Latest University messages

COVID-19 updates: Return to on-campus learning, updated vaccine requirement, and more (January 24, 2022)

Please read this message in full as it includes important updates on our:

– Return to on-campus learning
– Vaccine requirement
– Mask mandate
– On-campus services
– Testing program
– Exposure notices
– Supports

Dear MSVU students, faculty and staff,

We know that the many changes the pandemic has brought about for your learning, teaching and working at MSVU have not been easy. As we navigate the Omicron phase of the pandemic together, please be assured that we will continue to prioritize the health and safety of our entire community and successful learning for our students.

A return to on-campus learning, with exceptions

We are looking forward to a return to on-campus classes on Monday, January 31. This decision is in line with the recent recommendation of Dr. Strang to the Council of Nova Scotia University Presidents that universities resume in-person classes in support of student well-being. MSVU has led the way in ensuring a safe campus environment throughout the pandemic, and the return to on-campus instruction is enabled by our significant multi-layered COVID-19 safety approach that is being further strengthened currently – please read on for those details.

Following consultation with faculty and consideration of multiple factors, some classes will remain online or adopt a blended approach (learn about modes of delivery here). Once approved, instructors are asked to inform students of any change in the originally planned mode of delivery for each of their courses by Thursday, January 27. Students should reach out to their instructors if they have not heard by that date.

Students: should changes to modes of delivery for any of your courses result in an on-campus class next to an online class in your schedule, you don’t have to rush home in between. There’s a list of quiet locations in which you can take online courses on campus on the MSVU website (and we expect to add more soon).

Those who no longer wish to continue in a course due to a change in the mode of delivery are reminded of the University’s course drop deadlines. Students who withdraw from a winter course before February 7 for any reason will not have a course notation on their academic transcript. Students who withdraw from a course between February 7 and March 14 will receive a grade of “W” on their transcript, which stands for “withdrawal without academic penalty” (in other words, it carries no GPA implications).

Anyone who is affected by COVID-19 related illness or isolation requirements is encouraged to speak to their instructor (students) or supervisor/Chair (staff/faculty) regarding accommodation. A reminder that MSVU earlier shared guidance on what to do if you test positive for COVID-19.

Updated vaccine requirement

According to NS Public Health, a multi-layered safety approach is key to slowing the spread of COVID-19. Those who will be returning to on-campus learning on January 31 should be assured that the university has extensive health and safety measures in place, including our vaccine requirement, mask mandate, and enhanced cleaning protocols.

MSVU was notably the first university in the province to implement a vaccine requirement (last August), and, as such, has had this important protection in place for some time. At this point, more than 98% of students, faculty and staff have two doses of an approved COVID-19 vaccine.

In response to the increased transmissibility of the Omicron variant and decreasing test availability, our vaccine requirement is being revised to remove exemptions for non-medical reasons. This change will better align our vaccine policy with evolving Public Health directives and with similar provincial and federal policies. The university will be following up directly with the small number of people who are affected by this change (i.e. those with exemptions that are not medical in nature). The deadline for these individuals to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 (i.e. to be two weeks past their second dose) will be May 1 in order to allow for the 8-week required delay between doses. As well, visitors to campus continue to be required to declare that they are in compliance with the University’s vaccine requirement before coming on campus.

Additionally, COVID-19 boosters are now available to everyone 18 and older in Nova Scotia, meaning most of our campus population is eligible for a third dose of vaccine. You are strongly encouraged to get your booster as soon as possible.

Mask mandate continues, Three-layer masks now required

Throughout the winter semester, masks must continue to be worn in all common indoor areas on campus, including in classrooms and whenever a distance of six feet cannot be maintained.

Per Public Health guidelines, three-layer non-medical masks are required effective immediately. Masks can be very briefly lowered to take a sip of water. Eating is not permitted in the library (except in individual study rooms) and classrooms as long as masks are required (unless a medical necessity, in which case, please advise your instructor). In common spaces (e.g. seating areas in lobbies), masks should not be lowered unless you are actively eating or drinking and, if that is taking place, you will need to ensure at least six feet of distance between you and others. The MSVU website features a list of places where you can sit at a safe distance from others to eat.

