Friday Message 23 July 2021

Enter the Draw for Free Tuition, Fall Course Updates, Getting Ready for Fall Term, and FAQs

What are these students up to on campus? Read on to discover!


Whether you are working, taking courses, re-connecting with family and friends, spending time relaxing, or all of the above, I hope you are reveling in the summer weather, the gradual return of social connection, and the opportunity to seek what fills your imagination.

Alternating between holidays and work, I am reading, starting to harvest from my urban garden, doing some creative writing, and catching up with extended family after almost two years of being apart. I am so grateful for simple board games with cousins, and being able to break bread together around the table. All things which were so easy to take for granted just two years ago before COVID.

It is important for us in the StMU community us to continue to keep our campus safe, to return to in-person classes, and back to the in-person dialogue and engagement that we find so necessary to engage our creative and critical faculties. Together, we have managed to foster relationships and connections despite social distancing. But how we have missed seeing you students on campus!!

So, as we plan to resume in-person activities on campus, let’s continue to work together to make our campus as safe as possible and safeguard against another COVID surge.

The most important step we can all take is to get the double shot of vaccine. Science shows this will do the most to limit the spread of CVOID-19 and the mutation of further variants. On the whole, Albertans are doing a great job of getting vaccinated.

As of July 21:

  • 5,128,351 doses administered
  • 75% of Albertans 12+ with at least one dose
  • 61.3% of Albertans 12+ fully vaccinated

However, in the 20-29 year old group, only 44.6% are fully vaccinated. To make our campus as safe as it can be – not only for you, but for your friends and family, staff and faculty – we need as close to 100% of students as possible to be vaccinated. That’s why all fully vaccinated StMU students who provide evidence of the two shots will be entered in a draw for full tuition for the fall term plus a chance to win one of 3 gift cards to the StMU Bookstore for $200 each!!

To enter the draw, email a copy of your proof of 2 vaccinations to by noon on Sept. 14, 2021. The information will be kept confidential. The draw will be held on Sept. 15, 2021.

Don’t know where to get your vaccine? First and second doses provided July 23 to July 30 at drop-in COVID-19 immunization clinics in Calgary

No appointments necessary for first and second dose COVID-19 immunization

CALGARY – Alberta Health Services (AHS) encourages anyone over the age of 12 who has not received either a first or second dose of COVID vaccine to visit the AHS no-appointment, first and second dose COVID-19 immunization clinics at the Calgary Telus Convention Centre and the Genesis Centre from Friday, July 23 through Friday, July 30, 2021.

The clinics will be open for drop in immunization from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, including through the weekend of July 24 and 25.

Vaccination will help protect you, and others around you, particularly for those aged 17+ who are preparing to return to post-secondary school in the fall and need to include COVID vaccination in their back-to-school preparations.

People born in 2009 or earlier who have not had a first or second dose of COVID-19 vaccine are encouraged to attend the clinics at the:

  • Calgary Telus Convention Centre
    136 8 Ave. S.E., Calgary
  • Genesis Centre
    #10, 7555 Falconridge Blvd. N.E., Calgary

There will be up to 2000 doses available at the Telus clinic and 1000 doses available at the Genesis Centre clinic.

Please bring your Alberta Health Care card if you have one, along with photo ID. You will be required to wear a face mask and use hand sanitizer when attending the site for your immunization. If you are experiencing symptoms, stay home and arrange for COVID-19 testing through or by calling 811.

Alberta Health Services is the provincial health authority responsible for planning and delivering health supports and services for more than four million adults and children living in Alberta. Its mission is to provide a patient-focused, quality health system that is accessible and sustainable for all Albertans.

Fall Courses – Updates

As we continue to navigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are offering as many in-person classes as possible, with some classes occurring on-line through D2L. Closer to the beginning of term, we will update you on whether or not these courses will be synchronous (occurring at the scheduled class time) or asynchronous (pre-recorded so you can watch them at your preferred time). For now, we want to give you plenty of notice so you can plan your fall and begin to anticipate what that will look like.

The following fall classes will be held on-line through D2L:

  • ENGL 200A-6
  • MGST 301.1 (Fall Reading Week)
  • PSYC 312 A, lectures and Labs 1 and 2
  • SOCI 201-1 and -2
  • SOCI 393
  • WRIT 201

FAQs return as students ask important questions. Not sure about something? Send me your question and we will post answers here.

What are other universities doing about COVID vaccinations? Are they mandatory?

We monitor what is happening across Canada at other post-secondary institutions, as well as keep in close contact with Alberta Health Services, about the current status of the COVID-19 virus, vaccination uptake, and appropriate health precautions. As of this week, many universities with residences are mandating vaccines before students move in to their rooms. For students not living in residence, most universities are strongly encouraging vaccines but not making it mandatory. We are still exploring whether our athletes will need vaccines to travel to games and will update you as we can.

Ontario’s Universities and the Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA) issued a joint statement Friday to “encourage all faculty, staff and students to get vaccinated,” since “high vaccination rates play a critical role in bringing student life back to our campuses.” Universities will “continue to work with public health units and the provincial government to prioritize the health and safety of students” this Fall.

As uGuelph molecular geneticist Manish Raizada points out, students have to get their first dose now if they hope to get a second dose 3-4 weeks later, and wait at least 2 more weeks for full immune protection, before coming to campus in early September. With vaccination rates among the traditional PSE student cohort plateauing at about 64% in Canada, we have a long way to go to achieve the 90% that some epidemiologists say would be required to protect a campus community from further outbreaks.

What’s the difference between applying, registering and enrolling?

The Registrar’s Office answers: Great Question! There is a lot of terminology unique to post-secondary. You apply for admission to StMU. As soon as you receive admission or conditional admission, you can pay your deposit and register for courses – sign up for the courses you want to take. Once you ahave signed up for courses, we consider you enrolled as a student at StMU.

What are the students doing in the picture at the beginning of this message?

Dr. Mary Ann McLean, Associate Professor Biology, answers.
An exciting new project is happening on campus this summer! Four Biology students with Dr. Mary Ann McLean are building an Indigenous medicine garden around the flagpole. This evolved out of conversations with colleagues & students about sustainability, reconciliation and restoration. The garden will feature local native plants that were and are being used by other Treaty 7 people. We start planting shrubs this weekend and will have the whole garden finished by early September. If you are at loose ends & want to help out, please contact Dr. McLean (

Here, students are assessing which plants to keep in the garden and which to move. The picture up top shows students using hula hoops and garden hoses to measure and plan the gardens. Come to campus over the summer and check out the progress.

Enjoy the weather. Looking forward to seeing you again soon!

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