Update on Winter 2022 Term plans
Changes noted below represent steps the University needed to communicate now, to allow everyone to plan ahead. These changes have been informed by consultation with the Mount Allison Faculty Association (MAFA), Mount Allison Students’ Union (MASU), and academic and administrative staff.
Winter Term Plan Adjustments
Classes resume January 10, online-only instruction between January 10-24
A two-week online-only instruction period to start the term is intended to allow for a full academic term and a resumption of classes, while beginning with less in person and on campus activity as a precautionary measure.
Returning to residence
It is anticipated that many residence students may have committed to returning the first week of January or may not be able to easily change established plans. Residences will be open for those whose plans are to return the week of January 3. However, students who have the flexibility to delay returning to residences are asked to do so.
The University is exploring testing options for those returning to the residence community. Further information will be provided to residence students directly from the Housing Office, when available.
Classrooms, labs, and instructional spaces
Reduced capacity seating will continue in all classrooms and instructional spaces, as done this fall. There may be some adjustments to the winter timetable, mostly related to classroom location. The University is currently reviewing the timetable and will plan to publish an updated version by December 23.
Mask protocols increased
The nature of the latest COVID-19 variant (Omicron) suggests it is more transmissible than previous virus strains. University staff are in regular communication with Public Health and will communicate any further mask-related guidance as it relates to the Omicron variant. In the meantime, for information on mask usage, please review the following resources on Health Canada’s website: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/prevention-risks/about-non-medical-masks-face-coverings.html#a2
Community members are encouraged to research and consider the use of N95 or medical masks, as many sources judge them to provide superior protection than either cloth or single-use masks.
For winter term, the use of masks, both indoors and outdoors, will be required on campus. In indoor spaces, masks should also be worn in non-classroom settings and when studying. Masks can be removed in certain limited cases — to eat or drink (but otherwise masks should remain in place), when performing music or theatre, and when participating in athletics and fitness activities.
The vast majority of MtA community members have reported that they are fully-vaccinated. Incoming students new to MtA (such as those beginning their degree in January, or transfer students) will be required to follow the mandate and provide proof of full vaccination (two doses) or report to regular testing — as done this fall.
The Government of New Brunswick has begun to make third dose vaccinations (sometimes referred to as a booster) available to residents. Currently third doses are available only to those aged 50 and over, however in the new year they will extend this to all age groups. Those who have the opportunity to obtain a third vaccination dose should do so as soon as eligible.
Travel guidance and restrictions will continue to evolve over the holiday break and into the new year. Currently, the federal government is advising against any non-essential international travel: https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/health-safety/travel-health-notices/226
Continue to monitor all guidance from the federal government, your home location, as well as New Brunswick. You must continue to register when re-entering the province. All New Brunswick travel information is available at: https://www2.gnb.ca/content/gnb/en/corporate/promo/covid-19/travel.html.
Regular Rapid Testing
Regular rapid testing will be vital during this next phase of the pandemic, so keeping a supply of tests on hand will be important. The University will aim to provide rapid test kit pickup on campus as supply is available. Kit pick-up locations are also currently regularly available in Sackville and across the province: https://www2.gnb.ca/content/gnb/en/corporate/promo/covid-19/about-covid-19/testing-tracing.html#7
The above changes cover some of the most critical aspects of winter term, however it is understood there are other aspects of the winter term that require re-assessment. The University is continuing to develop a comprehensive winter term plan and will provide additional updates in as timely a manner as possible.
Up-to-date information can be found at http://www.mta.ca/campus-updates and questions can be directed to email@example.com.