Students, faculty, staff, and visitors are asked to bring their own masks when attending campus. If you forget your mask, you can get one at one of these locations:
– Assisi Security Desk – staffed 24/7 (Assisi Hall main entrance);
– Library Circulation Desk (Main floor, EMF);
– Athletics & Recreation main desk (2nd floor, Rosaria Student Centre).
Departments can also request a limited one-time supply from Facilities Management.

Campus remains open

As previously announced, campus is open and in-person services are available. As well, many student services are currently being offered both in-person and through remote means (either online or by phone). Please check individual service webpages for more information.

Additionally, residences remain open, with enhanced protocols in place to help keep all residence students safe, for example, visitor restrictions and mask requirements. We have designated spaces and protocols in place to support any students who may need to isolate. Residence Life will continue to update residence students directly. Our RAs, Dons and indeed all residence students have done an exceptional job of ensuring a safe and supportive living environment on campus – kudos!

Staff working arrangements: Our campus is a safe space for learning and working. As we return to on-campus classes, all departments should ensure appropriate staffing levels to serve students and others. Staff who may require temporary alternate working arrangements should consult with their supervisors. Supervisors/managers are asked to keep Human Resources informed of their departmental plans.

Events and meetings: In order to prioritize the transition back to on-campus learning and protect the safety of our learning and working spaces, events should not be held on campus prior to February 14. Updated guidance will be provided as the COVID-19 situation evolves. As well, meetings among faculty and staff should take place virtually to the greatest extent possible.

On-campus COVID-19 testing

At this point, on-campus asymptomatic rapid COVID-19 testing remains available for MSVU students, faculty and staff (note: members of the general public are not able to attend MSVU testing clinics). You may be asked to show your MSVU ID card (available free of charge at the Library front desk if you don’t already have one).

Testing is available in EMF 207 on Mondays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and on Thursdays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Exposure notices

Nova Scotia Public Health has changed its approach with regards to exposure notices and contact tracing. Due to that shift, MSVU will no longer be in a position to issue exposure notices for classrooms or other shared spaces, unless that information/request is provided directly by Public Health. Guidance for those who test positive or are deemed a close contact is available here. Students in Residence who test positive for COVID-19 should notify Residence Life immediately (Lynn.Cashen@msvu.ca).

Need support?

We realize that this pandemic is affecting all of us differently and the supports needed will vary by individual. If you need help with any aspect of the pandemic response, please be in touch. The MSVU community is here to help.

  • Mental health supports
    There’s no question that these are difficult times. The pandemic has taken a toll on the mental health of many. Supports are available.

    • For students: MSVU Counselling Servicescounselling@msvu.ca; Good2Talk NS Helpline for Postsecondary Students: 1-833-292-3698
    • For faculty and staff: Employee & Family Assistance Program (or EFAP) via Morneau Shepell (free, confidential counselling services) – visit the EFAP website or call 1-844-880-9142.
    • For all: Wellness Together Canada is a free, online, 24/7 mental health and substance use support portal provided by the Government of Canada. Visit wellnesstogether.ca or call 1-866-585-0445 (Adults, 18 or older), 1-888-668-6810 (Youth, below 18) or text WELLNESS to 741741 (Adults), 686868 (Youth) to connect with a professional for support.
  • Health Office: MSVU’s Manager of Health Services, Maxine Brewer, RN, is available to advise on COVID-19 related health and safety matters. She can be reached at Maxine.Brewer@msvu.ca.
  • Office of Student Experience: Students with general inquiries can contact the Office of Student Experience at ose@msvu.ca.
  • Centre for Academic Advising and Student Success (CAASS) and Registrar’s Office: Students with questions about academic planning can contact the CAASS at advising@msvu.ca or the Registrar’s Office at registration@msvu.ca.
  • Human Resources: The MSVU Human Resources team is available to assist faculty, staff and supervisors with COVID-19 related personnel matters and can be reached at human.resources@msvu.ca.

In many ways, it feels like we are in the most complex phase of the pandemic yet; we are in the midst of both a shift to COVID-19 being a part of our “new normal” and ongoing concern for what the future holds.

