COVID-19 Communications

Communication #1

Communication #2

Communication #3

Specific Info for Residents

Communication #4

URGENT: SJC RESIDENTS REQUIRED TO MOVE OUT

PLEASE NOTE: THE INFORMATION IN THIS COMMUNICATION OVERRIDES ALL PREVIOUS COMMUNICATION FROM THE COLLEGE

March 20, 2020

Dear SJC Resident,

Unfortunately with the increase of 49 cases in the province in just one day, with a local state of emergency just been declared in Edmonton in addition to the confirmation this afternoon that there will not be in-person exams, residents will be required to move out by March 24 at 4pm to protect against the spread of COVID-19. This is a decision made late this afternoon by the University of Alberta, and SJC is working closely with the UofA on this health and safety decision. We hoped to be able to support you with residence services longer, but this is now beyond our ability.

If you face a situation that prevents you from leaving by Tuesday at 4pm, please complete this brief application for an exception by Sunday at Noon https://forms.gle/imgBke4HDXGRCJju5. A request for an exception might include reasons such as being an international student unable to travel to home country or currently in self-isolation. It will also ask you how long you require housing here in Edmonton. There is no guarantee we will be able to accommodate your request. However, if an exception is made, we will be working with the University of Alberta to provide housing for you. It may or may not occur at the SJC Women's Residence.

We understand that this is a very difficult time for you. We were hoping to provide housing here at SJC for as long as possible, and were planning and communicating accordingly. However, we need to keep in mind the safety of all our students and we are working closely with the University in doing so. We will do our best to respond to your specific questions and concerns in a timely matter.

Sincerely,

SJC Emergency Response Team

Specific Info for Residents

March 19, 2020

Dear Residents of St. Joseph’s College:

The college’s Emergency Response Team (ERT) would like to share some additional information to address some of the commonly asked questions. This email is specific to residents, and we've also updated our webpage with a FAQ section for your convenience. https://www.ualberta.ca/st-josephs/index.html

If you are feeling ill, inform Mark Ferne (ferne@ualberta.ca) immediately. We would also encourage you to utilize the Government of Alberta’s self-assessment, which will provide you with next steps.

https://myhealth.alberta.ca/Journey/COVID-19/Pages/COVID-Self-Assessment.aspx?utm_source=google&utm_medium=sem&utm_campaign=Covid19&utm_term=self-assessment&utm_content=GoA-v1&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI9-SVrdql6AIVsRx9Ch2QkQ8XEAAYASAAEgLFw_D_BwE

For those of you stating you will leave before April 1: As you heard from our Noon email from Father Terry, you may want to consider leaving soon versus waiting for another two weeks. In watching how other cities, provinces/states, and countries are handling this pandemic, there is a chance that your travel will be severely affected, as each day more and more restrictions are put in place. SJC understands that for many students, SJC is your only option, and we are prepared to support you. We simply want to encourage those with options to consider them, and soon. 

Taking things home and leaving them behind: Thank you for your fast completion of the survey Monday, and informing us your plans with storage. If you are checking out, be sure to leave campus with all your belongings, including those stored in places beyond your room (basement of the MR, storage rooms in WR, etc.). If you are storing items at SJC until you return as a resident this fall, be sure to label all boxes with your name and cell number and leave them in your room. We have limited storage space, so please be considerate.

25% Refunds and Damage Deposits: Cheques will be mailed to your permanent address over the summer. If you are returning to live at SJC, deposits will roll over and refunds will be applied to the Fall Term bill. 

Changes to the Men's Residence Hours: In line with the University of Alberta decreasing building hours, effective Friday evening, we will be securing the Men's Residence on weekends moving forward. Residents of the building will need to use their keys to access it from the outside. Female residents that would like to eat at the dining hall will need to call the RLA on-call (780-940-3726) to get access to the building. Saturday meals occur between 7:30-9:30am, 11-2pm, and 4:30-7:30pm. Sunday meals occur between 10-2pm and 4:30-7:30pm. 

Email Communication: I know a number of you have been sending emails to a variety of staff and faculty with specific questions. We are doing our best to reply to all of your concerns, especially through these longer, general communications. If you have questions that can’t be addressed through our SJC and COVID-19 messages, know that it will take longer than usual to reply. Thanks for your patience during this hectic time, and if your question can wait for a bit, we’d appreciate it.

