Campus updates | Mount Allison

Campus updates

COVID-19 information

Health and safety measures continue on campus

Updated Dec. 5, 2022

With COVID-19, influenza, RSV, and other viruses heavily impacting our community now and projected throughout the winter months, it's even more important that existing COVID-19 health and safety measures remain in place through the Winter 2023 Term — unless a significant improvement in the health situation warrants a change.

Wear a mask indoors on campus, stay home if you're sick, cough and sneeze into your elbow, and wash your hands well and often, along with hand sanitizing.

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, stairwells, and in instructional spaces.

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 Jennings Dining Hall, Gracie's Café, and The Pond
  • While seated in library study spaces — masks required on the R.P. Bell Library main floor, in the Music Library, and while interacting with staff
  • While participating in athletics and fitness

Masks are not required outdoors. Masks are not be provided by the University.

For residence students:

  • Masks are highly encouraged in residence hallways and common areas, but are not required.
  • Masks are required in Jennings Dining Hall, except when eating and drinking.

Mask hygiene is also important — so be diligent about the lifespan and cleaning/disposal recommendations for your masks.

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.


    If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19

    Stay home and test

    • People with one of the following symptoms should stay home 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 stay home 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 is 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 not want to risk spreading germs to others.


    If you test positive for COVID-19

    Follow these measures to help protect your family, friends, and community against the spread of COVID-19.  

    1) STAY HOME

    In New Brunswick, you are no longer required to self isolate for a defined period of time. However, if you test positive for COVID-19, we ask that you stay home from class and/or work (work from home if possible):

    • While sick/experiencing symptoms
    • Until your symptoms improve (without the use of medication)
    • You have been fever-free for 24 hours (without the use of medication)
    • You have been diarrhea and vomit free for 48 hours
    • You feel well enough to fully participate in daily activities

    For at least 5 days after you return to work or school (or for 10 days if you are immunocompromised), keep in mind you may still be contagious. Therefore, you should:

    • Wear a multi-layer, well-fitting mask outside your household
    • Distance from others as best as possible
    • Avoid gatherings and crowds (not including classes/labs as you will be masked)
    • Avoid visiting vulnerable individuals or settings (i.e. long-term care homes, correctional facilities, hospitals or shelters.)

    Always:

    • Wash or sanitize hands frequently
    • Cough and sneeze into your elbow
    • Open a window or door to improve indoor ventilation where possible

    2) REPORT YOUR POSITIVE TEST RESULTS TO GNB

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

    3) NOTIFY YOUR CLOSE CONTACTS

    To help prevent the spread and protect the vulnerable, it is encouraged that you tell any contacts who you have spent time with unmasked within 48 hours of symptoms appearing or a positive test result, as well as your household contacts, about your positive COVID-19 test result.

    All close contacts inside or outside the household should self-monitor for symptoms and stay home and test if they are feeling sick.  

    How to self-monitor:

    • self-monitor for one or more symptoms and get tested if symptoms develop
    • mask continuously outside the home
    • avoid vulnerable settings and people
    • limit contacts as much as possible for at least 10 days
    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 stay home 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 stay home 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 stay home.
    • 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 and have no symptoms:  

    • If you have recovered from COVID-19 in the past 90 days, you do not need to stay home as a close contact if you are not experiencing symptoms.
    • You should self-monitor for symptoms for 10 days. If you become symptomatic, you should stay home and book a test.
    Resources for students who need to stay home due to COVID-19
    • Students living in residence who are staying home due to positive COVID-19 test result can request meal delivery by e-mailing dining@mta.ca.
    • Students in living situations with shared bathrooms and kitchens who are required to stay home due to illness or a positive test result should 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 should self-monitor for symptoms and stay home if feeling ill or testing positive.  

    Students in need of supplies or items are encouraged to contact local pharmacies with delivery options and to reach out to 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

    FOR RESIDENCE STUDENTS

    Masks

    Masks are highly encouraged in residence hallways and common areas but are not required. Masks are required in Jennings except when eating and drinking.

    Exception: Welcome Day — masks will be required in all public areas in residences.

    Meal delivery

    Meal delivery can be arranged for students who have tested positive for COVID by e-mailing dining@mta.ca. Students can also request in the e-mail that an asymptomatic friend pick up their meal. Daily menus can be found on the dining website or on Twitter @MTADining.

    Cleaning

    Cleaning supplies will not be supplied in all student rooms but are available in student custodial closets.


    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.

      For residence students: cleaning supplied will not be supplied in all student rooms but are available in student custodial closets.

       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.