As we have done throughout the past two years, we will continue to closely monitor Public Health advice and adjust our sails as required. And we will keep you informed as we go.

Sincere thanks to all members of our special university community for your continued exemplary commitment to our shared health and safety.

Take care,

Ramona

Ramona Lumpkin, CM, PhD
Interim President and Vice-Chancellor
Mount Saint Vincent University


COVID-19 Update: Academic calendar changes (January 5, 2022)

Dear MSVU students, faculty and staff,

Happy New Year! I hope this update finds you well and having enjoyed some down time over the holiday break.

Academic calendar changes
Further to my message of December 21 noting a delay of the first day of all classes for the winter semester to January 10, I am writing to advise of some consequent changes to the academic calendar. The table below summarizes the changes as approved by Senate Executive.

Last day to add/drop a course 
Original Date: Wednesday, January 12
New Date: Monday, January 17

Last day to drop without transcript notation (W) 
Original Date: Wednesday, February 2
New Date: Monday, February 7

Last day to drop without academic penalty (WF) 
Original Date: Wednesday, March 9
New Date: Monday, March 14

Last Day of Classes 
Original Date: Wednesday, April 6
New Date: Monday*, April 11 (designated as a Wednesday)

Reading Day  
Original Date: Thursday, April 7
New Date: Tuesday, April 12

Exams Begin
Original Date: Friday, April 8
New Date: Wednesday, April 13

Exams End
Original Date: Friday, April 22
New Date: Monday, April 25

*Of particular note, the last day of classes will be designated a Wednesday even though it falls on a Monday. This is to ensure that we meet the minimum required number of days for each course. As well, in keeping with Senate guidelines, the winter 2022 exam period has been reduced by two days (eight days instead of ten).

Per my message of December 21, courses and labs at MSVU will be delivered online until January 31, 2022. We continue to closely monitor the COVID-19 situation in our region and will provide a further update as soon as possible.

Campus re-opened January 4
While campus has re-opened, including all facilities and services, many student services are offering multi-access supports (i.e., in-person and online or by phone). Please consult individual service pages on the MSVU website for details.

Testing and vaccination clinics on campus
Our on-campus rapid COVID-19 asymptomatic testing clinic has re-opened in EMF 207. Please refer to the website for the latest testing clinic dates and times. As well, there will be a walk-in COVID-19 vaccination clinic on campus from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. this Friday, January 7 (in the Multi-Purpose Room, Rosaria Student Centre) for students, faculty, staff and community members aged 12 and up (including boosters for those eligible). Further vaccination clinics will be scheduled and information on dates/times will follow.

Additional COVID-19 protocols
Please be reminded that the university has a number of other COVID-19 protocols in place.

  • Masks are required in all common indoor spaces and when a distance of 6 feet cannot be maintained.
  • The university’s vaccination mandate requires that all those coming on campus provide proof of full vaccination (two doses of an approved COVID-19 vaccine) or apply for an exemption and continue to submit twice-weekly proof of negative COVID-19 test results. If you are new to campus for the winter semester and haven’t yet done so, please submit your vaccination requirement documents as soon as possible.
  • Finally, please stay home if you’re sick.

Mental health supports
There’s no question that these are difficult times. The pandemic has taken a toll on the mental health of many. Supports are available.

  • For students: MSVU Counselling Servicescounselling@msvu.ca; Good2Talk NS Helpline for Postsecondary Students: 1-833-292-3698
  • For faculty and staff: Employee & Family Assistance Program (or EFAP) via Morneau Shepell (free, confidential counselling services) – visit the EFAP website or call 1-844-880-9142.
  • For all: Wellness Together Canada is a free, online, 24/7 mental health and substance use support portal provided by the Government of Canada. Visit wellnesstogether.ca or call 1-866-585-0445 (Adults, 18 or older), 1-888-668-6810 (Youth, below 18) or text WELLNESS to 741741 (Adults), 686868 (Youth) to connect with a professional for support.

Thank you for your patience as we navigate this new phase of the pandemic. I wish you a good start to the winter 2022 semester.

