From the President's Desk | March 11, 2021 | View as Webpage
A time we will remember
By late March 2020, our campus was virtually empty as we did our part to respond to COVID-19.
Dear campus community members,

Anniversaries can be celebrated, recognized, marked, or mourned. A year ago today – March 11, 2020 – the World Health Organization declared the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) a global pandemic. It is an anniversary etched in my memory because it sparked a cascading series of events for our campus community.

Two days after the WHO proclamation, Acadia announced its first campus-wide operational change. On March 14, out of an abundance of caution (a phrase used all too often now), we announced a four-day cancellation of in-person classes to transition to online delivery, and we suspended in-person exams.

A day later, we closed the Athletics Complex and Manning Memorial Chapel and cancelled all non-essential events on campus. By March 17, the entire campus closed to the general public, and we began working under new work-from-home guidelines. On March 18, we announced the evacuation of all remaining domestic students from residences.
An early post on Facebook reached over 79,000 people.
Together, we rise 
Maclean's magazine featured Acadia University the new normal in September 2020.
The Province of Nova Scotia declared a state of emergency on March 20. And on April 3, Premier Stephen McNeil famously told us to "stay the blazes home," igniting a call to all Nova Scotians to work together by staying apart.

Much of those events are a blur now. However, one memory remains strong - seeing the Acadia community rise to meet so many challenges head-on. We worked together to see our university and community through this unprecedented, long-term crisis in an exceptional manner. 

Who would have thought that we would still be dealing with this twelve months later and that only now can we see the light at the end of the proverbial pandemic tunnel?  
By working with Dr. Robert Strang, government, and public health officials, we were able to open our doors in September by implementing strict protocols. This academic year, nearly 500 students followed travel quarantine rules, and 56 individuals self-isolated due to symptoms or exposure. Three members of the university community tested positive for COVID-19. All are recovered. 

Our faculty, staff, and students have been wonderful in responding to this crisis, as has the local community. Despite the stress and sadness, we have found our way through it. 

As we see continue forward, we must remain vigilant and maintain compliance with the provincial state of emergency and public health directives. We don't want to falter as we approach what we hope to be light at the end of the tunnel. 

This one-year mark is also a time to honour the human loss caused by the pandemic both at home and worldwide. We remember those whose health has been severely impacted by the virus, and we grieve with those who have lost loved ones and friends. We also have compassion for many people, including those in our community who have suffered inequities, financial hardship, and mental health concerns during this difficult time. 

The impacts of COVID-19 are stark reminders of why we must work together to ensure that Acadia is part of the post-pandemic recovery. We have to do our part to help our region and our province rebound from this pandemic and thrive into the future. 
Seek help, and support others
Student mental health and employee counselling supports are available.
The Winter Term's final few weeks are always among the most stressful and tiring during our academic year. In 2021, we face the added stress of the cumulative impacts of this long pandemic ordeal. 

We must be extra vigilant to help ourselves and our colleagues and students exhibiting signs of stress, exhaustion, and despair. Our compassion must shine through, recognizing that some amongst us are struggling. 

If you find it difficult to cope, please reach out to a colleague, friend, or university service to seek help and support. There is no shame in getting assistance, especially when we are being tested beyond our usual endurance limits. 
Hope on the horizon
On March 9, 2021, Acadia announced a full return to campus for fall 2021.
Together with national progress, a decline in COVID-19 cases and the anticipation that all first vaccines will be administered to Nova Scotians by the end of June bode well for Acadia. 

I was delighted to announce our fall 2021 plan for a full return to campus. Based on our Academic Planning Task Force recommendations, we are excited to welcome all students to campus. It's time to return to the more traditional Acadia learning experience our students have come to love and expect. We will continue to operate under public health protocols to ensure health and safety. 
With spring taking its first tentative steps toward longer, warmer days, it seems only natural to feel optimistic – even as we remain realistic about the future. 
Thank you again for everything you have done, and continue doing, to help the Acadia community get through one of the most difficult periods in its long history. Together we have successfully made it thus far. Together, we will see our way out of the pandemic and into a bright new future. 


Dr. Peter Ricketts
President and Vice-Chancellor