Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information

Information about COVID-19 is rapidly changing. To date, based on the information available to us, and although there are no cases of COVID-19 on CBU campus, CBU has implemented a number of preventative measures to help limit the spread of the virus should it arrive on our campus. Our response has been guided by our commitment to the health and safety of the campus community and informed by the Nova Scotia Chief Medical Officer of Health and the Government of Canada.

For an overview of CBU’s response and major decisions, please continue reading below. With so much information being shared at once, we understand that uncertainties can arise. We have created various FAQ pages to address your questions and concerns.

Frequently Asked Questions

COVID-19/Health Related FAQs Campus/Student Services FAQs Admission FAQs Convocation FAQs State of Emergency FAQs International Student FAQs Residence Student FAQs

 

Other questions? Email us at covid19@cbu.ca

CBU Response and Decisions

Since mid-January, CBU has been working closely with the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness to ensure our response aligns with the recommendations being made by the Chief Medical Officer of Health.  

In early March, President Dingwall established a Pandemic Planning Task Force to focus on response and  contingency planning should the COVID-19 situation worsen. 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 currently meets weekly, with sub-committees meeting daily, to make informed decisions as the situation evolves. 

As well, CBU is participating in the CONSUP (Council of Nova Scotia University Presidents) COVID-19 Working Group. Dr. Tanya Brann-Barrett, Associate Vice-President, Academic & Research, is representing CBU. 

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 are outlined below:

  1. CBU campus facilities are now closed. Services for employees, students and the community have moved to remote delivery. This includes the CBU library, computer labs and Tim Horton’s. Library services are being offered digitally.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Many subcommittees are working to develop plans to support students as the situation continues. 
  5. In-person classes will not be held for the rest of winter semester.
  6. Face-to-face exams will not be conducted this term.
  7. Students and employees must communicate electronically or by telephone. 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.
  8. 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).
  9. 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. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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 travellers will be required to self-isolate for 14 days.
  12. Events and Large Gatherings: CBU has decided to cancel all upcoming events until April 30, 2020. On-campus events scheduled from now until April 30, 2020, have been cancelled.
  13. Spring Convocation: Spring Convocation and associated celebratory events have been cancelled. Options for celebrating at a later date are being explored.
  14. The CBU Daycare is closed until May 1, 2020, as directed by the Province of Nova Scotia. No fees will be charged during the closure.
  15. Spring & Summer Semesters: due to border restrictions, CBU is unable to welcome any new international students for spring & summer sessions. Students planning to start in May are being deferred to a later start date. 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.
  16. A Committee is currently working with our partners to explore options for internships and experiential learning opportunities for the spring and summer semesters.

Prevention

To minimize the spread of any respiratory virus (including things like the flu/influenza and COVID-19), the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness recommends the following:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water often. If soap and water are not readily available, you can use alcohol-based hand sanitizer, if hands are not visibly dirty.
  • Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.
  • Use a tissue when you cough or sneeze and throw it in a garbage bin lined with a plastic bag.
  • If you don’t have a tissue, sneeze or cough into your sleeve.
  • Wash your hands immediately after coughing and/or sneezing.
  • Stay home if you’re sick.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces that are shared and used often.

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.

For more information about COVID-19, please consult the following websites:

Other Resources

HealthyMindsNS

Keep Me Safe program.

International SOS

Questions? Email us at covid19@cbu.ca

Messages

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-assessmentquestionnaire 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 athealthservices@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 athealthservices@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