Brook

M. Brook Taylor, PhD
Interim Vice-President Academic and Provost
Mount Saint Vincent University

Winter semester to start online, courses to start January 10 (December 21, 2021)

Dear MSVU students, faculty, and staff,

Based on a continued commitment to keeping our community safe, MSVU will shift to online course delivery for all winter courses and labs until January 31, 2022. As well, the first day of classes will move to Monday, January 10, 2022.

Here is what we anticipate for January:

Campus will open as scheduled on January 4, 2022: All campus facilities and on-campus student services will re-open January 4. Some services will offer multi access (i.e., in-person and online or by phone). Please consult individual service pages on the MSVU website for details.

  • Residence will re-open as scheduled on January 4, beginning at 10 a.m. Visitors will temporarily not be allowed in Residence. Further, all Residence students returning for the winter semester are required to submit proof of a negative COVID-19 test result (PCR or Rapid Test) received within the 24 hours before arriving on campus. More information will be provided to Residence students directly by the Residence Life team.
  • The MSVU Library & Archives will open as planned on January 4. Please consult the Library’s website for more information.
  • The Rosaria Dining Hall will open to faculty, staff and students at 5 p.m. on January 4.  We are working on an expanded offering from the kiosk.  There will be more information to follow regarding the Seton Café and McCain Café.
  • The Child Study Centre will re-open as planned on January 4.

Faculty and staff working arrangements: Given the temporary nature of this shift to online course delivery, the university will not be able to move furniture and desktops to homes.  We recognize the need to be flexible given the changing circumstances and any staff looking to make temporary alternate arrangements should consult with their manager and these requests will be reviewed by Human Resources.

COVID-19 testing on campus: Testing will be available in EMF 207 on Mondays & Wednesdays from 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. and Tuesdays & Thursdays from 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Enhanced cleaning protocols will continue.

Events: All events must move online or be postponed or cancelled until January 31. As well, meetings should be held virtually (via Microsoft Teams) to the greatest extent possible. All winter semester orientation activities will take place online. More information will be provided by Student Experience directly.

Research Labs on campus remain open: In-person research activities (e.g., involving external participants) and community-based research will continue with proper protocols in place.

Non-essential international travel is not recommended by the Government of Canada currently: Further, some provinces have introduced new isolation requirements for all travelers (even those who are fully vaccinated). Anyone needing to travel for work purposes is strongly encouraged to review the latest travel advisories and requirements. While MSVU’s travel health insurance provider will cover COVID-19 related medical costs, it will not cover isolation or non-medical costs.

Mental health supports available
There’s no question that these are difficult times. The pandemic has taken a toll on the mental health of many.

  • For students: MSVU Counselling Services: counselling@msvu.ca; Good2Talk NS Helpline for Postsecondary Students: 1-833-292-3698
  • For faculty and staff: Employee & Family Assistance Program (or EFAP)—Shepell (free, confidential counselling services) – visit the website or call 1-844-880-9142.

An update to come in January
We will provide an update as soon as possible in January.  We will continue to follow and monitor NS Public Health Protocols.

While this is not how any of us had envisioned starting the winter semester, these additional measures coupled with our other continued protocols – like our vaccine and mask requirements – will help get us through this latest phase of the pandemic. The MSVU community’s exceptional (and continued) commitment in the face of this pandemic has truly been what’s seen us through so successfully. My sincerest thanks.

Take care,

Brook

M. Brook Taylor
Interim Vice-President Academic and Provost

COVID-19 update: In-person exams suspended (December 15, 2021)

A message from M. Brook Taylor, PhD, Interim Vice-President Academic and Provost of Mount Saint Vincent University

Dear MSVU community,

With COVID-19 cases on the rise in Nova Scotia and in other parts of the country (including cases of the omicron variant), I’m writing about the implications for the MSVU community.

In-person exams discontinued effective Thursday, December 16

Out of an abundance of caution, in-person final exams will be discontinued at MSVU for the remainder of this semester, effective 8 a.m. Thursday, December 16. As of that date and time, exams previously scheduled to take place in person will either move online or shift to an alternate format of assessment (e.g. a take home exam), at the discretion of the instructor.

