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Important updates for MSVU students (June 30, 2020)

Hello from your MSVU Student Experience team who are hard at work planning for your start or return to studies this September!

While the university will offer all courses online this fall due to the pandemic, we continue to detail our summer and fall campus/operational plans and wanted to share a few updates with you.

Fall timetable

The most updated timetable outlining courses to be offered in the fall 2020 semester has now been posted – you can find it on myMount or in the MSVU App. Timetables are subject to change, but the only anticipated adjustments are the addition of courses as circumstances permit. Use the MSVU App or the Registration Centre in myMount to register for courses. A reminder that you can contact the Centre for Academic Advising and Student Success (advising@msvu.ca) or Registrar’s Office (registration@msvu.ca) for course advice or assistance registering.

Summer Advising event July 6 – New MSVU students

Do you still need to register for fall and winter courses? Join the Recruitment and Academic Advising teams as they co-host a webinar all about selecting and registering for your first-year courses. The webinar will start at 10 a.m. AT and the access link and login information will be available on our Summer Advising and Registration webpage. Academic advisors will then be available from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. for same day academic advising support through email, telephone, or Skype for Business. Contact advising@msvu.ca for more information. Be sure to check out the New to MSVU 2020/2021 Facebook group and @NewToMSVU Instagram account – these are great places for incoming undergraduate students to ask questions, get helpful information, and start to build a community with your peers! Graduate students should contact their academic advisor listed on their letter of acceptance.

Residence

In consultation with Nova Scotia Public Health, and with student safety at the forefront, we have determined that we will be able to safely operate our student residences at 54% capacity for the fall 2020 term – or 214 students. A message was sent last week to all those who have applied to live in residence this fall. You can read that message in full here.

Library

Due to the pandemic, the MSVU Library & Archives switched exclusively to virtual operations on March 18, 2020. Most of the ­­services and resources they have always offered are still available via online delivery and online formats. A phased-in approach will be used to return to on-campus Library operations to enhance the support for teaching, learning, and research. These efforts are ongoing and may change as determined by the Province’s health directives. At present, the Library is now offering all MSVU students the ability to borrow physical material (books, DVDs) by making these available via on-campus pick-up and home mail delivery.  You can learn more about the current status of library services here.

Bookstore

The book store is one of the on-campus operations being considered as part of phase one of our return-to-campus planning. In the meantime, they are working on a curbside pick-up program which they hope to announce soon, and the bookstore remains open virtually. Currently, students are able to order their textbooks online. The bookstore is shipping orders, or sending Digital Access Codes via email. The bookstore is covering shipping up to $10 per order. Our shipping partner, UPS, has been quick and reliable throughout the pandemic and is providing us with reasonable rates. Check the bookstore’s social media pages for updates (Facebook / Instagram), or contact bookstore manager Karen Mathieu with questions: Karen.Mathieu@msvu.ca.

Flourish at MSVU

At MSVU, we believe that to truly flourish, you need to be nurtured – meaning you need the right environment and the right supports. We’re committed to supporting you at each step of your university journey and recently launched a new website hub featuring the supports available to help you thrive in your new virtual university environment. New this year: every single new and returning student will be assigned a Personal Advisor who will reach out to you over the summer to answer questions and make sure you have what you need to succeed. Check out the Flourish hub here.

Also, in our new video, learn more about next steps and meet some of the folks who are working hard to ensure your start at MSVU goes as smoothly as possible!

Got questions?

We have answers! Check out our A to Z list of student services and supports. And don’t hesitate to get in touch: ose@msvu.ca and kim.kienapple@msvu.ca for graduate student inquiries.


Previous Updates

Message from the President - Fall 2020 course delivery at MSVU to shift online (May 14, 2020)

As our Public Health experts begin to share plans for the cautious re-opening of our province, it has become increasingly apparent that organizations will need to practice physical distancing into the fall.

