Students in residence “generally” following pandemic safety guidelines

Campus Security responds to 13 calls reporting students not physical distancing

About 1,800 students are living in residence this year. 
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Two weeks after moving in, students in residence are adjusting to an experience unlike that of any other year. 

About 1,800 students and 90 student staff members moved into University residence buildings during the week of Sept. 1-5. Students were placed on floors in cohorts with other students in their program.

Students are expected to uphold physical distancing within residence buildings and to wear a mask when leaving their rooms. 

Oliver Flis, president of the Residence Society (ResSoc), told The Journal students have “generally” been following these guidelines.

“For the most part, students understand. They know we’re in a pandemic,” he said. “They’ve all been doing their part to limit interaction and ensure that everybody’s being kept safe.”

Prior to moving in, students had to sign off on the Queen’s Student Code of Conduct and the Residence Community Standards, which document all the rules they’re required to follow.

“A lot of the students that are here are here because they have a need to be here,” Flis said. “They know that there isn’t really a meaningful alternative for them beyond residence. I think that’s kind of generated compliance with the guidelines.”

READ MORE: Move-in week sees Queen’s residences open for business

The 90 student staff members distributed throughout the residence buildings are responsible for enforcing the safety guidelines. Flis said they perform regular rotations through residence and remind students to adhere to the guidelines.

Students can also call the front desk to report a large gathering or other safety issues on their floor.

Should a student consistently disobey the guidelines, they’ll go through the standard process that manages conduct in residence.

“Students definitely carry a lot of responsibility,” Flis said.

Residence programming began on Sept. 6 after move-in finished. This year, all programming is happening online through a new communication platform called Raftr, which consolidates all of the information students living in residence need.

Through the platform, students can connect with staff and attend community meetings and other virtual residence events. According to Flis, “most” students have been attending the community meetings and the larger events have seen a turnout of a couple dozen students.

“I think every student who is here understands that this isn’t a normal year, and from the outset, business as usual was really a non-starter,” Flis said. “We do want to have an experience, but ultimately the number one priority is safety.”

READ MORE: Kingston Police respond to 255 noise complains in University district in two weeks 

According to Campus Security Director Todd Zimmerman, Campus Security has responded to 13 calls about students not maintaining physical distancing on campus from Sept. 8-17.

Campus Security has established extra patrols on campus to educate students about proper health and safety conduct. These patrols have resulted in four reports filed in the same time frame about students not social distancing.

“We do want to take an educational perspective, and try to teach people the proper measures,” Zimmerman said. “As the pandemic is not gone, we have to make sure we follow all the health guidelines.”

Principal Patrick Deane reminded students in a press release on Sept. 16 that they’re expected to follow the Queen’s Student Code of Conduct, public health guidelines, and government regulations. 

“Any student whose behaviour ignores provincial and other applicable regulations and is identified as a potential community safety risk, will be referred for review under our Student Code of Conduct and will be subject to sanctions available under the Code, including expulsion from the university,” he wrote.

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