Students requiring accessibility support due to a change in exam format can contact Accessibility Services at accessibilityservices@msvu.ca or 902-457-6567. As well, students can borrow laptops from MSVU if needed and can visit the Library Circulation Desk (EMF) to sign one out. There are desktop computers available in the Library as well.

In-person exams prior to 8 a.m. on December 16 will proceed, but with enhanced safety measures in place, including:

  • Physical distancing of at least 6 feet. Students may be split into additional exam rooms; students should consult the exam seating plan available online and posted on the bulletin boards on the 4th floor of Seton.
  • Masks required. No food or drink can be consumed while in an exam space (so masks should not be lowered at any time).
  • Further, students are encouraged to get a rapid COVID-19 test before attending their in-person exams, if possible. MSVU’s on-campus testing clinic will be open in room EMF 207 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on December 15.

Exams originally scheduled to take place online will continue as planned.

This change requires significant planning by instructors and staff, so please be patient as you await further information.

Instructors will receive guidance via separate email and are encouraged to contact their Deans for support.

Students who were scheduled to attend in-person exams will hear from their instructor directly once an alternate plan is in place.

Additional changes

The evolving COVID-19 situation, including re-introduction of certain NS Public Health restrictions, means a few additional changes at MSVU, as follows:

  • All events, including holiday gatherings, scheduled to take place in person this month will need to be moved online, postponed or cancelled effective the morning of Wednesday, December 15.
  • All meetings should be held online. If it’s not possible to meet online, physical distancing should be maintained between attendees and masks worn.
  • Physical distancing requirements will be re-introduced in certain locations (e.g. of at least 6 feet in the Fitness Centre and Rosaria Dining Hall), with physical distancing encouraged to the greatest extent possible across all of campus.
  • Residence remains open. Residence students are encouraged to visit the on-campus rapid testing clinic for regular (asymptomatic) COVID-19 testing. A number of students are not able to travel home over the holidays due to the pandemic and, through the Residence Life Caring Community program, the university has arranged for them to stay on-campus over the holiday break. Students staying in Residence over the holidays will be provided with take home COVID-19 test kits.
  • Campus will close for the holidays on Tuesday, December 21 at 5 p.m. Anyone who is required to work on December 22 will be able to take time in lieu at a later date as agreed upon with their supervisor. The Fitness Centre will remain open on December 22.
  • The Library continues to operate with regular safety protocols in place (masks, no food/drink except in study rooms) and will be open normal hours (with Night Owls) until the end of day December 21 to support students with their upcoming exams. It is recommended that faculty and staff waiting to pick up research materials do so as soon as possible.

Testing information, other guidance

Additionally, MSVU community members are reminded of the following Public Health recommendations:

MSVU’s on-campus testing clinic will resume January 4, 2022 and take place throughout the winter semester at the same times and place as noted above.

The university’s vaccine requirement will continue throughout the winter semester. Students, faculty and staff who will be new to campus in January are reminded that the deadline to respond to the vaccine requirement is January 12, 2022.

Contacts

Those with questions or concerns are encouraged to be in touch as follows:

  • Students with course specific questions should contact their instructor.
  • Students with health-related questions can contact MSVU’s Manager of Health Services, Maxine Brewer, RN at Maxine.Brewer@msvu.ca.
  • Students with any other questions can contact the Office of Student Experience at ose@msvu.ca.
  • Faculty and staff are encouraged to speak to their chair, dean, supervisor, or contact human resources at human.resources@msvu.ca.

We will continue to carefully monitor the COVID-19 situation and the advice of Public Health officials, and modify our approach if required. The safety of our university and broader communities remains our top priority.

Sincerely,

Brook

M. Brook Taylor, PhD
Interim Vice-President Academic and Provost
Mount Saint Vincent University

COVID-19 precaution notification from NS Public Health - December 14, 2021

Please see below for a message from Nova Scotia Public Health. Students, faculty and staff with questions can contact NS Public Health at 811 or MSVU’s Manager of Health Services Maxine Brewer, RN, at Maxine.Brewer@msvu.ca.

