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In‑person exams ceasing Tuesday; additional instructions for residence, students, faculty/staff, etc.
To: Dalhousie students, faculty and staff
From: Deep Saini, President and Vice-Chancellor
Date: Monday, December 13, 2021
Re: IMPORTANT COVID-19 update: In-person exams ceasing Tuesday; additional instructions for residence, students, faculty/staff, etc.
We continue to closely monitor the emerging COVID-19 cases in our community and on our campuses. Since our last update on Saturday, we have seen an increase in confirmed and presumptive cases among our student community, and one initial presumptive case among faculty/staff. We have also been in ongoing conversations with Public Health and the provincial government on our collective response to keep our students, faculty, staff and community safe.
Out of an abundance of caution, Dalhousie is implementing the following measures"
- With a few limited exceptions, today (Monday, Dec. 13) is the last day for In-person exams. All remaining December exams (originally scheduled for Tuesday and all subsequent dates) will be online, postponed or cancelled. Where in-person assessments are physically required, students will be contacted and expected to attend in person.
- Recognizing that time is required to plan and support this change, please be patient as you await further instructions. Faculty and staff should expect to hear from the Registrar’s Office via Associate Deans Academic about their options. Students should expect to hear from their instructors directly.
- Residences remain open as we support all students, including those who are self-isolating. Students in residence will be receiving additional information today and should be completing regular rapid tests.
- We are recommending that faculty and staff who can work remotely should do so and be prepared to do so until the new year. Please consult with your supervisor or administrative head for direction on whether any in-person services that you are currently providing can be moved online.
- Research spaces remain open but all appropriate safety precautions such as masking, hand-washing and social distancing (where possible) should be followed.
- Many campus services will likely shift or modify their mode of delivery over the coming days. Please refer to specific campus services for instruction. We will also aim to update the Campus Services page on the COVID-19 website as information becomes available.
- One immediate step being taken today is food and drink is now banned in Dalhousie Libraries. A reminder that masks must be worn at all times without exception.
We have a great deal of confidence in our institutional safety plan, guided by the approved postsecondary framework and Public Health advice. However, the speed at which this emerging COVID-19 situation is moving asks us to take these strong measures to support our community’s safety while ensuing continuity of university operations.
We understand these developments are concerning, particularly as they come at the end of term right before the December break. But this is a situation we anticipated was possible and have prepared for. Our top priority remains everyone’s safety and well-being. Now more than ever, everyone must follow Public Health and university safety protocols, including masks and rules/restrictions in residences.
Now is also the time to get tested. This is particularly important for our students who may be coming in contact with COVID-19 through their peer group. Identifying cases through rapid testing, before any symptoms, can help stop the spread. If you are on-campus, please pick up and complete two free rapid tests this week. Rapid tests are also available in the community, including at community libraries. If you have any COVID-19 symptoms or are told you are a close contact, self-isolate immediately and book a PCR (lab) test.
Below is a more detailed summary of current information. Please review relevant items carefully.
As of 3 p.m. Monday afternoon, the following confirmed and presumptive cases have been reported to the university:
Additional presumptive cases
|Students in residence||6||25|
|Faculty and staff||0||1|
All students in residence who have tested positive with either a rapid or a PCR test are self-isolating and receiving support from the Residence Life team. We thank all students for getting tested and cooperating in our efforts to keep our community safe.
We have been made aware of one positive rapid test among our faculty/staff community. That individual is self-isolating and awaiting a PCR test result.
All cases remain under investigation, and Public Health has not provided Dalhousie with any additional information to share at this time about the source of these cases or their transmission. Because of the spike in testing and positive cases across the province, Public Health is experiencing some delays in follow up with close contacts. If you are informed that you have been a close contact, either by Public Health or someone who has tested positive please self-isolate immediately and book a PCR test.
Please check our exposure webpage regularly for updates and instructions. Public Health will inform the university of any precaution or exposure notifications related to these cases.
