
Students, faculty, and staff in the Faculty of Health Sciences accessing hospitals or other external facilities are required to adhere to the guidelines, policies, and procedures of the institution that they are attending. Also, activities that involve any other third parties (such as health clinics, elementary and secondary schools, and other organizations where Queen’s students complete experiential learning placements) will continue to be subject to the respiratory illness safety requirements of those third parties, including any proof of vaccination requirements. Students, staff, and faculty are advised to contact their respective faculty for further details.
The university may reinstate its Policy Regarding Mandatory Vaccination Requirements for In-person University Activities, possibly on short notice, if the local public health environment changes, or, if government mandates or public health recommendations restore proof of vaccination requirements.
Information on the COVID-19 and influenza vaccinations is available on the KFL&A Public Health website.