Informational updates related to COVID-19

Given the dynamic nature of the current COVID-19 situation, we will be providing a series of shorter updates on an ongoing basis as new information becomes available.

LATEST: NOVEMBER 14, 2021

COVID update: Vaccination standard for Winter 2022

With final exams just around the corner, many of us are finalizing plans for the Winter 2022 term.

I am writing to provide an update to our new and returning students regarding the university’s COVID-19 response program for Winter 2022. Please keep these points in mind as you are building your course schedule for the upcoming term.

  • The university will require that all new and returning students for the Winter term be fully vaccinated.
  • The only exceptions are students who have an approved exemption due to medical or protected grounds. If you believe you are eligible for an exemption, please use this form to submit your request.
  • Rapid tests will not be accepted for the Winter term.
  • In order to be fully vaccinated before the beginning of the Winter term on January 4, you must receive your second dose by December 21. After receiving your second dose, download the Safe@MacEwan app and upload the results to the app.
  • Even if your instructor has informed you that no in-person activities are planned for their course, you are still required to follow the university’s requirements for vaccination: this will allow you to come to campus to access services and facilities.

Please continue to check your email and the MacEwan.ca/Coronavirus website for the latest information on MacEwan’s response to COVID-19.

Dr. Annette Trimbee
President and Vice-Chancellor

As we approach the Fall break, I would like to once again express my thanks to everyone who has uploaded their proof of vaccination or rapid-test submissions to Safe@MacEwan. We strongly encourage everyone to get the COVID-19 vaccine: it is the most effective way to protect yourself and our community from COVID-19 and the severe outcomes of the disease.

All the information from the submissions received to date has been validated, and we are now moving into the next phase of escalated enforcement of the program.

  • Proof of vaccination deadline: All students must download the Safe@MacEwan app and upload proof that they have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine by October 18.
  • Rapid testing: Those who choose not to receive the COVID vaccine must upload proof of a  negative rapid antigen test completed within the last 72 hours before arriving on campus. This standard applies to every visit to campus and will be in effect for students until the end of the Fall term. Use Safe@MacEwan to upload rapid test results.
  • Rapid antigen testing is available at Central Point Pharmacy, located at 10382 105 Street, at a preferred rate of $27.99 per test for individuals who show their MacEwan ID. Appointments are recommended.
  • Individuals with vaccine accommodation: Information on how to access the university’s rapid testing program will be emailed directly to individuals with approved accommodations. Students who have a valid request for accommodation should use this form.
  • Students in non-compliance: Starting October 19, students who have not uploaded their information to Safe@MacEwan should expect to receive follow up messaging about next steps and consequences that may escalate to include de-registration.
  • Preparing for the Winter 2022 term: As you make plans for the Winter 2022 term, please keep in mind that anyone coming to campus for the Winter term must be fully vaccinated. Rapid testing will not be accepted for the Winter term, except for those who have received university approved accommodations.

Alberta Health Services restrictions permitting, we are planning that 85 percent of Winter term programming will be delivered in face-to-face or hybrid format. Students enrolled in online courses who make use of on-campus facilities and services must also be fully vaccinated: this includes those who come to campus for in-person exams.

Dr. Annette Trimbee
President and Vice-Chancellor

The process of verifying all proof-of-vaccination or rapid-test submissions to Safe@MacEwan is well underway. Thank you to the more than 10,000 people who have already uploaded their proof of vaccination.

If you are coming to campus for any reason, we ask you to do your part in keeping our community safe by using Safe@MacEwan (via the app or the web version at myPortal.MacEwan.ca) to:

  • provide proof that you have received the COVID-19 vaccine, or
  • show proof of a negative COVID-19 rapid antigen test completed within 72 hours of arriving on campus.

