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Information regarding COVID-19

GENERAL INFORMATION AND TIMELINE

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the University has worked closely with the Ministry of Advanced Education, the City of Calgary and Alberta Health Services (AHS) to align our operations with public health directives and bylaws in order to keep our community safe.

Although mandatory masking requirements will no longer be in place effective March 1, the Chief Medical Officer of Health for the Province of Alberta and the University strongly recommend that all members of our community continue to wear masks when indoors, just as we continue to recommend that everyone in our University community get every vaccine dose for which they are eligible.

We also ask that all members of our community do a wellness self-check before coming to campus. If you are unwell or have flu/cold/COVID symptoms, you must remain off campus until symptoms and/or the required isolation period has passed.

We ask that everyone continue to treat each other’s decisions around pandemic issues with respect as each of us has our own unique experience and comfort-level with COVID-19.

Mike Clark
Director Campus Services and Facilities
St Mary’s University

Medical Vaccine exemption form
VACCINATION VERIFICATION PROGRAM GUIDE

FAQ’S (Students, Staff, Faculty, General Public)

Will I be required to disclose my vaccination status?

Yes, attestation of vaccination status and providing documentary proof is a mandatory legal requirement. Students, faculty and staff are required to provide proof of their vaccination status using St. Mary’s Safe App (St. Mary’s Safe App). Details on official vaccine records are available at: https://www.alberta.ca/covid-19-public-health-actions.aspx#REP

The collection of vaccination information is carried out in full accordance with all applicable laws and regulations as mandated by the Government of Alberta. All personal health information is confidential, and will not be shared with supervisors or professors or any other member of the St. Mary’s community. The requirement to report vaccination status is a component of the university’s health and safety practices in response to the global pandemic and the Government of Alberta mandate. In collecting this information, the university will protect it, keep it confidential and only use it for the purpose for which it was collected or authorized by law.

What types of proof of vaccinations are required?

Currently St. Mary’s University is only able to accept one of the following proof of vaccination records:

  • For Albertan’s the Alberta vaccine record with QR Code ( ca/CovidRecords.) as it is now the only valid Alberta-issued proof of vaccination accepted by for the Restrictions Exemption Program
  • Another official provincial vaccine record (Other provincial vaccine records)
  • First Nations vaccine records
  • ArriveCan appand valid international travel identity document
  • Canadian Armed Forces vaccine records
  • S. Military proof of vaccination and ID card

What type of COVID-19 Tests are acceptable at St. Mary’s?

Negative COVID-19 test results should be a written or printed copy that indicates the individual has tested negative for COVID-19 on a Health Canada approved rapid antigen, rapid PCR, or lab based PCR test approved by Health Canada or the lab accreditation body of jurisdiction.

  • Valid test results should be a written or printed copy that clearly outlines the type of test, time of sample collection, clear indication of a negative result, and laboratory that completed the test, if applicable.
  • Photos of a rapid test or result taken offsite is not sufficient.
  • A self-test completed offsite or self-produced documentation of a negative test result is not valid.
  • Do not bring completed self-tests or rapid tests to businesses due to communicable disease risk.
  • Tests must not be from the Alberta Health Services public COVID-19 testing system.

Other than the vaccination program, what other health precautions are being taken on campus?

In addition to our vaccination status verification and/or rapid testing we still have the following mandates in place on campus:

  • Mandatory masks usage in all indoor public spaces
  • All non-essential employees who do not need to be on campus are still required to work from home
  • Individuals experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms are not to come to campus and must get tested.
  • Our Facilities team continue to diligently ensure additional cleaning and sanitization is done inside campus buildings.

I have COVID symptoms: what do I do?

Students, staff or faculty showing symptoms of COVID must stay away from campus or leave immediately if symptoms develop while on campus, book a COVID test, and self-isolate while test results come back.

Once you are safety off campus, your symptoms must be reported through the St. Mary’s Safe App and if you are a staff and/or faculty member ensure you advise your supervisor. Once you have received your test results, you must also report these through the St. Mary’s Safe App. Individuals who have tested positive for COVID must follow current provincial public health isolation and quarantine requirements, as outlined at www.alberta.ca/isolation, before returning to campus. 

I have tested negative for COVID-19, but still have symptoms. What do I do?

Individuals who have tested negative for COVID AND no longer have symptoms must report test results through the St. Mary’s Safe App. If you are a staff and/or faculty member ensure you advise your supervisor before returning to campus.

I have tested positive for COVID-19: what do I do?

Individuals who have tested positive for COVID must follow current provincial public health isolation and quarantine requirements, as outlined at www.alberta.ca/isolation, before returning to campus. The positive test results must be reported through the St. Mary’s Safe App and if you are a staff and/or faculty member ensure you advise your supervisor.

I am having issues with submitting my vaccination verification.

