StMU Campus at night

The StMU tipi was up on campus for last week for Indigenous Studies 301. Part of our responsibility to carry the tipi is to acknowledge it as a lodge and ensure someone sleeps in it every night. StMU students, staff, faculty and their families kept the lodge alive, despite some pretty cool -5 temperatures and a lot of rain some nights. Thank you!

At last, after so many months apart, we will be seeing you on campus again! We are all so excited to welcome you back to StMU and resume (mostly) in-person learning.

All through the last 18 months with COVID-19, as staff and faculty we kept asking ourselves, “how can we keep our core values of community, belonging, relationship, and identity at the forefront for our students, despite all the restrictions?” So, through it all, we were intentional about how to connect you to the learning, the resources you need, and create a sense of community as a place of learning and dynamic intellectual curiosity.

There has been so much learning for all of us! And it will continue this fall as we gather again together – this time in person.

The COVID protocols are detailed below in a message from our President, Dr. Turcotte. And we will keep you, our students, informed about any changes during the term through these regular messages and signs around campus.

As you prepare for the next season in your journey at StMU, I offer you a poem by Lorna Crozier as imaginative and intellectual fare.

Packing for the Future: Instructions by Lorna Crozier

Take the thickest socks.
Wherever you’re going
you’ll have to walk.

There may be water.
There may be stones.
There may be high places
you cannot go without
the hope socks bring you,
the way they hold you
to the earth.

At least one pair must be new,
must be blue as a wish
hand-knit by your mother
in her sleep.


Take a leather satchel,
a velvet bag an old tin box —
a salamander painted on the lid.

That is to carry that small thing
you cannot leave. Perhaps the key
you’ve kept though it doesn’t fit
any lock you know,
the photograph that keeps you sane,
a ball of string to lead you out
though you can’t walk back
into that light.

In your bag leave room for sadness,
leave room for another language.

There may be doors nailed shut.
There may be painted windows.
There may be signs that warn you
to be gone. Take the dream
you’ve been having since
you were a child, the one
with open fields and the wind


Mistrust no one who offers you
water from a well, a songbird’s feather,
something that’s been mended twice.
Always travel lighter
than the heart.

COVID Update – New Protocols effective August 23

Part of packing well for the future is taking care of our corporeal selves. This year, that means keeping safe and health against COVID-19. Dr. Turcotte outlines below the new COVID protocols designed to keep you and the rest of our community safe.

Dear Students,

As we approach the beginning of the fall term, we have reviewed the measures to keep our learning community as healthy as possible and to provide in-person access to learning. St. Mary’s University will be implementing mandatory mask usage for all Students, Faculty, Staff and Visitors effective Monday August 23rd, 2021 in all indoor public spaces.

These enforced restrictions will be in place at St. Mary’s until October 1st 2021, at which point the situation will be re-evaluated based on current restrictions and guidelines as per Alberta Health Services.

It is clear that the most important thing that can be done to protect the health and safety of our community is vaccination.

Vaccines protect us all. They are highly effective against all known variants, especially for severe disease. If you have not already done so, we strongly encourage you to get vaccinated.

New Student Orientation

New Student Orientation will continue to be on campus as planned, and we will be requiring all Students, Faculty and Staff to wear a mask while in indoor spaces except for when they are socially distanced to speak from the podium.

Fall 2021 Classes

We are extremely pleased to confirm that we are still planning for the majority of our classes to be in-person and on campus this fall; however, mask wearing in indoor spaces including classrooms, laboratories, hallways, meeting rooms, offices and the student association building will be required at all times – with the exception of faculty teaching socially distanced from the front of the room. They will need to wear masks at all other times in public spaces.

Library Services & Bookstore

In keeping with all health and safety protocols established by Alberta Health Services, the St. Mary’s University Library and Bookstore will remain open. However, mandatory mask wearing will be required in these indoor public spaces. Books no longer need to be quarantined and the stacks will be open to patrons.

Fitness Centre

The Fitness Center will remain open. To maintain safety while exercising, the Fitness Centre will continue the on-line booking system, and will limit and space out the number of participants in the Fitness Centre at one time.

