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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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:
- Stay home if you’re sick.
- Review the exposure notices issued by Public Health. There have been many news ones added recently and the guidance regarding isolation has changed – details are available through the NS Health website.
- Get tested – often. Take home tests are available for pick-up at community libraries in Nova Scotia (note that these are municipally run libraries, NOT the MSVU Library). However, you can pop by the rapid testing clinic in EMF 207 until December 21, as follows (note this is for asymptomatic testing only; those with symptoms can access testing via Public Health):
- Mondays – 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
- Tuesdays – 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
- Wednesdays – 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. (except until 3 p.m. on December 15)
- Thursdays – 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
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.
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 email@example.com.
- Faculty and staff are encouraged to speak to their chair, dean, supervisor, or contact human resources at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
M. Brook Taylor, PhD
Interim Vice-President Academic and Provost
Mount Saint Vincent University