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Quarantine plan for Dalhousie international students

Posted by Verity Turpin, Vice-Provost Student Affairs (Acting); Cynthia Murphy, Director, Student Experience on January 7, 2021 in News


To:              Dalhousie International Students

From:        Verity Turpin, Vice-Provost Student Affairs (Acting)
                  Cynthia Murphy, Director, Student Experience

Date:          Thursday, January 7, 2021

Re:              Quarantine plan for Dalhousie international students

Dear students,

As you may be aware, there are concerns regarding our institutional plan to welcome international students to Canada. We recognize that many students feel that the government’s and Dalhousie’s approach is unfair. We have heard your concerns and frustration and want to better share information about our approach and the reasons behind it, and to ensure you are aware of the supports that are available to you.

In addition, we are continuing to work with the provincial government and our postsecondary partners to address your concerns. We met this morning with government partners and will continue to meet in coming days.

We also want to clarify why some university plans look different, even though we are all working to meet the same requirements outlined by our provincial and federal governments.

Our advisors in the International Centre would welcome the opportunity to review the information below with you. If you would like to talk to someone, please contact international.centre@dal.ca or call 902-494-1566 to book an appointment.

A plan for international students

Although Canada’s borders remain closed due to the ongoing pandemic, in October 2020 Canadian border restrictions were adjusted to allow international students with valid study permits to enter the country to study at approved Designated Learning Institutions (DLIs). In order for Dalhousie to be an approved DLI, we had to develop a plan which met specific government requirements while ensuring health and safety.

If Dalhousie does not meet the government’s requirements, we risk losing the ability to welcome international students to Dalhousie in the future. This is a huge concern for us, and we know it would be a concern for you. Our compliance to the government’s requirements is being monitored. Due to our approach, we have been able to address concerns brought forward by the community to our federal government and have been able to demonstrate that our Dal community is doing our part in keeping each other and our community safe.

The safety of students, the Dal community and the broader community is critical in all our decision making during the pandemic. If you would like to see the list of government requirements, please contact the International Centre and we will email you a copy as it is not available online.

Universities can use different approaches, but the requirements and expectation to meet them are the same

While every university must meet the same criteria, we do have some flexibility in how we meet the requirements. When addressing the requirement for university-approved accommodations and oversight, most universities are using on-campus housing or hotels, and, in very few cases, private residences. But the requirements for monitoring compliance with quarantine protocols apply to private residence as well.

Dalhousie’s plan, due to the number of students, our location and need to provide the required supervision, had no option other than to use hotels because on-campus housing was unfortunately not an option. Providing the necessary supervision to hundreds of international students throughout the Halifax Regional Municipality and the province was not possible. A university with very few international students living off campus in a rural community in one or two locations may be in a position to offer the appropriate supervision being requested by the government. But this would depend on the university’s unique situation.

Our other supports include free airport transportation, daily check-ins by International Centre staff, virtual programming and 24/7 access to international student advisors.

We understand the impact to your budget

We know the special government requirements, and the need to stay in a hotel to meet those requirements, create a financial burden for you. Dalhousie is supporting students through various ways. We have committed up to $400,000 to pay 50% of the quarantine costs for our new international students and those returning for the first time since the start of the pandemic. For students who need support for paying for quarantine, we have set aside an additional $100,000 in financial aid available to you.

There are also other forms of financial aid open to all students who require support.

You're welcome to reach out to book an appointment with an international student advisor at international.centre@dal.ca or 902-494-1566 for advice on quarantine financial aid or refer to the Dalhousie Programs section of Covid-19 Money Matters for information about other bursaries.

Dalhousie is committed to supporting you. We will assess our plan and approach to supporting students as governments requirements may change over time, with student and community safety being our priority. Although this support looks very different than in other years, we are unwavering in our commitment and will do all that we can to make your experience as comfortable as possible.


Verity Turpin, Vice-Provost Student Affairs (Acting)

Cynthia Murphy, Director, Student Experience

Dalhousie University is located in Mi’kma’ki, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq. We are all Treaty people. 

We acknowledge the histories, contributions, and legacies of the African Nova Scotian people and communities who have been here for over 400 years.