Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information

Since January 2020, CBU has been working closely with the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness to ensure our response to the COVID-19 pandemic aligns with the recommendations being made by the Chief Medical Officer of Health. Our response continues to be guided by our commitment to the health and safety of the campus community.

In early March 2020, President Dingwall established a Pandemic Planning Task Force to focus on response and contingency planning. The Task Force includes members from various areas within the university such as academics, residence, enrolment services, operations, facilities management, communications, human resources, student affairs and more. The Task Force continues to meet regularly to make informed decisions as the situation evolves. 

Current Status

  • Classes for the Fall 2021 will be in-person, with limited classes being offered online. Delivery methods for each individual class can be found within the course catalogue. 
  • The full Return to Campus Plan can be found here.

 

As of Wednesday, July 14, Nova Scotia is in Phase 4 of the Provincial Reopening Plan. For more information, click here.

 

Messages

To the Cape Breton University Community,

I hope you are enjoying the summer so far, and taking time to rest, recharge, and be with your families and friends. I am writing today to let you know that as of Tuesday, August 3, we will move to Level 4 of the Cape Breton University Return to Campus Plan.

As of now, all indications from Nova Scotia Public Health are that the province will reach its Phase 5 target of 75% fully vaccinated before September. When that happens CBU will transition to Level 5. With that we can anticipate significant easing of public health restrictions. As always, we will align our efforts with both provincial and federal regulations, and take guidance from Nova Scotia’s Chief Officer of Health, Dr. Robert Strang.

Highlights of what Level 4 means for you:

  • In addition to the activities in the previous level
  • Classes resume in-person following all public health protocols (some online classes continue)
  • Student services options for in-person by appointment and some controlled designated drop-in times.
  • The public can access campus for designated events or by appointment when in compliance with all Public Health and University health protocols.

 

Highlights of what Level 5 means for you: 

  • Widespread vaccination completed.
  • Social distancing and other public health measures no longer required by public health.
  • All campus activity, including teaching, resumes in person.

This means that while there may not be any formal restrictions in place at that time, we will still be encouraging you to adopt the use of best health practices such as washing your hands, staying home if you are sick, and wearing a mask. Please note the Return to Campus team is currently preparing for the transition to the September return and will share more specifics in the coming weeks including travel information.

As always, remember to be kind and protect each other by adhering to public health measures. You are now also able to book your vaccine and participate in asymptomatic testing at pop-up sites province-wide and on-campus on Wednesdays. Keeping our students, employees and communities safe and healthy are our top concerns. Regular asymptomatic testing and getting vaccinated are among the best ways to do that.

Thank you for your hard work and perseverance over the last 15 months, and always. We will continue to keep each other safe by working together.

Sincerely,

Dr. Tanya Brann-Barrett

Chair, Return to Campus Committee

To the Campus Community,

We are thrilled to be in alignment with the provincial reopening plan, and as you were previously made aware, we will be moving to a Level Three of the Return to Campus Plan after the group vacation period, on Monday, July 12.

In addition to the activities in the current modified Level Three, all elements of Level Three will be deployed, including:
Every unit has updated its Risk Assessment as needed in consultation with appropriate members of the RTC Team, and it has been approved by the Chair of the RTC Team.
All employees return to the workplace on their regular schedule with measures in place to ensure they can do so safely.
Opening of designated communal areas for socializing in accordance with public health directives and CBU protocol.
Meetings/gatherings can take place in-person while observing social distancing and when approved by the meeting organizer’s supervisor. Meeting/gathering refers to a group of individuals coming together or meeting in one space while social distancing. This does not apply to CBU organized events. All events must conform to the current Public Health Order regarding numbers permitted or whether events are allowed.
Courses scheduled for in-person delivery can go ahead following all Health protocols.
All activities in the level must conform to the Order.

Important Notes:

Campus Entrances

Campus Center doors will be 7am -12am. Access after 12am by contacting security.
CE entrance will be open 7am -7pm – the door near Beaton, the door leading across to B-block and the main entrance to Great Hall.
Marvin Harvey entrance near Jennifer Keeping Center will be open 7am-7pm.
The following doors are open 8am -4:30pm
CE doors near Caper Convenience
CE courtyard doors near the bookstore
Marvin Harvey near Enrolment services (*remains open until 5:30pm)

Food Service Options:

Tim Horton’s will be open with limited availability (Monday to Thursday from 8am-3pm and Friday’s 8am – 2pm)

Nova Scotia Health Community Vaccination Clinic

Please note the community vaccination clinic is still happening on campus at the Canada Games Complex. Please be aware of increased traffic and pedestrians. In an effort to accommodate our citizens, especially those who are elderly and may have mobility issues, if you regularly park in front of the Student, Culture and Heritage Centre please consider parking in the upper parking lot adjacent to the Canada Games Complex while the clinic is in operation.

Please keep in mind that should it become necessary for us to adjust or alter these dates to further align with the provincial reopening plan or to scale back these dates should we need to, we will. Our decisions, as always, are made with the health, safety and well-being of our community in mind, and with direction from Nova Scotia’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Robert Strang.

