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COVID update: Campus Check data, precaution notification procedures

Posted by Frank Harvey, Provost and Vice-President Academic; Jasmine Walsh, Assistant-Vice President Human Resources on October 21, 2021 in News

MEMORANDUM

To:                   The Dalhousie University community

From:               Frank Harvey, Provost and Vice-President Academic
                        Jasmine Walsh, Assistant-Vice President Human Resources

Date:                Thursday, October 21, 2021

Re:                   COVID update: Campus Check data, precaution notification procedures

The following memo includes updates on:

Campus Check vaccination data

After launching on September 8, more than 24,000 members of our shared Dalhousie and King’s community have completed their Campus Check. Our thanks to everyone for their participation in this vital part of our overall health and safety plan.

Combined, 97.2% of Dalhousie and King’s students, faculty and staff who have confirmed they will be on campus are fully vaccinated. For comparison, in Nova Scotia more broadly 83.6% of those who are eligible to be vaccinated were fully vaccinated as of October 9.

The following data reflect Dalhousie students, faculty and staff who have identified through Campus Check that they intend to be on campus this fall. These numbers are up-to-date as of October 20 and will be updated on our COVID-19 website on a regular basis going forward.

  # on campus Rate of full vaccination
Students 16,298 97.0%
Faculty 1,610 98.7%
Staff 3,908 97.4%
TOTAL 21,816 97.2%

Our colleagues at the University of King’s College report similar numbers: 98.6% of those who are on campus are fully vaccinated.

As Campus Check completion rates increase, vaccination percentages have remained remarkably consistent — we have not seen any decline in vaccination status as more and more people have completed the Campus Check process. This gives us increased confidence that these results are reflective of the overall vaccination status of our Dalhousie community. We thank our students, faculty and staff for stepping up to get vaccinated and for helping to keep one another safe.

A total of 423 Dalhousie individuals (351 students, 8 faculty, 64 staff) have identified through Campus Check that they are on-campus but are not fully vaccinated or preferred not to disclose. These individuals are receiving instructions on their required twice-weekly testing and reporting their results through the Campus Check software. Individuals who were not fully vaccinated when they first completed their Campus Check, but who subsequently do get fully vaccinated, are able to provide their proof of vaccination at any point through the Campus Check software and their testing requirement will cease.

The university continues to follow up with individuals who are not in compliance with the Campus Check process. Suitable consequences (including suspended access to our campuses) are being explored for all of those who haven’t complied in accordance with the Code of Student Conduct and contracts of employment with the University including collective agreements and handbooks.

On-campus rapid testing data

Since the end of August, more than 30,000 rapid tests have been performed or distributed on campus through Dalhousie’s asymptomatic rapid testing program — part of Nova Scotia Public Health’s workplace testing initiative.

A week-by-week breakdown of testing data is available on the COVID-19 website and will be updated on a regular basis. You can also read about the testing program in last week’s Dal News feature and learn more about how to get tested here.

Revised procedures for communicating COVID precaution notifications

Dalhousie is updating our procedures for communicating low-risk precaution notifications that are shared with us from Nova Scotia Public Healthmaking this information readily available online but limiting mass email notices to close-contact exposures only. With most of the Dal community fully vaccinated and with the support of our multi-layer safety plan including continued masking, ventilation reviews, and other measures, the risk to our community from these precaution exposures is very low.

These new procedures will be effective Friday, October 29.

What a precaution notification means


A precaution notification means Public Health has identified a potential exposure with minimal risk to those in the space. This is different than what Public Health refers to as an exposure notification, where there has been potential close contact with a person with COVID-19.

If you were at a precaution notification location, no action is required if you are fully vaccinated except to continue to monitor for symptoms as you normally would. Testing or self-isolation is only required if you develop symptoms — though we welcome and encourage you to take advantage of on-campus rapid testing if you do not have symptoms.

If you are not fully vaccinated, a PCR (lab) test is recommended at least 72 hours after you were at the precaution exposure site. Tests can be done at a local COVID-19 testing site. You do not need to self-isolate if you do not have symptoms.

For more information on different exposure levels and health guidance, as well as Nova Scotia’s definition of fully vaccinated, please review Nova Scotia Public Health’s guide, I have been at an exposure location, now what?

How Dal will communicate campus precaution notifications going forward


From October 29 until further notice:

All precaution notifications will be posted publicly to the exposures page on Dalhousie’s COVID-19 website, including classroom and lab space notifications.

We will no longer be issuing mass emails for precaution notifications. Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to visit the COVID site regularly to review the latest exposures.

When a precaution notification occurs in a classroom or lab space, the instructor or supervisor will be informed and will be asked to share this information with their students and others who may have been in the space.

We will be promoting the exposures page regularly through all major university communications channels, including Today@Dal, the Dal News Weekly, the Dal Student Life newsletter, university social media accounts, the DalSAFE app and others as required. We encourage everyone to visit the exposures page regularly — this is particularly important if you are not fully vaccinated, given the recommendation to get tested if you are at a precaution location.

For close-contact exposure notifications, Dalhousie will continue to engage directly with those who may be affected based on the direction of Public Health. Where direct contacts may not be known, these notifications may also be communicated to broader groups of students, faculty and staff where required.

More information

Learn more about Campus Check, on-campus testing, exposure notifications and Dalhousie’s COVID-19 safety plan at the COVID-19 Updates and Information website.

Sincerely,

Frank Harvey
Provost and Vice-President Academic

Jasmine Walsh
Assistant Vice-President Human Resources

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.