Re: COVID precaution notification at Mount Saint Vincent University, Seton Building

Students/faculty/staff,

Public Health is investigating a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the community. Based on our findings, you may have had an exposure to COVID-19 at Mount Saint Vincent University – Seton Academic Centre on this specific date and time:

December 8, 2021

Seton Academic Centre – Seton Cafe

1:00pm-1:45pm

Public Health will only follow-up directly with close contacts that are determined through our investigation. At this time, you are not considered a close contact. However, Public Health requires anyone who has had an exposure to COVID-19 to follow the instructions below regardless of your COVID-19 vaccination status:

  • We recommend you get tested (PCR COVID-19 test not a rapid/take-home test) at least 72 hours after the last exposure whether or not you have symptoms.
  • You are NOT required to self-isolate or to be tested, unless you develop symptoms.
  • Self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days from the last exposure until December 22, 2021. Symptoms include a new or worsening cough, or two or more of the following: fever (i.e. chills, sweats), shortness of breath, sore throat, runny nose/nasal congestion, or headache.
  • Anyone who develops symptoms is required to self-isolate, book a PCR COVID-19 test, and stay isolated until you receive a negative test result.

For those who require COVID-19 testing, visit https://covid-self-assessment.novascotia.ca/en or call 811 if you don’t have online access or if you have other symptoms that concern you.

We encourage all eligible Nova Scotians to get fully vaccinated as soon as possible. To book an appointment, visit https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/book-your-vaccination-appointment/ or call (toll-free) 1-833-797-7772.

Thank you for your cooperation,

Public Health, Nova Scotia Health

COVID-19 update for Winter 2022 semester (November 30, 2021)

Dear MSVU students, faculty and staff,

With the holiday break in sight, we are getting set to wrap-up a historic semester at Mount Saint Vincent University. Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined we would be teaching, learning and researching in the midst of a pandemic. But as is so often the case at MSVU, you have risen to the challenge in exemplary fashion and I couldn’t be more proud.

In general, the winter semester at MSVU will look much like the fall semester from a COVID-19 protocols perspective. The majority of classes will again be offered on-campus, though with more online opportunities than before the pandemic started for those who need or choose to continue to study at a distance. All student services will once again be available for in-person appointments this winter, with many also providing remote services (online and/or by telephone).

Vaccination requirement to continue for winter semester

Though a significant administrative undertaking, a team in our Human Resources office continues to manage our vaccination requirement process, including informing new students, faculty and staff of the requirement and tracking regular negative COVID-19 test results for those with an approved exemption.

MSVU’s vaccination requirement will remain in place for the winter semester, meaning all those attending campus must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 (i.e. be two weeks past their second dose of a Health Canada approved vaccine). In rare circumstances, an exemption to MSVU’s vaccination requirement may be approved. Those who are unable to be vaccinated for medical, religious or cultural reasons must apply for a vaccination exemption.

Learn more about where to get vaccinated

Students, faculty and staff with an approved exemption will be required to undergo twice weekly rapid COVID-19 testing and provide proof of regular negative test results before coming on campus. Rapid COVID-19 testing clinics will continue on campus into the winter semester. Those who are partially vaccinated (with intent to get fully vaccinated as soon as possible) will also be required to provide proof of negative COVID-19 test results twice a week until they are fully vaccinated.

Earlier this month, we were in touch with all students who will be joining the MSVU community in the winter semester to ensure they were informed of the vaccine requirement in enough time to get fully vaccinated.

If you will be new to campus in the winter semester, please submit your proof of full COVID-19 vaccination or exemption request as soon as possible. This includes students who were studying exclusively online in the fall semester, but who are taking one or more on-campus courses in the winter semester.
– Submit proof of vaccination (log-in required)
– Make a request for an exemption (log-in required)

The deadline for all students, faculty and staff who will be new to campus in the winter semester to submit proof of full vaccination or have an approved exemption is 5 p.m. on January 12, 2022.

If you provided proof of full COVID-19 vaccination in the fall semester you do not need to re-submit this information for the winter semester. However, those with approved exemptions in the fall semester must continue to submit proof of negative test results throughout the winter semester.

Visitors must also continue to comply with the university’s vaccine requirement, either by completing the Visitor Declaration Form before coming on campus or accessing it via the QR code posted at campus entrances.