As always, remember to be kind and protect each other by staying home if you are sick, wearing a mask and respecting physical distancing. You are now also able to book your vaccine and participate in asymptomatic testing at pop-up sites province-wide and on-campus on Wednesdays. Keeping our Island safe and healthy is our top concern. Regular asymptomatic testing and getting vaccinated are the best ways to help end COVID-19.

We will continue to keep each other safe by working together.

Sincerely,

Dr. Tanya Brann-Barrett
Chair, Return to Campus Committee

To the CBU Student Community,

As you are well aware, cases of COVID-19 are rising across the Province, and variants and community spread are a very real concern. To combat this, Premier Iain Rankin and Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Robert Strang, have announced a Province-wide shutdown. This shutdown is intended to be a two-week circuit breaker and comes into effect at 8:00 am on Wednesday, April 28, and stays in effect until May 12, 2021. I urge you to adhere to these new measures for the benefit of the community.

For these reasons, we will move to a Modified Level 1 of the Return to Campus plan.

Modified Level 1:

  • Employees work remotely except when in-person is deemed necessary. Essential services, including maintenance and care, and/or emergency repair are required.
  • Courses are delivered to students online.
  • Campus is closed to the public with the exception of the Nova Scotia Health Vaccination Clinic and when CBU administration deems access necessary and in accordance with the Public Health Order
  • CBU events are cancelled or postponed,
  • Only essential maintenance of critical research equipment or specimens, by approval only.
  • Some in-person visits to the Max Bell Collaborative Health Centre are allowed when deemed necessary by the clinician and the client. By appointment only.

What you need to know:

  • All classes for the spring semester that were scheduled to begin on May 3, 2021, will begin online as we stated earlier this week.
  • Student services options including library, student affairs, health services and admissions are being offering as virtual services. These virtual services are available to ensure there is no disruption in services for students.
  • Convocation is being offered as a virtual experience by School, and will be available at cbuconvocation2021.ca on May 8, 2021.

Resources:

  • Healthy Minds NS
  • Personal Counselling: CBU’s Personal Counsellors are Clinical Social Workers who work with students to deal with a variety of issues including depression and anxiety, grief, parenting, anger, relationship issues, family conflict, time management, stress, financial concerns, and more. This free and confidential service is available by contacting the Max Bell Health and Counselling Centre
  • meSAFE: a 24/7 digital mental health support program for international students. keep.meSAFE provides students with access to a large and diverse network of professional counsellors who are equipped to offer support and guidance. Students are matched to a counsellor based on their situation, language and cultural preferences.
  • TAO (Therapy Assistance Online) – An online mental health library with interactive modules to help you understand and manage how you feel, think and act. TAO recently created mindfulness video exercises to help students cope with their feelings.
  • Mindfulness in Nova Scotia (MindWell-U) – MindWell-U is a free 30-day mindfulness challenge. This online tool is only five minutes per day and helps lower stress and improve wellbeing.
  • ICAN (I Conquer Anxiety and Nervousness) – ICAN Anxiety Program is available to those 18 years and older who are experiencing symptoms of anxiety and depression. This program includes online tools for tracking and managing symptoms, and weekly phone calls with an anxiety coach

While this is not welcome news, it is necessary to protect all of us here in Nova Scotia. As Dr. Strang noted, if we all lock arms and stand together, we can roar back at this storm. By following the science-based direction from the Province, we can do our part to ensure we get this virus under control. Please do not engage in non-essential travel, stay within your own municipality, wear your mask, respect physical distancing and wash your hands. We’re in this together.

For a full list of provincial measures and restrictions, CLICK HERE.

Sincerely,

Dr. Tanya Brann-Barrett

Chair, Return to Campus Committee

Associate Vice-President, Academic and Research

To the CBU Community,

Nova Scotia’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout will expand again next month with 10 community-based clinics for Nova Scotians age 80 and older. Cape Breton University’s Canada Games Complex is pleased to part of this rollout and will serve as the first community vaccination clinic in the Eastern Zone, beginning March 8, 2021.

The vaccine roll-out is beginning with those who are 80+, as age is the most significant risk factor for COVID-19. To learn more about the provincial plan, please visit Nova Scotia’s COVID-19 immunization plan.

We are thrilled to partner with the provincial government to play a small role in this very important vaccination process. The safety and well-being of the Cape Breton community is so important to us and we are very much looking forward to brighter days ahead.

To launch the clinics, MSI will send letters to all Nova Scotians who are age 80 and older as of March 1. Anyone who turns 80 after March 1 will be able to book an appointment as of their 80th birthday. Appointments can be booked online at novascotia.ca/vaccination or by calling toll-free 1-833-797-7772 the week before the clinic opens.

The Canada Games Complex was scouted by Nova Scotia Health and secured as a location with easy community access and large space for efficiency in the vaccination process. There is no risk to the CBU community. Enhanced cleaning protocols and security details will be put in place for added protection and no vaccines will be stored on campus. I would like to thank Judy Kelley and the Max Bell Collaborative Care team for their important work on this project and for ensuring the safety and well-being of our campus community.

As always, please be diligent in following Public Health protocols including social distancing, wearing a mask, and staying home if you are sick. We can continue to protect each other by practicing good hygiene.