I am writing to advise that Mount Saint Vincent University will shift to online course delivery for the fall 2020 semester.

By making this decision now, we are ensuring that we have the time needed to plan for a quality experience this fall. In the days and weeks ahead, we will continue to engage our faculty, staff and Senate in a fulsome discussion of the implications of this shift.

As well, we will explore what our on-campus operations might look like based on the latest Public Health advice (e.g. residence, library, art gallery, fitness centre, registrar’s office, staff and faculty offices and more), and work with our Research Office to address the needs of our researchers.

We are fortunate at MSVU to be a leader in online education. We have a strong and pioneering history in remote program delivery, dating back almost 40 years. It means we have a really solid online foundation from which to build.

To our new and returning students, remember that the situation we find ourselves in will be short lived, while your MSVU experience will be a long and rich one. The need to be physically distant from one another and avoid gatherings won’t last forever. In the meantime, our Student Experience team is planning some exceptional online orientation and support programs designed to enable your success through this period.

We will also continue conversation about our University’s 2020/2021 budget. This dialogue started much earlier this year, but budget approval was deferred as we sought to focus on our response to the pandemic. Certainly, these are fiscally challenging times across our sector and beyond. We will continue to work with members of our representative University Budget Committee and the Board – and indeed across all facets of our organization on measures like cost containment – to balance the unprecedented financial challenges ahead with the need to ensure continued delivery of the best possible learning experience for our students.

No doubt you have many questions. While we don’t yet have all the answers, we will work to provide more information as soon as possible. Please continue to visit our website for the latest, and stay tuned to your MSVU email account.

It goes without saying that these are unusual times. And while the road ahead will not be without its challenges, I have no doubt about the power of the MSVU community to make it through.

I sincerely hope you enjoy the long weekend.

Cyber safety and COVID-19 - A message from IT&S March 21, 2020 (4:30 p.m.)

At times of intense distraction or major crisis, cyber criminals see opportunity.

We have become aware that phishing campaigns, spam, and malware scams are circulating that use COVID-19 response as their basis. In fact, it has been reported that one circulating cyber scam targeting some MSVU users appears to be coming from an @MSVU.ca email address.

You are reminded to be vigilant in monitoring for cyber-attacks and report any suspicious activity to the Help Desk (helpdesk@msvu.ca). Protecting MSVU information and systems, as well as your personal information, is critically important.

Please take the following precautions:

  • Avoid clicking on links and opening email attachments in unsolicited emails
  • Beware of warning messages that appear to come from leaders/managers stating that your MSVU email or any other account is about to expire or requires verification
  • Beware of urgent (“Are you available?”) or unusual requests that appear to be coming from university representatives, like requests to purchase gift cards
  • Be aware of incorrect email addresses and subject lines with an unusual sense of urgency
  • Verify the source of a message or request before responding
  • Do not reveal personal or financial information in email, and do not respond to email solicitations for this information
  • Verify a charity’s authenticity before making donations
  • Ensure you have antivirus software installed on your home computer. See the Antivirus and Malware Protection web page for advice on selecting one for home.
  • Use trusted sources—for example www.msvu.ca/coronavirus or government websites—for up-to-date, reliable information about COVID-19
  • A reminder that there is free cyber security awareness training available to MSVU students, faculty and staff (access it here)

For faculty and staff

  • Only use MSVU VPN for accessing administrative systems that require it (Colleague, Informer, Student Records, and network drives). Disconnect from the VPN when not using it for that purpose. Consider using SharePoint or OneDrive to manage your files instead.
  • Avoid using MSVU VPN on shared/family devices.
  • Protect your device – ensure that devices like laptops that you are using to work remotely are kept secure. If you are concerned that your data privacy may have been breached (for example, if a device is lost, left somewhere, or otherwise compromised), please notify IT&S immediately.

Resources

Help Desk

A reminder that the MSVU Help Desk is available to support members of the University community (helpdesk@msvu.ca and 902-457-6538). Please understand that there may be a delay as our staff work to support significant and evolving IT&S needs at this time.

