Updates for the U of A community December 31

December 31 COVID-19 update: Temporary measures | boosters | starting 2022 safely

31 December 2021

Posted: December 31, 11:45 a.m.

Winter 2022 will start online and with enhanced campus safety measures

On December 22, President Bill Flanagan shared the U of A's new Winter 2022 start safe plan, which includes three weeks of online courses and enhanced safety measures. The below temporary safety measures will be in place until at least January 23, while the university assesses the Omicron variant's potential impact, particularly after the holiday season. We will return to in-person activities as soon as it is safe to do so, and will provide a progress update on the temporary measures by January 18.

  • Teaching and learning will temporarily move online
  • On-campus activities, such as research, graduate student training, recreation services and study spaces, continue with physical distancing
  • ONEcard access will be needed for campus buildings
  • Work from home will continue
  • Campus in-person events move online or pause

Before coming to campus, be sure to check your inbox or the relevant campus activity webpages for the latest on-campus information during this winter’s safe start. See President Flanagan’s message for additional details » 

Boost your immunity -- third doses are available

Public health experts recommend getting a COVID-19 vaccine booster as soon as you are eligible. On December 21, the Government of Alberta announced all individuals aged 18 and older who received their second COVID-19 vaccine at least five months ago can now book a third dose. You can book your appointment for a third dose online with participating pharmacies or AHS by using the Alberta vaccine booking system or by calling AHS at 811.

Reminder: If you are living, working or going to school in Alberta, you can get the COVID-19 vaccine. You do not need an Alberta Health Care card in order to get the vaccine.

COVID-19 testing and isolation requirements are evolving 

In response to the Omicron variant of concern, COVID-19 testing and isolation requirements are evolving. In Alberta, if you have symptoms or if you test positive by PCR testing or by rapid antigen testing, you must isolate for at least 5 days (fully vaccinated) or 10 days (not fully vaccinated) from when your symptoms started or until they resolve (whichever is longer).

Check additional testing and isolation requirements that may apply to you:

If you are a U of A student, staff or faculty member, who is fully vaccinated, and you require rapid testing as part of your in-person U of A activity during the safe start to winter term, please contact your program coordinator or supervisor for additional guidance.

Supports are available if you need to stay home when unwell

Regardless of specific symptoms or testing status, U of A students, staff and faculty members must stay home if they are feeling sick. By taking care of yourself today, you’ll be in better shape to accomplish your goals tomorrow. Academic accommodations, work options, and wellness services are available. More information and resources >>

Winter 2022 on-campus health & safety guides

These quick reference guides highlight critical health and safety information for on-campus students, instructors and staff to reference throughout the semester: 

The 10-minute Coming to Campus eLearning module is another quick way to review health and safety information for faculty, staff and students who will be returning to in-person activities in January.

Supporting faculty, staff and students with family responsibilities

In Alberta, the Kindergarten to Grade 12 student winter break has been extended to January 10 provincewide. If needed, employees can discuss flexible work options with their supervisors and HR representatives. If impacted, students with family responsibilities are encouraged to reach out to their instructors or the Office of the Dean of Students as needed.

Refresh your continuity plans

To prepare for disruptions related to COVID-19 or other incidents, all U of A units should conduct continuity planning. As part of the U of A’s safe start to 2022, U of A team and activity managers should revisit and refresh their operational continuity plans in order to be prepared for possible multiple extended absences, outbreak scenarios, shifts to remote work, or other disruptions. During the pandemic, all university activities and spaces must be able to shut down, suspend, delegate, or shift operations within 24-48 hours, regardless of whether they are located on or off campus. Related resources: 

Celebrate carefully; social gatherings are a top source of transmission

As you mark this year’s end or the start of the new semester, please keep in mind that we are at a critical point in our fight against COVID-19 and its variants. Mandatory gathering restrictions remain in effect across Alberta to protect you, your household, and your community. Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Deena Hinshaw, has shared tips for protecting yourself and your loved ones while celebrating this season.

Please continue to check your U of A inbox and uab.ca/covid19 for updates. The next regular COVID-19 update is scheduled for January 14.

Are you CampusReady for 2022? A CampusReady pass is required for all U of A campuses, buildings and facilities for the winter semester. If you haven’t yet, use the U of A’s CampusReady system to upload your proof of vaccination or exemption and get your pass today.

General inquiries: U of A Public Health Response Team, phrtinfo@ualberta.ca