With the fall academic term set to start, the provincial government has announced important updates to its Postsecondary Educational Health Measures Framework for Fall 2021 to support the health and safety of students, faculty, and staff.
Effective Sept. 7, 2021, universities and colleges will not be subject to physical distancing or capacity limit requirements for indoor instructional spaces, including classrooms, labs, libraries, and in-person experiential learning, etc. This change allows Queen’s to proceed with our detailed plans for in-person academic activities throughout the fall term.
At the same time, all members of the Queen’s community must be aware that this change applies only to indoor instructional activities. In outdoor instructional spaces, capacity limits apply and physical distancing of at least two metres from everyone else is still required, except for necessary teaching and instruction that cannot be effectively provided with physical distancing.
All other requirements under Step 3 of the Roadmap for Reopening Ontario remain in place on university property indefinitely. This includes mandatory masking in all indoor settings, maintaining physical distancing in all indoor areas open to the public, and adherence to the current limit on outdoor gatherings and public events to a maximum of 100 people.
The framework also confirms that students will be allowed to live in residences and other on-campus accommodations as planned with some restrictions, including masking, capacity level limits in some common areas, and reduced in-person programs and activities.
The university is seeking more guidance from the province on how the framework updates may impact the many dining and restaurant facilities on campus.
Other restrictions on campus services that will remain in place under Step 3 include capacity limits at the Athletics and Recreation Centre, as well as on campus museums and performance venues, such as the Agnes Etherington Art Centre and the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts. Some non-essential retail services may be increasing service in the coming days. Please check the relevant service websites for up-to-date information.
Mandatory vaccination and provincial passport
Along with the updated framework, the provincial government is also requiring universities and colleges to implement mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for everyone taking part in university activities in person. Today Queen’s launched a vaccination status declaration form for students, faculty, and staff to complete as soon as possible. More information and a link to the declaration form are now available on the Safe Return to Campus website.
Queen’s is also seeking guidance from the provincial government about the new vaccination certification system it announced today. Under the plan, in order to access certain high-risk indoor public settings and facilities, Ontarians will need to be fully vaccinated by September 22, 2021 and provide proof of their vaccination, along with photo ID. The province will follow this up with the introduction of a digital vaccination receipt that features a QR code and a new app for businesses and organizations to verify full vaccination.
Queen’s will share more information of this certification system and how it might support university operations as more details become available.
For more information on Queen’s ongoing efforts to prioritize the health and safety of everyone in the Queen’s and Kingston communities, visit the Safe Return to Campus website.