These conditions will be in place until the end of the Fall term: 

  • Rapid testing preferred rates at Central Point Pharmacy: Anyone who cannot provide proof of vaccination must show proof of a negative test completed within the last 72 hours. Rapid antigen testing is now available at Central Point Pharmacy, located at 10382 105 Street, at a preferred rate of $27.99 per test for individuals who show their MacEwan ID. Appointments are recommended. Use Safe@MacEwan to upload rapid test results.
  • Rapid tests for students, faculty and staff who qualify for vaccine accommodation: Information on how to access the university’s rapid testing program will be emailed directly to individuals with approved accommodations. Students who have a valid request for accommodation should use this form. Employees can contact their Employee and Labour Relations Consultant.
  • Proof of vaccination deadline: Those who are providing proof of vaccination must have uploaded proof that they are fully vaccinated to Safe@MacEwan by October 18.  
  • Rapid testing in the Winter term. When making plans for the Winter term, please keep in mind that the rapid testing program, except for those who have valid accommodations, may not be available as an option for you to attend classes on campus.

As always, the most up-to-date information on MacEwan’s COVID-19 response is available at MacEwan.ca/Coronavirus. We thank you for your efforts to keep our community safe.

Dr. Annette Trimbee
President and Vice-Chancellor

Updates:

  • Physical distancing: In addition to the requirement to wear masks, physical distancing must be maintained in all non-instructional spaces. 
  • Proof of vaccination: Thank you to the thousands of people who have already uploaded their proof of vaccination using the Safe@MacEwan app. Anyone coming to campus must provide proof of vaccination or show proof of a negative COVID-19 test completed within the last 72 hours. 
  • Uploading negative rapid test results: Safe@MacEwan (via the app or the web version at myportal.macewan.ca) can now be used to upload both proof of vaccination and rapid test results. Anyone who cannot provide proof of vaccination must show proof of a negative test completed within the last 72 hours. Rapid tests are available at a cost at many nearby pharmacies.  
  • Rapid testing program for students, faculty and staff who qualify for vaccine  accommodation: More details about the program will be shared later this week. Students who have a valid request for accommodation should use this form. Employees can contact their Employee and Labour Relations Consultant
  • On-campus verification of vaccination status: MacEwan is implementing a system to confirm vaccination declarations and negative test results for people on campus and expects to have full, formal enforcement in place by early October.

These new and amended restrictions apply to anyone on the university’s campus – all faculty, staff, students and visitors (including guests in Sport and Wellness, those who attend any in-person events and those working as contractors on campus).

As always, the most up-to-date information on MacEwan’s COVID-19 response is available at MacEwan.ca/Coronavirus. We thank you for your efforts to keep our community safe.

Dr. Annette Trimbee
President and Vice-Chancellor

Subject: Important COVID-19 update: Introduction of Restriction Exemption Program

On Wednesday, the Government of Alberta introduced new public health measures. We appreciate your patience as we paused in-person classes for September 16 and 17 to review and prepare to implement the new measures. As always, the safety of our campus community is our top priority.

Effective Monday, September 20, MacEwan will be implementing the province’s Restriction Exemption Program, accelerating plans announced earlier this week to achieve a fully vaccinated campus. This means that all classes – in-person, hybrid and online – will continue as scheduled for the Fall term.

We know that vaccination rates among MacEwan’s students, faculty and staff are high. As of late August, 95 per cent of faculty and 86 per cent of our students who responded to a voluntary survey indicated that they had received two doses of the vaccine. Vaccinations are the safest and most effective way to protect communities from the damaging effects of COVID-19.

Following is a brief description of what will happen at MacEwan and the steps necessary to continue accessing the university’s campus.

Beginning on Monday, September 20:
  • In-person and hybrid classes will resume as originally scheduled for the Fall term. Online classes will remain online. Winter term classes will proceed as scheduled.
  • Previously announced requirements around masking will remain in place.
  • Employees whose physical presence is not required and who can work from home should do so. If you are unsure if this applies to you, please consult your supervisor. Our overall return to campus approach will remain the same.
  • The province’s Restriction Exemption Program will take effect.
If you are fully or partially vaccinated:
  • Download the Safe@MacEwan app (Apple Store or Android) or access the web version at myPortal.MacEwan.ca. If you have already downloaded the app, a recent automatic update will enable you to upload proof of vaccination.
  • Upload your proof of vaccination.
  • Your proof of vaccination can be in paper form (received from your pharmacist or clinic at the time of vaccination) or in digital form from the Alberta Health Services My Health Records website. If you are accessing proof of vaccination using MyHealth Records, there may be a delay due to a high volume of activity on the site. Please upload proof of vaccination as soon as you can.
If you are unvaccinated:
  • You must get your first dose no later than September 20 to come to campus. Vaccinations are safe, available at no cost and limit the spread and impact of COVID-19.
  • MacEwan is hosting an on-campus vaccination clinic today, September 17, and several appointments are still available. You can also book an appointment through the Alberta Health Services website, by calling 811, at doctor’s offices and at many pharmacies.
  • If you are unable to submit vaccination verification, you will be required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test within the last 72 hours.
  • Employees who cannot be vaccinated due to medical or protected grounds should contact their human resources advisor.
  • Students who cannot be vaccinated due to medical or protected grounds should contact Access and Disability Resources.  