Masks to continue to be required

Our approach to masks will be the same as the winter semester begins: masks will continue to be mandatory in common indoor spaces on the MSVU campus, including in classrooms. If you’re seated in a common area to study or meet with friends or colleagues your mask must remain on unless you are actively eating or drinking. You can read more about MSVU’s mask requirement.

Fall semester summary

Among the students, faculty and staff confirmed to be on campus for the fall 2021 semester (i.e. not including students who have been studying exclusively online), our rates of full COVID-19 vaccination are very high: 98.8% for faculty and staff and 98.2% for students. Nearly everyone submitted the required documentation; regrettably, a very small number of students did not respond and were advised in October that they could no longer access campus.

We will continue to keep you posted

Of course – and as has been said so often since the pandemic began – we will continue to monitor the situation and adjust our sails as needed. There may be changes to provincial Public Health protocols that could affect our operations and we will stay apprised of those and keep you updated.

My sincere thanks for your continued commitment to the health and safety of our community. We’ve been able to have a “near normal” semester at MSVU this fall because of our collective efforts. We really are a special community of caring, thanks to you.

Ramona

Ramona Lumpkin, CM, PhDInterim President and Vice-ChancellorMount Saint Vincent University

COVID-19 updates – Mask mandate extended (October 28, 2021)

Dear MSVU community,

Let me begin this update by expressing my sincere thanks for your commitment to your fellow students, faculty, and staff. With the deadline for response to the university’s vaccination/testing requirement now passed, I’m pleased to report that nearly all students, faculty and staff studying on-campus have submitted the required documentation. Moreover, from among those who we’ve been able to confirm are attending campus regularly (e.g. extracting from our database students who are studying exclusively online this semester), we can report that our rates of full vaccination (i.e. two doses of a Health Canada approved vaccine) are 98.8% for faculty and staff and 98.2% for students.

A reminder that those with exemptions to the vaccination requirement will need to continue to submit proof of negative COVID-19 test results twice a week (and always within 72 hours before coming on campus); we will continue to monitor these submissions.

While the vaccine/testing requirement was a difficult measure to introduce, and continues to require significant administrative follow-up, it is essential to helping ensure a safe campus.

Mask mandate extended

Now is not the time to relax our other pandemic health and safety measures:

  • keep your mask on in common indoor areas (except if actively eating or drinking)*,
  • get tested often (regardless of your vaccination status),
  • wash or sanitize your hands frequently, and
  • stay home if you’re sick.

*Note that masks will continue to be required in all common indoor spaces on campus (including classrooms) until at least the end of the semester (i.e. until the university closes for the holidays). More information about our mask protocol for winter 2022 will follow. Details of MSVU’s mask requirement are available on the university website.

On-campus testing clinics continue

We continue to offer drop-in rapid (asymptomatic) COVID-19 testing clinics on campus for students, faculty and staff, and encourage all members of the MSVU community to get tested regularly. Even if you’re fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Public Health is still strongly encouraging you to get tested, as asymptomatic testing has proven to be a key measure in stopping the spread of the virus. Clinics are taking place weekly on the following dates/times:

  • Mondays – 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. (EMF 207)
  • Tuesdays – 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. (EMF 207)
  • Wednesdays – 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. (EMF 207)
  • Thursdays – 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. (EMF 207)

Travel update

Starting October 30, the Canadian government is requiring that travellers departing from Canadian airports or travelling by VIA Rail must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. If you are planning air or train travel departing within Canada after October 29, you are encouraged to review the details of this new requirement.

International students planning to arrive in Canada to start their studies at MSVU for the winter semester are encouraged to review details of Federal government requirements for international students travelling to Canada and get fully vaccinated with a Health Canada approved vaccine before travelling, as this may help ensure ease of travel to and within Canada. MSVU’s current vaccine/testing mandate requires all those coming on campus to provide proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 or proof of a negative COVID-19 test result (obtained within the 72 hours prior to attending campus). International students with travel questions or concerns can contact the Manager of the International Education Centre for support: international@msvu.ca.