COVID-19 Update - March 18, 2020 (2:40 p.m.)

Shift to virtual operations

A reminder that the University will shift to virtual service delivery ASAP this week (in addition to remote academic program delivery already underway). This means that ALL faculty and staff will no longer be permitted on campus as of 5 p.m. Thursday, March 19, with the exception of a very limited number of essential operational on-campus service providers (for example, Residence Life, Health Services, Security, some Facilities staff). Employees who have been deemed essential on-site operational personnel have been contacted by their managers.

For safety and security purposes, after the end of day Thursday, March 19, anyone requiring access to campus (for exceptional circumstances) will need to contact their supervisor or Dean at least 24 hours before access is required to explain what space must be accessed and why. Requests will then be sent to the Vice President Administration for review/triage. Sign in/out will be required via the Security Desk in Assisi Hall. Outside building locks have been changed to support implementation of this temporary safety protocol. FOB access will be removed by end-of-day Thursday, March 19.

Summer Session 1 Update

Undergraduate and graduate (all faculties): Summer Session 1 online courses will continue as planned. Face-to-face delivery courses will not take place in Summer Session 1. However, the number and range of online courses will be expanded. Additional online courses that will be offered in Summer Session 1 will be added to the timetable next week. Please be aware that in cases where a face-to-face delivery course is cancelled, registered students will be contacted by Registrar’s Office staff. Students will be able to register for new online courses if they wish.

Summer Session 1
graduate education cohorts will also be delivered online.

Residence

Students who remain due to extenuating circumstances will be provided modified food services and support as needed. Students remaining will be relocated to Westwood soon. Residence Life continues to be in direct communication with Residence students.

A reminder that you can visit the regularly updated FAQ, which also contains links to NS and Canadian health authority resources.

COVID-19 Update - March 17, 2020 (4:30 p.m.)

Canadian organizations and businesses are being strongly urged by both provincial and federal governments to find ways to have their employees work from home to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

Our goal is to protect the health, safety, and well-being of our community while virtual operations continue as best as they can.

By end of day Thursday, March 19, the MSVU will be operating essential operational services on campus.

Those employees delivering essential operational services have been contacted by their managers/supervisors.

All other MSVU employees must begin working from home as soon as possible – by end of day Thursday, March 19 at the latest. Information Technology & Services has developed a new “Working From Home” intranet page featuring tools and links to support resources. This page will be updated regularly, so check it often if you are working from home. We thank all employees for your cooperation as we navigate these challenging times.

The University has closed residence as of 12 p.m. on March 21. We continue to support students who cannot return home at this time.

Our Health Services Office will remain open, and requires appointments be made by phone in advance.

The Deans will be following up with faculty to address their plans for the remainder of the academic term.

A reminder that you can visit www.msvu.ca/coronavirus for the latest information from the University, including a regularly-updated FAQ, as well as links to NS and Canadian health authority resources.

And if you haven’t already seen it, we encourage you to view this video message from MSVU President Dr. Mary Bluechardt.

COVID-19 Update - March 16, 2020 (5:30 p.m.)

The health and safety of MSVU students, faculty, staff and broader community is of utmost importance to us. In an effort to help reduce the transmission of COVID-19, please see below for some important updates:

Events

• All events at MSVU are cancelled until at least June 1, no matter the number of participants.

Facilities

• The following MSVU facilities will be closing until further notice:

Fitness Centre, effective immediately. Visit the centre online at www.msvu.ca/fit, on Facebook or Instagram for updates.

Art Gallery, effective immediately. Visit the Art Gallery online for updates.

Library, as of 5 p.m. on Tuesday, March 17. Visit the Library website for more information. During this closure, the Library & Archives team is working to ensure our research community has the ability to access the resources and services they need remotely via the Continuity of Library & Archives Services website.