Precaution notifications are currently posted for shared spaces in the Killam, Mona Campbell and Tupper buildings, as well as a close-contact exposure notification at Dalplex.
We also remind everyone to pay close attention to community exposures at this time, as updates related to current cases are being added daily.
With few exceptions, in-person exams will cease effective 8 a.m. Tuesday, December 14. Remaining December exams will be online, postponed or cancelled — with exceptions in select accredited programs where physical in-person assessments are required. In these exceptions, students will be contacted and expected to attend in person.
The Registrar’s Office is working through the implication of this decision. Guidance will be provided directly to instructors through Associate Deans Academic as to how to manage exams that were originally scheduled for in-person.
Students: you should expect to hear from your instructor in the coming days on next steps. Please have patience as we work through the details with your instructor; once an alternative plan has been developed, your instructor will contact the class with details.
For students who are unable to complete exams due to a confirmed case of COVID-19, a sick note is not required. The requirement for a sick note was previously waived for the fall term and exam period. All students must inform their instructors. For residence students, please ensure you have contacted Residence Life at 902-220-9038 and for off-campus students, please inform the university through Student Health & Wellness of your illness.
This is a challenging time for our residence community, and our entire residence team is dedicated to supporting the safety and comfort of our students — including those who are self-isolating.
- All residence students are reminded to keep getting tested regularly. Rapid tests are being supplied to the lobbies of all residence buildings.
- With the news of the revised approach to exams, we do not recommend changing your travel plans. Please, if at all possible, stick to your original departure date from residence. For students who are currently in self-isolation within residence, they will receive additional information today.
- It is likely most residence students who test positive via PCR test and are currently in self-isolation will be unable to travel home leading up to and potentially including the December break. Our community can be assured we will be doing everything we can to support these students through this difficult period.
Nova Scotia Public Health will be delivering additional supplies of rapid tests to our campuses today. It may take us a day or so to get these out everywhere. By Tuesday we expect to have an additional 30,000 rapid tests available alongside our regular supply.
We know our students, faculty and staff are great at getting tested — you’ve picked up or completed more than 65,000 rapid tests since the start of September. We’re depending on your enthusiasm for testing now more than ever. Whether you’re a regular or a first-time tester, now is the time to get tested.
If you’re able to do so, we encourage you to pick up and complete a set of rapid tests (2) this week. Let’s do our part to keep ourselves and our community safe. Tests will be available at all residences and through all regular pick-up locations. Tests are also available in the community, including at community libraries.
TRAVEL AND TESTING: Nova Scotia Public Health recommends that all students complete at least one rapid test prior to leaving for home for the December break.
VOLUNTEERS NEEDED: We need help putting test kits together. Volunteers are needed at the Macdonald Building on Studley Campus between 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily — no sign-up necessary. Volunteers must provide proof of full vaccination.
We will continue to provide updates regularly as more information becomes available. We also encourage our community to take advantage of the following resources:
If you are a student with a positive rapid test result: Confidentially notify Dalhousie Health & Wellness of your rapid test result — 902-494-2171 (Halifax) and 902-893-6369 (Truro). This notification will give your PCR test priority processing. You can book your PCR test here. Residence students must also call the Residence Life Manager on call at 902-220-9038.
Students with general health concerns can make an appointment at Student Health & Wellness in Halifax or Truro.
Students with questions about requirements under Public Health can contact Dalhousie Health & Wellness— 902-494-2171 (Halifax) and 902-893-6369 (Truro).
Employees seeking additional support are encouraged to speak with their manager/supervisor or connect with supports available through our Employee Family Assistance Program, which can be accessed at workhealthlife.com or at login.lifeworks.com.
Stay safe and look out for one another. We have gotten through this pandemic thus far by supporting one another. We will get through these next few weeks the same way.
President and Vice-Chancellor
Provost and Vice-President Academic
Dalhousie University is located in Mi’kma’ki, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq. We are all Treaty people.
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