As we stated in past communication, this is a very challenging and stressful time. If you would like to talk about what you are going through, you can contact Mona-Lee and Theresa at sjccm@ualberta.ca to set up a phone appointment. Questions specific to aspects of living at SJC or moving out can go to sjcres@ualberta.ca or to ferne@ualberta.ca.

Sincerely,

SJC Emergency Response Team


Communication #3

March 19, 2020

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff and Worshipping Community of St. Joseph’s College

The world is facing a global pandemic that has not been experienced for over a century. Consequently, the College Emergency Response Team has met every day since Monday. As previously stated, our number one priority at SJC is the health, safety, and well-being of our community members, whether Faculty, Staff, Students, or Worshipping Community. We will be posting these updates as they come out on the SJC website. Please remember to also check the University’s COVID-19 Information Page as well as the Government of Alberta COVID-19 Info Page.

You are probably aware that the world has changed significantly since last Saturday, 14 March. At that time there were 39 cases of Covid-19 in Alberta. Four days later on Wednesday 18 March, there were 119 cases. This represents more than a 300% increase in cases. Consequently the Province of Alberta has declared a public health emergency, elective surgeries have been postponed in order to free up health care resources, alternate hospital sites have been identified in the Province, the border with the United States has been closed to non-essential travel, gatherings have been limited to 50 people and are subject to social distance guidelines, SJC men’s and women’s formals have been cancelled, all classes at the University of Alberta have moved to remote delivery, SJC has identified essential staff and services and has limited staff presence in the building by activating remote working protocols, The Archdiocese of Edmonton has cancelled masses and has dispensed the faithful from the obligation of attending Sunday mass until further notice. 

Further, after University classes went to remote delivery, many students wisely have exercised the option to return to their homes before such time any severe travel restrictions take effect which is always a possibility as more and more countries around the world are introducing various forms of a cordon sanitaire that restricts movement even within sovereign boundaries, cities and other geographical regions. We recognize that some of our students, particularly international students, no longer have the option of returning home. We will continue to support those students to the best of our ability. We continue to support all our students including any others who should decide to rejoin their families earlier than they might have planned. Today, there are still no confirmed cases of Covid-19 in our residences. Yesterday evening, however, three of our residents were placed in isolation as a precautionary measure.

Two of the individuals in isolation have not been feeling well since last Thursday, but residence staff only found out Wednesday evening.

  1. It is essential, first of all, that anyone who does not feel well immediately self isolates and lets residence staff know right away. Saint Joseph’s College and the University of Alberta have procedures in place to protect not only those who are sick, but everyone else in the residences as well. But we cannot activate those procedures if our residence staff are not informed.  
  2. Second, right after you self-isolate and advise residence staff, go to the Alberta Health Services Self-assessment tool, complete it, and follow any instructions therein: https://myhealth.alberta.ca/Journey/COVID-19/Pages/COVID-Self-Assessment.aspx?utm_source=google&utm_medium=sem&utm_campaign=Covid19&utm_term=self-assessment&utm_content=GoA-v1&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI9-SVrdql6AIVsRx9Ch2QkQ8XEAAYASAAEgLFw_D_BwE
  3. Third, do NOT go to the hospital; do NOT  go to any clinic or emergency department.
  4. Fourth, if you experience difficulty breathing at any time during your isolation, call 911 immediately. 

From the outset, the World Health Organization and various Public Health agencies in Canada have emphasized that the elderly and those with compromised immune systems are at particular risk of developing complications from this disease. Unfortunately, many younger and healthy people have misinterpreted this emphasis and have incorrectly and, in many cases, fatally assumed that they are immune from the disease or from developing complications. The fact is that many healthy young people have died from this disease, particularly in China and Italy—the countries so far hit hardest by this disease. 

As you can see the situation is serious, but we believe we have put in place appropriate measures to protect everyone under the circumstances. Each of us has to do our part to protect each other. I am relying on everyone at the College to continue doing so.