The university will implement a verification system to confirm vaccination declarations and negative test results and to ensure the integrity of this program.

The latest information and updates on MacEwan’s COVID-19 response are available at MacEwan.ca/Coronavirus. We thank you in advance for your ongoing cooperation and support.

Dr. Annette Trimbee
President and Vice-Chancellor

Subject: Important COVID-19 Update:  In-person classes cancelled for September 16 and 17

Tonight, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney declared a public health emergency in the province of Alberta and announced new provincial restrictions. These temporary measures are in place to reduce the impacts of COVID-19 on the health care system. MacEwan University will be further evaluating the restrictions for our campus, and will provide you with an update before Monday, September 20.

All in-person classes and lab work will be cancelled for Thursday, September 16 and Friday, September 17. Students currently enrolled in practicums, co-op positions or field placements should follow the guidelines of their host organizations. Online classes will continue as planned.

Employees should work from home if they are able to. Essential employees on campus must maintain a physical distance of two metres.

On-campus social events and extracurricular activities will be paused until further notice as we determine how these activities will be impacted by the new measures. Information regarding sport, fitness, recreation and performance activities will be provided prior to September 20.

Further updates will be sent via email and will be posted on the university’s website. Thank you for your continued patience and understanding as we make our way through this ever-changing situation.

Dr. Annette Trimbee
President and Vice-Chancellor

Subject: COVID-19 update: Mandatory vaccinations starting Winter 2022 term

MacEwan University continues to make the safety of our students, staff and faculty our priority. We also appreciate the importance of providing our students with a quality campus experience. We believe that vaccination against COVID-19 is a critical part of ensuring our campus is safe for everyone.

We are continuing to work through a measured, multi-phased approach to protect our community from COVID-19’s damaging effects, with the ultimate goal of having a fully vaccinated campus by the beginning of the Winter term. As of late August, 95 per cent of faculty and staff and 86 per cent of our students who responded to a voluntary survey indicated that they had received two doses of the vaccine.

Later this week, we will share details about the next phase of our response, which includes a rapid-testing program. Vaccination declaration will be required using our Safe@MacEwan app (Apple Store or Android), and campus-wide testing will commence in early October. This phase will be in place for the remainder of the Fall term.

Today MacEwan joined eight other Alberta post-secondary institutions in a joint statement announcing plans for mandatory vaccinations on our campuses. This announcement builds on our existing COVID-19 measures and strengthens the role that vaccinations will play on our campus moving forward.

Beginning in the Winter 2022 term:

  • MacEwan students, staff, faculty and visitors will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to attend campus.
  • Negative test results will no longer be an avenue to gain access to campus, as the university’s rapid testing program will cease. Testing will only be available to those who cannot be vaccinated due to medical or protected grounds.

At MacEwan, we are committed to taking an approach that puts safety first, aligns with our student focus and meets the unique needs of our university community. The decision to implement mandatory vaccination has not been made lightly. We are providing as much advance notice as possible to allow individuals to prepare and make informed choices.

On-campus vaccination clinics are scheduled for September 14 and 17. Individuals can also book an appointment through the Alberta Health Services website, by calling 811, at doctor’s offices and at many pharmacies.

More detail on implementation, proof of vaccination and exemptions will be rolled out in the coming weeks. For the latest information about the university's response to COVID-19, visit MacEwan.ca/Coronavirus.

