Acadia University's return-to-campus strategy is based on a community harms reduction strategy that focuses on caring for oneself and others, community, and compliance. To help make our campus and the broader community as safe as possible, Acadia, in partnership with the Students' Union and in compliance with all public health directives, has implemented comprehensive practices, policies, and protocols to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19. The following is a summary of these:
Due to on-campus restrictions for those not studying or teaching, we are offering a new initiative called "Pick up at the Public" in partnership with the Annapolis Valley Regional Library.
Members of the public can request Acadia and Novanet print items through the library catalogue. The items will then be delivered each week to the Wolfville Memorial Library. Borrowers will receive a message when the material is available for pick up and will have two weeks to pick it up. Most materials will have an extended loan period this fall. Materials can be returned at any Nova Scotia Public Library.
Acadia University has long favoured an asymptomatic testing protocol as an additional layer of defence. It is pleased to support the Province of Nova Scotia's August 20, 2020 directive to test asymptomatic post-secondary students entering the Province from outside the Atlantic Bubble. Part of the Public Health Act, the new health measures became law on August 21 and instructs students to view Nova Scotia's post-secondary website to better understand the process of entering Nova Scotia.
Acadia has developed a series of protocols designed to support the containment of an outbreak of COVID-19 on Campus. These protocols, which were approved by the Chief Medical Officer of Health and the Department of Labour and Advanced Education as part of the University's re-opening plan, will be enacted in complete partnership with Public Health authorities.
Acadia is providing a fee-for-service airport pick-up for students requiring self-isolation to support direct travel to accommodations where possible. Acadia is coordinating with Airport Security to ensure there is a waiting area as students await their shuttle time. Shuttles will operate within the Nova Scotia health and safety directives. Residence (dormitory) students will be greeted by an Acadia representative and directed to their rooms. Off-campus students will be transported to campus, where Acadia employees will be on hand to assist in procuring transportation to a final destination for off-campus students.
Students arriving at Acadia University (and all institutions) from outside of Atlantic Canada must:
Approximately 500 Acadia students, evenly split between on-campus and off-campus accommodations, are required to participate in the asymptomatic testing initiative. Acadia has communicated the directive to students, and Public Health officials are following up to arrange appointments. The tests will be conducted over the 14-day self-isolation period.
Public Health has advised that students in self-isolation have opportunities for restricted outdoor exercise on campus (or in their off-campus yard) and travel limited to and from COVID-19 testing. Practices and protocols have been established to prevent contact with those in isolation.
Self-Isolating in Residence (dormitory)
During on-campus self-isolation the following measures will be in place for on-campus students:
Self-Isolation Off-campus (apartments, private accommodation)
Students required to self-isolate while living off-campus must:
Information regarding the Province's isolation requirements and expectations are communicated to students in its Post-Secondary Fact Sheet.
Acadia and the Students' Union have engaged student volunteers to provide practical support (errands, groceries, etc.) during the isolation period. The Students' Union is providing virtual opportunities to socialize and receive information remotely (i.e. get to know your Student Services staff, virtual yoga, games, etc.).
The Province's 811 referral process, in partnership with Public Health and the Nova Scotia Health Authority, will manage COVID-19 testing for students displaying symptoms. Acadia has developed a plan to quarantine and support on-campus students who have or may have been exposed to COVID-19. These students will use a separate washroom and will be provided with food delivery, supplies, and support during their quarantine period. The quarantine process will be directed by Nova Scotia Public Health officials in collaboration with Acadia staff.
The global coronavirus pandemic has forced everyone to adopt new practices and to become more deliberate in their actions. In the academic year starting in September 2020, Acadia students are committing to personal safety practices that promote the health and well-being of both the campus community and citizens of Wolfville by signing the Student COVID-19 Safety Pledge. The following is a sample of the pledge, which is subject to change as public health directives are refined:
As a member of the Acadia community, including the Town of Wolfville and surrounding communities, it is my responsibility to help protect those around me by "flattening the curve" and preventing the spread of COVID-19. I recognize that by voluntarily joining the campus and broader community, and attending in-person classes, I am doing so in full awareness that I am accepting the risk that I might contract COVID-19 from a student, an employee of the University, or a member of the public. I also acknowledge that I may endanger the health of others if I am carrying the virus, and all reasonable precautions must be taken by me.
Although Acadia University will undertake reasonable steps, as required by the Nova Scotia Public Health authorities, to minimize all related risks, the risk of contracting COVID-19 cannot be eliminated.
I understand and accept my responsibility to do all that is required of me and to comply with all policies, procedures and directives that the University may develop from time to time. During this critical time, to protect me, preserve medical resources, and help protect others (especially those who are most vulnerable), I pledge to:
I acknowledge that if I fail to follow this pledge, I put myself and others in the University Community at risk and that I could be subject to discipline under the Student Code of Conduct.
I hereby acknowledge that I have read, understand, and agree to be bound by the Student COVID-19 Safety Pledge. I will take all reasonable steps to comply with this pledge and any related policies, directives and public health orders.
Students are apprised of the Student Code of Conduct. They will be informed of how off- or on-campus violations of this Code will result in non-academic judicial action. Students understand that failure to meet the standards of the pledge may initiate a series of consequences, including expulsion.
Acadia representatives, along with the President of the Acadia Students' Union, meet with the Town of Wolfville officials regularly. The group has a weekly standing meeting to enable rapid discussion on matters of mutual interest or concern.
All parties are committed to working collaboratively to support a safe community, where residents and students alike can enjoy the amenities and activities that remain accessible under pandemic rules.
The Town has heightened its physical presence (patrols) in neighbourhoods where parties are known to occur. Acadia and the ASU are working to educate students about expectations of good neighbourly conduct and the consequences of failing to meet them.
Acadia has enacted stringent pandemic-related safety practices and protocols to comply with all public health directives, including directive and information signage, and the wearing of masks. Acadia's mask policy requires anyone entering publicly accessible buildings on campus to wear a non-medical mask or face covering. Masks are not required in a single-person office or a private residence room, or when another PPE is in effect, such as a plexiglass barrier. However, face coverings must be worn when it is not possible or predictable to maintain two-metres (six-feet) of physical distance. Examples include hallways, elevators, classrooms, and restrooms. Masks are also recommended in outdoor spaces on campus and required where physical distance cannot be maintained. Exceptions will be considered for those individuals for whom wearing a face-covering poses health concerns, or physical challenges.