Campus updates | Mount Allison

Campus updates

COVID-19 information

Health and safety measures continue on campus through fall

Updated July 19, 2022

For the safety and security of our community, the University will maintain COVID-19 health and safety measures on campus for the balance of this summer and through the Fall Term.

Our goal is to support as much on-campus instruction, research, student services, and recreational activities as possible, while taking sensible precautions designed to help reduce the health impacts and transmission of COVID-19.

For faculty and staff experiencing work-related challenges due to COVID

Those experiencing work-related challenges due to COVID may be eligible for support programs.

If you are caring for a family member who is sick or in self-isolation, you must advise your supervisor of your intent to be absent for this purpose, and you may request a 'Special Caregiver Leave with Pay' from your supervisor in order to stay home with pay for an initial maximum of 20 workdays.

CUPE 2338 members should contact their supervisor to report their absence using the normal procedures and to request a 'Special Caregiver Leave with pay'.

Find out more about the available options on the Faculty & Staff Gateway.


Health and safety measures

Masks continue to be mandatory indoors

Masks continue to be mandatory indoors, including hallways and stairwells, and in instructional spaces, in most cases.

Exceptions:

  • Instructors may choose to not wear a mask while teaching and students/presenters may choose to remove their mask while presenting
  • Those working alone in an office or cubicle are not required to wear a mask
  • While seated in other buildings such as Jennings Dining Hall, Gracie's, The Pond, and the R.P. Bell Library and Archives
  • Those participating in athletics, fitness, music, and theatre performances

Masks are not required outdoors.

Summer camps and conferences: further details on masking protocols for summer camps and conferences will be communicated directly to participants.

University mask recommendations

Currently, the University is recommending:

  • three-layer medical or N95/ KN95 masks for better protection against the Omicron variant
  • community members should not use cloth masks, which provide far less protection for the wearer and community members in general.
  • you may double up your masks to include a medical mask (2 or 3 ply) covered with a cloth mask.

Individuals must ensure their mask is close-fitting, covering nose and mouth area completely, in order for the mask to be as effective as possible to slow the spread of infection.

    KN95 masks provided by the University

    Distribution of KN95 masks provided by the University is now first-come, first-served (one package of five each) at the Bookstore until supplies last.


    If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms: test and isolate

    Individuals who need to isolate and test for COVID-19:

    • People with one of the following symptoms should isolate and get tested for COVID-19: fever; loss of sense of taste; loss of sense of smell.
    • People with two or more of the following symptoms should isolate and get tested for COVID-19: a new cough or worsening chronic cough; difficulty breathing; runny nose; sore throat; headache; diarrhea; or new onset of fatigue.

    A supply of rapid test kits are available for students, faculty, and staff who are exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms. E-mail wellness@mta.ca to request a rapid test pickup. The kit is to be picked up and delivered by an individual who is not symptomatic or COVID positive. Test kits are also available through the GNB website, to be picked up at the Tantramar Civic Centre.

    If you have symptoms of COVID-19, stay home even if you have a negative test result. A positive rapid test result may take a few days to register after symptoms appear. If your symptoms persist, worsen, or you develop new symptoms, test again. Even if it is not COVID-19, you do no want to risk spreading germs to others.


    If you test positive for COVID-19 or are a household close contact of a positive case

    Follow self-isolation protocols

    Your isolation period starts the day you receive a positive test result.

    Individuals who have tested positive and household contacts of those who have tested positive have to:

    • isolate for 5 full days following your positive test result (positive test = Day 0)
    • continue to be diligent for a further 5 days — mask continuously outside your home (even at your workstation) and avoid vulnerable settings and gatherings
    • it is recommended you remain in self isolation beyond the 5 days if you are still experiencing significant symptoms

    You do not need any further testing during your isolation and do not require a negative test to leave isolation.

    You may stop self-isolating and return to class/work when:

    • you have completed your isolation period,    
    • and you have been fever-free for at least 24 hours,    
    • and your symptoms are improving.