Curriculum Resource Centre, effective immediately. Find them online.

Registration and Financial Services joint counter, effective immediately (located in the main hallway on the 2nd floor of Evaristus).

Residence will be closing at noon (12 p.m.) on Saturday, March 21. Students who are able to move out before then are encouraged to do so. Students who cannot return home due to extenuating circumstances (for example, international travel restrictions or exceptional personal circumstances) will be able to stay and should be in touch with Residence Life as soon as possible. Students who stay in Residence may need to be relocated. Students who move out will receive a pro-rated refund for room and meal plan fees.

• Food services continue in the Rosaria Dining Hall at this time, though with restricted hours and menu changes. Seton Cafe and McCain Cafe have closed. Updates from Chartwells are available here.

• Because EMF is closing due to the Library closure, those needing the following services will require an appointment: Teaching and Learning Centre and Online Learning, Counselling Services, Accessibility Services, Information Technology & Services and Writing Centre.

Counselling and health services

Counselling appointments will be conducted over the phone. A reminder that we also have new online mental health tools available to MSVU students 24/7.

• The Health Services Office remains open to students and existing community patients. Appointments are required.

Human Resources

• Further to the NS government directive to facilitate working from home to the greatest extent possible, Human Resources has developed an FAQ for MSVU employees. Employees should speak to their managers to make working arrangements. The university will focus on continuing to provide critical services to students.

• Information Technology & Services has developed a new “Working From Home” intranet page featuring tools and links to support resources. This page will be updated regularly, so check it often if you are working from home.

This afternoon, the Federal Government announced new travel restrictions. You can read more about that here.

Public health authorities continue to advise on the importance of personal protective measures, such as social distancing (staying about 6 feet away from others and avoiding crowds/gatherings), frequent and thorough handwashing and cough/sneeze etiquette.

A reminder that you can visit www.msvu.ca/coronavirus for the latest information from the University, including a regularly-updated FAQ, as well as links to NS and Canadian health authority resources.

Please take care. And if you haven’t already seen it, I encourage you to view this video message from MSVU President Dr. Mary Bluechardt

COVID-19 Update (March 15, 2020, 8:15 p.m.)

These past few days have been challenging for us all. We know there are many questions about next steps and how to prepare for the remainder of the academic term. We are working closely with our sister institutions, as well as Nova Scotia Public Health, to chart the best possible path, and are providing updates as quickly and frequently as possible. Important decisions – ones that come with significant impacts – are being made with careful consideration and with the best interests of our students, faculty, staff, and all Nova Scotians in mind. We thank you for your continued patience as we respond to this rapidly evolving situation.

At a media conference held this afternoon, the Province of Nova Scotia announced that there are now three presumptive cases of COVID-19 (coronavirus) in the province. Public Health has been in contact with these individuals and they, as well as those they have come in close contact with, are being directed to self-isolate at home for 14 days.

A number of new measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 were also announced, including the following that impact the MSVU community directly:

  • Organizations and businesses must practise social distancing of two metres (or six feet) and keep gatherings below 150 or much smaller if possible. After careful consideration, we have decided to cancel spring convocation. We will ensure that all graduating students are awarded their degrees, certificates and diplomas, and we are committed to giving students the opportunity to celebrate this important milestone by crossing the Convocation stage at a later date, possibly in the fall. We are currently working out those details and will communicate them as soon as possible.
  • All childcare centres must close as of March 17, and remain closed until at least April 3. Therefore, the MSVU Child Study Centre will be closed for this time period.
  • All public schools in Nova Scotia will remain closed for at least two weeks following March Break. We understand that this (together with the closing of child care centres) will present challenges to MSVU students and employees with young children at home. We encourage students with issues to connect directly with your course instructors, and employees to speak with your supervisor to establish a work arrangement.

The University remains open, though changes may be required to ensure social distancing. All MSVU employees who were regularly scheduled to report to work on Monday, March 16 are expected do so. Supervisors will work with you to establish an appropriate work arrangement.