Yours very truly,

David C. Dingwall

To the CBU Community,

I am writing today to make you aware that Public Health has notified us of a second positive COVID-19 case connected to Cape Breton University. The student arrived this week, and since then has been isolating on-campus and following mandatory public health requirements. As with the first case, it was during this isolation time the student chose to participate in asymptomatic testing, which did produce a positive result. Again, the student continues to isolate with the proper health, mental health, and academic resources in place as an efficient support system.

Any contact tracing required is being managed by Public Health, and those considered to be close contacts have been notified. As always, we will continue to take direction and work closely with Public Health. To respect the privacy of this student, we will not be releasing any further information.

With our strong encouragement of asymptomatic testing, it comes as no surprise that a second case has been identified. As I stated earlier this week, it is proven that this testing helps identify cases before symptoms ever arise, allowing us to better protect each other. And so, I would like to extend a sincere thank you to this student who made the decision to participate in asymptomatic testing while in isolation and with the support of Public Health and CBU. This decision not only protects their own health but also protects the overall health of our entire community. Anyone who wishes to also participate in asymptomatic testing can do so by booking an appointment online.

Please know that because of the work of the Return to Campus committee, all of the proper policies and protocols are in place for the continued health, safety and well-being of those who work on campus. As always, remember to be kind to each other and protect each other by staying home if you are sick, wearing a mask and respecting physical distancing. We will continue to keep each other safe by working together.

Yours very truly,

David C. Dingwall

President & Vice-Chancellor

To the CBU Community,

I am writing tonight to make you aware that Public Health notified us late today of a positive COVID-19 case connected to Cape Breton University. The student arrived on January 5, and since then has been isolating off-campus and following mandatory public health requirements. It was during this isolation time the student chose to participate in asymptomatic testing, which we now know produced a positive result. The student continues to isolate with the proper health, mental health, and academic resources in place as an efficient support system.

I would like to personally thank this student for making the good decision to engage in asymptomatic testing. It is proven that this testing can help identify cases before symptoms ever arise, allowing us to better protect each other. As a community, we must continue to watch out for each other and keep each other safe. Anyone who wishes to also participate in asymptomatic testing can do so by booking an appointment online.

Any contact tracing required is being managed by Public Health, and those considered to be close contacts have been notified. We will continue to take direction and work closely with Public Health. To respect the privacy of this student, we will not be releasing any further information.

At this time, I would like to thank the CBU Return to Campus committee for their good work in preparing for this day. Because of their work, our plan was immediately mobilized and all precautions were in place to keep the community safe.

As always, remember to be kind and protect each other by staying home if you are sick, wearing a mask and respecting physical distancing. We will continue to keep each other safe by working together.

Yours very truly,

David C. Dingwall

President & Vice-Chancellor

To the CBU student community,

As you know, our country and the world continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic. After much consultation, it has been decided that the January 2021 semester will be delivered entirely online, with a limited number of exceptions in cases where in-person delivery is essential. This decision was informed and thoughtful and is made with the very best interest of our campus community in mind.  

On May 3, 2021, we will resume in person classes. Should epidemiology and/or other health and safety circumstances change and face-to-face teaching is not possible we will adjust our plan accordingly.

Our commitment to academic integrity, quality educational opportunities and positive student experiences remain. We will continue to support students through our student readiness resources and other areas of support. Increased access to the Library, Math and Science Centre, Writing Centre, Enrolment Services and others will begin in the coming weeks and increase during Winter Semester. We also plan to create some on-campus engagement opportunities for students when possible.

Faculty, staff and students have done an exceptional job over the summer months to prepare for online delivery, and the first weeks of the fall semester are going well. While there may still be challenges ahead, we will work hard to ensure a successful Winter 2021 term. 

On Friday, October 2, 2020, Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced amended travel restrictions to allow international students to enter Canada effective October 20, 2020, if their designated learning institution (DLI) has an COVID-19 readiness plan approved by their Province.

CBU is working with the Province of Nova Scotia to ensure our plan meets the criteria to ensure we are on the approved DLI list. The safety of our employees and students and the broader Cape Breton Island communities continues to be at the forefront of our planning.  Once on the approved DLI list, CBU will begin to provide international student with travel support letters so they may travel to Canada to complete their studies online. In order to receive the letter, students will have to provide their quarantine plan and fill out an online application. The ultimate decision for their entry into Canada rests with the Canada Border Services Agent, and students will be informed of the full process as more information becomes available. For those students who do not wish to study online we will communicate our deferral process. Please check your CBU email regularly for updates.

COVID-19 has created much uncertainty. We continue to work closely with the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness to ensure our response is informed by the most up-to-date information available from the Chief Medical Officer of Health for Nova Scotia. Rest assured, we are ensuring any and all on campus activity follows public health and safety protocols.

We know you will likely have many questions. Please know we are working diligently around the clock to get the answers. Specifics and details will follow in the coming days and weeks. In the meantime, should you have questions, please visit www.cbu.ca and read our FAQ.

Thank you for your patience and perseverance as we navigate this new normal. I look forward to being able to welcome you back to campus very soon.

Yours very truly,

David C. Dingwall

To our students,

I know during this unprecedented time you have faced many challenges. You are working hard to complete your studies, manage your personal life and keep healthy and safe. The added financial burden being placed on you due to the measures being taken to protect us all from COVID-19 is growing. I want you to know that we understand the challenges and are working hard, with our partners, to help address them.

