March 25th 2021. Following the recent uptick of COVID-19 cases among Queen's University students in residence and off campus, Principal and Vice Chancellor of Queen's University, Patrick Deane has issued a statement reiterating the University's commitment to help protect the health and safety of all community members.
In his statement, Dr. Deane wrote "It is important that the community knows Queen’s takes its responsibility to help protect the health of all the citizens of Kingston very seriously and we are actively engaged in addressing and combating any further spread of the virus. Since the start of the pandemic, the university has worked in partnership with KFL&A Public Health, Kingston Police, the City, and Kingston Health Sciences Centre to promote awareness of public health regulations and respond to actions that put the health of the Kingston community at risk. On our campus, we have strict COVID protocols in place both within the residence community and in other areas."
In spite of these efforts, Queen's University students are have made up the majority of new cases in the KFL&A. Further, some students have not obeyed regulations, including those who attended a 140 person party the day before Dr. Keiran Moore's Section 22 class order came into effect.
"Sadly, the poor choices of a relatively small group of students has influenced public perceptions of our whole student body," Dr. Dean stated. He went on to say that the "vast majority of Queen’s students have worked hard to comply with the provincial government’s regulations and public health guidelines throughout the pandemic. Queen’s students, like all residents of Kingston, are subject to government regulations and enforcement measures related to COVID-19."
Addressing concerns that the University isn't doing enough to control students, Dr. Deane also stated that cases referred to the University "by Kingston Police or City By-Law that involve students who are alleged to have violated public health measures are considered under the Queen’s Non-Academic Misconduct process."
Queen's University has implemented asymptomatic testing for on and off campus students where students are visiting clinics to be tested. It has also taken additional measures to control the spread including the closure of the Athletics Centre, most on-campus commercial food outlets and reducing the number of common study spaces.
While Queen's University is also expanding its campaign to reach students in the community about COVID safety, Dr. Deane has also reminded them that no one is immune and further, "Queen's does not exist apart from Kingston. The university is committed to working together and our future depends upon our continued and combined efforts to stay safe and healthy so that we all might enjoy a brighter future."
Principal Deane's full statement is available on the Queen's University website under Covid 19 Information.