Acadia has identified five phases for our re-opening, which are detailed in our
Return to Campus Safely Plan
. However, the phases are less about specific timelines and more about success within each phase.
PHASE 1: Restricted Access for Essential Work commenced on
July 6, 2020, to allow
people to return to campus who need access for essential work. Authorization is required and can be achieved by an employee working in cooperation with their immediate supervisor and the Occupational Health and Safety Officer. No more than 25-30% of employees can be on campus during Phase 1.
Under Phase 1, members of the general public are now permitted to walk across the campus grounds while wearing non-medical face masks, but not to linger or hold any activities on the university grounds, such as picnics or games. The Woodland Trails remain open as they have been since the province lifted restrictions on parks and trails, and the Town Park is also open; however, the Harriet Irving Botanical Gardens, the tennis courts, the e-charging station and all other public facilities remain closed until further notice. Information on the phased re-opening of the Athletics Complex and other facilities that are used by the public will be issued separately.
Restrictions on public access to campus may be reinstated for the general public as students return to campus.
Face Coverings and Masks
Wearing face masks is expected when social distancing is not possible (whether inside buildings or outside) unless an individual is unable due to medical reasons. Students will be expected to wear masks throughout residence halls except in their bedrooms. Two non-medical masks (NMM) per person will be issued to faculty and staff members. Students will also be provided with masks when they return to campus and they are encouraged to bring masks with them.
Social Distancing and Gathering Limits
Whenever possible, all people on campus will be expected to observe two-metre (six-foot) social distancing guidelines, whether inside or outside. COVID-19 signage will reinforce the necessity of maintaining the two-metre (six-foot) social distancing guideline, hygiene, and provide directions for movement on campus. The size of gatherings will be restricted in accordance with the Public Health guidelines that are approved for the campus.
Each day, all students, faculty, and staff will be expected to complete a COVID-19 self-diagnosis
questionnaire before coming to campus or leaving residence halls. The tests are a way to inform individuals about whether they should remain at home or in their residence room rather than coming to campus.
We plan to implement a comprehensive COVID-19 safety program, informed by provincial health authorities and a University occupational health and safety nurse dedicated to assisting our community. This work is currently under discussion. Our intention is that will include: (1) initial quarantine of all students from outside the government-approved bubble (currently Atlantic Canada) upon their return to campus to begin the fall semester, (2) daily symptom self-checks by students, faculty, and staff, and (3) diagnostic testing of those exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19. Diagnostic testing is also an option as students arrive on campus in the fall, and as needed.
In case of potential exposure to COVID-19 on campus, Public Health will work with Acadia’s occupational health and safety nurse coordinator to reach out to individuals who were potentially exposed. Those who have been exposed will receive regular follow-up to check their health status and ensure that they have access to testing and any needed medical care.
Managing Suspected and Positive Cases
Even though we will be adopting multiple layers of protection to reduce risk, we are also planning for the possibility that some cases of COVID-19 could emerge. We are working with the health authorities to provide appropriate testing capabilities so that students can be tested as required quickly, especially those with any symptoms associated with COVID-19.
In the eventuality of a student or employee testing positive, contact tracing will be conducted. Residence students exposed to or diagnosed with COVID-19 will be quarantined and supported by Acadia employees until a negative test result is achieved. Students living off-campus will also be required to isolate following the Public Health order. Faculty and staff exposed to or diagnosed with COVID-19 will work or convalesce at home until a negative test result is achieved.
Wall-mounted or free-standing hand sanitation dispensers are available in all campus buildings. Paper towels and soap dispensers are available in all common-area and residential bathrooms. Inside residence halls, washroom assignments will be to a limited number of students (“family bubble”) and additional cleaning processes will be implemented.
Based on the recommendations of the disease control authorities and in consultation with Acadia’s Pandemic Response Committee, we are following guidelines to review and confirm compliance of our HVAC systems across all buildings. Our residence buildings will have increased fresh air and no-recirculated air to improve air quality. Our academic buildings will see an increase in the fresh air intake.
We will be increasing the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting throughout our campuses. All common-area restrooms—including in residence halls—will be cleaned and disinfected twice daily. All other common spaces will be cleaned and disinfected twice daily with roving crews disinfecting high-touch points throughout the day.
The University will supply cleaning kit materials to help students, faculty, and staff fulfill their responsibilities of keeping themselves and others protected throughout the spaces that they occupy. The idea is to facilitate the cleaning of personal spaces, desks, lecterns, classroom workspaces, shared copiers, etc.
Upon arrival, our students will have training about recognizing symptoms of COVID-19. They will be asked to review and agree to follow health guidelines to do their part to protect their health and the health of our community members.
Our residential spaces will have enhanced hygiene and single-room occupancy, as well as “family bubbles.” Co-curricular activities will change, and our dining facilities will offer modified meal delivery, and reduced density to ensure safety.
Our dining hall will have a reduced density and will eliminate self-serve and buffet-style options. Utensils will be individually wrapped, as will grab-and-go items. We anticipate food service locations will be open, with most locations providing a quick pick-up service. We will adhere to all Nova Scotia and local health guidelines and enhance our food safety and sanitation processes.
Academic Calendar and Key Dates
The academic calendar for Acadia has changed with classes beginning on September 21 and exams ending on December 20. The last day in residence is December 21. We will be prepared to implement changes should the need arise as determined by University and government and health officials. The move-in period will be extended to allow for testing and to reduce the number of students moving in each day. More information about the move-in process will be posted on the
In all classrooms, two-metre (six-foot) social distancing guidelines will be followed, and masks are required in public areas such as building entrances and hallways, and on outdoor campus paths and spaces where social distancing cannot be guaranteed. Due to these guidelines, the occupancy of our classrooms and lecture halls will be reduced. Large classes will be conducted remotely, while some will be split into smaller sections or taught in alternative locations. Because some students will not be able, or will choose not to return to campus, whenever possible classes will be conducted in a hybrid or virtual learning format to allow students to participate remotely. Shared lab and practice spaces will be open to students by appointment, to allow for reduced capacities while providing the freedom required to do your work.
Civic and Community Engagement
Students from across the University participate in volunteer community activities and service-learning, working closely with local organizations. Protocols will be developed that allow these activities to continue and conform to University guidelines to ensure safety.
Athletics, Fitness, and Recreation
We are working closely with our Atlantic University Sport partners, Public Health officials and U SPORTS to determine how and when it will be safe for varsity sport student-athletes, coaches, and staff to return to practice and competition. In-person competitive varsity, club sports, and intramurals have been suspended for the Fall Term.
The Athletics Complex is expected to open subject to new safety protocols in September, and most outdoor athletic facilities will be available for use. Also, our Athletics staff is working on expanding training and non-contact, low-risk recreation activities in the fall. Some summer programming is currently being planned, including operation of the privately-run Acadia Sports Therapy Clinic and Acadia Performance Training (outdoors), as well as possible summer camps. Dates and processes will be shared with facility pass holders via email and updated online.
Our Library is expected to open for study at reduced capacity following social distancing guidelines. Plans are in place for remote service and contactless borrowing and return of library materials.
The Acadia University Art Gallery is planning limited-access academic programming and new exhibitions for the fall as well as robust virtual programming and artists talks.
Third-Party Events Postponed
At this time and through Fall 2020, the University will not be permitting third party events on campus.