Townhall meeting answers questions on returning to campus

Around 60 per cent of Kingston population vaccinated with first dose

The university anticipates a full return to campus for Fall 2021.
On May 27, Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington (KFL&A) Public Health and Principal Patrick Deane hosted a town hall meeting to discuss questions surrounding the pandemic and the possibility of returning to in-person classes. 
“We find ourselves in a very interesting time, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel,” Deane said at the meeting. 
The town hall meeting kicked off with a presentation from Dr. Kieran Moore, KFL&A Medical Officer of Health. The presentation detailed updates on Kingston’s vaccine rollout.
“Our pandemic goal is to minimize mortality and morbidity, protect the health care system, and minimize negative consequences,” Moore said.
According to Moore, around 60 per cent of the city’s population has received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. He said there will be a decrease in the spread of virus. 
While immunization has increased, Moore added it’s still important for the public to remain diligent in wearing masks and maintaining hand hygiene as the spread of viruses like the coronavirus and the common cold, will be expected in the fall.
“I think over the winter, we still want to wear masks and have good hygiene because there will be other kinds of respiratory viruses,” he said. 
“We will be entering the fall with better knowledge of the virus and, with increased immunization rates, far lower risks associated with COVID-19.” 
Moore added that the allowance of large outdoor group gatherings, indoor gatherings, and indoor dining can be anticipated by August. 
When asked if social distancing will still be in place in the fall, Moore said there will still be limitations on classes that host large capacity, but classes can return in full. 
“There will be measures put in place. We will be encouraging screening and immunization monitoring,” he said. “There will be ongoing masking and hand hygiene in place.” 
Moore also announced KFL&A Public Health will work closely with Queen’s Student Wellness Services to ensure all returning students are vaccinated. 
“We’ll partner with [Queen’s] to ensure that students who are not immunized get further catch up,” he said. “The number of vaccines will be ever increasing in Ontario and KFL&A.” 
On returning back to normalcy on-campus, Deane and Vice-Provost Mark Green said the administration will ensure flexibility in classes for both faculty and students. 
“I do think everyone has the best of intention to finding themselves back in normality, but it will be difficult,” Deane said. “If individuals can work effectively from home, they should be able to continue to do that.” 
Deane also stated the administration will work on putting together remote working agreements for the faculties. 
“We will provide additional teaching support. If faculties decide to teach in person and remotely, we will offer it,” Green said. 
“We recognize the transitional period will be challenging, and we will be accommodating individual people’s needs and concerns,” Deane said.  

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