The health and safety of our community is our number one priority. The situation is rapidly evolving, and we will continue to adjust our institutional response plan as necessary.

Our ERT and Executive Teams are working closely with provincial Ministries to monitor the emerging COVID-19 situation and provide the most up to date responses to keep you and the community as safe as possible.

I have spoken with officials from the Government of Alberta within the last hour and have received directives which we are sharing with you. We continue to monitor the World Health Organization, Health Canada, and Alberta Health bulletins several times daily to keep abreast of the situation and to inform our planning. We will update you as needed.

Below is information about the virus, precautions, and some travel restrictions the University has just put in place to provide the most cautious approach to mitigating risk to our population.

Currently, Albertans not travelling outside the country are at a low level of risk to contract the virus. Please take a moment to review the safety guidelines from Alberta Health Services below.

Travel restrictions while conducting university business
Effective immediately, all travel (staff, faculty and students) to locations designated by Global Affairs Canada as “Level 3 – avoid all non-essential travel” and “Level 4 – avoid all travel” is suspended until further notice. The Emergency Response Team must approve all university related travel to level 3 and level 4 locations. To seek approval, submit your request to ert@stmu.ca with details on why travel would be considered essential.

All travel outside Alberta not considered vital to the academic mission of the university is also suspended.
If you are uncertain or require advice about this requirement, please discuss with your supervisor (i.e. director, chair, and/or dean).

No member of the community is expected to travel on behalf of the university if they are not comfortable doing so, even when it could be considered vital to the academic mission of the university.

Travelers are expected to take all reasonable precautions to minimize the likelihood of exposing the university community to increased risk upon their return.

Staff, faculty and students already abroad on University business should contact their supervisor (i.e. director, chair, and/or dean) to ascertain whether they should return home and what precautions they are to take once back in Alberta.

Registering travel with the university
Effective immediately, all employees travelling outside the province of Alberta on university business are required to register their travel plans with their appropriate Vice-President.

Personal travel
Before booking or embarking on travel outside the province of Alberta, all members of the university community are strongly encouraged to evaluate all associated risks, which may include the risk of becoming ill, falling under the restrictions of a foreign government, or forfeiting traveler’s cancellation or medical coverage.

All members of the community returning from a jurisdiction with an active travel health notice from the Government of Canada, whether the travel was business or personal travel, are expected to take reasonable steps to prevent exposing our community to risk. This includes self-monitoring and, if returning from a level 3 or level 4 locations such as Hubei province, China, northern Italy or Iran self-isolating for 14 days.

If a member of the household is required to self-isolate
All members of the university community who share a household with an individual who is self-isolating due to a reasonable risk of exposure to COVID-19 are expected to do likewise unless advised otherwise by Alberta Health Services. University employees are expected to discuss the situation with their supervisor (i.e. director, chair, and/or dean) and make alternate arrangements, such as telecommuting, to the extent possible.

Visitors to St. Mary’s University campus
All visitors and contractors are expected to take all reasonable precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to members of St. Mary’s University community, including the precautions described above.

If a member of the university community has plans to host visitors to St. Mary’s University, they are required to assess the risk exposing the community to COVID-19. This includes confirming that any visitors who have travelled to or from high-risk locations designated by Global Affairs Canada as “Level 3” and “Level 4” have taken the appropriate steps regarding self-isolation for 14 days regardless of their current health. Individuals in self isolation should closely watch for symptoms such as fever, cough or difficulty breathing and call Health Link (811) if any of these symptoms are noted. If the university host is unable to attain reasonable assurance that there is no risk to the community, they should consider cancelling the visit or making alternate arrangements.

Infection control expectations
With the recent confirmation of a presumptive case of COVID-19 in the Calgary region, it is vital that everyone maintain high levels of infection control. Regardless of your status as staff, student, contractor or visitor, if you are conducting university business and/or attending our campus, you are expected to follow basic precautions, and must:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water often. If soap and water are not readily available, you can use alcohol-based hand sanitizer, if hands are not visibly dirty.
  • Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.
  • Use a tissue when you cough or sneeze and throw it in a garbage bin lined with a plastic bag.
  • If you don’t have a tissue, sneeze or cough into your sleeve.
  • Wash your hands immediately after coughing and/or sneezing.
  • Stay home if you’re sick.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces that are shared and used often.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the coronavirus (COVID-19) a pandemic. As per information from medical health experts and the Public Health Agency of Canada, the risk to Canadians remains low, however, in order to mitigate the risk of COVID-19, everyone has a role to play.

St. Mary’s University is closely monitoring the situation and University leaders will share any new information that we have received as soon as it becomes available. St. Mary’s will also update any health and safety procedures, as needed, as more information on the outbreak is released.

For more information regarding COVID-19 and best practices for keeping you and your community healthy, please refer to the following links:
https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/being-prepared.html
https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/topics/Page16944.aspx