    When you stop self-isolation, you must:

    • be diligent
    • avoid gatherings and vulnerable settings
    • mask continuously until Day 10

    If a household contact tests positive for COVID-19 they will be required to isolate for an additional 5 days after their COVID-19 test date. The isolation period of other household contacts is not extended unless they also test positive for COVID-19.

    Report your positive COVID-19 test results to the University and GNB

    Individuals are responsible for self-reporting if they test positive for COVID-19, including if they test positive while out of province.

    Notify your close contacts

    Individuals who test positive are responsible for notifying their own close contacts — those in your household (asked to also self-isolate) and those outside your household (asked to self-monitor) who you have spent more than 15 minutes with unmasked within 48 hours of your symptoms appearing or a positive test result, whichever comes first.

      If you've had COVID-19 recently and now have new or worsening symptoms or are a close contact of a positive case

      If you have had COVID-19 recently and now have new or worsening symptoms, you should get tested again:

      • If more than 90 days have passed since your positive COVID-19 result, you should isolate and take a test.
         
      • If 30 to 90 days have passed since your positive COVID-19 result, you should take an at-home rapid test and isolate until you get your results.
        • If symptoms worsen or new symptoms appear, you should repeat your test. If your test is negative, you can stop isolating.
        • If you test positive for COVID-19 using a rapid test then consider it a new infection and isolate.
      • Less than 30 days since your positive COVID-19 result, no additional COVID-19 isolation is required.

      If you are a household close contact of a positive case:

      • If you have recovered from COVID-19 in the past 90 days and have  completed your self-isolation period, you are not required to self-isolate as a close contact if you are not experiencing symptoms.
      • You should self-monitor for symptoms for 10 days. If you become symptomatic, you must isolate and book a test.
      Resources — for students who need to self-isolate

      Students living off-campus who are required to self-isolate because of COVID-19 symptoms or a positive test should self-isolate in their apartment or house.

      • Students in living situations with shared bathrooms and kitchens who are required to self-isolate for any reason should ensure they wear a mask when transiting to and from communal areas. They should also follow good hygiene practices, including washing hands after using the washroom, and sanitizing surfaces before and after use with cleaning products. 
         
      • Students living in the same household as an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19 should consider themselves a close contact. These students must also self-isolate. Housemates of students feeling unwell are strongly encouraged to isolate as well.

      Students in need of supplies or items are encouraged to contact local pharmacies with delivery options, and to reach out to non-isolating friends who may be able to safely deliver supplies.

      Off-campus students can place orders for meal and grocery deliveries through local restaurants and grocery stores. The Sackville Food Bank (536-4164) is available confidentially to anyone experiencing food insecurity.

      Resources — for students with COVID-19 feeling unwell

      In the event of a health emergency, such as difficulty breathing or other severe symptoms, contact 911.

      Health support

      • Students feeling unwell can notify wellness@mta.ca. Your message will be responded to by a support person about strategies or supplies to alleviate symptoms.

      Other health and wellness supports


      If you're a close contact outside of a household: self-monitor

      Close contacts outside of a household, which are individuals who have spent more than 15 minutes unmasked with a positive case within 48 hours of symptoms appearing or a positive test result, whichever came first. 

      Close contacts outside of a household will be asked to:

      • mask continuously outside the home
      • self-monitor for symptoms
      • avoid vulnerable settings and people
      • limit their contacts as much as possible for at least 10 days
      How to self-monitor
      • Monitor for one or more symptoms and get tested if symptoms develop. 
      • Wear a mask, wash your hands often and physical distance in public settings.
      • Avoid visiting places where vulnerable people may live (i.e. nursing homes, correctional facilities and shelters).


      On-campus events: submit risk assessments

      All campus event organizers are required to fill out a risk assessment form (RAF) for each event and can also request health ambassadors to help with COVID-19- related logistics.

      Forms will be provided to the organizers once a space is booked through the MASU Office (students) or MtA BookIt 25 LivePro booking platform (faculty/staff).

