Fall 2021 COVID-19 Policy FAQs for Students
What vaccines are accepted?
Saint Mary’s University accepts the same vaccines as the province of Nova Scotia and the World Health Organization. Accepted vaccines are:
- Pfizer-BioNTech Comirnaty – 2 doses for full series
- Moderna Spikevax – 2 doses for full series
- AstraZeneca Vaxzevria/COVISHIELD – 2 doses for full series
- Janssen/Johnson & Johnson – 1 dose for full series*
- Sinopharm – 2 doses for full series*
- Sinovac-CoronaVac – 2 doses for full series*
*If you have been vaccinated with Janssen/Ad26 (Johnson & Johnson), Sinopharm or Sinovac-CoronaVac, and if you will be residing in Nova Scotia for longer than two months, the Department of Health and Wellness encourages that you receive an additional dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine to become optimally protected against COVID-19.
Can I get vaccinated on campus?
The on-campus vaccination clinic scheduled for October 25 has been cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances with Nova Scotia Health. Students or employees are encouraged to access walk-in COVID-19 vaccine clinics at pharmacies. We aim to reschedule the cancelled vaccination clinic and will communicate information on the rescheduled clinic with the SMU community if and when it becomes available.
The clinics will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on these dates at the Homburg Centre Community Room.
There are no bookings for these clinics. Alternatively, you may check out local pharmacies online for their schedule of vaccinations. Vaccinations are free of charge.
Am I required to provide proof of my vaccination?
Faculty, staff, and students are expected to submit a COVID-19 vaccination form by no later than October 15, 2021. The information will be kept confidential.
Under Phase 5 of Nova Scotia’s reopening plan, proof of vaccination is required to participate in discretionary, non-essential events and activities that gather people together. Proof of vaccination is required to enter the Gorsebrook Lounge and facilities in the Homburg Centre for Health & Wellness, the Dauphinee Centre, and the Huskies Stadium. Proof of vaccination is also required to attend sports or social events. You may need to show identification alongside your proof of vaccination.
How do I apply for a vaccination exemption?
What does “fully vaccinated” mean?
According to the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness, an individual is “fully vaccinated” 14 days or more after the receipt of the full series of an approved vaccine. This includes Health Canada authorized mixed vaccine schedules.
Can I leave quarantine to get a vaccination?
Can I get my second dose after October 15th?
What if I had a vaccine not approved in Nova Scotia?
You will either need to become fully vaccinated with a vaccine accepted by the province of Nova Scotia and the World Health Organization or comply with testing twice a week. To confirm the best approach for you, students are encouraged to call the following Nova Scotia Public Health lines: 1-800-430-9557 and 1-844-491-5890.
Do I need to wear a mask on campus?
Masks are required when you are moving around indoors, including in hallways and common spaces. Masks are required when you cannot maintain one metre of distance from others. Masks can be removed when you are seated (or in a stationary position, such as at a lab bench) as long as you are one metre apart from others. Masks can be removed while actively eating or drinking.
Do I need to wear a mask at events?
Requirements will vary depending on the event. Event organizers will communicate the rules for each event.
Can someone ask me to put on my mask?
Masks are required if you are moving around indoors or cannot maintain one metre of distance. Other students, staff, or faculty can request that you wear a mask. We ask that you be respectful if requested.
Where can I get tested?
Testing clinics are available on campus in the Sobey Building (Room SB159) beginning on September 13, 2021. Book an appointment for a free COVID-19 rapid test through Microsoft Bookings. Appointments can be booked up to two weeks in advance and we recommend spacing out appointments over 2-3 days if possible. You can also get free, take-home rapid test kits for you and your family from the Testing Centre in room SSB159 of the Sobey Building during their operating hours.
Do I have a choice between getting tested twice weekly or getting vaccinated?
We are requiring everyone on campus to be fully vaccinated by October 15. If you are not fully vaccinated with a vaccine that is accepted by the World Health Organization and Nova Scotian Government, you are required to be tested twice per week.
COVID-19 Cases on Campus
What if I test positive for COVID-19?
If a student tests positive for COVID-19, Saint Mary’s University will work with Nova Scotia Public Health to determine an appropriate response. This could include contacting close contacts or requesting that a student temporarily complete their coursework from isolation.
What if a COVID-19 exposure occurs on campus?
Saint Mary’s University follows the advice of Nova Scotia Public Health. Public Health will follow-up directly with those individuals who are likely to have had a potential exposure and will provide further instructions. The instructions from Public Health vary based on vaccination status:
- If you are fully vaccinated (your second dose of COVID-19 vaccine was 14 or more days before the date of the exposure), you are NOT required to self-isolate or to be tested unless you develop symptoms. If you develop symptoms, you are required to self-isolate, book a COVID-19 test, and remain isolated until you receive a negative COVID-19 test result.
- If you are not fully vaccinated (you have only had one dose of COVID-19 vaccine or have not received any COVID-19 vaccine), you are at risk of contracting COVID-19. You do NOT need to isolate unless you develop symptoms. We strongly recommend you get tested at least 72 hours after the exposure whether or not you have symptoms.
How far apart should I be from others?
Saint Mary’s University follows the province’s approved plan for post-secondary institutions and, as such, is required to have one metre (three feet) of physical distancing. This may differ from the COVID-19 restrictions in Nova Scotia.
What if I want greater physical distancing?
We encourage you to discuss this with your professor or a staff member. We encourage faculty and staff to remind others of the COVID-19 health and safety measures.
Classes and Campus
When can I be on campus?
You are welcome to be on campus at all times and enjoy regular activities including studying, eating and socializing. Under Phase 5 of Nova Scotia’s reopening plan, proof of vaccination is required to participate in discretionary, non-essential events and activities that gather people together. Proof of vaccination is required to enter the Gorsebrook Lounge and facilities in the Homburg Centre for Health & Wellness, the Dauphinee Centre, and the Huskies Stadium. Proof of vaccination is also required to attend sports or social events. You may need to show identification alongside your proof of vaccination.
Can classes switch back to online?
Saint Mary’s University follows the guidance of Nova Scotia Public Health. If the province mandates us to return to virtual operations, we will do so.
Can I attend online versions of classes?
There are many classes online. Please consult your academic advisor so that you make choices that work towards your degree completion.
What are classes like with COVID restrictions?
Classes will look very similar to past years, but people will wear masks as they enter, exit, or move around in classrooms. Once everyone is seated and if one metre of distancing is maintained, students and faculty can remove their masks.
If I am taking online classes only, do I need to get vaccinated or tested twice weekly?
If students are studying completely online and not going to campus, they do not need to be vaccinated or receive twice-weekly testing. If students plan on coming to campus at all, they are expected to get vaccinated or receive twice-weekly testing. We encourage all students, faculty, and staff to get vaccinated to help ensure the safety of our community.
Why does Saint Mary’s have different requirements than the province and other institutions?
Saint Mary’s University decided to bring in new measures for the Fall Term 2021 to ensure the health and safety of everyone in our community. The measures are designed to provide in-person activities and the ability to plan for the remainder of 2021. Several other universities in Nova Scotia have recently adopted similar approaches and are also requiring proof of vaccination, masking and social distancing.
Please visit the FAQS for students living in residence.