In this new era of COVID-19 and its variants, Acadia’s plan is that our campus community remains a safe place to work and study. Our campus community needs to continue working together to ensure everyone’s safety on campus and within the community by following the public health guidance. Our multi-layered approach includes wearing a mask, physical distancing, handwashing, limiting gathering limits, and getting vaccinated.
We are striving to exceed the provincial levels of vaccination participation in hopes of being able to further reduce restrictions on campus. We anticipate achieving a high percentage of complete COVID-19 vaccination status will offer us a sense of normalcy as we move forward in combating this virus.
Acadia expects and strongly encourages all students, faculty, and staff to be vaccinated. Getting fully vaccinated and getting routine testing are the best strategies to provide maximum protection from the COVID-19 virus, including its many variants of concern.
In August, we formally surveyed residence students and informally surveyed large numbers of employees and student respondents. At the time, over 98% of employee respondents were fully vaccinated, as were over 95% of students. Since this time, we have offered four campus vaccine clinics in addition to regular rapid testing.
Acadia University campus and buildings are closed to the general public except for approved, invitation-only events. Exceptions to the campus closure to the public also include access to the:
Beginning October 4, the public is welcome to attend pre-approved events, including varsity sports games. The department hosting the event must comply with protocols and receive approval from the Occupational Health and Safety Coordinator.
Visitors to campus must provide proof of full vaccination, and must follow the campus’ mask policy, physical distancing guidelines, etc. Event organizers must sign an agreement to comply with and enforce these protocols.
For a digital copy of vaccination received in Nova Scotia, visit the province’s vaccination website.
If you are a permanent resident who received your vaccination outside the province, you can request proof of vaccination in Nova Scotia’s format so it is easier for local businesses and organizations to review.
Legally, without informed consent we are unable to request personal medical information if the campus situation is stable. If there is any change, we would have more grounds to pursue this information. Vaccinations are the most important preventative strategy, but not the only strategy to keep everyone safe from COVID-19 while we remain in a pandemic situation. Layers of protection, or the combination of vaccination, routine testing, wearing masks, hand hygiene, physical distancing, disinfecting commonly used items, etc. will help to decrease the chances of acquiring COVID-19 in the community and on campus.
Each institution develops its own policies that are appropriate for their particular situation and environment. Acadia developed its policy based upon the recommendations of Nova Scotia Public Health, which remains supportive of non-mandatory approaches to reaching maximum levels of vaccination. Vaccine mandates do not result in fully vaccinated campuses due to the range of exceptions that need to be provided, and they can create a false sense of security among those who are vaccinated. There are numerous aspects to consider when developing a vaccine strategy for a university, including the current vaccination and COVID-19 rates, students who have received vaccinations from their home country (whether or not to vaccinate again, side effects for two separate sets of vaccinations and anxieties for the students in this regard), the types of exemptions and accommodations required, and the ability to actually enforce compliance and administer disciplinary action to those who refuse.
Ultimately we are an educational facility – educating and encouraging the community on the benefits and trusting that people will do the right thing to protect themselves and others is a well-established approach to public health. Freedom of choice and privacy of health information are fundamental rights in Canada and cannot not be overridden lightly. As long as we are achieving the desired outcomes to keep the campus community safe, the use of more forceful and directive measures does not lead to better results and can actually entrench and increase resistance from those who are wavering about getting vaccinated. That being said, Acadia remains vigilant and fully prepared to take more prescriptive approaches where we determine that they are required to reach the desired outcomes of maximum levels of vaccination in our community.
If you have previously received one dose of the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine or up to two doses of certain vaccines that are not approved by Health Canada, you are eligible for a dose of an approved mRNA vaccine. Please see the Province of Nova Scotia's Vaccine Eligibility Policy (PDF) for more information.
Follow the precautions outlined for partially vaccinated individuals above.
When Nova Scotia moves into Phase 5 of its recovery plan, the University will review public health practices for those who are unable to be unvaccinated.