SWS Updates

Increase in Meningococcal Disease in KFL&A Area

There have been several reported cases of bacterial meningococcal meningitis type B in our region, including among post-secondary students.  Meningococcal disease is a rare but potentially life-threatening bacterial infection that can lead to meningitis or an infection of the blood stream. 

All meningococcal infections are considered medical emergencies.  If you suspect you have this infection, please visit your local emergency room immediately.  Symptoms may initially resemble the flu then progress rapidly.  If not treated properly, this infection can have serious consequences. 

Symptoms include: 

  • Sudden fever
  • Intense headache
  • Stiff neck
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting 
  • Sensitivity to light 
  • Purplish skin rash

KFL&A Public Health is encouraging all students to get a Meningococcal B vaccine.  This is NOT a publicly funded vaccine therefore it is not part of the childhood vaccine series.  You can do this by visiting your healthcare provider or by booking an appointment SWS and asking for a prescription. Supplementary insurance plans, like AMS and SGPS health and dental plan, likely cover most of the cost of this vaccine.

Students at high risk, due to underlying health conditions, are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated.  High risk conditions include those with one or more of the following: 

  • Acquired complement deficiencies (e.g., receiving eculizumab)
  • Asplenia (functional or anatomic)
  • Cochlear implant recipients (pre/post implant)
  • Complement, properdin, factor D, or primary antibody deficiencies 
  • HIV

Learn more about Meningococcal Disease.  This virus is primarily spread through saliva so try to avoid sharing things like water bottles, drinks, food, utensils, vapes, joints, etc.

Apply to receive a HIV self-test kit online. Pick-up at Student Wellness. Do the test at home. Get your results.

GetaKit is a clinical decision tool that recommends/provides sexual health services. Student Wellness Services offers the option to pick up a HIV self-test kit if a person meets the GetaKit criteria.

You’re eligible for HIV self-testing if you are:

  • 16 or older
  • HIV negative, or unsure of your status
  • Not enrolled in an HIV vaccine trial
  • Not diagnosed with a bleeding disorder
  • Sexually active or use injection drugs

If you have symptoms, or if one of your partners has been recently diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection or HIV, or if you think you need PEP, please visit these resources first.

Students can receive an HIV self-test kit by completing this survey, and see what tests, supports, and services are recommended for you.

Once the survey is complete and if it recommends eligibility for a HIV self-test kit, students can select to pick up the kit at Student Wellness Services. The available time for kit pick up is on Wednesdays during business hours 9:00-4:00pm. Provide the code number, and get a HIV self-test kit.

After the test is taken, students are not obligated to report the results. It is recommended the student follow the instructions provided to receive the appropriate follow-up care and resources. If you need immediate support following your test results, please call the HIV/AIDS hotline: 1-800-668-2437 or e-chat: sexualhealthontario.ca/en/chat

We strongly encouraging all members of our campus community, including students, to get a flu and COVID-19 booster vaccine to help protect you against the most common strains of influenza.  

The similarity between COVID-19 and influenza symptoms can result in missing classes and extracurriculars due to public health guidelines which could be a big source of stress for students.  

Taking the time to get vaccinated not only protects you from getting sick but it also helps protect your peers, friends and loved ones. Getting vaccinated will also help us avoid overwhelming our local hospitals.

How to Get a Flu & COVID-19 Booster Vaccine


Students can call SWS and book an appointment for flu and/or COVID-19 vaccines (subject to availability). 


How and where to get a flu and/or COVID-19 vaccine will differ depending on your type of primary health insurance.

Students from Ontario with an Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) card can receive a vaccine at your local family doctor’s office or a pharmacy.

Out-of-province & international students living in Kingston with another provincial/territorial health card or UHIP card are urged to call a local pharmacy and ask if they will accept your provincial health insurance for a flu vaccine.  

Local pharmacies on or near campus include:

How to Report COVID-19 Vaccines Received Outside of Ontario or Canada 

You can submit a copy of your vaccine records by: Fax 613-549-0985 or mail: KLF&A Public Health, 221 Portsmouth Ave., Kingston, ON, K7M1V5

Once your vaccine records have been received, KFL&A Public Health will update your records in the Ontario documentation system (COVaxON). Please allow 7 to 10 business days.  When your record has been updated you will be sent an email with a link that will allow you to download your vaccine receipt. 