The Province’s full media release with more information on further preventative measures is available here.

A reminder that you can visit www.msvu.ca/coronavirus for the latest information from the University. We are updating the FAQ available there as new information becomes available.

COVID-19 Update (March 13, 2020, 6 p.m.)

The health of our community is our biggest concern. Thank you for your patience as we work through this. Although there are still no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia, it is only a matter time before this happens. This is a rapidly evolving situation with many unknowns.

What you need to know – March 13, 2020 – 6 p.m.

Classes: As a preventive measure, effective March 16, 2020, in-person classes and labs will be suspended until the end of term. Classes already being delivered online will continue. Faculty are asked to move to different modes of delivery where possible and are encouraged to be in touch with the Teaching and Learning Centre and Online Learning, Department Chairs or Deans for support. By mid next week, students will be hearing about any modifications to their courses from their course instructors.

The University remains open and services will continue. Employees should attend work as usual. Though in-person classes are suspended, faculty can continue to work from their offices. While Residences remain open, students living in residence are encouraged to go home if possible.

Co-op, practica, internships: Students in the midst of a co-op, practicum, internship or other placement at a location not affected by this situation can continue to attend their placements as normal. If you have any questions, please speak to your workplace supervisor and/or your MSVU advisor.

Exams: We will not be running face-to-face exams this term. Faculty are being asked to revisit their assessment plans and consider whether take-home or digitally-delivered exams are feasible for a particular course.

COVID-19 Update (March 13, 2020, 2 p.m.)

This is a complex and rapidly developing situation. We will continue to keep you updated as it evolves. In many ways, this is also uncharted territory, and we need to be patient with one another as we navigate these challenging times. As always, the well-being of our university community remains our top priority. All measures the university is taking are based on that strong commitment and the expert advice of Nova Scotia and Canadian Public Health authorities.

What you need to know – March 13, 2020, 2 p.m.

  • Any students, faculty or staff who have travelled outside of Canada are required to self-isolate for 14 days. This is based on a new directive from Nova Scotia Public Health issued this morning.
  • All events on campus involving 150 participants or more are cancelled, effective immediately.
  • NS Public Health is advising that if you have been in close contact with a person who has a confirmed case of COVID-19 or a person you suspect may have COVID-19, self-monitor your health. If you develop a fever greater than 38 C or a cough with 14 days of your return to Canada, call 811. For more information, visit the NS Government’s “COVID-19: What Should I Do If…” webpage.

We will provide an update later today about classes, exams, and searches.

The university has also developed a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) to help address your many questions. Please note that it will be continually updated. If you have any questions not address in the FAQ, please email feedback@msvu.ca and we will respond as soon as possible.

COVID-19 Update (March 12, 2020)

We are writing to share an update on coronavirus preparedness and prevention at MSVU.

We know we are in a challenging time, and the well-being of the MSVU community remains our top priority.

Preparedness

The University’s senior leadership team continues to actively monitor the situation. We will keep you updated via direct email and the MSVU website.

Please note that there are currently no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia. However, this is a challenging and rapidly evolving situation. We continue to follow public health advice on issues like prevention, preparedness, and travel advisories.

We have activated pandemic planning across all facets of the organization. A group of MSVU senior leaders is meeting daily to review the situation and continue to advance planning efforts. This week, we were in touch with Deans, Department Chairs and Faculty to encourage preparedness in the event we are unable to offer courses on campus – i.e. how courses might otherwise continue and how assessments would be managed. And while that planning is important, there has been no indication from Public Health authorities that on-campuses classes or events should be suspended at this time. In line with public health recommendations, another measure we are taking currently, is to increase the frequency with which we are disinfecting and cleaning high contact surfaces on campus.

We also continue to collaborate on this issue with our colleagues provincially and nationally, including Universities Canada, the Atlantic Association of Universities, and Council of Nova Scotia Presidents.