We have found that sometimes during peak times of the day, individual technology device speeds and/or local Wi-Fi/Cell service strength can slow down the tools. We encourage users to attempt to use the web version if the app is slow to load, and/or vice versa and to be prepared that loading times may be slow. Here is the link to our website with both the web version and a users’ guide as well, https://stmu.ca/vaccination-rapid-testing-launch/. Here is the link to the web version of the web tool: https://stmu.apparmor.com/webapp/default.aspx?menu=Vaccine+and+Rapid+Test+Verification. If individuals continue to have issues, we encourage them to reach out directly to covid19@stmu.ca and we can support them with their individual and specific needs/questions.

I don’t have a cell phone: how do I gain access to buildings?

For individuals who do not have a cell phone, you will need to enroll using the web version of the StMU safe program. Once your application has been approved, you will need to print and carry with you a copy of the approved submission and a piece of photo ID to gain entry to Campus facilities.

Here is the link to the web version of the web tool: https://stmu.apparmor.com/webapp/default.aspx?menu=Vaccine+and+Rapid+Test+Verification so that

Will the University be accepting and using the Alberta QR code to gain access to campus?

At this time, the University plans to continue using the StMU Safe program for community members to gain access to campus facilities. If this changes the University will ensure that we make a formal communication announcement to the community.

I have questions related to COVID: who do I contact?

For any questions or concerns related to COVID-19, please feel free to reach out covid19@stmu.ca and a member of our team will connect directly with as soon as they can.

Are there exemptions to the vaccine requirements?

At this time St. Mary’s is participating in the Provincial Restrictions Exemption Program to be able to continue to provide in-person services and classes. This program currently only allows for proof of vaccination, proof of a privately-paid negative rapid test result taken within 72 hours of service or documentation of a medical exemption. Any individual who cannot be vaccinated on medical grounds can request an exemption. All individuals who are awaiting their second dose or awaiting the results of an application for exemption are required to adhere to additional health and safety measures, including frequent rapid testing. Unvaccinated individuals without an approved permitted medical exemption will not be able to attend campus or any St. Mary’s University activity in person as of November 1, 2021 as mandated by the Alberta Government unless they provide proof of negative rapid test within 72 hours of visiting campus.

Why is proof of vaccination now required at St. Mary’s?

Alberta has declared a state of Public Health Emergency. COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to rise, largely in unvaccinated Albertans. New measures to protect the health care system, stop the spread, and increase vaccination rates came into effect starting September 16.

Implementation of the Government of Alberta’s Restrictions Exemption Program requiring proof of vaccination or negative test result will allow St. Mary’s University to continue operating as usual.

What vaccines meet this new requirement?

For the purposes of meeting the university’s vaccination requirements, St. Mary’s University recognizes a complete vaccine series approved by Health Canada and those listed for emergency use by the World Health Organization.

Do I still need to wear a mask or practice physical distancing even if I am vaccinated?

Yes. The vaccination requirements complement the extensive health and safety measures already in place and our existing return to campus plans. Existing health and safety protocols will remain in place including mask requirements, self-assessments, and enhanced cleaning protocols. Under the exemption program, physical distancing is not required but is encouraged where possible.

What measures is the university taking to ensure proper physical distancing in classrooms and proper air circulation (opening windows and proper air ventilation measures)?

AHS does not require us to maintain social distancing as St. Mary’s University is participating in the provincial Restrictions Exemption Program which requires either proof of vaccination or negative test result. We enhanced the air ventilation system and have doubled the frequency of changing the air filters.

MEDICAL INQUIRIES?

To the extent you have medical questions, you should be referring your inquiries to Alberta Health and/or your healthcare providers as StMU is not in a position to provide you with medical advice.

WHAT IF I DECIDE NOT TO BE VACCINATED – DOES THAT AFFECT MY EMPLOYMENT AT StMU?

With respect to your employment, StMU remains committed to providing reasonable accommodations for employees on a case by case basis, in accordance with the Alberta Human Rights Act and current Public Health Orders from the Government of Alberta while maintaining a safe working and learning environment.

While the decision to get vaccinated remains yours entirely, StMU maintains control over its campus to promote the health and safety of everyone. As such, if you decide not to be vaccinated, you will not be allowed on campus unless you have proof of a negative test being completed within 72hrs and you will need to make the HR department and your area Vice-President and/or Supervisor aware of this decision.

CAN I WORK REMOTELY IF I CHOOSE NOT TO BE VACCINATED?

As per the University’s Flexible Work Arrangement policies (*note link must be accessed while logged into StMU Server), a flexible work arrangement may be available to depending on the role and operational need. These arrangements will be reviewed on a regular basis and in the event that this arrangement is no longer sustainable and/or required, we will review any employment implications at that time.

IS THERE AN AVENUE TO SUBMIT A WORK ACCOMMODATION REQUEST, AND IS REMOTE WORK FULLY AVAILABLE?

