We have evaluated the government’s announcement, consulted public health officials and legal experts, and most importantly, carefully considered the health and safety of our campus community. Our current health and safety protocols were foundational to our plans to return to as much in-person activity as possible for winter term, and many of those protocols remain important to finishing the term without disruption due to COVID-19. Some measures, however, are being adjusted to reflect the projected declining safety risks that COVID-19 will present to the campus community over time.
Based on public health advice, we are changing some measures as of February 14, and we expect to lift a number of other safety measures in the coming weeks. The following outlines our plans and the expected length of time for them to be in place:
- As of February 14, we are modifying the requirement for all members of the campus community to be fully vaccinated to participate in on-campus activities. A full 99 per cent of our campus community is fully vaccinated. Those individuals currently engaged with in-person learning or work on a USask campus who are not vaccinated will be required to conduct rapid antigen testing and upload results in PAWS three times per week until April 8. Test kits will be supplied by the university and available to pick up at these locations for at-home testing. Students, faculty and staff can book an appointment to receive the COVID-19 vaccine on campus through the Student Wellness Centre.
- Anyone who has an approved accommodation from vaccination is expected to continue the terms of their agreement until April 8.
- Wearing a three-ply single-use mask on all USask campuses and in all indoor locations at all times will be required until April 30.
- As of February 14, visitors to campus are no longer required to show proof of vaccination. This includes those attending Huskie games at the PAC and Merlis Belsher Place, as well as those using the Fit Centre and participating in Campus Rec. Masking indoors at such events and activities is still required until April 30.
- Staying home if you are feeling sick (even if it isn’t COVID-19 or you are not sure, and even if you have a negative rapid COVID test result) and not coming to campus until you are symptom free for 48 hours is required until further notice.
- Using rapid COVID test kits to test yourself prior to any social or non-essential gatherings in person with others is advised. A list of locations to pick up rapid testing kits throughout the province is available here.
The university has a responsibility to implement the necessary measures to protect students, faculty, staff, and visitors to campus from known dangers on campus, such as the spread of COVID-19. As part of this obligation, we have carefully considered the unique health and safety concerns of our campus community and the fact that our current COVID-19 measures are integral as we return to as much in-person activity as possible for winter term. As the need for COVID-19 safety measures declines in the province, the unique health and safety challenges facing universities require us to be thorough and deliberate in changing USask measures. Unlike most other settings in the province, USask has a very large number of people in a tightly defined geographic area, with a relatively small number of buildings—including health-care facilities.
At this time, with the effects of the pandemic projected to continue in Saskatchewan for a while longer, we believe the health and safety measures outlined above are necessary to ensure the safety of our campus community and beyond, which is our top priority. This approach will enable us to successfully complete winter term and offer the level of in-person activity originally planned.
Regards, and stay well,
USask Pandemic Response and Recovery Team