Travel

Given the rapidly evolving situation, MSVU has decided to cancel all university-related travel to all of the countries with active Canadian government issued travel health notices (levels one through four) – this applies to all university-related travel to these countries by students, faculty and staff (e.g. for research purposes, conferences of study abroad).

This week, Global Affairs Canada expanded its list of countries with travel advisories due to coronavirus, adding France, Germany and Spain (all with level 1 advisories – or “practice usual precautions”). This takes the list of countries with travel advisories to 10 as follows:

  • China (mainland) – Level 3
  • Iran – Level 3
  • Italy – Level 3
  • Japan – Level 2
  • South Korea – Level 2
  • Hong Kong – Level 1
  • Singapore – Level 1
  • France – Level 1
  • Germany – Level 1
  • Spain – Level 1

Should you have concerns about university-related travel to a country for which an official advisory has not been issued, you are encouraged to speak to your primary MSVU contact (for students) or your dean/chair/manager (for faculty and staff). You can also reach out to one of the travel contacts noted in the “Resources” section below. We will do all we can to support you and minimize any impacts.

All travelers, whether heading out on university-related or leisure travel, are reminded to take appropriate precautions – you can review the Government of Canada’s travel health advice here. As well, the Public Health Agency of Canada is recommending that Canadians avoid all cruise ship travel due to COVID-19 because the virus can spread quickly on ships due to the close contact between passengers. Lastly, as per usual, if you are travelling abroad, you are encouraged to register your location with the Canadian government at this website.

NS Public Health has advised that anyone who has travelled outside Canada may have come in contact with the novel coronavirus and should closely monitor their health for 14 days after returning to the country. Travellers who start to feel unwell, should stay at home/self-isolate away from the public. Individuals who develop fever, with a temperature 38°C or higher, and/or cough should call 811 for assessment.

Call 811 if you’ve traveled and are experiencing symptoms. They will direct you to the nearest testing site. If you are just looking for information, you are asked not to call 811; instead, please call the Government of Canada’s novel coronavirus information line at 1-833-784-4397 or visit their website.

Prevention

Personal protective measures are very important to avoid getting and spreading viruses.

The NS Department of Health recommends the following:

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly
  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue or your elbow
  • Limit contact with other people when you’re sick
  • Limit touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Don’t share drinking glasses, utensils, bottles, mouth guards or cosmetics
  • Disinfect surfaces like taps, doorknobs and countertops
  • Get your flu shot (Flu shots are also still available at the MSVU Health Office. Please call 902-457-6354 to make an appointment to get yours.)
  • Note that wearing a face mask if you have no symptoms is not necessary. In fact, some evidence suggests that it may increase the likelihood of acquiring an infection due to contact between your hands and face.

Resources

University-related travel advice:

As always, Counselling Services are available for students in need of support.

Faculty and staff support is available through our Employee and Family Assistance Program.

 

Academic planning for coronavirus situation (March 11, 2020) -- A message to Deans and Department Chairs

Please note that there are currently no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia. However, this is a difficult and rapidly evolving situation. We continue to follow public health directives for advice on issues like prevention, preparedness, and travel advisories.

The University is working to be prepared and we’re reaching out to you in that capacity. As we are nearing the end of our semester and entering exam season, we ask that you consider how we can mitigate, to the best of our abilities, any negative effects that this situation might have on students. The ultimate goal of this planning is preparedness toward responding to possible Public Health directives aimed at protecting the health and well-being of the MSVU community, our students, faculty and staff.

Please consider how you might adjust course delivery or assessments in the event that we are unable to offer courses on campus. Please focus on how courses might otherwise continue and how assessments in your classes would be managed. This may involve moving courses online or amending some of the remaining assessment tasks. To help in this regard, attached is an infographic provided by the TLCOL that outlines possibilities for on-line course delivery and assessments. In the near future, the TLCOL will be offering training workshops on these subjects.