      Please allow sufficient time for your RAF to be evaluated prior to your event.


      Vaccination

      The University continues to encourage all community members, who are able to, to take advantage of COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters for their own continued protection and the protection of the community.

      The University is asking new students, faculty, and staff to voluntarily identify their vaccination status in Connect.
       
      Vaccinations are still being offered at local pharmacies.

      Questions?

      Questions about on-campus COVID-19 guidelines, requirements, and information can be directed to covid19@mta.ca.

      Messages will be regularly monitored and answered in as timely a manner as possible.

      Health-related questions should be directed to Tele-Care by calling 811.


      Other COVID-19 protocols

        Physical distancing in classrooms

        Classrooms will return to normal class capacities for the 2022–23 academic year with 1m distancing removed.

        Cleaning and sanitizing

        In addition to routine custodial cleaning, the University has implemented an enhanced cleaning frequency to clean and disinfect common areas and commonly touched surfaces in buildings.

        Touchpoints such as entrance handles, handrails, elevator buttons, tables, restroom stall handles/doors are being cleaned at least twice daily using disinfectants approved by Health Canada.

        Hand sanitizing stations have been installed at building entrances. Although hand sanitizer can help prevent the spread of the virus, maintaining frequent and proper handwashing is considered to be more effective.

        Departments may request cleaning supplies (campusservices@mta.ca) in order to supplement the cleaning of commonly touched surfaces such as lab benches, lab equipment, desks, phones, remote controls, printers, fax machines, or computer keyboards and mice. Always use cleaning products as recommended on manufacturer labels.

        If a COVID-19 case was confirmed within a building, the University would arrange for prompt cleaning and disinfection by special cleaning crews as needed. Assigned personnel are trained to follow the cleaning and disinfection standards established by Public Health.

         Ventilation and air quality

        Mount Allison has assessed the ventilation in its campus spaces with respect to heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

        Spaces used for in-person activity have been modified to upgrade air quality standards. Facilities Management consulted external experts and referenced standards based on guidelines published by the leading HVAC authority, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).

        Numerous improvements have been made to ventilation and air quality in buildings around campus.

        These include:

        • Upgraded air filtration systems
        • Ventilation systems programmed to increase the level of fresh air intake/purge
        • Enhanced maintenance and inspection of ventilation systems
        • Local air filtration devices equipped with high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters installed where required

        The University will continue to monitor all ventilation systems and make adjustments as required.

        Spaces with mechanical ventilation systems

        Last summer the University upgraded filtration systems by replacing MERV-8 filters with the higher-rated MERV-13 filters. A higher MERV rating, or Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, indicates a filter’s ability to capture a higher percentage of smaller particles from the air.

        Ventilation systems have been programmed to increase the level of fresh air intake and to have a two-hour fresh air purge every morning and evening. We will also undertake regular maintenance and inspections to ensure the air distributed into indoor spaces is clean, fresh and flowing properly.

        Non-mechanically ventilated spaces

        Most other spaces on campus are expected to be able to achieve the ventilation standard with minor adjustments to existing ventilation systems.

        In some cases, in particular those shared spaces without local air filtration devices, high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters have been installed. The University has chosen air purifiers that are highly rated to ensure that they do not interfere with other classroom equipment and teaching.

        Offices

        In the case of offices used by one person or a small group of people there is a greater element of control. These have been assessed as not requiring separate local air filtration devices.

        Travel outside Canada
        • The University highly encourages all faculty and staff to register their international travel with the University, as well as ROCA (Registration of Canadians Abroad) or the equivalent system of their home country/country of citizenship. This will ensure you receive government travel advisories and will allow the University to assess the risk and notify you of changes to the travel risk of certain countries. 
        • Review Government of Canada guidance regarding international travel and travel advisories for your destination.
        • Consider medical and any other health benefit coverage.
        • Reimbursement of international travel will be approved for travel beginning Jan. 1, 2022.