Today, I am pleased to announce the establishment of the Perseverance: Student Relief Fund, an emergency bursary fund created to support CBU students facing hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic. Applications to the fund will be accepted starting next week. Please watch your email for additional information that will come from the CBU Financial Aid Office.

As well, you may have heard that yesterday the Government of Canada announced changes to the Canada Summer Jobs Program. To better assist in connecting CBU students with employers in Cape Breton and employment opportunities during the coming summer months, please complete this skills and housing survey.

Remember to practice social distancing and listen to the Chief Medical Officer of Health for Nova Scotia.

We’re in this together.

Yours Very Truly,

David C. Dingwall

President & Vice-Chancellor

To the University community,

Yesterday, Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil declared a public state of emergency (SOE) across the province and announced additional preventative measures to help stop the spread of COVID-19. The SOE order is to ensure the health and safety of Nova Scotians and will be in effect for 14 days.

As you know, this is a rapidly changing situation and our response continues to evolve with it. Thank you for your ongoing support as we work through these unprecedented times and move to a virtual operational environment.

Based on the new announcements made by Premier McNeil yesterday, effective Tuesday, March 24, 2020 at 5 pm, the University has decided the following:

Decisions:

  • The CBU library, computer labs and Tim Horton’s will close. Library services are being offered digitally.
  • Many subcommittees are working to develop plans to support students as the situation continues. 
  • All employees are required to work remotely to support CBU operations unless deemed an essential service by senior leadership. Those who are required to be on campus for their work, your health and safety are our top concerns. Department leaders have developed continuity plans with social distancing and health and safety protocols as mandatory components. Essential services include campus security, facilities management, finance office, IT services, residence, research equipment maintenance and animal care.
  • Campus facilities will be locked except for the Campus Centre entrance. Employees needing to come to campus must sign-in at the Campus Security Desk. There should be no reason for students to come to campus. Residence students are to stay at residence.
  • Human Resources continues to work with Directors and Managers to successfully set-up employees who will be working remotely. The goal is to have employees, who were not able to easily transition to a remote working format, ready to do so by Wednesday, March 25, 2020, at 12 noon. As departments adapt their processes to remote delivery, be sure to regularly check departmental pages on MyCBU so you’re able to continue with your work effectively.
  • The Information Desk originally planned for the Boardmore Theatre Box Office is now moving to a virtual delivery model. Students needing to connect with Student Affairs, the Registrar’s Office or Enrolment Services can email askme@cbu.ca or phone 1-888-959-9995.
  • All research activities that cannot be sustained remotely must be suspended. All campus-based research must be suspended. The ORGS intranet page will be the primary resource of information regarding all research activity. Check regularly for updates.
  • Campus Security will enforce the SOE order in residence to ensure all social distancing directives are adhered to. A meal hall schedule has been developed in order to manage numbers in Harriss Hall and additional measures have been implemented to help keep our students healthy and safe. Additional information will be sent directly to residence students.

Prevention

Remember, we all have a responsibility to stop the spread of COVID-19. Please follow the public health orders from the Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Robert Strang, for social distancing and healthy flu prevention practices like washing your hands frequently and staying home as much as possible. Please visitwww.cbu.ca/covid19 for more information.

We’re in this together.

Yours very truly,

David C. Dingwall

President & Vice-Chancellor

To the University community,

This is an unprecedented time in the world, in Canada, and, of course, at Cape Breton University. We continue to follow the lead of the Canadian and Nova Scotian Governments, while keeping the health and well-being of our campus community at the forefront. Thank you for your ongoing support as we move through this evolving situation and work to continue with our mission.

Social distancing remains our top concern. With that in mind, Cape Breton University has made the following new decisions:

Decisions

  • The CBU campus facilities are closed to the general public. Services for employees, students and the community are still open, but have moved to remote delivery.
  • The CBU Library is closed to the public; however, the space remains available for the use of computers and scanners only. Group meetings and activities are not permitted. Library services are being provided remotely, this will be monitored on a daily basis.  Hours have been further reduced to 10 am – 3 pm – Monday – Thursday, closed from Friday – Sunday.
  • For all other services, we will strive to balance health and safety goals and respect the directives from the Chief Medical Officer of Health, while working hard to ensure departments are able to continue to provide service and support to employees and students. With this in mind, we have developed business continuity plans that strive to minimize the number of people on campus, respect social-distancing, and also allow us to continue to offer quality service, primarily on a remote basis.
  • CBU is asking students and employees to communicate electronically or by telephone, but understand that some students may need to come to campus for various services such as Enrolment, Registrar’s Office, health and support services. Therefore, an information desk will be established in the Boardmore Theatre Box Office (Campus Centre entrance) that will be staffed on a rotational basis.
  • Internal services such as Finance, IT, Human Resources and Communications will continue but with some modifications.
  • Residence remains open for students who are unable to return to their home. Nova Scotian students have been directed by the Premier to return home, which will free up more space to improve social-distancing in the residences. Limited services will be provided and social-distancing is being monitored and is expected.
  • There will be no face-to-face courses offered during spring and summer semesters.  A Committee is working to develop a plan to determine which courses can be delivered remotely and an update will be provided as soon as more information is available.
  • A Committee is currently working with our partners to explore options for internships and experiential learning opportunities for the spring and summer semesters.
  • Max Bell Health Centre remains open regular hours; however, appointments are only being scheduled via phone or email. No drop-in appointments are permitted. Counselling Services continue via remote delivery and now include evening hours twice a week. (8:30 am – 4:30 pm Monday, Wednesday and Friday. 8:30 am – 8:00 pm Tuesday and Thursday).