Upon receipt of a work accommodation request, and in consultation with your Area Vice-President and/or Supervisor and HR, we will review your role, and if eligible we will accommodate a full-time and/or partial remote work arrangement effective immediately. In the event that your attendance on Campus or at a University event is required you will be required to ensure that you have proof of a negative COVID-19 test being completed within 72hrs. Tests must be privately-paid COVID-19 PCR or rapid tests, must not be from Alberta Health Services or Alberta Precision Laboratories, administered by a certified health professional and will be at your own expense. At this time St. Mary’s is not an approved rapid testing center; however, a list of third party health service vendors can be found on the Government of Alberta website at COVID-19 Rapid Testing Third Party Health Service Vendors (alberta.ca). When on campus, you will continue to be expected to abide by all University polices, in particular those connected to health & safety.

In the event that you have any questions or concerns at any time, please reach out to your Leader and/or Stephanie Law, HR Specialist or Athena Pulzoni, Director, HR & Payroll, or contact HR@stmu.ca.

IS THERE LEGITIMATE CONTACT TRACING GOING ON AND WHO OVERSEES IT?

We continue the process of contact tracing that we implemented last year, although AHS is not asking us to do this. Reports of symptoms and COVID tests are sent confidentially through the St. Mary’s Safety App to our Safety Coordinator. Positive cases are followed up and people with close contact are notified. Faculty keep attendance records to enable this process.

WILL THE UNIVERSITY IMPLEMENT HYBRID COURSES DURING THIS TIME SINCE THEY SHOWED THE CAPABILITY TO DO SO LAST YEAR?

No, we will not be. The technology and pedagogy needs for online and hybrid teaching are substantially different from in-person or fully on-line teaching. The university is not in a position to offer a blended model given the cost and technology requirements.

DOES THE UNIVERSITY FUNDING DEPEND ON IN-PERSON ATTENDANCE OF STUDENTS?

No. We make decisions about program delivery based on best practice.

WILL THERE BE OPTIONS FOR UNVACCINATED STUDENTS TO FINISH THEIR COURSES?

People choosing to remain unvaccinated against the provincial health mandate have several options:

  • Get the vaccines by the deadlines and provide proof of vaccine
  • If you don’t want to get vaccinated, you can regularly get the rapid test and provide proof to the university (min of 72 hours before classes and regularly). AHS has said the public health system will not pay for this.

IS THERE ANY WAY FOR UPASS OR GYM FEES TO BE OPTIONAL WITH EVERYTHING GOING ON?

Both the transit and Fitness Centre remain usable and accessible, so we will be keeping these fees in place.

WILL THERE BE LENIENCY TOWARDS EXAM ATTENDANCE? ESPECIALLY IF A PERSON GETS SICK A DAY BEFORE OR DAY OF? WILL THERE BE AN OPTION TO DO IT ONLINE INSTEAD?

We have processes in place if students get sick. Those will continue to apply during exams. Courses that are being offered online will have online exams. Courses offered in person will have in-person exams. Some universities have put exam invigilating software in place that is very invasive and has met with enormous student and faculty pushback because of privacy concerns. The most robust way to evaluate student knowledge, in a fair and equitable way, is to keep in-person exams for in-person courses. The Registrar’s Office is currently building the final exam timetable and we are working to spread out the exams and reduce the number of students in the space at one time.

WILL THERE BE ATTENDANCE LENIENCY? RE: ISOLATION PERIOD, COVID SICKNESS, CLOSE CONTACT ISOLATION PERIOD.

Faculty are understanding if students need to self-isolate or are sick. Follow the processes if it is COVID-related and work with your faculty. Students are expected to keep up with their work, even if required to stay home for a period of time. We suggest forming study groups now to share notes and have a note-taking partner should that become necessary.

DO CLOSE CONTACTS OF COVID CASES HAVE TO ISOLATE BEFORE RETURNING TO CAMPUS?

AHS no longer requires close contacts to isolate unless they experience symptoms. If that occurs, you need to stay away from campus, fill out the COVID incident form on the St. Mary’s Safety App and get tested immediately. If you have a negative test, you can return to campus as soon as you have no symptoms. Individuals who have tested positive for COVID must follow current provincial public health isolation and quarantine requirements, as outlined at www.alberta.ca/isolation, before returning to campus.

RESOURCES

CONTACT INFORMATION

News and Updates

1802, 2022
  • StMU Blue Shield

St. Mary’s University COVID-19 Update – February 18

Dear Faculty, Staff and Students: As promised in my COVID email on February 11, 2022, I am writing to provide an update on how St. Mary’s is [...]

1102, 2022
  • StMU Blue Shield

StMU COVID Update Communication – February 11

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the University has worked closely with the Ministry of Advanced Education and Alberta Health Services (AHS) to align our operations with [...]

802, 2022
  • StMU Blue Shield

COVID-19 Update: February 8, 2022

Tonight Premier Kenney announced some upcoming changes to the COVID protocols. For the rest of the week at least, all protocols at StMU will remain as they are currently. [...]

2501, 2022
  • StMU Blue Shield

Campus Re-opening Update

Dear Students, 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 [...]

2101, 2022
  • StMU Blue Shield

St. Mary’s University Campus Re-Opening January 31

StMU will be resuming in-person classes on Monday, January 31st. The COVID Task Force has carefully reviewed the current data and consulted with other smaller institutions that [...]

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