Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,
After a meeting with my fellow post-secondary Presidents and Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Hinshaw, it is with an abundance of caution that AUArts is delaying the return to campus in-person learning to Monday, January 24, with faculty and staff working remotely during this time. This decision allows the health system and AUArts to monitor and adjust as needed to the Omicron variant, which is now the dominant COVID-19 strain.
As we have seen in recent news, and as Dr. Hinshaw confirmed yesterday, the Omicron variant is highly contagious and likely to overwhelm the rapid testing system soon. Dr. Hinshaw communicated that a third vaccine dose is highly recommended, as early studies indicate that a booster provides the best protection from COVID-19 and the Omicron variant. Echoing this recommendation, we strongly encourage everyone in the AUArts community to get their booster as soon as possible.
Dr. Hinshaw also strongly recommends no longer wearing cloth masks, instead of wearing triple-layer, securely fitting medical masks or N95 masks.
What does this news mean for all of us?
- All courses will be taught online from Monday, January 10 to Friday, January 21
- Unless identified as essential for campus operations, all faculty and staff will work remotely and will be expected to return to working on campus on Monday, January 24
- Security, IT, bookstore staff and some technicians and contractors have been identified as essential for campus operations and will therefore continue to work on campus. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for clarification about who is to work on campus and to discuss the enhanced PPE required for any staff on campus
- Effective as of the end of day today, Wednesday, December 22, no campus access is permitted. If you require absolutely essential items in your office or studio, please contact email@example.com
I know this news comes at a time when we are planning to gather with friends and loved ones. Everyone is encouraged to reduce risks of exposure for the sake of everyone’s health and safety.
As COVID-19 has taught us over the past two years, we must remain flexible to any further changes to public health measures and a rapidly evolving situation. We will share more information as it becomes available.
Dr. Daniel Doz
President and CEO