On this the Solemnity of St. Joseph—the patron of our College, our Archdiocese and our Country—I offer the following prayer on behalf of all:

Comfort us, O Lord, for we are like your disciples in the storm-tossed seas, unsettled by what lies ahead.

We turn to You, our Healer and Guide, to still our hearts in our time of need and hear our prayer:

Heal those who are sick with the coronavirus and protect the elderly and most vulnerable.

Give strength to all who tend to our health, and wisdom to researchers who work toward a cure.

Open our eyes and hearts, that we may look beyond our immediate needs to care for others who need help.

Through the Holy Spirit, guide our leaders to make wise decisions for the welfare of all the people they serve.

Grant eternal rest to those who have died from the virus.

May Mary, Our Mother, who has heard our pleas in the storms of our lives, intercede to her Son, that we may find healing and a prompt end to this illness.

St. Joseph, pray for us.

Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior, heal us.

Amen.

Fr. Terry Kersch, CSB, PhD

President

Saint Joseph’s College Emergency Response Team


Communication #2

March 16, 2020

To the Faculty, Staff, Students, and Worshipping Community of St. Joseph’s College

The COVID-19 situation in Alberta continues to unfold on a daily basis. As previously stated our number one priority at SJC is the health, safety, and well-being of our community members, whether Faculty, Staff, Students, or Worshipping Community. We will be posting these updates as they come out on the SJC website. Please remember to also check the University’s COVID-19 Information Page as well as the Government of Alberta COVID-19 Info Page.

The college’s Emergency Response Team (ERT) met this morning and would like to communicate the following information:

General Information

  • Until further notice, no SJC Faculty, Staff, or Students will be permitted to travel outside of Alberta if they are engaged in activities on behalf of SJC.
  • SJC community members returning from outside Canada are required to self-isolate for 14 days and monitor for symptoms.
  • All those living in SJC residences or otherwise making use of the SJC buildings to study or meet with people are asked to be especially diligent about washing or sanitizing their hands, avoiding touching their face, and staying home if they are feeling ill.
  • For the last three weeks, we have had enhanced cleaning procedures, especially in high-touch areas.

Upcoming Events Information

  • All upcoming St. Joseph’s College events are cancelled. This includes large-scale events (such as the Men’s Formal, Women’s Formal, Friars’ Ball, Father Terry’s Farewell Party, etc.) and small-scale events (such as tonight’s Alcohol Education program, floor programs, and Alpha). This is in line with the Prime Minister’s remarks earlier today in which he stressed the importance of restricting social interaction and staying home.
  • Due to low numbers currently attending, Mass is still happening until we hear otherwise.
  • We understand that it is human nature for students to gather. If that occurs, we ask that it only occurs in VERY small groups (under 8 people) and that you implement the guidelines provided by the Government of Alberta:
    • Be sure to have hand sanitizer readily available;
    • Ill individuals must not attend;
    • Keep at least 1-2 metres apart from each other.

Residence Move-Out Procedures and Room/Board reimbursement

  • A number of you have requested to move-out of the residences immediately. We are asking all residents to please complete the quick Google Form located here: https://forms.gle/wUX4HmYZafKKdEyc7. You’ll see in that form you have a few options (also listed below). For everyone's safety and well-being, PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE TRASH OR RECYCLING IN THE HALLWAY OR IN YOUR ROOM/SPACES. Please take it outside to the two dumpsters between the two buildings.
    • OPTION ONE: Remain in your space until the conclusion of your lease. Food will continue to be provided until further notice, but with significant changes (see below). Check-out will occur toward the end of April, or whatever date is indicated on your Lease Agreement if you are on a 12 month lease or have an extension for Spring or Summer.
    • OPTION TWO: Check out of your space within the next two weeks, taking all of your belongings. You would check out of your room similar to the end of the term. Do your best to clean your space. Keys can be turned into staff offices on the first floor of the Men’s Residence, or placed in a labeled envelope (full name, cell phone, mailing address) and slid into the silver box in the Women’s Residence near the office, or given to your RLA if they are available. If you turn in keys and empty your space before April 1, SJC will reimburse you 25% of your rent and your meal plan. Because the vast majority of your House Fees have already been spent, there are no plans to pro-rate that amount at this time.
    • OPTION THREE: Leave your space, turn in your keys, and leave items behind in your room for storage between now and August. Please box all your items, label them with name and cell number, and leave them in your room. Cost is $250 for this storage service which will be deducted from your 25% refund.

