I am writing to follow up with you following our announcement last week that the university would be returning to in-person classes as of Monday, January 31st.
Since that announcement was made we have received significant feedback from our student community, and we have engaged in a number of meetings with student representatives to examine the concerns and support about our plans. While there have been concerns raised about the re-entry plan, we have also received extensive support for the decision. In the end, the university will continue with its planned re-opening, and we will work to ensure that safety concerns are addressed and supported.
The university implemented significant safety protocols when we were last in person, and these security measures will be maintained and indeed augmented during this return period.
This will include continuing to insist on proof of double vaccination or a negative COVID test administered by a third-party lab or pharmacy in the past 72 hours submitted on StMU Safety App as a condition of entry to our buildings, with limited entry points to monitor compliance more closely.
While the majority of our community has uploaded their information, we want to remind anyone who hasn’t loaded their information that they are required formally to establish their vaccination and/or regular rapid testing results by 4pm January 28th 2022. Details on how to access this are available at https://stmu.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Vaccination-Verification-Rapid-Testing-GuideOct-1st21.pdf. A web version of the program can be found at https://stmu.apparmor.com/webapp/default.aspx?menu=Vaccine+and+Rapid+Test+Verification.
We will continue to have enhanced cleaning and security protocols in place (which already exceed AHS guidelines). The wearing of masks will of course remain compulsory at all times, except when eating and drinking in designated areas.
The COVID Task Force has carefully reviewed the current data and consulted with other smaller institutions that have safely stayed open since January. We are confident that we can continue to follow protocols to mitigate risk and keep our community healthy while resuming in-person classes and labs.
In summary, as of January 31st,
- The campus will be fully open and classes originally scheduled for in-person will resume in-person
- Library, Bookstore, and Food Services will be open
- The Fitness Center will remain open for all training for current clients, including faculty, staff and students, with strict booking and cleaning protocols in place.
- All people need to upload their proof of double vaccination of negative PCR test through the StMU Safety App to be allowed on campus with no exceptions. Please note: it takes time to process submissions through the App so be proactive to get this information submitted.
- Before you come to campus, self-check for symptoms. If you have symptoms,you must remain off campus.
We know that this decision isn’t universally supported, but hope everyone understands that we are working hard to restore the valuable in-class opportunity that is a hallmark of the St. Mary’s experience. We will continue to review the changing circumstances and update our response and protocols. For regular updates, we encourage you to regularly monitor your StMU email, visit the StMU website https://stmu.ca/vaccination-faq/ for additional details, and email Covid19@stmu.ca with any questions or concerns.
In the meantime we are preparing a detailed response to the student concerns that have been raised by our community and this will be sent out in the next few days.
Thank you to everyone for your patience and collegiality during this difficult time.