Remember, it is important that we all do our part to stop the spread of COVID-19. Listen to the recommendations of the Nova Scotia Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Strang. Please practice social-distancing and encourage others to do so, wash your hands frequently, and practice good coughing and sneezing etiquette. We all have a responsibility to flatten the curve.

For current information about CBU’s response to COVID-19, please visit www.cbu.ca/covid19.

We are in this together.

Yours very truly,

David C. Dingwall

President & Vice-Chancellor

To the University Community,

This has been an interesting couple of days for our campus community. COVID-19 has presented us with many challenges in an unprecedented time. I am so proud of how we’ve come together to respond to this situation. We continue to follow the lead of the Nova Scotia Chief Medical Officer of Health and the Government of Canada.

In light of today’s Federal Government announcements to deny entry into Canada to people who are not a Canadian citizen or permanent resident (with exceptions), Cape Breton University is implementing the following new preventative measures, keeping social distancing top of mind:

Decisions

  1. Close campus to the general public/external community, with exceptions for service providers, contractors and Cape Breton Regional Municipality Transit riders using the CBU Transit Hub, effective Monday, March 16, 2020 at 5pm.
  2. Spring Convocation and associated celebratory events will be cancelled. We know that convocation is an important milestone but due to the practice of social distancing, the spring ceremony must be cancelled for the safety of our graduates, their families, our employees and the broader Cape Breton community. Students will receive a follow-up email directly from the Registrar’s Office with more information.
  3. The status of spring and summer semesters are being discussed and decisions are being made as more information becomes available. We do know, for courses scheduled to begin in May 2020, no new international students will be able to start classes. All students planning to travel to Canada to begin their studies in May 2020 will be deferred to a later start date.   All students enrolled for spring and summer semesters will receive a detailed email from Enrolment Services outlining next steps.
  4. Limit the number of people in campus common spaces, such as the library and cafeterias, to 50 people at one time. The Library will reduce its hours. Starting Tuesday, March 17, 2020, the library will be open 9 am to 5 pm on Monday – Friday and will be closed Saturday and Sunday. Computer labs will be limited to half capacity, meaning if a lab sits 50 people only 25 will be allowed in the lab at one time. Campus Security and IT Services will monitor these spaces.
  5. Provide options for working remotely. Directors and Managers have received information from Human Resources about department continuity planning. Employees will hear directly from their managers about working remotely while continuing university services and operations. At this point, working remotely is encouraged for all employees if possible.

I’d like to remind the campus community that because in-person course delivery format is no longer being offered, students are strongly encouraged to return home, if possible. Residence students who are unable to return home, essential services will continue to be offered. Students will hear from their professor by 4pm on Wednesday, March 18, 2020 about revised course assessment plans.

For the most current information about CBU’s response, please visit www.cbu.ca/covid19. I will keep you updated as this situation continues to evolve.

Yours very truly,

David C. Dingwall

President & Vice-Chancellor

To the University community,

Today, the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness announced three presumptive cases of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia. To date, based on the information available to us, CBU has implemented a number of preventative measures to help limit the spread of the virus should it arrive on our campus. These measures were outlined in a message I sent to the campus community on Saturday, March 14, 2020.  To read more about CBU’s response, visit www.cbu.ca/covid19.

Although there are no cases of COVID-19 on the CBU campus, with the new recommendations from the Province of Nova Scotia made today, in addition to the decisions already made, CBU has decided to implement the following:

Decisions

  1. Social distancing remains top of mind. For this reason, campus common spaces will be monitored by Security to ensure crowds stay under the 150 mark, as recommended by the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness. Alternative service delivery formats are being encouraged where possible.
  2. Limit the number of students in the library, at one time, to no more than 150 people and encourage the use of online services. There are many resources available on the library website to support academic success. Students, employees and visitors should use the online resources before visiting the library.
  3. Student Services, like the Writing Centre, Jennifer Keeping Centre, Math & Science Centre, Counselling Services, among others, will remain open, but remote delivery options, such as telephone, email and Microsoft Teams, are being encouraged whenever possible. 
  4. All food services operations in the main cafeteria, including the servery, Tim Horton’s and Downtown Nutrition, and the Verschuren Centre Cafe, will remain open, with a slight change in hours for Tim Horton’s (closing at 4:30 pm daily; 2 pm on Fridays). Harriss Hall dining is now limited to 5- and 7-day meal plan holders only and the Great Hall coffee kiosk will temporarily close, effective Monday, March 16, 2020.
  5. The CBU Daycare will be closed between Tuesday, March 17 and Friday, April 3, 2020 (inclusive), as directed today by the Province of Nova Scotia. CBU has been in contact with the childcare service provider.
  6. Provide remote options (telephone and Microsoft Teams) for all institutional meetings, this includes Senate, departmental, project meetings and more. If you need technical assistance, please contact IT Services at helpdesk@cbu.ca.

The Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL) has created some excellent resources for employees to help set up remote teaching, service delivery and meeting options. You can find this information on the MyCBU intranet.  Staff at the CTL and IT Services are ready to assist you as needed.

Pending Decisions

Discussions about Spring Convocation and spring & summer semesters continue. An update will be provided as soon as a decision is made.

Remote working options for employees. In consultation with directors and managers, remote working options for employees are being explored to ensure CBU is prepared to easily move operations in this direction.

Stay Informed 

Remember, the best way to prevent sickness is to follow healthy flu prevention practices. Also, stay informed by gathering information from credible sources. Visit www.cbu.ca/covid19 for the most current CBU response information, including decisions, FAQs and campus messages.

This is a rapidly changing situation that requires many complex decisions. I want to assure you that the Task Force is working hard to ensure the health and safety of our campus community and institutional continuity as things evolve. I will keep you updated. Thank you for your cooperation and patience.

Yours very truly,

David C. Dingwall

President & Vice-Chancellor

To the campus community,

The health and well-being of our employees is of the utmost importance to us. We understand that as an employee, you likely have questions about what the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation means for you. I want to assure you that we are diligently working through these scenarios, keeping in close contact with Union representatives, and more detailed information will be provided in the coming days.

For now, if you are concerned or anxious about physically coming to work because of personal health concerns or concerns for a dependent, please contact your direct supervisor or manager, and Katie Rideout, Manager of Human Resources, to discuss options and make the appropriate accommodations.

As an employee, you also have access to services through Morneau Shepell, and I encourage you to take advantage of those services, should you require them.

With the many unknowns that are currently being discussed, Cape Breton University remains committed to your health and well-being and will be as flexible as possible to ensure our community remains protected as we work to also maintain institutional continuity.

Thank you for your patience, and I will update you directly as soon as more information becomes available.

 Patti Merrigan

Director, Human Resources

 

 

 To all faculty and instructors,

From March 16-18, 2020, all in-person classes, in-community programming and labs will be suspended to allow faculty and instructors time to shift to alternative means of teaching for the remainder of the semester. 

Online courses will continue as usual and are not included in the suspension. After the three-day suspension there will be no in-person course delivery whatsoever. Online courses will continue as usual.

During the suspension time, deans and department chairs will work closely with faculty to assist as needed with any course modifications and alternative delivery methods that ensure social distancing. Further communication will follow with specific tools and a schedule of training options.

The Centre for Teaching and Learning has prepared a resource sheet to aid faculty in preparing alternative teaching methods. This is available on the CTL Intranet page that you can access through the following link. By Wednesday, March 18 at 4:00 pm, faculty will be responsible to inform students about any modifications to their courses. Again, I reiterate that after the three-day suspension there will be no in-person course delivery.

All in-person exams will be cancelled and faculty will determine alternative grading methods to ensure students are able to complete all course requirements for example, pro-rating work already completed, re-weighting existing assignments, take home exam, etc. Regardless of the alternative delivery method, the original schedule for class end dates, exam schedule and grade submission will be followed. Clinical placements, research activities and co-op work placements are continuing.

I know you likely have a lot of questions. I reiterate that the suspension time will be used to answer those questions and to have a plan in place by 4:00 pm on March 18. I also encourage you to check the cbu.ca page for regular updates. There is also a frequently asked question section on the website that will have more information.

We ask Deans and Department Chairs to ensure ALL MEMBERS of their School, including those teaching part-time or on an individual course basis receive this message.

Richard MacKinnon, Vice-President, Academic

and Tanya Brann-Barrett, Associate Vice-President, Academic and Research

To the University Community,

Information about COVID-19 is rapidly changing. Our response has always been guided by our commitment to the health and safety of our campus community and informed by recommendations being made by Dr. Robert Strang, Chief Medical Officer of Health of Nova Scotia and the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness. Additionally, we are very aware of our responsibility to Cape Breton Island communities, keeping in mind vulnerable populations and being considerate of those working in, and reliant upon, an already strained healthcare system. I thank you for your patience as we continue to work through this evolving situation.

Though there are no COVID-19 cases in Nova Scotia, as of Saturday, March 14, 2020, at 2:00 pm, Cape Breton University has decided to: 

I.             Decisions:

  1. Suspend all in-person classes, in-community programming and labs between Monday, March 16 and Wednesday, March 18, 2020 (inclusive), to allow administration and faculty to prepare for the transition to remote learning options and develop alternative assessment plans. Classes already being offered online are not affected and will carry on as usual. The campus will remain open and services will continue to be offered.
  2. Not conduct face-to-face exams this term. Faculty are being asked to revisit their assessment plans and consider whether take-home or digitally-delivered exams are feasible, or if there are other options that will work.

Following this message, faculty will hear directly from the Vice-President, Academic and Provost about remote learning tools and alternative assessment options. The Centre for Teaching and Learning is ready to assist faculty with this transition.

Students can expect to hear from their professors about their course assessments by no later than 4:00 pm on Wednesday, March 18, 2020.