Other Vaccines

We also encourage students to make sure all your other vaccines are up to date. If you do not have a record of what vaccines you’ve received, your parents/supporters or your family doctor likely have this information. If you’re missing doses or have never been vaccinated and want to catch up, you can book an appointment at Student Wellness Services (SWS). For more information about what vaccines are recommended, here is the Ontario’s routine immunization schedule.

Important information about final exams for students registered with Queen's Student Accessibility Services (QSAS):

  • Login to Ventus to view your final accommodated exam schedule (posted March 15, 2024)
  • If your accommodated exams are finalized in Ventus, it is past the deadline to make changes.  Book an appointment with your QSAS Advisor after the exam period if you want to review your accommodations
  • Last day for new students to register with QSAS and receive accommodations for Winter 2024, is April 1st, 2024
  • If you are unable to attend your final exam due to an exacerbation of your disability, follow the exam deferral process.  

Students with any COVID-19 symptoms should review KFL&A Public Health's website for isolation and/or self-monitoring guidelines. To determine if you have COVID-19 symptoms, take the self-assessment on the Ontario Health screening tool.

COVID-19 PCR Tests

Publicly-funded PCR tests are only available for high-risk individuals who are symptomatic or at risk for severe illness from COVID-19.  Visit the KFL&A Public Health COVID assessment website to determine if you belong to one of the groups eligible for PCR testing and where testing is available. 

If you are ineligible for a PCR test or unable to access a rapid antigen test (RAT), you are presumed to be positive and should do the following:

  • Follow the isolation and/or self-monitoring guidelines
  • Notify your close contacts who include people with whom you have been in close proximity (i.e., 2 meters or 6 feet) within the last 48 hours for at least 15 minutes or multiple times without wearing a mask.

You may be able to access an asymptomatic COVID-19 PCR test under certain circumstances. Check here for current eligibility criteria and locations across Ontario.

Fee-for-service PCR testing is available for individuals who are travelling at select pharmacies. Visit the Ontario COVID-19 website to find testing locations.

Getting COVID-19 PCR Test Results

It could take up to 72 hours to get your COVID-19 test results.

  • Students from Ontario with an OHIP health card can check their lab results online from the Ontario Ministry of Health.
  • International and students from out of province can email covid19assessmentcentre@kingstonhsc.ca.  Include your full name, date of birth, date of testing and testing location.  Please do not call KFL&A Public Health for results.

COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs)

RAT kits are being distributed through pharmacies and grocery stores in Ontario.  Find a list of participating retailers.

If your RAT results are negative:

  • Take another RAT 24-48 hours after your first negative test.  If these results are also negative, you most likely do not have COVID-19.
  • Self-isolate until your symptoms are improving for at least 24 hours (48 hours if you have gastrointestinal symptoms i.e., vomiting or diarrhea).

If your RAT results are positive:

  • If you are fully vaccinated and have symptoms - isolate for 5 days starting from the onset of symptoms and until your symptoms are improving for 24 hours (for 48 hours if they are gastrointestinal)  
  • If you are fully vaccinated and have NO symptoms - isolate for 5 days starting from the date of your test result
  • If you are partially vaccinated, unvaccinated or immunocompromised - isolate for 10 days starting from the onset of symptoms or from the date of your test result (whichever comes sooner)

Also, be sure to also notify your close contacts who need to self-monitor for symptoms 10 days after your last exposure.  During this time, you also need to wear a mask, avoid activities where mask removal is necessary (e.g., dining out or high contact sports) and do not visit any high-risk settings (e.g., long-term care or retirement homes). 

Household contacts do not need to isolate if they have previously tested positive in the last 90 days and do not have symptoms, are 18 years of age or older and have received a COVID-19 booster dose, OR are under 18 years of age and are fully vaccinated.

COVID-19 & Academic Considerations

If you will be missing an academic requirement due to COVID-19 illness, COVID-19 symptoms, or a self-isolation requirement, academic consideration will be granted.

  • To receive academic consideration, you need to submit a request by following your Faculty’s/School’s established protocol for students with extenuating circumstances.
  • For COVID-19-related absences, a self-attestation of your illness or requirement to self-isolate will be sufficient documentation of your circumstances. Documentation from a health-care provider will not be required.
  • It is your responsibility to contact each of your instructors to arrange to make up the missed work.

