President's Message | August 19, 2022 | View as Webpage

Dear colleagues and students,

I hope you are enjoying these last few weeks of summer and are excited about our fast-approaching fall term. I am writing to update you about changes to our campus health and safety protocols related to COVID-19 and its variants. 

After consulting with campus stakeholders, Acadia’s COVID-19 Task Force, and provincial Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Strang, Acadia University will re-introduce an indoor masking requirement until the Thanksgiving weekend. We will re-assess the situation at that time to determine if the masking requirements should continue. This measure is being introduced to help us enjoy the start of the school year safely and to ensure that we do our best as a community to minimize the spread of COVID-19 as students arrive on campus. Acadia’s enhanced cleaning protocols and air quality measures will continue. 

The new masking protocol will come into effect on Thursday, September 1, 2022.

Protect yourself and others

The wearing of masks will be required in the following indoor areas:

  • all classrooms, labs, and other learning spaces, including academic sections of the Athletics Complex
  • the Vaughan Memorial Library (except for study spaces once seated)
  • common areas (except residences, study spaces, and the Students’ Union Building – see below) such as hallways and elevators
  • service area waiting rooms like the Health, Counselling, Accessible Learning, and Residence Life offices

We also recommend that students, faculty, and staff check ahead when attending other areas on campus for specific mask requirements.

Instructors and student presenters can choose to remove masks while presenting in class, provided they can maintain a safe physical distance of two metres.

In specific learning environments, such as some music settings, where it is necessary to remove masks to learn, masks may be removed with the permission of the instructor.

In a class or lab setting, masks can be lowered briefly when taking a drink or eating when the instructor permits.

In all other indoor areas on campus, wearing a mask will remain voluntary but strongly recommended in keeping with the recommendations of Nova Scotia Public Health. This includes study spaces, where wearing masks is strongly recommended when participants cannot physically distance themselves. 

What about the Athletics Complex?

Masks will not be required in the Athletics Complex, but in keeping with Public Health guidance, you are strongly advised to wear a mask when visiting or using the Athletics Complex and attending sports events.

What about the residence buildings, dining hall, and the Students’ Union Building?

Masks wearing will not be required for residences, Wheelock Dining Hall, or the Students’ Union Building. However, in keeping with Public Health guidance, it is strongly recommended you wear a mask in common areas such as hallways, lobbies, and lounges, and when getting food at the dining hall, especially when physical distancing is not possible.

What about employee workspaces?

Generally, mask wearing is not required in individual or shared employee workspaces other than those covered by the restrictions above. Some requirements may be put in place where there is a high volume of people and physical distancing is impossible.  

What kind of mask should I wear?

Nova Scotia Public Health recommends wearing either a respirator (such as a KN95 or N95), a medical/surgical mask, or a non-medical three-ply mask (two fabric layers with a central replaceable filter layer). The respirator type of mask provides more protection to the wearer.

In all cases, masks should be well-fitting around your face, cover your mouth and nose, and be comfortable so that you are not constantly adjusting them.

Vaccination is your best shot

Vaccination is your best protection from experiencing severe symptoms from COVID-19 and its variants. Acadia is fortunate that last year our students and employees took advantage of vaccination opportunities, and over 99% of our campus community was fully vaccinated. 

Although proof of vaccination is not required to attend campus this fall, in keeping with Public Health guidance, you are strongly encouraged to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Today, being fully vaccinated includes all boosters you are eligible to receive – typically, this is two primary doses and a third booster dose. Later this fall, Nova Scotia Public Health will provide further information on the availability of a fourth booster shot.

Stay home when you are sick

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should not come to campus or leave your residence room, even if you have tested negative on a rapid test (often, positive results do not occur until a few days after symptoms occur).

If you test positive for COVID-19, please complete the Nova Scotia COVID-19 Report and Support Screening form. You should also contact your instructor or supervisor to plan for your absence.

Be sure you know the symptoms of COVID-19, testing, and how to isolate

Respect members of our community

Please be a courteous member of the community by following the masking requirements, and do not force others to ask you to comply. When meeting with someone in their office or a shared space, ask them if they would prefer you to wear a mask and respect their wishes. Wear a mask where physical distancing is impossible. Please do not criticize or comment negatively about someone who chooses to wear a mask in areas where it is voluntary, indoors or outdoors.

Mask wearing is welcome, and we encourage you to wear a mask on campus.

Thank you for doing your part

The global pandemic has endured for far longer than most anticipated, and we had hoped to start the term without a mask mandate. Still, with the high transmissibility of post-Omicron variants, the potential of a new wave of COVID-19 is high as students enter the province and return to campuses in large numbers. We must do our best to ensure that any wave is as limited as possible, and masking is a simple way to minimize the potential spread.


We are fortunate to be able to welcome students and employees to campus this year for an in-person experience. The new protocols are intended to help keep all members of our community safe while we are learning and working. As always, we will update you if the situation changes and we need to adjust our measures.


Information and updates are available on our COVID-19 information website.

Thank you for doing your part to protect yourself and others from COVID-19 and its variants.


I look forward to seeing you on our beautiful campus soon, and I wish you a safe and healthy academic year.



Dr. Peter Ricketts

President and Vice-Chancellor

You are receiving this email because of your affiliation with Acadia University.

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