Student Return to Class Framework Winter 2021

The "Student Return to Class Framework and Protocol" will allow students to participate in optional academic experiences in some courses this Winter 2021 Term.

Overall, the framework will help students registered for a course that offers optional in-person experiences to understand better how it will work. Students can still complete all course work virtually this term, and all in-person academic experiences are optional.

Accessing Campus

If students choose to participate in an in-person experience on-campus, they must complete the Student Campus Check-In & Out Form as they arrive and leave campus. 

  • Upon on-campus arrival, students should try to enter and exit through a door closest to their classroom/lab. 
  • Students must wear masks in hallways and washrooms. When possible, people must maintain a two-metre physical distance between each other. People must wear a mask if a two-metre physical distance is not possible.

Classroom/Lab Experience 

  • In classrooms and labs, a physical distance of two meters will occur between students and participants. Masks in the classroom/lab are encouraged but not required as long as everyone maintains the two-metre physical distance.
  • Cleaning of classroom/lab surfaces will take place between each use.
  • The number of participants allowed in each classroom/lab will comply with Nova Scotia Public Health directives. 

Office Hours

By appointment only, students may meet with instructors in their offices during office hours. Students must wear masks while travelling to and from the instructor's office. It is encouraged to continue wearing the mask inside the office even if two-metre physical distancing is maintained.

Consent for In-Person Academic Activities

The top priority is the health and safety of all Saint Mary's community members. With any in-person activity, there is a risk of infection or exposure to COVID-19. 


For any in-person academic experience students participate in, they must review and complete an Informed Consent Form. It will provide them with important information about the risks of COVID-19 exposure and infection resulting from these interactions. Additionally, it will help all community members understand the risks before participation. If a student chooses to participate, the form will acknowledge that you are aware of the risks involved in participating in these experiences.


The form being distributed is not a waiver, nor does it alleviate the university of its responsibilities in providing safe experiences to students. The purpose of the form is to ensure that students are aware of the risks that Covid-19 presents.  

To review a PDF copy, please click on the Informed Consent Form. Should there be questions about the form, please send an email to

How and when to complete the Informed Consent form:

  1. Students registered in courses with optional in-person experiences will receive an email via DocuSign® to their preferred email address. The email will contain a link to the DocuSign® portal which will provide instructions to complete and submit the form. Please complete the form before attending your first in-person activity.

  2. You only need to complete the form once, for the entire term. If you have multiple courses with in-person experiences, completing the form once will cover all in-person experiences across multiple courses.

Responding to COVID-19 Exposure in a Classroom/Lab

Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms should complete an online assessment and follow Nova Scotia Public Health directives. 

  • If students get tested or are waiting on test results within 14 days after participating in an in-person academic experience, please notify your instructor.
  • Nova Scotia Public Health will conduct all contact tracing and health directives to people who were exposed. The university will provide communication to students. 
  • If students participate in an in-person academic experience and test positive for COVID-19 during the next 14 days, they must complete the SMU COVID-19 Report Form.

If there are any questions about the in-person academic experience in their course/lab, students should contact their instructor.

The ability to offer optional in-person academic experiences is a momentous achievement for Saint Mary's University.  It also reflects our community's dedication and adherence to health and safety protocols. Please continue remaining vigilant in the efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 so we can continue on our path to a return to our vibrant campus.


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