Find additional COVID-19 information on the Risk & Safety Services website

Rise in Drug Poisonings in the KFL&A Area

KFL&A Public Health is warning residents of a toxic batch of drugs circulating in the area containing fentanyl, carfentanil, and benzodiazepine analogues resulting in an increased number of overdoses. There is also reports of an increase in residents experiencing prolonged deep sedation, and indicators suggest a recent increase in the presence of carfentanil in the unregulated drug supply.  

The unregulated drug supply is unpredictable and drug poisonings are increasingly complicated. It is vital that people do not use drugs alone. 

Anyone who suspects or witnesses an overdose should call 9-1-1. The Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act provides some legal protection against simple drug possession charges for anyone who experiences, witnesses or responds to an overdose and calls 9-1-1.

Public Health recommends: 

  • Avoid using alone. If you use alone, tell someone before you use and have a safety plan that includes having someone check in with you. Alternatives may include:
    • Using with a friend or family member present or virtually
    • Staggering use if both are using drugs.
  • Using a supervised consumption service in person at 661 Montreal St., Kingston or virtually by calling the National Overdose Response Service at 1-888-688-NORS (6677)
  • Avoid using more than one drug at a time, including alcohol.
  • Go slow. The quality of unregulated drugs is unpredictable.
  • Get a free naloxone kit and training. Always carry it with you.
  • Seek medical treatment.

For more information on harm reduction, visit the KFL&A Public Health website

Student Wellness Services will be closed on the following dates/times:

  • Friday June 28th and Monday July 1st (Canada Day observance)
  • Monday August 5th (Civic Holiday observance)
  • Monday September 2nd (Labour Day observance)
  • Tuesday September 3rd (all staff start-up meeting)

When we are closed, visit Get Help Now to find 24/7 phone and online mental health resources in addition to resources for medical care.

Most respiratory viruses (i.e., cold, influenza, or COVID), while uncomfortable, are mild or moderate in severity and do not require treatment. Viral illnesses are not treated with antibiotics.

Student Wellness Services encourages you to stay-home and self-manage symptoms of respiratory illness. In addition, Queen's Risk & Safety Services suggests: 

  • Monitor yourself for symptoms prior to coming to campus or attending class or activities.
  • If you are sick, stay at home or in your residence room until your symptoms improve as outlined by KFL&A Public Health.
  • Connect with your faculty to understand the process for requesting academic considerations for the time you are unable to come to campus or attend classes.
    • If you miss a class, exam or other academic requirement due to COVID-19 illness, symptoms or self-isolation requirement, academic consideration will be granted.  
    • Students can submit an academic consideration request by following your Faculty's/School's established protocol for students with extenuating circumstances. Find additional information about the Extenuating Circumstances procedure and policy.  

Because the symptoms can be similar, it can be hard to know if you have a cold, influenza or COVID-19. The table below outlines some of the differences:





















Aches and pains




Runny and stuffy nose




Sore throat












Shortness of breath




If you are experiencing mild to moderate symptoms:

  • Stay home except to access medical care. Do not visit public area or go places where you are unable to wear a mask. If you are experiencing COVID-like symptoms, follow current isolation guidelines.
  • Take care of yourself by getting rest and staying hydrated. A humidifier, throat lozenges and salt water rinses may help.
  • Take over-the-counter medicines, such as acetaminophen. Ask a pharmacist to suggest medications based on your symptoms.

Seek emergency medical care if you experience any of the following:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone

Monkeypox is a rare viral infection, though there has been a recent uptick in cases throughout many parts of the world, including Canada. The virus spreads through close, physical contact, particularly through contact with an infected person’s rash or bodily fluids such as blood, saliva, and semen. The virus may also spread through respiratory particles (e.g. from talking, breathing, coughing, sneezing) during prolonged close contact.

Monkeypox commonly presents with a rash that may be painful and can affect any part of the body, including the mouth, genitals, face, arm and legs, and feet and hands. Other general symptoms that may accompany the rash include fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes, headaches, muscle pain, and exhaustion.

People usually develop symptoms 5 to 21 days after being exposed to the virus and are contagious from the onset of the first symptoms until the scabs from their rash have fallen off and the skin has healed. If you experience symptoms, isolate at home away from others and contact your healthcare provider immediately for advice on testing and medical care.

Monkeypox typically goes away on its own within 2-4 weeks. However, it can be severe and potentially life-threatening in some circumstances.

For more information on Monkeypox, see the KFL&A Public Health and/or the Government of Canada website.