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Queen’s addresses incoming students and COVID-19 concerns

Photo by Aaron Bailey.

New and returning students at Queen’s University have been asked to take a number of precautions before moving to Kingston for the fall term, Queen’s communication team said in a report.

“Though most students will take part in remote learning this fall, those returning to the city have an important role, as members of the community, in helping prevent the local spread of COVID-19,” Mark Green, Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic), said in a statement. “We know that this year brings with it some exceptional challenges, but we also know that our students are resilient and understand that coming to Queen’s carries with it the benefits and responsibilities of both learning and living in Kingston. Together, we can overcome these challenges.”

All students are being asked to take the following steps:

Testing is encouraged before travelling to Kingston

For students from areas of high community outbreaks, Queen’s is asking them to be tested for COVID-19 before entering the Kingston community, even if they have no symptoms. They are also asked to allow time for their results before leaving their home community.

If a student receives a positive test result, it’s expected that they delay travel until they are clear of the virus with a negative COVID-19 test result. In this situation, students with on-campus programs should contact their central faculty or school office for further information, the report said. Late arrival to residence can also be arranged.

First two weeks in Kingston

Under the direction of KFL&A Public Health, Queen’s University strongly recommends that all students limit contact with anyone outside their household for a period of 14 days.

The report noted that students who already reside in the KFL&A region, or have already completed their 14 day self-isolation and display no symptoms consistent with COVID-19, are not being asked to observe these requirements, but are encouraged to avoid contact with others outside their households as much as possible if their housemates are travelling from outside the region.

Students staying in Queen’s residences can find residence-specific health and safety protocols and information online, and those living off-campus can find more on the Queen’s University COVID-19 Information website.

International students

International students arriving in Canada must follow the federal rules set out by the emergency orders under the Quarantine Act and quarantine for 14 days without contact with others.

The Ontario government is requiring that institutions ensure that both international and domestic students who are in quarantine due to having entered Canada within the two weeks prior to the start of their studies be tested for the COVID-19 virus at least once during their quarantine period. This requirement is on top of the normal protocols for individuals who show symptoms. It is recommended that this testing take place within five to seven days after the arrival period to address the virus incubation period, the report read.

All students arriving in Kingston are encouraged to bring all needed supplies and groceries for their 14 day quarantine, to help limit contact with others. Those living in residences will have access to a Queen’s dining hall. For essential shopping, ­students are encouraged to use online ordering, or to wear a mask, wash hands, and physically distance should they need to attend a store in person.

The university is currently working with Kingston Health Sciences Centre and local public health authorities to establish a COVID-19 testing centre on campus. More information will be available on the COVID-19 Information website as it becomes available. For now, testing is available at the city’s local COVID-19 assessment centre. Details on hours and location are listed on KFL&A’s Public Health website.

Avoid unnecessary travel

While students may be used to travelling to and from Kingston throughout the semester, this year they are encouraged to limit travel outside the KFL&A region. If students choose to, or must, travel outside the KFL&A region during the fall semester, they are strongly encouraged to limit contacts for 14 days upon return.

All students are urged to access the resources available through Student Wellness Services should they need support for their mental health and wellness.

“We express our thanks to students in advance for their cooperation in helping to keep themselves, their friends and the community safe,” Provost Green said. “Be kind, check on your friends, and look out for one another. We know we can count on you to do your part to support the Queen’s and Kingston community.”

For the Provost’s detailed statement visit the COVID-19 Information website.

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