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Winter 2022 semester update

Memo from Dr. Florentine Strzelczyk, provost and vice-president (academic)

Campus and Community

By Dr. Florentine Strzelczyk

Dear members of the Memorial University community,

Thank you for all of your work and efforts to get us safely into the first part of the winter term. On behalf of Memorial’s leadership team, I would like to communicate to you the plans for the remainder of the term.

After considering carefully the many viewpoints, our commitment to health and safety, our duty to provide a rich learning environment as well as data points available to us at this time, we are revising Memorial’s operations, effective Monday, Jan. 31.

Campus-specific information is available for Grenfell Campus here and for the Marine Institute here. These sites are updated regularly.

For students and academic staff members

Students and academic staff members should plan to return to campus for Monday, Jan. 31.

At the St. John’s campus, classes with enrolment of 99 or fewer will resume in person. Classes with 100 or more students will continue remotely.

As previously announced, labs, performing arts programs and practicums will take place in person where possible.

At Grenfell Campus, most classes will proceed in person, and within university occupancy regulations, but some will remain remote.

All MI students and academic staff members should continue to plan to return to campus for in-person classes on Monday, Jan. 31.

Students can expect to receive direction on their specific courses through their academic units and instructors.

Students taking classes with both in-person and remote delivery will have access to spaces on all campuses to participate in their remote courses.

The majority of Memorial’s programs have been designed to be delivered in person. Memorial’s comprehensive health and safety controls, detailed below, coupled with our shared responsibility for keeping our campuses safe and the importance of in-person learning, have informed the decision to resume on-campus classes for classes.

The drop date for 100 per cent refund of undergraduate tuition fees is Thursday, Jan. 20. Students who prefer to study remotely should review the calendar for online options or consult with an academic advisor who can help map out their courses.

For non-academic staff

Each unit will develop staffing schedules to keep campus densities low while supporting teaching and learning activities of the university.

Employees who are required to be on campus to support academic operations will be notified by their supervisor and should plan to return on Monday, Jan. 24.

While this guidance is slightly different than what was shared at the employee town hall on Jan. 17, the change was made based on feedback and operational requirements.

Health and safety controls

Memorial employs a variety of health and safety measures to help keep its campuses safe.

This includes a vaccine mandate, mandatory three-ply masks, rapid testing, wastewater testing, occupancy limits and ventilation standards. Ventilation systems in classrooms and labs are in the final stages of assessment and those that do not meet the standards will not be used.

In many cases, the controls in place exceed the standards set by Public Health.

Any student or employee who is exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 or who is a close contact of a known COVID-19 case cannot come to campus. Students and employees are expected to use the COVID-19 self-assessment in the MUN Safe app prior to coming to campus each day.

Vaccinations

Memorial has an extremely high rate of vaccination: 98 per cent.

Vaccination, particularly with a booster dose, is a critical tool in the fight against COVID-19.

We appreciate the commitment the university community has shown to following Public Health’s advice and strongly encourage all faculty, staff and students to get a booster 22 weeks after their second vaccination.

Memorial is considering adding a requirement for booster shots to the vaccine mandate, based on Public Heath requirements and guidance. More information will be shared as it becomes available.

Decision-making

Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic requires us all to be open to changing information and to be flexible and empathetic in decision-making.

This decision, which was made in conjunction with Public Health and subject matter experts, is based on the information available today. Should the COVID-19 situation in Newfoundland and Labrador change, Memorial may be required to change this approach.

We recognize that there is significant work ahead of us as we operationalize these decisions. More information will be shared as it becomes available.

As the second year of the pandemic draws to a close I want to thank you for the compassion, flexibility and dedication you’ve shown to Memorial and to keeping each other safe, and ask you to continue these efforts.

Together, we will navigate the shifting sand that I sincerely hope is the tail end of the pandemic.


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