  1. Although in-person classes are suspended, all employees should attend work as usual. The importance of social distancing is top of mind. Campus security will monitor common spaces to keep in align with directives from the Chief Medical Officer like the library and cafeteria. You’ll also notice increased sanitation efforts around campus. Employees will receive direct communication from Human Resources shortly.
  2. Residence: Residence buildings will remain open. Although we are not encouraging students to leave, if a student does decide to return home, please contact Doug Connors, Director of Housing, Food and Ancillary Services. Please note we will be limiting Harriss Hall dining to students with a 5 or 7-day meal plan only. Guest privileges in residence are also currently suspended until further notice.
  3. The CBU Fitness Centre: the fitness centre will close, effective today.
  1. Daycare: the daycare will remain open. We are coordinating with the operator and will monitor as more information becomes available. This falls within the directive from Nova Scotia, as there are less than 150 people in the vicinity.
  2. On-campus events scheduled from now until April 30, 2020, have been cancelled. This includes, but is not limited to:

March

  • March 13-15 – Science Atlantic Conference
  • March 16 – April 3 – Get Up and Move!
  • March 12-15 – One-Act Play Festival
  • March 17 – Alumni Thank You Luncheon
  • March 19 – Indie Film Series: Jordan River Anderson, The Messenger
  • March 19 – CBU Engineering Banquet
  • March 20 – CBU Curling Night
  • March 25 – Engineering Network Event at Kiju’s
  • March 25 – Science Fair
  • March 26 – Summer Job Fair
  • March 26 – Lachlan MacKinnon’s Closing Sysco Book Launch
  • March 30 – April 5 – Youth Theatre Festival

April

  • April 2 – CBU Athletics Awards
  • April 6 – CBU Ovation Concert
  • April 6 – Dingwall: Heading into Second Gear (luncheon event with Cape Breton Partnership)
  • April 7-20 – Exams
  • April 21 – Shannon School of Business End of Term Party
  • April 25 – Scholarship Reception
  • April 27 – May 3 – The Neverending Story
  • April 30 – Heritage Fair
  • Every Friday – CBU Learn to Skate Program

NOTE: ALL events are canceled, this list is not comprehensive. 

  1. Work-Integrated Learning: Students enroled in a co-op, practicum, internship or other placement at a location not affected by this situation can continue to attend their placements as normal. If you have any questions, please speak to your workplace supervisor and/or your placement officer.

II.                 Pending Decisions:

This is an evolving situation. The Task Force continues to meet regularly to assess our response and plan to ensure institutional continuity.

Convocation

A committee is currently reviewing Spring Convocation. This is an important tradition for our university and our students, with many family members travelling to celebrate the milestone. We must consider the health and safety of our campus and broader communities. An update will be provided as soon as a decision is made.

Spring & Summer Semesters 

A committee is reviewing remote learning options for spring and summer semesters. The committee is aware of the various start and end dates for certain programs and is working with colleagues across campus to ensure instructional continuity. We are also expecting to welcome roughly 300 new students in May. A committee is developing communications and preparedness plans to ensure incoming students are aware of both Canada Border Services Agency notices and Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness directives and are well informed to ensure their academic success.

III.              Prevention

Remember, the most effective way to protect yourself against sickness is to follow healthy flu prevention practices, including:

  • Washing your hands with soap and water
  • Staying home if you are sick
  • Washing high-touch surfaces
  • Practice social distancing by refraining from shaking hands and avoiding close contact with others whenever possible

If you are currently traveling or will be traveling internationally for personal reasons, upon returning to Canada, all travelers will be required to self-isolate for 14 days. Please contact your manager to let them know.

When to seek help?

If you have flu-like symptoms, stay home from class or work. Do not go to the Max Bell Health Centre or the local Emergency Room. Please complete the self-assessment questionnaire here. If you answer Yes to any of the questions under Section A and Yes to Question B, please call 811 and you will be advised of next steps. The Max Bell Health Centre is open for regular health and counselling services.

Stay Informed

I know there is a lot of misinformation circulating.  Please stay informed by gathering information from credible sources. Visit www.cbu.ca/covid19 for the most current information, FAQs and other resources.

Again, thank you for your patience and cooperation as we work through this changing situation. I will continue to keep the community updated as more information becomes available.

Yours very truly,

David C. Dingwall

President & Vice-Chancellor

To the University Community,

As you are aware, last week, I established a Presidential Task Force to lead pandemic planning for Cape Breton University. The Committee continues to meet and make decisions as the situation evolves and changes. Several sub-committees have been formed to keep the campus community safe and ensure instructional continuity should a disruption occur, for example, remote learning options.

The situation continues to change rapidly and our response may change as more information becomes available. Later today, I will be speaking with the Council of Nova Scotia University Presidents to discuss options as we work together in a united fashion to coordinate the most appropriate response across the Nova Scotia university sector.

Although the risk remains low in Nova Scotia and there are no confirmed cases, with the recent decision by the World Health Organization to officially declare Covid-19 a pandemic and the Government of Nova Scotia’s recommendations to prevent the spread of disease, CBU has made the following decisions:

Events and Large Gatherings

CBU has decided to cancel all upcoming events until March 31, 2020. This decision was not made lightly but is made to prevent and slow the spread of COVID-19, to protect vulnerable populations, and to be considerate of our already strained healthcare system. As I mentioned, there are still no confirmed cases in Nova Scotia, and this preventative measure is being implemented with the health and well-being of our community in mind. This decision will be re-evaluated as the situation evolves, and the community will be made aware of any changes immediately.

