On Sept. 28, ASUS hosted a virtual Q&A session with Samantha Buttemer, associate program director for the Public Health and Preventative Medicine (PHPM) program at Queen’s, to encourage conversation around health and safety concerning COVID-19 on campus.
Buttemer introduced the roles that Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox, and Addington (KFL&A) Public Health, the University, and students play in order to ensure campus is safe for everyone. She said there’s currently significant protection in place on campus that should help students and faculty feel confident.
“We have a lot of things in place on campus that help us feel confident that campus is a safe space for people even if we know there is still some COVID-19 transmission in our community,” Buttemer said.
Buttemer said transmission reported on campus has been recorded by KFL&A Public Health. As reported on Sept. 24, transmission hasn’t occurred in classroom settings on campus.
“[Queen’s was] given permission [by KFL&A Public Health] to open up classrooms because we knew that we could control the environment and keep the risk low, and there’s substantial benefit […] we can ensure that students are learning the way they need to be learning,” Buttemer said.
“[In regard to] the individuals that were potentially infectious in their time on campus, we have seen zero transmission and there’s a few reasons why that is.”
She went on to explain the lack of transmission is due to the university’s “layered approach.”
“The layer of protection is through vaccination. The vast majority of students and staff and faculty are double-vaccinated,” Buttemer said.
Buttemer explained how people who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 are less likely to contract the virus in the first place.
Buttemer also expounded that when symptomatic individuals follow safety protocols, including staying at home when feeling ill, wearing masks, and being fully vaccinated, the Queen’s community prevents on-campus transmission.
“This year is unlike any other because people are staying home when they are unwell,” Buttemer added.
Asus, Covid-19, KFL&A Public Health
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