Continued prudence and need for patience and understanding
On Feb. 9, the Government of Alberta announced the phased easing of public health measures in response to COVID-19. As NAIT’s own response to the pandemic has always been informed by public health guidance and the needs of the community, the polytechnic is changing health and safety measures with this evolving direction.
The gradual removal of restrictions by the government, triggered by decreasing hospitalization rates, is expected to play a part in allowing the polytechnic to return to a more vibrant campus. In the near term, this will involve a significant transition for NAIT, including changes to its vaccine mandate.
“We look forward to seeing more students, staff and visitors back on campus,” says Laura Jo Gunter, president and CEO. “But we need this to happen as safely as possible. We ask for everyone’s patience as we manage this latest shift in our ongoing response to COVID-19.”
Changes to vaccine mandate, other measures unchanged
Most winter term theory and lecture classes that were held virtually during the peak of the Omicron wave will return to in-person instruction on campus starting Feb. 28. Programs will contact students to provide more information.
On the same day, NAIT will remove the vaccine mandate that has been in place since October 2021. While proof of vaccination will no longer be required for those coming to campus, the polytechnic encourages students, staff members and visitors to be fully vaccinated and get their booster shots as soon as they are eligible.
Masking will continue to be required in all indoor public spaces.
The vaccine policy was one of many infection-prevention measures put in place during the fourth wave. Many other measures implemented at NAIT during the pandemic will remain. For the time being, masking will continue to be required in all indoor public spaces.
NAIT will also continue with enhanced cleaning for high-traffic areas and high-touch surfaces and making hand sanitizer widely available on site. Ventilation and air filtration have also been improved.
As well, NAIT encourages those on campus to maintain physical distancing of two metres, and to stay home when sick.
A rapid response plan remains in place to guide management of COVID-19 cases affecting campuses.
Continued monitoring, continued understanding
NAIT will continue to monitor the trajectory of the pandemic and adjust its response accordingly to meet the needs of the community it serves.
"We ask that everyone be considerate ... and treat each other with respect and compassion."
“We understand that this is a challenging transition,” says Gunter. “We know that people will process these changes differently. Some will be more comfortable with them than others.
“During this time, we ask that everyone be considerate of this, and treat each other with respect and compassion. NAIT is an inclusive community. This is the true source of our resilience.”