Dear colleagues and students,
As our shortened winter break is approaching this coming weekend, I wanted to thank and congratulate you on the successful return to class this semester. Once again, Acadia students, faculty, and staff have shown resilience and versatility as, together, we have met the challenges the global pandemic has thrust upon us. Kudos to you and thank you for your efforts to keep our community safe.
While I extend best wishes for a pleasant long weekend and study break, I share Public Health’s concern over the potential spread of the virus, especially with the presence of the more aggressive mutations. I strongly agree with Public Health’s advice to you to avoid leaving Nova Scotia. To help contain the spread of the Coronavirus and prevent the need for further restrictions, please stay locally at home or in residence here in Wolfville during the break.
Furthermore, if you do travel even within Nova Scotia or stay in the Wolfville region, be very careful to follow the safety precautions of wearing a mask, maintaining social distancing, and not gathering in groups that exceed the public health limits. As we have seen in New Brunswick and now Newfoundland, this virus can spread very quickly, and it is important to maintain our vigilance and strict adherence to safe behaviour at this time. We do not want our shortened winter break to become the source of a resurgence of the COVID-19 virus. This also goes for holding social events, whether you live in residence or off campus. Follow the public health directives and the “good neighbour” guidelines and be respectful and responsible in your behaviour towards others, including all Wolfville residents with whom we share this wonderful community.
Any individual entering or returning to Nova Scotia from any province (other than Prince Edward Island) or country must self-isolate for 14 days. Please refer to the province’s Coronavirus information page for guidance.
Also, as the University’s post-holiday self-isolation in residence period has concluded, any residence student leaving the province at this time will not be able to complete any self-isolation period on campus. You will be required to find and pay for an off-campus location to self-isolate upon your return.
I understand that this is especially frustrating for our students from New Brunswick where home is so close yet so far because of the pandemic. However, it is in the interest of your safety and the safety of our entire community that these restrictions are in place and must be enforced.
Those planning to take courses over the spring and summer are advised that Acadia will maintain its current safety stance, meaning the campus remains closed to the public at this time. Courses will be offered in a hybrid format providing options to attend class on-campus or online. For more information, please consult the Office of the Registrar.
After much consultation and assessment of public health data, the University and Convocation Planning Committee has decided to have a virtual ceremony for 2021. Planning is underway, and details will be forthcoming. Please note, the virtual celebration will be held on or around May 9, 2021.
There are many virtual opportunities to participate in African Heritage Month at Acadia, like at the Manning Memorial Chapel or on the Feature Fridays site. Check out the province’s updates on Heritage Day (February 15) and follow the ASU on Facebook and Instagram to learn about plans for the Winter Carnival starting this Saturday. To those celebrating Chinese New Year, please accept my best wishes for health, wealth, and prosperity!
I realize how stressful life has become during the pandemic and how daunting getting even the most straightforward task completed can feel. We all feel this strain, and it is essential to acknowledge it. Acadia’s founders knew it would be hard to build a university from scratch; hence our motto - IN PULVERE VINCES – meaning through effort we conquer. Continuing to support one another by working together we will conquer this pandemic.
As I was writing my reports for the Board of Governors and the Senate meetings this week, I reflected upon Amanda Gorman’s astonishing and riveting poem that she recited at the inauguration ceremony of U.S. President Biden, in which she reminds us that “History has its eyes on us”. Her message is one of resilience and hope forged by the experiences we have all felt over the past year, reflecting the inspiration we draw from Acadia’s motto. So, I leave you with a small part of Amanda Gorman’s poignant words that are especially relevant to the challenges and opportunities ahead of us as we look forward to building the post-COVID world:
So while once we asked,
how could we possibly prevail over catastrophe?
Now we assert
How could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?
We will not march back to what was
but move to what shall be.
Together we shall prevail! Enjoy the long weekend, but please act responsibly to keep yourself and others safe.
Thank you for your attention and your vigilance,
Dr. Peter Ricketts
President and Vice-Chancellor