Following a similar message from the City of Kingston and Mayor Bryan Paterson to students ahead of Queen’s University’s Homecoming weekend, Queen’s Principal Patrick Deane has sent the following message out to all students:
As you may be aware, Homecoming celebrations this year will take place virtually, Oct. 15-16, 2021. We made the decision to go virtual due to ongoing concerns regarding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our community.
Our priority is and will always be the health and well-being of our residents while we work to fulfill our academic mission. Our alumni understand this, and while they are disappointed, they know the serious nature of the pandemic requires extraordinary actions.
Despite the measures we have taken to protect public health, the university has been made aware that unsanctioned gatherings are planned not only for this homecoming weekend but for the following weekend as well. Our partners across Kingston, particularly our public service professionals and hospital administrators, have raised serious concerns about the city’s ability to absorb and address large numbers of young people in Kingston if these gatherings involve alcohol and substance use and create additional pressures on emergency services that are already operating under considerable duress with limited resources and exhausted staff.
I am asking for your assistance in helping contain the social gatherings and to act responsibly over the coming weekends. Being fully vaccinated is not a pass to ignore Ontario’s gathering limits (social gatherings up to 100 people outdoors or up to 25 people indoors). As members of both the Queen’s and Kingston community, we all must demonstrate leadership, respect one another and be mindful and aware of the provincial laws and local bylaws that are in place to protect us. No one is above the law. If you are getting together with friends, please wear your masks and keep your group small and within legal limits. Avoid large crowds and keep roadways clear for emergency vehicles.
I am proud that Queen’s has been able to open its doors and resume in-person teaching. We are an institution of higher education and this university, at its core, is about learning in an environment of respect where knowledge, intellectual and social development are paramount. In these precarious times when the future is still uncertain and the good health of our community remains at risk, I ask that you think about the impact of your actions and you hold one another accountable. I trust I can count on you to act responsibly and together, help keep everyone safe and healthy so we can continue to enjoy being back on our beautiful campus.
Principal and Vice-Chancellor