Travel 

All non-essential work-related travel is canceled effective immediately, this includes domestic and international. Employees who have already incurred out-of-pocket costs for work-related travel can make arrangements for reimbursement through the appropriate funding body (RISE, PD Fund, or their School).

If you are currently traveling or will be traveling internationally for personal reasons, upon returning to Canada, all travelers will be required to self-isolate for 14 days.

Remember, the most effective way to protect yourself against sickness is to follow healthy flu prevention practices, including:

  • Washing your hands with soap and water
  • Staying home if you are sick
  • Washing high-touch surfaces

If you have flu-like symptoms, stay home from class or work. Prior to calling 811, please complete the self-assessment questionnaire here. If you answer Yes to any of the questions under Section A and Yes to Question B, please call 811 and you will be advised of next steps.

I’d also like to address the fact that the University is aware there is an abundance of misinformation being shared right now. Let me be clear, there are no cases of COVID-19 on campus, or in Nova Scotia. We are aware of some employees and students who have traveled internationally recently, and were potentially exposed to the virus. Those individuals are self-isolating and are working closely with the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness.

More information about the COVID-19 virus can be found here.  This webpage will be updated as more information becomes available, likely daily. If you have questions, please reach out to the Max Bell Health Centre at healthservices@cbu.ca.

If you are a student and are feeling anxious, in addition to resources at the Max Bell Health Centre, there are tools available to you through the HealthlyMindsNS program.

If you are an employee feeling anxious, please consider using the services provided by CBU’s EFAP program.

As always, the safety and well-being of the CBU community is of the utmost importance. We will keep you updated as the situation evolves.

Yours very truly,

David C. Dingwall

President & Vice-Chancellor

To the University community,

Last week, I established a Presidential Task Force to lead pandemic planning for Cape Breton University. John Mayich, Director, Student Affairs, and Patti Merrigan, Director, Human Resources, have been appointed co-chairs of the Committee.  Initially, the Committee will focus on contingency planning for Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) to ensure CBU is fully prepared should the COVID-19 situation worsen.

We know that information about the virus is changing rapidly which may be causing some concern for our campus community. I want you to know that, since mid-January, CBU has been consulting with the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness to help inform our response and will continue to do so as the situation evolves. As of today, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia.

Remember, the most effective way to protect yourself against sickness is to follow healthy flu prevention practices, like washing your hands with soap and water and staying home if you are sick.

More information about the COVID-19 virus can be found here.  This webpage will be updated as more information becomes available. If you have questions, please reach out to the Max Bell Health Centre at healthservices@cbu.ca.

Yours very truly,

David C. Dingwall

President & Vice-Chancellor

To the University Community,

Recent news of the Novel Coronavirus in Wuhan, China may have you wondering about travel and the spread of the virus to other locations.  Please be assured that the university is aware of the situation and is keeping in regular contact with Public Health Officials in Nova Scotia.  At this time, there are no laboratory confirmed cases of Novel Coronavirus in Nova Scotia, and according to Health Canada, the risk of Canadians contracting the Novel Coronavirus is low. 

The Public Health Agency of Canada is working with international partners to actively monitor the situation and is posting updates online. Public Health Officials in Nova Scotia will advise us should we need to take any specific precautions.

That said, this is a common time of year to develop respiratory and flu like symptoms. Practicing good health habits is always recommended. To reduce exposure and the transmission of illnesses, you should follow usual health precautions such as:

  • Washing your hands often with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoiding contact with people who are sick
  • Practicing proper etiquette by covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze
  • Staying home if you are sick

If you have recently travelled to China, in particular to Wuhan, and you are experiencing respiratory symptoms (fever, cough, and difficulty breathing), please call 811 or contact Max Bell Health and Counselling Services Centre at 902-563-1359. Please tell the receptionist about your travel history when booking the appointment at Max Bell.

Thank you,

Judy Kelley

To the University Community,

This week, Cape Breton University participated in a sector-wide call with the Nova Scotia Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Robert Strang, to discuss Novel Coronavirus. Based on the information we received, I want to reassure you that, at this time, the risk to Nova Scotians remains low.

As usual, at this time of year, healthy flu prevention practices are being recommended. You may have also noticed that our cleaning staff has increased their efforts and are using new equipment to help with flu prevention.

Please keep in mind that there is a lot of misinformation about the Novel Coronavirus being shared on social media and via other channels.  Max Bell Health Centre staff are fully updated on current assessment practices related to Novel Coronavirus and are following the recommendations given by Dr. Strang.  If you or your students have any concerns, staff at the Max Bell Health Centre are available to talk. If you are feeling anxious, in addition to resources at the Max Bell Health Centre, there are tools available to you through the HealthlyMindsNS program.

Healthy Flu Prevention Habits

  • Washing your hands often with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoiding contact with people who are sick
  • Practicing proper etiquette by covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze
  • Staying home if you are sick

Please note that use of masks by the general public for respiratory illnesses such as influenza and novel coronavirus have not been shown to be effective in preventing virus spread and are not recommended for prevention.

As this situation evolves, we will continue to work with the Department of Health and Wellness and will keep you updated as more information becomes available.

For more information about the Novel Coronavirus, visit the Health Canada website or the Province of Nova Scotia website.

Judy Kelley