On behalf of the university leadership team, I would like to express our appreciation for  your ongoing cooperation, support and efforts to meet the challenges that COVID-19 presents. Working together, we can protect ourselves and our community.

Dr. Annette Trimbee
President and Vice-Chancellor

On Friday, September 3, the provincial government announced temporary measures to reduce transmission of COVID-19.

Masking and plans for the Fall term

The announcement does not impact our existing plans for students to safely return to campus for the Fall term and is consistent with the measures the university has put in place. Course delivery (in-person, online and hybrid) will continue as scheduled. Masks will be required on campus.

Rapid COVID-19 testing program

Another element of MacEwan’s plans for a safe return to campus involves weekly rapid COVID-19 testing for members of our community who are unvaccinated. The purpose of the testing program is twofold: to encourage students, faculty and staff to get vaccinated and to help those who are not vaccinated to care for themselves and protect others.

Beginning in mid-September, students, faculty and staff who plan to be on campus will be required to declare their vaccination status through the Safe@MacEwan app.

Members of the MacEwan University community who declare themselves fully vaccinated will be exempt from rapid testing. Proof of vaccination will be required by October 1.

While details regarding the roll-out of this program continue to be finalized, you can help by ensuring that you have downloaded the Safe@MacEwan app (Apple Store or Android). We will notify the MacEwan community when vaccine declaration is available. If the Safe@MacEwan app has already been downloaded, it will update automatically. Alternative options to upload declarations though the MacEwan portal will also be available.

Return to campus

In consideration of the province's recommendation to continue work-from-home measures, staff members who are not in student-facing roles and were planning to return to campus in September should connect with their supervisors.

The safety of our university community is our top priority, and we appreciate your ongoing cooperation and support.

Dr. Annette Trimbee
President and Vice-Chancellor

Thank you to everyone who participated in the recent vaccination survey. Nearly 50 per cent of our community responded, with 95 per cent of staff and faculty and 86 per cent of our students indicating that they have received two doses of the vaccine. 

While these numbers are encouraging, we realize that there are some gaps to fill. We strongly encourage everyone to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccination is the most effective way to protect yourself and our community from COVID-19 and the severe outcomes of the disease.

Access to vaccinations is widely available to students, faculty and staff on or near campus:

Pop-up clinics

On September 14 and 17, we are partnering with Alberta Health Services (AHS) to host a pop-up vaccination clinic on campus. Register in advance by going to the MacEwanLife site.

Pharmacies close to campus

As part of a downtown community, MacEwan is in close proximity to a number of convenient locations that offer COVID-19 vaccinations:

  • Safeway Pharmacy: 11410 - 104 Avenue
  • London Drugs Pharmacy: 11704 - 104 Avenue
  • Shoppers Drug Mart Pharmacy: Unit 102, 11962 -104 Avenue
  • Aqua Rx Pharmacy: 10608 - 105 Avenue
  • Remedy's Rx: 10382 - 105 Street 
Tuition waiver draw

We are pleased to announce an exciting new initiative: all students who are fully vaccinated will be eligible to win one of five tuition waivers for the Fall 2021 and Winter 2022 terms.

  • To be eligible to receive an award, students must be fully vaccinated or be scheduled to be fully vaccinated by October 31, 2021.
  • Selection will be made by a random draw from everyone who applies.
  • Successful recipients must be willing to provide documentation of their vaccination status.  

Applications will be accepted between September 9 and 30. Visit the webpage for details.

Rapid testing program

We are finalizing plans for a rapid testing program which will be in place in September. Details on processes will be released in the coming days.

As we approach the beginning of term, please remember that you must wear a mask if you are coming to campus.

I am looking forward to seeing you on campus and to experiencing the vibrancy and energy that makes MacEwan unique.

Dr. Annette Trimbee
President and Vice-Chancellor

Throughout the pandemic, the university has been committed to planning for and responding to the changing circumstances of COVID-19. With the recent rise in cases, we are announcing an important measure to ensure the safety of our university community as we return to campus for the Fall term.

Effective September 3, masks or face coverings are required in all indoor spaces on university property where physical distancing of two metres cannot be maintained. This means that anytime you are on campus, including in hallways, study spaces, common areas or food service areas, you must wear a mask or face covering. The mandate will be in place until December 31.