We appreciate that this is not necessarily easily done – there are many complexities at play from course content/program variability, to labs, cohorts across multiple provinces (perhaps even countries) and more.

The University will do all it can to support you – please reach out to your Dean with queries. Please also refer to the following Senate policy, Academic Implications of a Significant Disruption of Operations. Attached is the TLCOL’s recommendations for Preparing For Disruptions to On-Campus Teaching.

Travel advice (March 9, 2020)

As circumstances surrounding the current COVID-19 outbreak rapidly evolve, I am writing to remind MSVU travelers of the associated risks.

Faculty and staff

The University’s travel insurance provider for faculty and staff (SSQ) has indicated that travel insurance may not be valid when travelling to countries under a Government-issued travel advisory. Specifically, they will not reimburse expenses, including medical expenses, incurred during travel to countries with level 3 or level 4 travel advisories, as issued by the Government of Canada. A level 3 advisory indicates a recommendation to “avoid non-essential travel” while a level 4 advises travelers to “avoid all travel.” As well, our insurance provider has noted that in places where governments or public health authorities have taken control of the local COVID-19 situation, the support they will be able to offer will be very limited – they will not be able to refer to a provider, nor provide evacuation assistance.

The University encourages all faculty and staff to consider cancelling non-essential university-related travel to all countries currently on the Government of Canada’s list of countries affected by COVID-19, particularly those with level 3 and 4 advisories. These currently include:

  • China (mainland) – Level 3
  • Iran – Level 3
  • Italy – Level 3
  • Japan – Level 2
  • South Korea – Level 2
  • Hong Kong – Level 1
  • Singapore – Level 1

Note that this list could change and travelers should visit the Public Health Agency of Canada website for the latest information.

If you are planning university-related travel to any of these countries, please speak to your department Chair or supervisor/manager, or contact Human Resources: Stephanie.Girard@msvu.ca or 902-457-6368.

All travelers, whether heading out on university-related or leisure travel, are reminded to take appropriate precautions – you can review the Government of Canada’s travel health advice.

Students

We are working to support any students currently abroad, though none of our students on exchange right now are in an “affected country.” All outbound students are required to purchase insurance through guard.me; guard.me has advised that students already abroad will continue to be covered, but no new policies will be issued for travel (originating in Canada) to the above noted locations, except Hong Kong. Please note that this is a rapidly evolving situation and this information could change at any time. We will continue to monitor the situation and work closely with students who are studying abroad for the 2020-2021 academic year.

If any student has travel concerns, including travel concerns outside of study abroad (e.g. conference or research related), please contact Amy Braye in the International Education Centre: Amy.Braye@msvu.ca or 902-457-6130.

COVID-19 Update (March 4, 2020)

I am writing to share an update on the University’s continued monitoring of the COVID-19 situation. (Note that COVID-19 was previously referred to as the novel coronavirus.)
I appreciate that this may be a concerning situation for some members of the MSVU community. I encourage you to access the resources noted below as you need them. I want to reassure the MSVU community that we continue to be in touch with public health officials (including the NS Department of Health’s Public Health branch) and take our guidance from them. As always, we will also work to ensure organizational readiness should a more significant response be required.

Risk in NS remains low

A reminder that at this point there are no cases of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia and public health authorities continue to advise that the risk in Canada and in our province remains low.

