Campus Reopens in March 2022 and In-Person Courses Resume in May 2022 (Updated)

As the Omicron wave of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to abate, St. Stephen’s College is excited to again welcome students, staff, faculty, and visitors back to campus.

Beginning February 28, the College building will re-open to the St. Stephen’s community and broader public on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays (Mondays and Fridays will continue as remote workdays). We anticipate and expect that the College will return to a five-day on-campus working schedule on May 1, 2022.

As announced in late December, St. Stephen’s College courses that are scheduled for in-person delivery will return to the classroom starting May 1, 2022. In the more immediate future, the College’s UAlberta and CPE courses will return to in-person instruction starting February 28, 2022.

To support our campus reopening, St. Stephen’s continues to implement a number of COVID-19 safety measures that promote safer work and educational spaces for our students, staff, faculty, and volunteers. These include:

  • Improved Ventilation: In anticipation of welcoming our community back to campus, the College has installed in each of our classrooms and common spaces air purification units that utilize medical grade HEPA filters. These units are custom-sized to our spaces to ensure hourly air exchanges that comply with COVID-19 health recommendations.
  • Stay Home if Unwell: Before every visit to campus, individuals are asked to complete the AHS Personal Health Check and to comply with any relevant public health requirements. If an individual is feeling unwell, they are asked to please stay home to take care of themselves and others.

The College’s reopening coincides with that of the broader University of Alberta campus. On February 28, many university services again opened to the wider community, including access to the university libraries.

Earlier this month the Government of Alberta announced its plan to ease COVID-19 restrictions across the province. In a letter sent to post-secondary institutions shortly thereafter, the Minister of Advanced Education outlined his expectation that Alberta’s post-secondary institutions will lift several restrictions in order to align with the government’s re-opening plans. In response to this letter, St. Stephen’s is making the following changes to our on-campus COVID policies:

  • Physical distancing is strongly recommended though no longer required while on campus.
  • Effective March 16, masks will be “encouraged and strongly recommended” but no longer required on the St. Stephen’s campus. The use of masks is strongly recommended in all spaces on the SSC campus, especially those that are high-capacity and high-traffic areas, and in areas where individuals are in close proximity to one another.
  • The St. Stephen’s College vaccination requirement will remain in place, though effective February 28 the College will indefinitely suspend enforcement of this policy. This means that students, staff, faculty, and visitors to campus will not be required to provide proof of vaccination before coming to campus. For more information, please see our Vaccination Requirements on the St. Stephen’s College Campus page.

Our return to campus comes at a time of broader shifts within our society, shifts that are moving away from public health mandates toward public health guidance/recommendations. Navigating these new waters will present its own set of challenges, and as always, the College will remain vigilant and nimble. In the future, we will respond quickly and as needed to put in place any new or reinstated restrictions as required. All of us at St. Stephen’s know that, as we transition into this next phase, there will be a mix of experiences and emotions, including concern, uncertainty, expressions of relief, while also elements of fear. It is paramount that all St. Stephen’s students, staff, faculty, and visitors respect the choices of others in our community regarding masking, distancing, and the like. As we make this transition together, each of us will have differing levels of comfort and ease, and our collective commitment to being in respectful care of one another is as vital now as it was early in the pandemic. And, as always, the staff and faculty of St. Stephen’s extend an open invitation to meet with our students and broader community members as each has need.

We look forward to campus life slowly but steadily picking up over the Winter and Spring/Summer semesters, and we are excited to again have live, in-person interactions among our community over the coming months.

Note: this story was originally posted on February 24, 2022. Due to City of Edmonton bylaw changes on March 8, this story was revised on March 15, 2022.