August 20, 2021: Important information about Fall, September Classes and COVID-19

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

A very warm welcome to all our new and returning community members. I hope you were all able to make the best of this most unusual summer. Please fully read this message, as there are important health and safety measures being introduced for the start of the semester. 

It has been a long and most challenging year and a half for all of us since we vacated campus and moved to virtual learning, teaching, and working. I am happy that we are physically returning to campus for the Fall, marking the first time since March 2020 where we have been able to come together in person.  

Our Fall back to campus plan takes an evidence-based approach. In line with other universities in Alberta and public health guidelines, we are implementing a direct response to the shifting COVID-19 conditions. We will continue to monitor developments and adjust our response and safety protocols, as necessary. Accordingly, we expect these mandatory measures will remain in place until December 2021 and may change if required.  
 
In-Person Classes  
Fall Term classes start Wednesday, September 8, 2021, and will be held in-person on campus, except for a few courses as indicated in the timetable.  
 
COVID-19 Rapid Testing  
Starting September 7, 2021, Alberta University of the Arts requires everyone in our community entering our campus, including all faculty, staff, students, contractors, and visitors, to undergo regular COVID-19 rapid testing. Those that are fully vaccinated are exempt from this requirement.  

If you are not fully vaccinated, or you prefer to not disclose your vaccination status, you are required to complete a mandatory COVID-19 rapid test on a regular basis. If the test is negative, meaning you do not have COVID-19, you will be able to enter campus. If you refuse to comply with rapid testing and do not have an approved exemption, you will immediately have your access to campus revoked.  
 
We will shortly release additional details on how the rapid testing will be activated which may involve off-site testing. 
 
Exemption from Rapid Testing  
We will advise the process regarding exemption as soon as possible. In the meantime, we encourage Albertans to register with the Government of Alberta MyHealth Records website to obtain your digital immunization records, although hard copies will be accepted. Bear in mind that the registration process to obtain a verified MyAlberta Digital ID to activate your account takes up to 10 days, as the activation code is sent by mail. 
 
Access and Mandatory AUArts Daily Health Assessment Form
Before accessing campus, everyone must submit a mandatory AUArts Daily Health Assessment Form. This form is available on the AUArts SafeApp. If you do not have the AUArts SafeApp it is free to download from App Store or Google Play. Those who are unable to access the SafeApp may obtain a hard copy at Security. 
 
Mandatory Face Masks 
Face masks remain mandatory on campus. Masks are mandatory for all group offices, classrooms, studios, and common areas (including cafeteria, main mall, hallways, washrooms, elevators). Masks may only be removed under these circumstances:

  • Faculty while they are teaching provided instruction is being delivered at a minimum 2 metres distance from the group they are addressing.  
  • While eating or drinking, food and beverages must be consumed at a minimum 2 metres distance when masks are not being worn (we suggest food be consumed in your own single office if applicable, main mall, cafeteria or outside). 
  • Working alone in a private office, alone in a studio or alone at a workstation with COVID-19 protection barriers. 

Isolation & Staying Home When Sick 
As per AHS regulations, anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or has symptoms must isolate for 10 days from the onset of symptoms, or until they receive a negative COVID-19 test result. If you are in this situation, it is mandatory that you do not come to campus. Employees are expected to follow the AUArts COVID-19 Control Process Map on Infolab. Students are expected to follow the Short-Term Accommodations – Protocol for Students, posted on the Student Success Centre home page. 
  
Respectful Campus 
All of us have an opinion and a level of comfort with how COVID-19 is being managed. This means we need to be respectful of everyone's choices and empathetic of their personal situations.  
 
A compassionate and courteous community is needed more than ever. The expectation is that we must go beyond the Respectful Workplace policy and each of us shares the responsibility to keep our community safe and healthy. In addition to the above protocols, we recommend frequent hand washing, using hand sanitizer, proper hygiene, frequent cleaning of shared surfaces and tools, and maintaining physical distancing. AUArts strongly encourages everyone to be vaccinated. AUArts is committed to working with these evidence-driven measures to protect our campus community.
 
As we move into this new academic year, we still face unknowns about this pandemic which has not yet run its course. As such, “patience and resilience” will be the guiding words for all of us. The health, safety and wellbeing of students, faculty and staff must remain our priority, and we will need to change our requirements at any time in response to any risks and changing public health measures. In the face of this ongoing uncertainty, I encourage you to take care of your health and please do not hesitate to use the resources available through your respective extended health benefit plans including the plan administered by the Students’ Association, and Homewood Health for faculty and staff. 
 
After all the changes and challenges we have successfully navigated together as a university, I for one, am incredibly grateful we have this opportunity to convene again on campus. This will be an unusual first few weeks of school, as not only will our first-year students be experiencing campus life, the second-year students will also be attending campus for their very first time. The anticipation is building, and I hope you are sensing the positive energy that being on campus together brings to enrich our lives as a remarkable and resilient creative community.  
 
I sincerely look forward to saying hello and welcoming you all back in person. 
 

Regards, 
Daniel 

Dr. Daniel Doz
President and CEO