Affected countries

The Government of Canada has updated its list of affected countries. In addition to mainland China, areas affected now include: Hong Kong, Iran, Italy, Japan, Singapore, and South Korea. You can access the government’s latest list of affected areas at any time here. As well, all travel health notices are posted here.
The Government of Canada is directing those travelling to Canada from Hubei, China and Iran to self-isolate for a period of two weeks, even if you have no symptoms.
And while only travelers from Hubei, China and Iran need to self-isolate at this point, travelers coming to Canada from any of the affected areas should closely monitor their health for 14 days after their arrival in Canada. (COVID-19 symptoms usually appear within two weeks.) If you have travelled to an affected area and develop a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, call 811 for an assessment. You can also contact Maxine Brewer, Registered Nurse and Manager of Health Services at MSVU, for health advice: Maxine.Brewer@msvu.ca, 902-457-6353. Please advise the MSVU Health Office (902-457-6354) office of your situation before visiting so that your case can be managed appropriately.
We will continue to monitor impacts on MSVU students, faculty, and staff, and be in touch with anyone directly affected.
As conference season approaches, we encourage MSVU travelers to monitor Canadian travel advisories. And while there has been no directive to avoid large gatherings in Canada, some conferences in our region could be impacted should large numbers of attendees be unable to attend from other countries or should situations change locally.
  • Students with travel questions should contact the International Education Centre at Amy.Braye@msvu.ca or 902-457-6130.
  • Faculty and staff with travel questions should contact Human Resources at Stephanie.Girard@msvu.ca or 902-457-6368.

Importance of prevention

Personal protective measures are very important to avoid getting and spreading viruses. The NS Department of Health recommends the following:
  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly
  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue or your elbow
  • Limit contact with other people when you’re sick
  • Limit touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Don’t share drinking glasses, utensils, bottles, mouth guards or cosmetics
  • Disinfect surfaces like taps, doorknobs and countertops
  • Get your flu shot (Flu shots are also still available at the MSVU Health Office. Please call 902-457-6354 to make an appointment to get yours.)
  • Note that wearing a face mask if you are asymptomatic does not necessarily help prevent infection. In fact, some evidence suggests that it may increase the likelihood of acquiring an infection due to contact between your hands and face.
Please be reminded that it is flu season in Canada, so it’s likely that someone experiencing a cough, runny nose, headache, sore throat or fever (who hasn’t returned from one of the affected countries within the past two weeks) may have the seasonal flu or common cold.

Resources

Students, faculty and staff with health-related questions or concerns about COVID-19 are encouraged to contact Maxine Brewer, RN and MSVU Health Services Manager. She can be reached at Maxine.Brewer@msvu.ca or 902-457-6353.
The Government of Canada has established a COVID-19 information line which can be reached at 1-833-784-4397.
As always, Counselling Services are available for students in need of support. Faculty and staff support is available through our Employee and Family Assistance Program.
More information:

COVID-19 Update (January 28, 2020)

I am writing further to the current outbreak of Novel Coronavirus in Wuhan, China. I want to assure members of the MSVU community that University leadership is closely monitoring the situation.

There are currently no confirmed cases of the virus in Nova Scotia. While one case has been confirmed in Ontario, the Public Health Agency of Canada has assessed the public health risk as low for Canada and for Canadian travelers. Should a specific risk to any individual be identified, Public Health would make direct contact.

Noted Maxine Brewer, Registered Nurse and Health Services Manager at MSVU: “There is no reason for alarm on campus. While we should be vigilant in our monitoring and prevention activities, there is currently no need for any changes in our regular routines.”

As a precaution, students, faculty or staff who have flu symptoms and who have travelled to or from China in the past two weeks should contact the MSVU Health Office or their family physician immediately for guidance. For the MSVU Health Office, telephone 902-457-6354 or email Maxine.Brewer@msvu.ca. Please advise them of your situation before visiting so that your case can be managed appropriately.

Symptoms to watch for include:

  • runny nose
  • headache
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • fever
  • a general feeling of being unwell

Note that coronavirus symptoms usually appear within two weeks. Also, it is flu season in Canada, so it’s likely that someone experiencing these symptoms (who hasn’t returned from Wuhan within the past two weeks) may have the seasonal flu or common cold.

Prevention measures include:

  • wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
  • avoid close contact with people who are sick

It’s also not too late to get a flu shot. Flu shots are still available at the MSVU Health Office. Please call 902-457-6354 to make an appointment to get yours.

For more information :