Today, the University of Calgary announced some new health measures ahead of the fall semester starting next month. Overall, the SU feels that these are positive steps, but we await details on how some measures will be implemented.
The major new measures are as follows:
- Students, and all members of the campus community, who are not vaccinated or prefer not to disclose their vaccination status will need to regularly complete rapid tests for COVID-19. Those who are vaccinated will be exempt.
- Masks will be mandatory in all public spaces on campus. Masks are not deemed necessary in the following situations:
- Working alone in private offices
- Working outdoors AND there is a minimum of 2 metres between people
- Meeting indoors and there is a minimum of 2 metres between people
- Working alone in a shared space
- Working in a cubicle with plexiglass, wall, or other approved barrier between people AND when not providing services to anyone
- In a classroom where there is a minimum of 2 metres between instructor or among students
- Those who develop symptoms or receive a positive test will be required to isolate for 10 days from when symptoms begin.
This is good news for students and will help keep us all safe as we return to campus next month. However, the SU feels that this should have been announced sooner, certainly before the final three weeks before classes begin.
These measures come after students have planned their schedules. It is our feeling that it is easier to start with stricter health measures and ease them over time rather than have to tighten them at the last minute.
The SU is also disappointed that professors and instructors were afforded much more flexibility than students when it came to choosing whether to deliver courses online or in person. Last week, the university allowed professors to move in-person courses online, well after students had planned their schedules.
In our view, it would have made far more sense to announce these new health measures first before offering professors the ability to change the delivery method of classes.
Students were never afforded the ability to choose to take a particular course online and now may have to make last minute adjustments to their schedules. This is causing further stress and anxiety for students.
Overall, we are pleased with the new measures from the university but we have questions around the frequency of rapid testing and how the university will identify those that are not vaccinated. We thank the university for working with us over the summer months to ensure student safety and we look forward to continuing that work into the fall semester.