March 19: Update on COVID‑19 (residence, summer courses, campus buildings)
To: Dalhousie students, faculty and staff
From: Teri Balser, Provost and Vice-President Academic
Ian Nason, Vice-President Finance and Administration
Date: Thursday, March 19, 2020
Re: COVID-19 update #7: Summer courses, leaving campus, vacating residence, building access
This remains a challenging time, one that asks much of our entire community — our students, our faculty, our staff and all who contribute to this university. The situation involving COVID-19 is fast moving, and our institutional response has also moved quickly to keep pace. At this time, instructors are sharing plans with students for continuing their courses for this term via distance beginning Monday. If you haven’t heard from your instructor, please reach out to them directly. Many faculty and staff are now working remotely. Thank you, again, everyone for all your great work.
Here are the latest updates.
Spring/summer term also moving to remote teaching
We have made the difficult decision to move the spring/summer courses, set to begin in May, to remote (distance) teaching. This means in-person classes will not resume on-campus until the fall. Additional details on spring/summer courses will be shared in the coming weeks.
Students should be leaving campus — residences to be vacated by Friday morning except for extraordinary circumstances
Despite there being no more in-person classes until the fall, some students seem uncertain as to whether they should be leaving campus or Halifax/Truro in general.
Let us be clear and direct: all students should be returning home as soon as possible. While we are not sending away students who have nowhere to go, all students who are able to depart should be moving out of residence, leaving campus and returning home to complete the term via distance.
In the interest of our public and community health, and Nova Scotia seeing a growing number of COVID-19 cases daily, we are now requiring RESIDENCES TO BE VACATED BY 11 a.m. TOMORROW (Friday, March 20). Exemptions can be made for those in extraordinary circumstances (for reasons such as travel restrictions or personal circumstances) or those who have immediate travel arrangements booked for soon after this date (March 20). Those students who require an exemption should contact firstname.lastname@example.org immediately. Residence staff will also be attempting to contact residents in person over the next 24 hours to discuss the support they may need. Residents who move out will receive a prorated refund for their (room and meals) deposited into their student account. The safety, health and well-being of our students and our community continues to be our highest priority. We know this disruption will be a challenge for students. We are in a time of extenuating and evolving circumstances. We ask for and appreciate your patience and understanding.
This directive applies to domestic and international students alike — given how quickly travel restrictions are being put in place worldwide, you owe it to yourself and your family to start making plans. International students who have any concerns at all regarding their international travel should contact the International Centre, whose staff are here to help.
Given the latest direction regarding the closure of in-person dining at food establishments by Nova Scotia Public Health, dining halls will change immediately to pre-packaged meals for take-out for those who must remain living in residence due to travel restrictions or significant personal reasons.
Restricted access to many buildings
While Dalhousie remains open, many campus buildings, offices and services are reducing hours, suspending in-person services, or restricting access except for faculty/staff with electronic access control cards.
Fitness and recreation facilities are closed, as are all Libraries locations except the Kellogg Library Learning Commons (CHEB). The Registrar’s Office, Student Accounts, Academic Advising, Accessibility Centre, Career Services, and Food Services (except meal hall take-out service described above) are all temporarily suspending in-person services but can be accessed via email or phone, where applicable. Student Health and Wellness remains open but appointment bookings for non-essential services will be conducted by telephone or suspended, and counselling services will be conducted via telephone.
By the end of this week, access to most academic buildings will be restricted to faculty/staff with electronic access control cards. This is being done for the safety of those who are still working in-person and the general security of our spaces. If you require regular access to a building, contact your building administrator or your department head, supervisor or their delegate who will assess your requirements and submit a request to ITS using the standard access request procedure. ITS will be available during normal business hours to process access requests.
We will continue to communicate regularly, with additional information including FAQs available at dal.ca/coronavirus. Additional questions can be sent to COVID19@dal.ca and we will get back to you as best we can.
We wish everyone good health and safe travels ahead as we navigate through uncharted waters together.
Provost and Vice-President Academic
Vice-President Finance and Administration