We all have to do our part to keep our community safe. Follow public health guidelines like wearing a mask, following gathering limits, and getting vaccinated can bring us back together. Faster.
Students, staff, faculty, and visitors are required to be fully vaccinated by October 15, 2021 in order to participate in university activities in person either on Queen’s campus or other Queen’s property. Individuals will be required to upload proof of their vaccination status via the online vaccination status declaration form. For further information on this process, please visit: www.queensu.ca/safereturn/faq.
What does this mean for you living off-campus with housemates?
While the expectations for on campus are clear, as a house you will need to decide how you will manage COVID-19 precautions and things like visitors and guests. While we know that the vast majority of students have indicated their intention to get vaccinated, you may have a housemate or a housemate’s guest or family member who is more hesitant about vaccines and other recommendations. If this is the case, it can be helpful to figure out how you will handle this as a household.
Things to consider when talking as a house-hold about COVID-19 and vaccination status:
- Have you and your housemates discussed COVID-19 and how KFL&A Public Health guidelines may affect you as household? Please reference re-opening Ontario for stage 3 details.
- Have you had a house meeting and talked about your COVID concerns?
- Have you determined what your agreement as a house will be regarding unvaccinated visitors into your home?
Conversation Starter Tips
Please be reminded that conversations with housemates, can be difficult to navigate, even awkward and uncomfortable at times but it is extremely important, especially with COVID that you talk openly as a house early on about your comfort levels and boundaries to help avoid future potential disputes and disagreements. When considering the above questions and other questions that come up during your conversations as a house it is important to be respectful to each other.
- What does living together safely mean to you?
- What is our agreement in letting unvaccinated visitors into our home?
- How will we communicate household rules to guests and visitors?
- If I am waiting for COVID-19 test results, do I wear a mask in the common areas of our home?
- What are our expectations of housemates and visitors in terms of vaccination?
- Will we allow visitors who are not vaccinated? If yes, do we require unvaccinated visitors to wear masks?
- How will we resolve conflict as a house?
- If one of us gets sick, what is our COVID-19 Plan?
- How many people are we comfortable with in the house at one time?
- What will we do if the number of people gets out of control (inside or out)?
- If you are unable to be vaccinated regardless of the reason, do you take extra precautions and be careful where you go?
- What if one of us gets sick?
- Even if we are vaccinated but sick, will we wear a mask in our household?
- When we invite guests over, do we ask about their vaccination status?
- Do we all mask, if one of us has had contact with an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19 while awaiting tests results?
- If you or one of your housemates are high-risk, how will you be considerate of where you go and who you interact with?
- Set some grounds rules before talking as a house about a difficult or tricky topic.
- Be honest with your comfort level and feelings.
- Be respectful of each other’s views and focus on solutions.
- Listen and seek to understand each other’s perspectives.
- Ask for help, if and when needed.
- Ask if you can share information, don’t assume someone wants information that supports your perspective.
- Understand the requirements as a student and as a member of the Kingston community and any consequences for non-compliance (e.g. fines).
- Forgetting that you share space and that you may have different habits from your housemates.
- Jumping to conclusions about another’s boundaries, perspective or medical needs.
- Hosting large groups and therefore not following guidelines if you agreed you wouldn’t.
- Hiding that you are symptomatic from housemates.
- Dismissing others boundaries and feelings. Remember everyone has different life experiences, and therefore their perspectives may be different from yours.
Use the questions above, in the what to ask section to help guide your conversations, and work together as a household to come up with your COVID house rules. You may want to type it up and put a copy on your fridge for easy reference. Some examples are:
- We will talk with each other before inviting guests. If a guest is invited who is not vaccinated, we will ask them to wear a face mask while in our household.
- We will establish a daily cleaning schedule of all common household spaces (kitchen, bathroom etc.)
- We will follow local public health guidelines when outside of our household.
Tips and resources to help with planning
This past year, students have been faced with a number of challenges, from online learning to finding new ways to connect with others and managing as housemates. Maybe you lived at home for the past year and this is your first year living with other students in a house during Covid-19. Queen’s has a number of resource staff to assist you and your housemates along the way from housemate agreements, conflict resolution & mediation, and COVID-19 preparation plans.
Please reach out with any questions or concerns: