Safety plan FAQs

Updated Friday, September 10


Vaccination

For additional FAQs about Campus Check and Dal's vaccination and testing requirements, visit the Campus Check page.

Is Dal requiring me to be vaccinated to be on campus this fall?

No, but students, faculty and staff who do not provide proof of full vaccination will be required to get tested twice weekly as a measure for their health and safety as well as the health and safety of our entire community, given the risks posed by more infectious variants as we return to on-campus operations.

Learn more about Campus Check.

When do I have to provide Dalhousie with proof of my vaccination status?

The Campus Check process is now live.

You can upload your proof of vaccination at any point this term. However, anyone who has not provided proof of full vaccination as of Monday, September 13 will begin receiving instructions for undergoing twice-weekly testing.

What vaccines will Dalhousie accept? And what constitutes proof of vaccination?

For the purposes of these requirements, full vaccination with any WHO-approved vaccine is accepted. The latest list of WHO-approved vaccines can be found here.

You will be asked to provide a photo or digital document (PDF) of any receipt, email or documentation confirming you received your vaccination. Please ensure the documentation reflects both doses if you’ve received a two-dose COVID vaccine.

For those who got vaccinated in Nova Scotia, you should have received a COVID-19 vaccine receipt via email. You can find information on accessing or acquiring your Nova Scotia receipt here.

Why has Dalhousie adopted these new vaccination and testing requirements so close to the start of term?

As has been the case throughout the pandemic, our approach to health and safety seeks to align with evolving Public Health guidance; maintain flexibility by adding or removing layers of protection as required; and support both broader community safety and the specific needs of our Dalhousie community.

Several factors make these extra measures prudent at this time. The first is the more-infectious Delta variant and the emerging fourth wave across North America — largely among un- or under-vaccinated individuals. The second is that details of final phase of Nova Scotia’s re-opening plan have now been shared, in which most public health restrictions (excepting travel) will be lifted as we move into “living with COVID” in an endemic rather than pandemic model. This increases our responsibility to help protect less-vaccinated individuals and prevent outbreaks and breakthrough cases. Finally, these new vaccine and testing requirements align with revised guidance from Nova Scotia Public Health and Labour and Advanced Education, confirming that universities can consider and implement such measures.

We appreciate these new measures may cause some concern, and that there will be many questions. We’ll aim to answer all of these questions in the days ahead. We ask for your patience and understanding as we work through these details and thank all students, faculty, and staff for doing their part to keep our community safe.  

I have a health/religious/other reason for not getting vaccinated. Can I get an exemption from Dal’s requirements?

All students, faculty and staff who plan to engage in on-campus activities will be asked to provide proof of their vaccination status. Those who are not fully vaccinated or choose not to provide proof will be required to undertake twice-weekly testing as an additional health and safety measure.

Accommodations can be sought for individuals who a) are unable to complete the twice-weekly testing because of a characteristic protected under human rights law, or b) wish to provide their proof of vaccination/testing through a means other than the Campus Check system. An accommodation is not required for individuals who, for protected reasons, cannot get vaccinated — they will be required to complete twice-weekly testing through the Campus Check process.

Learn more at the Campus Check website.

Can I ask my staff/faculty/students about their vaccination status?

An individual’s vaccination status is their personal health information and should not be collected in the context of the working or learning environment except where required in certain circumstances (for example, vaccine processes for students in health disciplines). It’s ok to share that you are vaccinated and to express gratitude to others who are vaccinated, but you should not ask others if they are vaccinated.

Can I ask students/colleagues about their vaccination status anonymously (ie. through a survey)?

Dalhousie will be anonymously surveying all students, faculties and staff about their vaccine status and will be sharing the results publicly. Given that this data protects personal privacy and will offer a representative overview of vaccination status at Dalhousie, we discourage faculty and staff from launching their own vaccine surveys.

Who should students contact if they are uncomfortable with something that is being asked of them, or if they feel negatively impacted by an experience in regard to the vaccine requirements implementation?

For matters relating directly to a student’s faculty or classes, students should contact their Associate Dean (Academic) for their faculty and for matters relating to campus life and the campus community generally, they can email student.affairs@dal.ca.

Where can I get vaccinated?

Vaccines are available on campus or in the community. Find more information here.

Will Dalhousie offer a vaccination clinic on campus?

Yes, on-campus clinics are scheduled in Halifax and Truro for this September. More information can be found here.


Testing

Where can I get tested?

Can I get a rapid COVID test on campus?

Rapid tests will be available on all Dalhousie campuses this fall, for both students/faculty/staff who are required to undergo twice-weekly testing and for the broader Dal community. We are working through the details of our vaccination and testing requirements and will provide more detailed information soon.

Learn more about on-campus testing here.


Masks

In what spaces do I have to wear a mask? When can I take my mask off?

Masks should continue to be worn in indoor shared or common spaces for the month of September. This includes classrooms and lecture halls, hallways and lobbies, shared washrooms, Library common spaces, athletics facilities, and shared meeting spaces.

Masks can be removed in private work spaces or cubicles. Masks can also be removed while eating or drinking (similar to in restaurants), for short intervals to clean glasses, etc. An instructor lecturing in a classroom may remove their mask if 6 feet (2 metres) of distance from all others can be observed.

While this mask directive currently extends only until September 30, 2021, we are currently exploring extending this mask direction even further into the fall term.

As a student, do I have to wear a mask when seated in class? What about when asking questions or speaking/presenting?

We are asking students to wear masks while in class this September, including while seated. If a reasonable distance (6 ft / 2 m) can be observed from others, masks could potentially be removed or lowered to ask questions. There may be other options to make everyone more comfortable when asking questions, depending on the size, structure and format of the class and classroom space. When presenting, students could remove their mask provided a reasonable distance from others can be observed. We ask everyone to use your best judgment in specific scenarios, and encourage faculty and students to work through solutions that make sense for individual courses.

Do instructors have to wear masks in classrooms?

An instructor lecturing a class can remove their mask if a reasonable distance (6 ft / 2 m) from others can be observed. In closer spaces, masks are strongly encouraged as a measure for both safety and comfort of all classroom participants. We ask everyone to use your best judgment in specific scenarios, and encourage faculty and students to work through solutions that make sense for individual courses.

If I forgot my mask, can I get one on campus?

We expect all members of our community to have their own supply of masks but, if you forgot to grab yours before coming to campus, you can grab one to use for the day at one of several locations:

Studley and Carleton Campuses

Sexton Campus

Agricultural Campus (Truro)

  • Student Success Centre (Dairy Building), (M to F, 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.)

Do I have to wear a mask in a small group or meeting setting?

Our request for this fall is for individuals to wear masks in indoor shared spaces. When meeting in smaller groups in closed spaces (student teams, faculty or staff meetings, etc. in individual study rooms or office spaces), individuals may wish to keep masks on or discuss amongst themselves whether everyone is comfortable meeting and working without masks. We ask everyone to use your best judgment in specific scenarios, and encourage faculty, staff and students to work through solutions that make sense.

What happens if someone is not wearing a mask?

The request to continue mask wearing in indoor spaces in September is being made of all students, faculty, staff and visitors to campus as a measure to encourage comfort, support and safety during this important period of our return to campus.

We have had excellent success in mask adoption in on-campus activities this past year, and expect our Dal community to show understanding and compassion towards one another and continue with masking this fall as a simple, effective way to keep one another safe and support for our collective well-being.

Faculty, staff and students are asked to address mask non-compliance with conversation and education. This includes asking a student or a colleague to wear a mask (where such a requirement exists) and assisting students or colleagues in managing disagreements about COVID-related protocols.

PLEASE DO NOT CALL SECURITY TO ADDRESS A MASK DISPUTE. We ask everyone to use your best judgment in specific scenarios and encourage faculty, staff and students to work through solutions together. In the event solutions cannot be reached, appropriate administrative process (HR, academic, student life, etc.) may be engaged as a last resort.

What will Dalhousie’s expectation be for October (if Public Health’s broader mask mandate has been lifted)?

Dalhousie’s mask directive guidance currently extends only until September 30, 2021. We are currently exploring extending this mask direction even further into the fall term.

At this time our expectation is that if Dalhousie lifts our mask guidance in October (and if Public Health’s broader mandate is lifted), everyone will still be encouraged to wear masks and masks will still be recommended in spaces where social distancing cannot be achieved, but they will not be required.

Can I require students/staff/faculty to wear a mask even if it is not required by Dalhousie or current public health guidelines?

Please note that the Public Health requirement for masks in public spaces is expected to continue until September 15. Dalhousie’s masks guidance will continue until at least the end of September.

 

Mask use can be modelled and encouraged but will not be required if mask guidance is lifted. Professors or Instructors in classrooms or labs, or managers in work units, can express statements of preference for students or employees sharing their space and may choose to wear masks themselves as role models.


Physical distancing

Will Dalhousie continue to encourage physical separation once the distancing restrictions are lifted?

A physical separation between people has shown a benefit in the protection of the spread of communicable diseases.

Dalhousie will continue to strive to control the flow of people around entrances, exits, class accumulation areas with the goal of mitigating situations where respiratory disease transmission is more probable.  Where required this will be achieved through messaging and/or signage.

Can I ask people visiting my work or learning space to maintain physical distancing even after restrictions are lifted?

Yes. It is always reasonable to ask colleagues or students to respect your space and maintain a comfortable distance where possible.

Are there any capacity limits for rooms on campus?

As approved by Public Health and the Department of Labour and Advanced Education, Dalhousie is returning all of our working and learning spaces to pre-COVID capacities this fall.

Dalhousie has put in place multiple layers of safety protection that, together, will allow us to create safer spaces this September. These layers include ventilation reviews of every learning space on campus (with upgrades made to industry-specific COVID safety standards where required); continued mask wearing; vaccination and testing requirements; robust cleaning; guidance around hand hygiene and personal health; and more. It is the combined effect of all these layers that will help protect the health and safety of our Dal community this fall — including students and faculty in classrooms of all sizes.


Gathering rules and events

How are class sizes being managed if provincial gathering limits stay in place?

Our plans in areas such as class sizes, physical distancing, etc. are based on the approved postsecondary framework for Nova Scotia. Dr. Strang and Nova Scotia Public Health have reviewed and approved the postsecondary framework. Its guidance supersedes the broader Nova Scotia re-opening plan when it comes to university operations this fall.

Guided by this framework, Dalhousie has put in place multiple layers of safety protection that, together, will allow us to create safer classroom spaces this September. These layers include ventilation reviews of every learning space on campus (with upgrades made to industry-specific COVID safety standards where required); continued mask wearing; vaccination and testing requirements; robust cleaning; guidance around hand hygiene and personal health; and more. It is the combined effect of all these layers that will help protect the health and safety of our Dal community this fall — including students and faculty in classrooms of all sizes.

In the unlikely event that a change is required, students registered will be contacted directly.

I’m planning an event – what COVID measures should I have in place for my event?

Events organized at Dalhousie should follow all Public Health and Dalhousie guidance related to COVID and gatherings. More details are expected in Phase Five of the province’s re-opening plan, but at this time we do not expect significant gathering limits will be in place this fall.


Ventilation

Where can I find detailed information about the ventilation strategy?

Dalhousie’s HVAC strategy is available on the Return to Campus internal site. (Login required)

I haven’t heard anything about the ventilation standards in my work space and I am worried. How do I find out more?

Like all workplace issues, the best first step is to contact your immediate supervisor. If your supervisor cannot answer your questions, they may reach out to the administrator or operations manager for your building, or to Facilities Management for more information.


Cleaning, disinfection and hygiene

Will shared surfaces and equipment (e.g., photocopiers) be cleaned regularly?

Unit leaders will supply disposable towels and spray cleaners, or disposable wipes, to regularly clean/disinfect commonly used surfaces.

What can I do help protect myself and prevent the spread of COVID and other communicable diseases?

Good hand hygiene is acknowledged as an import layer of protection for the control of communicable diseases. Dalhousie will continue to make available hand washing facilities and hand disinfectant and encourage their use as a powerful tool in the ongoing protection for all communicable diseases/ illnesses. We also continue to recommend mask wearing as a measure to prevent the spread of airborne illness.


Accommodation and support

Where can I find support for my mental health and well-being?

Students

Contact Student Health and Wellness by phone at:
902-494-2171 (Halifax)
902-893-6369 (Truro)

Faculty and staff

Dalhousie's Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) is available to all regular full-time and part-time employees and their eligible dependents. Services are delivered by the professional counsellors and work/life consultants employed by Morneau Shepell. EFAP is available 24 hours a day to provide confidential assistance with concerns that affect an individual's personal, family, and work lives or general well-being. You can contact EFAP at 1-800-387-4765

Who should I contact if I require an accommodation (including an accommodation related to COVID issues)?

Students

Start by contacting the Student Accessibility Centre. Learn more about student accommodations and how to speak to an advisor here.

Faculty and staff

Faculty and staff should start by contacting their immediate supervisor or department chair or may reach out to Accessible Employment by email.


Plan for COVID-19 cases

What should I do if I have COVID symptoms?

If you experience symptoms of COVID-19 — including a cough (new or worsening) or a fever — you should complete a COVID-19 self-assessment (Nova Scotia link here, New Brunswick link here) and schedule a COVID-19 test through the province. If you are ultimately diagnosed with COVID-19, follow all guidance you receive from Public Health. COVID cases among staff and faculty should also be reported to Accessible Employment (accempl@dal.ca). Students should seek guidance from their health-care provider as needed and/or contact Student Health and Wellness on both the Halifax and Truro campuses for support. Also ensure you follow your instructor and/or program’s policy to supporting student illness and missed classes.

If a student/staff/faculty member tests positive for COVID, do they need to report it to someone at Dalhousie?

Currently, COVID cases among staff and faculty should be reported to Accessible Employment (accelemp@dal.ca). Students should seek guidance from their health care provider as needed and/or contact Student Health and Wellness on both the Halifax and Truro campuses for support. Also ensure you follow your instructor and/or Faculty’s policy to supporting student illness.

What steps will be taken if there is a student, staff or faculty member tests positive for COVID?

Dalhousie will follow the public health guidelines described here.

What should staff or faculty do if a student discloses that they are positive for COVID-19?

Please encourage the student to seek primary health care to assist them in their recovery. For students in Halifax and Truro, there are dedicated teams to support students and information can be found here. It is important to maintain the confidentiality of the student and their health information. Please contact Verity Turpin at verity.turpin@dal.ca for support, or if you have questions on how to best support the student.