Dining Hall Information

  • The Dining Hall will continue to be open for residents as follows:
    • 7:30 - 9:30 AM for Breakfast,
    • 11:00 - 2:00 for Lunch, and,
    • 4:30 - 7:30 for Dinner.
  • The gate will be closed for all other hours to ensure staff are able to concentrate on sanitization procedures and plating of food for meal services.  There will no longer be buffet style service as of the 4:30 Dinner service March 16th, 2020. A plated salad and plated dinner will be available for each meal service. You will be able to have more than one plate, but it is plated meal service effective this afternoon. 
  • We have eliminated a number of chairs from the tables and ask that residents practice social distancing by sitting with space between chairs.  If no chairs are available (i.e., all of the seats are currently taken), please take your meals in to-go containers and leave the area.  Do not use chairs that have been stacked and placed to the side. 

Library Information

  • The SJC Library is closed until further notice, following the U of A Libraries' procedures (https://library.ualberta.ca/COVID-19
  • The library will cancel late fees from March 13 until the situation changes. Again, you do not need to come to campus to return or renew your materials. Please do so online wherever possible. 
  • Please disregard any notices or emails you receive from the library at this time. We are working on updating our systems.

Remember that this is a very challenging and stressful time, and you can contact Mona-Lee and Theresa at sjccm@ualberta.ca to set up a phone appointment to talk if you want.

Fr. Terry Kersch

SJC Emergency Response Team


Communication #1

March 13, 2020

To the Faculty, Staff, Students, and Worshipping Community of St. Joseph’s College,

The situation regarding the COVID-19 virus has changed rapidly in Alberta over the last couple of days, with new cases being confirmed on a daily basis. The threat level in Alberta is still considered to be generally “low” but this very fluid situation is changing quickly. In light of this it is important for members of our community to understand how the University of Alberta in general and SJC in particular is responding to this situation.

Our number one priority at SJC is the health, safety, and well-being of our community members, whether Faculty, Staff, Students, or Worshipping Community. An important part of our response at this point is to do what we can to avoid contributing to the spread of COVID-19.

It is our endeavour in this evolving situation to ensure that we are cooperating and coordinating with the University of Alberta’s overall strategy. You can learn more about that by referring to the University’s COVID-19 Information Page, which provides updates and helpful information on matters such as:

The University’s approach is itself informed and guided by the Province of Alberta’s overall strategy in dealing with this pandemic, on which see the Government of Alberta COVID-19 info website. Here you can learn about such things as:

  • Information about Coronavirus
  • Preventing the spread of respiratory viruses
  • Actions that the provincial government is taking

Here are some specific ways that SJC is responding to the unfolding situation: 

  1. SJC will follow the directives that are provided by the University concerning in-person classes. As long as UofA classes are cancelled, there will be no classes at SJC. SJC instructors are in the process of preparing to deliver online classes via eClass if necessary.
  2. All SJC events, including previously approved ones, must be submitted to the college’s Emergency Response Team in order to determine if they can and should go ahead as planned.
  3. Until further notice, no SJC Faculty, Staff, or Students will be permitted to travel outside of Alberta if they are engaged in activities on behalf of SJC.
  4. SJC community members returning from outside Canada are required to self-isolate for 14 days and monitor for symptoms.
  5. All those living in SJC residences or otherwise making use of the SJC buildings to study or meet with people are asked to be especially diligent about washing or sanitizing their hands, avoiding touching their face, and staying home if they are feeling ill.
  6. Finally, there are no plans for students to vacate the SJC residences anytime before the lease periods expire.

The following links may prove helpful:

Rest assured that the college leadership is taking this situation seriously. We will be meeting regularly to share information and plan responses and will communicate with you as needed. Please remember to check your university email account on a regular basis. Remember too that you are part of a supportive community. If you need to talk to someone, email sjccm@ualberta.ca to set up a phone appointment with one of our campus ministers.

Fr. Terry Kersch, csb

SJC Emergency Response Team