Workplace Accommodations

Students requiring health-related accommodations need to submit the supporting medical documentation through the Registrar’s Office.:

Before Coming to Campus

  • Every day, before you come to campus, check to make sure you do not have COVID-19 symptoms. Before leaving your home to come to campus, do a self-assessment to ensure that you are feeling well!
    • If you are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms this must be reported to your Leader and via the St. Mary’s Safe App then proceed to be tested. If you have a positive test, you will be required to remain off campus.
    • When you are on-campus for work:
      • Disinfect your hands with sanitizer when entering campus buildings.
      • Wear a mask at all times in any indoor public space. Masks are to be worn in meeting rooms and office spaces when others are present, however, can be removed when working in these spaces alone.
      • If upon asking, an individual refusing to don a mask they will be asked to leave St. Mary’s University property and may be subject to disciplinary action.
      • Practise proper hand hygiene and wash your hands frequently.
      • Be sure to comply with all occupancy and directional signage.

What to do if you feel sick

If you develop COVID-19 signs and symptoms, go home immediately. Ensure you have arrangements to get home safely; do not use public transportation, ride-sharing services or taxis.

Call 811 to access Alberta Health Services guidance on COVID testing.

Workplace Safety Concerns
The University has comprehensive protocols in place to minimize and guard against the risk of contracting and transmitting COVID-19.

Facilities has been and is continuing to maximize the amount of fresh outside air being taken into our buildings, while still maintaining appropriate temperatures. Additionally, we have installed improved air filters into all of our systems and we have increased the frequency of all filter replacements. This, along with increased cleaning of touch points and ensuring hand sanitizer, is available for members of the StMU community, and are all extra measures we are taking to ensure the safety of our whole community.

Support for Vaccines

We continue to be committed to supporting all of our students, staff and faculty in accessing vaccinations, especially now that they are more widely available. While we will not be adopting or enforcing a ‘vaccine passport’, COVID-19 health and safety protocols will be implemented and will apply to all staff, faculty, students and visitors.

Vaccine Progress to date as of August 18:

  • 5,469,437 doses administered
  • 77.1% of Albertans 12+ with at least one dose
  • 68.3% of Albertans 12+ fully vaccinated

Book your free shot. It’s safe and easy.

COVID-19 vaccines help prevent you from getting infected and protect you from getting severely sick if you do get it. All vaccines are safe, effective and save lives.

Everyone born in 2009 or before (turning 12+) can get their first and second doses now.

Book your shot at participating pharmacies and physician clinics, through the AHS online booking tool or call 811. Temporary walk-in clinics are available for first doses of an mRNA (Pfizer or Moderna) vaccine.

Visit the link below to find a pharmacy, clinic, or doctor’s office offering the COVID vaccine:

Contact Tracing & Attendance Tracking

To assist the University in potential contact tracking, we are asking that all faculty take attendance for each of their on-campus classes and keep in case we need them. Staff meeting with students, and/or visitors should also keep records of who they are meeting with and have their direct contact information handy if needed for contact tracing.

If you have a positive COVID test, please submit the COVID incident report immediately through the St. Mary’s Safe App and inform your supervisor. You need to quarantine for 14 days, following the AHS guidelines.

What to Expect on Campus

  • All students, faculty, staff and visitors are required to wear masks in indoor public spaces.
  • We are cleaning more often and signs will be in place to remind you to physically distance, and practise healthy hand hygiene.
  • Bottle-refill stations remain available, but the drinking portion of water fountains will be out of service.
  • Food service from the Bistro at St. Mary’s will remain open at this time.

St. Mary’s Safe App

As we continue to navigate this ever-evolving situation, we would like to thank you for your commitment and dedication to St. Mary’s and to our students. This is by no means an easy undertaking and the resilience and determination exhibited by all of our students, staff, and faculty is truly inspiring.

Stay safe, stay healthy,

Dr. Gerry Turcotte
President & Vice-Chancellor

Food Service Official Opening Sept 7th

What you’ve all been waiting for! The official opening of our new food services on campus will be on Sept. 7th. Some of you will get a sneak preview during New Student Orientation, and all of you can rest assured that when classes start, we’ve got you covered with the essentials: coffee, tea, cold drinks, hot food, healthy and tasty meals.

Check us out at The Bistro in LeFort Building!

Feeling Stressed and Anxious about Life Resuming?

Togetehrall is a free online peer support app offering mental health tools and resource, free to any Albertans 16 years of age or older. Togetherall registration is available by providing an Alberta postal code, then creating a username (something that is not identifiable so that you retain your anonymity); registration establishes access to the tools, resources, and peer support on the site.

To learn more, click on the link below:
HOW CAN WE HELP? Community Courses Resources LEARN MORE HOW CAN WE HELP? If you’re struggling to cope this school year, you don’t have to do it alone. Togetherall offers a safe and anonymous community to connect

So looking forward to greeting you soon – in-person!

Tara Hyland-Russell
Vice-President Academic
St. Mary’s University