Work-related travel for faculty/staff – While the Government of Canada lifted its global advisory to avoid non-essential international travel on October 22, it is still recommended that international travel be approached with caution, as community transmission of COVID-19 continues in many countries. Travellers should review destination-specific travel advisories before travelling abroad, be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and stay informed of the COVID-19 situation at your destination. At this time, any MSVU faculty or staff member wishing to travel internationally (for research or other work-related reasons) must apply to the Vice-President Academic and Provost or the Vice-President Administration. No permissions are needed for travel within Canada, however, travellers are expected to adhere to provincial protocols. Notably, these could include COVID-19 testing or self-isolation. As well, travellers should be aware that MSVU will not cover COVID-19 related costs that are not covered by our insurers (for example, quarantine costs).

Student exchange travel – If you are interested in participating in a student exchange at an international partner university, you should speak with the Manager of the International Education Centre (Amy.Braye@msvu.ca) to discuss your options. While the Government of Canada lifted its global advisory to avoid non-essential international travel on October 22, it is still recommended that international travel be approached with caution, as community transmission of COVID-19 continues in many countries.

Winter 2022

Over the course of the next few weeks, we will consider what our pandemic response measures will look like for the winter semester. We will share an update with you as soon as possible.

Once again, thank you for your commitment to the health and safety of our university community.

Sincerely,

Mustansar Nadeem, CPA, CGA, MBA
Vice-President Administration
Mount Saint Vincent University

COVID-19 Update (October 5, 2021)

Dear MSVU students, faculty and staff,

Public Health has advised us that an individual who tested positive for COVID-19 attended a non-academic service on the MSVU campus on September 28, 2021. Their contact with others was limited. Those deemed to be a close contact of the person affected have been notified directly.

The risk to the rest of campus community is extremely low; Public Health is not advising action by anyone other than those being directly contacted. If there is ever a risk to the MSVU community broadly, Public Health will issue an exposure or precautionary advisory.

A reminder that all those coming to campus must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or participate in regular testing (with an approved vaccine exemption). If you haven’t already submitted your proof of vaccination / exemption request / testing forms, please do so immediately. As well, masks must be worn in all common indoor areas, including classrooms.

Regardless of your vaccination status, all members of the university are reminded of the importance of regular COVID-19 testing. Testing is available both on and off campus (on campus: in EMF 207 from 9 to 11 a.m. Monday and Wednesday and 1 to 3 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday). Our next on-campus vaccination clinic is scheduled for October 21 from 1 to 3 p.m. in the Multi-Purpose Room within the Rosaria Student Centre (bring your health card or alternate ID if you don’t have a health card).

If you have any questions, please contact Public Health at 811 or MSVU’s Manager of Health Services, Maxine Brewer, at Maxine.Brewer@msvu.ca.

Sincerely,

Mustansar Nadeem, CPA, CGA, MBA
Vice-President Administration
Mount Saint Vincent University

COVID-19 Update (September 27, 2021)

Dear MSVU students, faculty and staff,

Public Health has advised us of a positive case of COVID-19 involving a member of the MSVU community. Those deemed to be a close contact of the individual affected are being notified today. Public Health is not advising action by anyone other than those being directly contacted as the risk to the rest of the campus community has been deemed very low.

Broader notification is not required by Public Health in this type of circumstance, but given this is our first known incidence of COVID-19 on campus this term, we wanted you to hear about it from the University. If there is ever a risk to the MSVU community broadly, Public Health will issue an exposure advisory.

We continue to strongly encourage all members of the MSVU community to get fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as possible. All those coming to campus must be fully vaccinated or participate in regular testing. If you haven’t already submitted your proof of vaccination/testing forms, please do so immediately. As well, masks must be worn in all common indoor areas, including classrooms.

Regardless of your vaccination status, all members of the university are reminded of the importance of regular COVID-19 testing. Testing is available both on and off campus (on campus: in EMF 207 from 9 to 11 a.m. Monday and Wednesday and 1 to 3 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday).

If you have questions, please contact Public Health at 811 or MSVU’s Manager of Health Services, Maxine Brewer, at Maxine.Brewer@msvu.ca.

Sincerely,

Mustansar Nadeem, CPA, CGA, MBA
Vice-President Administration
Mount Saint Vincent University