Masks may not be required in instructional spaces if physical distancing can be maintained; this is at the discretion of a member of the academic staff. Masks will be required as you enter and exit a classroom.

These measures are in accordance with the university’s Communicable Diseases and Pandemic Policy and Mask or Face Covering Standard, and align with yesterday’s announcement from the City of Edmonton that wearing a mask or face covering will be mandatory in all indoor public places and public vehicles as of September 3.

Please ensure that you have a mask or face covering before coming to campus. Masks are available for purchase in the bookstore or in campus vending machines. Masks or face coverings must cover the mouth, nose and chin and be durable enough to allow them to function effectively for the entire time the individual is on university property.

By implementing this measure and our rapid testing program, we will not only create a safer campus environment, but also contribute to slowing the spread of COVID-19 in the wider community. Results of our vaccination survey and details of the university’s rapid testing program will be released in the coming days.

Your ongoing cooperation and support of our safe campus is appreciated.

Dr. Annette Trimbee
President and Vice-Chancellor

In my message to you on Friday, I shared my expectation that members of our university community wear masks on campus, get vaccinated for COVID-19, and stay home when sick. 

I also shared that the university is prepared to adapt our plans as circumstances change so that we can ensure that our community is safe and comfortable as we plan to return to a more active and vibrant campus this fall.

We’ve seen some significant changes in the last few days and are taking them into consideration for our return to campus plans:

  • The province announced on Friday they would not move to the next stage of their reopening plan, pausing for six weeks, to September 27.
  • The federal government mandated vaccinations for their employees and federal employers.
  • Three universities in Alberta announced plans for rapid testing to support a fall return to their campuses.

In light of these developments, I am writing today about an initiative that will make a difference in protecting the health of our community as we work toward our goal of a more active campus this fall.

Rapid testing program

The university will implement a rapid testing program for September, just as soon as specific details can be confirmed. Anyone who is fully vaccinated will be exempt from rapid testing. Individuals who cannot be tested or vaccinated based on medical or other protected grounds recognized by the Alberta Human Rights Act can request an accommodation.

We need your assistance

We are asking for your assistance as we make plans to implement the testing program. Within the next few days, you will receive an email with a link to a very brief survey that will help us get an understanding of vaccination rates within our community and help us plan the logistics of our rapid testing program. We want to make sure that the program we roll out is the best one for the MacEwan community. Please be assured that your individual data will be kept confidential. Only the overall results will be shared. We ask that you complete the survey by August 27.

Pop-up vaccination clinic

The university has partnered with Alberta Health Services to provide COVID-19 vaccinations on campus on September 14 and 17 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Students, faculty and staff should pre-register by logging in to the MacEwanLife site.

Masking

Wearing a mask is an extremely effective way to prevent the spread of COVID-19, second only to vaccination. We expect that you wear one on campus where distancing is not possible. Faculty can require students to wear masks in instructional spaces.

Next steps

We will continue to monitor developments in this rapidly changing environment and recognize that there are further questions on the details of the university’s rapid testing program. You can expect to see further updates over the coming days.

I thank you in advance for your participation in the survey and for your cooperation in helping to create a safe campus environment this fall.

Dr. Annette Trimbee
President and Vice-Chancellor

I am writing to provide an updates on the measures we are taking to protect the health and safety of our campus community.

Like all of you, I'm looking forward to a more active and vibrant campus this fall, and to experiencing the enthusiasm and energy of our campus community. As Edmonton’s downtown university, we are proud to be a place where students learn and grow through interactions with our faculty, staff and the surrounding community. All of us contribute to that transformational change and to the vibrancy of our community.

Being on campus and experiencing those connections are core to who we are – and we all have a role to play in keeping our campus community safe and healthy so that those connections remain strong.

I know that this rapidly changing environment has been a cause for anxiety for many of us, but please be assured that we have been preparing for our return to campus for many months. We continue to consult with our community, including our student, faculty and staff associations as we implement our plans for a safe return to campus this fall. Offering hybrid, on-line and in-person classes allows us to pivot quickly depending on changing health regulations. We are prepared to, and will, adapt our plans as needed as we have over the past year. Throughout all our planning, maintaining a safe and healthy campus remains our top priority. Here are some of the measures we have in place for our Fall return:

Vaccination

We strongly encourage you to get vaccinated. Vaccination is the most effective way to protect yourself and our community from COVID-19 and the severe outcomes of the disease. In June, the Chief Medical Officer of Health reported that 96 per cent of Albertans who have tested positive for the virus since January 1 had not had two doses of vaccine. She also stated that 91 per cent of COVID-19 deaths and 95 per cent of hospital and intensive care unit admissions followed the same trend.

Our student-athletes are required to receive two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to compete with other institutions. Students living in Residence will be asked to voluntarily disclose their vaccination status. Whatever the response, it will not be used to determine whether they can live in Residence. The information will be helpful if there are cases in Residence.

To support vaccination efforts, we are partnering with Alberta Health Services (AHS) to host a pop-up vaccination clinic on campus on September 14 and 17. As a downtown university, there are also many options near campus to receive vaccinations. Watch for details on the clinic and vaccination clinic options in the coming weeks.

Masks on campus

Wear a mask on campus. Along with vaccination, masks are proven to be very effective in stopping the spread of COVID-19 and its variants. Wearing a mask not only protects you, it protects those around you. Faculty can require students to wear masks in instructional spaces. For staff and faculty, if distancing is not possible, you should wear a mask while you are working. As you move through campus in our shared public spaces, you should wear a mask out of consideration of others. You will already see me and my executive team wearing masks as we move through campus and interact with the university community.

Ventilation

We are proud to say that MacEwan’s ventilation and air quality systems are among the best in the province. MacEwan uses highly effective MERV-13 air filters as a standard on all air handling units. With the onset of COVID last year, the facilities department began installing MERV-14 filtration as filters came up for replacement. MERV-14 filtration is comparable to that used in hospitals; only the HEPA filtration systems that are used in isolation wards and operating rooms are more effective. Testing in our buildings proves that air quality meets and exceeds ASHRAE normal recommendations, as well as their recommendations for high-virus scenarios.

Other safety measures
  • Hand sanitizing stations will remain in place.
  • Increased pandemic cleaning protocols will continue across campus.
  • Plexiglass shields will remain in place in areas where face-to-face interactions take place, including the Office of the University Registrar, the mStore and Food Services.
  • The Return to Campus guide will be updated to reflect government announcements and requirements to prevent the spread of COVID. You are also encouraged to continue to use the AHS COVID Self-Assessment tool before coming to campus and to stay home if you are sick.

I know that there are diverse perspectives related to the pandemic. It is important that we continue to be kind and understanding and, most importantly, make decisions that protect our health and the health of others.

Mental health supports are available to all students, faculty and staff. Resources for students can be found on the university website. Resources for employees are available on the Wellness and Benefits segment of the university portal.

I look forward to being on campus and meeting many of you in person for the first time in September. Experiencing the vibrancy of our downtown campus is one of the many things that makes MacEwan special. Let’s do all we can to keep our campus community safe and healthy.

Dr. Annette Trimbee
President and Vice-Chancellor

On July 1, the province lifted regulations and recommendations for wearing masks and physical distancing. The City of Edmonton also rescinded its masking bylaw.

In accordance, the university also rescinded its mask policy: the wearing of masks or face coverings is no longer be required on campus effective July 1. We acknowledge that some individuals may choose to continue to wear masks and practice physical distancing. We ask that you join us in respecting and supporting the choices of your fellow students and university employees.

Common areas and seating are now open. 

Protection from Discrimination

Every member of our university community has the right to be treated with respect and dignity and to be welcomed and supported on our campus. No person should be targeted in any way or subjected to discrimination resulting from a perception that they may be a carrier of a communicable disease based on factors including perceived disability, race, ancestry or place of origin.

If anyone has been targeted based on any of these or other factors, the behaviour should be reported to the Office of Human Rights, Diversity and Equity or the Confidence Line.

Email Office of Human Rights Diversity and Equity: humanrights@macewan.ca

Confidence Line