Nipissing University Update on Coronavirus

Nipissing to transition to Phase 4 of Return to Campus Framework on May 9

COVID-19 Update

May 6, 2022 at 4:30 p.m.

Dear Students, Staff & Faculty Members,

As the next step in our safe return to campus, we are pleased to announce that campus will officially transition to Phase 4 of the Return to Campus Framework, “Open Campus Access” effective Monday, May 9, 2022. This new phase will see campus access expanded to include all students, staff, faculty and visitors, and will also include further expansion of on-site services.

Important Information for Employees

Although campus will transition to Phase 4 on Monday, May 9, this does not mean that employees who are working from home are expected to report to work on campus on that date. Nipissing University recognizes the benefits of offering flexible work arrangements to employees. As such, a new pilot flexible work arrangements policy for administrators and support staff is in the process of being finalized and more details will follow in the next few weeks. While this policy is being finalized, employees currently working from home may continue to do so unless informed otherwise by their supervisor or dean.

Impact on Research

Effective May 9, 2022, the COVID-19 Research Recovery Plan and related requirements will be suspended.

Updates to COVID-19 Illness Policy

The COVID-19 Illness Policy has recently been updated. You can view the most up to date version here.

What’s Open During Phase 4?

Building Access

Access to the Education Centre building via the main doors will be available from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. Although active screening is no longer taking place at building entrances, individuals are reminded to continue to complete Ontario's COVID-19 Self-Assessment prior to attending campus. A reminder that our Facial Covering Policy also remains in effect.

Athletics

Updated hours of operation for the R.J. Surtees Student Athletics Centre can be found on the athletics website.

Library

Updated hours of operation for the Harris Learning Library can be found on the library website.

Residence

For specific questions regarding the impact of Phase 4 on residence operations, please contact residence@nipissingu.ca.

Food Services

As previously communicated, Chartwells (including Tim Hortons) will be closed until the fall term.

Student Services

Student Services will continue to be provided in-person and/or virtually. Students are welcome to attend campus for appointments and services as required.

NUSU Student Centre

The NUSU Student Centre will be open Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. to all visitors; closed on weekends and holidays.

Events

For any events being planned on campus with the intention of external guests in attendance, please continue to fill out the Internal Event Request Form.

Questions?

For questions regarding these changes, please email coronavirus@nipissingu.ca or visit the Frequently Asked Questions page.

Sincerely,

Cheryl Sutton
Vice-President, Finance & Administration
On behalf of the COVID-19 Response Team

Available Supports

During these challenging times, we’d like to remind all members of the Lakers community that despite being distanced from one another, you are not alone, and the supports available through our Nipissing community remain available to you.


Additional Resources: 

  • Technology Services: If employees require any additional technological resources in order to work from home, please contact UTS via https://helpdesk.nipissingu.ca 
  • Employee Assistance Program:  We appreciate the stress this may be causing our students and the burdens it places on our departments and members of the Nipissing community. Aspiria, Nipissing’s confidential Employee Assistance Provider, is available to employees and their dependents 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at no cost www.aspiria.ca    
  • For additional questions, employees are welcome to contact coronavirus@nipissingu.ca 

April 22 - Nipissing to pause vaccine requirement May 1, but mask mandate to remain

COVID-19 Update

April 22, 2022 at 2:30 p.m.

Dear Students, Staff & Faculty Members,

Since our last communication we have continued to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and sought advice from public health to determine the best way forward to protect the health and safety of our community. Following these consultations, Nipissing University has decided to pause its proof of vaccination requirement as of May 1, 2022, however, the University’s facial covering policy will remain in effect until further notice. Active screening will no longer take place at building entrances as of May 1. Individuals are reminded to continue to complete Ontario's COVID-19 Self-Assessment prior to attending campus.

Given the increase of COVID-19 infections across the province, maintaining the masking mandate will assist in controlling the spread of the virus and contribute to the overall health and safety of our campus community. A decision on whether masks will be required at convocation will be made closer to the date.

While vaccination requirements are being suspended for the time being, the University may reinstate them on short notice in response to changes in public health guidance. As such, individuals are strongly encouraged to stay up to date on their vaccinations. More information on local vaccination clinics can be found here

For any events being planned on campus with the intention of external guests in attendance, please continue to fill out the Internal Event Request Form.

Thank you for your continued cooperation in keeping our campus and community safe, and for the care and respect you’ve shown one another during this latest phase of the pandemic.

For any questions regarding these changes, please email coronavirus@nipissingu.ca

Sincerely,
Kevin B. Wamsley, PhD
President and Vice-Chancellor

March 14 - Update on Facial Covering Policy, COVID-19 Illness Policy and Self-Assessment Process

COVID-19 Update

March 14, 2022 at 2:45 p.m.

Dear Students, Staff & Faculty Members,

Below are some important updates regarding our Facial Covering Policy, COVID-19 Illness Policy and self-assessment process.

Facial Covering Policy Remains

In order to minimize uncertainty and disruption and to continue to support our students, staff, faculty and university communities, Ontario’s universities, including Nipissing, will maintain their COVID-19 vaccination and masking policies until at least the end of the current term as announced last week by the Council of Ontario Universities. Copies of our COVID-19 Vaccination Policy & Facial Covering Policy are available here.

Changes to COVID-19 Illness Policy

The Ontario government recently changed its isolation guidelines for close contacts of those who are COVID-19 positive or are experiencing symptoms. In keeping with these changes, Nipissing University has updated its COVID-19 Illness Policy. The revised policy will come into effect on Tuesday, March 15, 2022.

Changes to Self-Assessment Process

Effective immediately, Nipissing University will no longer require individuals to present their completed self-assessment at the door prior to gaining access to campus. While individuals are still asked to complete Ontario’s COVID-19 Self-Assessment before attending campus, proof will no longer be required. A link to Ontario’s COVID-19 Self-Assessment will be made available via the Nipissing Safe app in place of the previous self-assessment questions.

Please ensure your Nipissing Safe app is up to date. Instructions for updating your app can be found here.

Note: Active screening for Vaccine Passports will continue and individuals will be required to present their Vaccine Passport QR code at the door via the Nipissing Safe app in order to access campus.

For questions regarding any of these changes, please contact coronavirus@nipissingu.ca.

March 4 - Update on Vaccine Policy and COVID protocols

COVID-19 Update

March 4, 2022 at 2:30 p.m.

Dear Faculty, Staff and Students,

As previously communicated and to provide clarity to our students, employees and our community, Nipissing’s vaccination policy will remain in effect until the end of the Winter term to ensure the highest level of health and safety on our campus.

Current protocols will remain in place until further notice, including the requirement to complete a daily self-assessment and provide proof of vaccination via the Nipissing Safe App at all campus buildings, and the maintenance of physical distancing in non-instructional spaces.  Nipissing’s Facial Covering Policy also remains in effect.

For future events being planned on campus with the intention of having off campus guests in attendance, please ensure you fill out the Internal Event Request form.

As we all continue to adapt to new circumstances, please be reminded that our Respectful Workplace & Learning Environments Policy applies to all members of the University community and that we all have a shared responsibility for fostering a positive campus environment.

If any changes arise regarding the above-mentioned protocols, they will be communicated as needed.

Thank you for your continued cooperation in keeping our campus and community safe.

February 24 - Nipissing University to maintain vaccine mandate, COVID protocols

COVID-19 Update

February 24, 2022 at 4:00 p.m.

In order to minimize uncertainty and disruption to our students, staff, faculty and university communities, Ontario’s universities, including Nipissing, will maintain their COVID-19 vaccination policies until at least the end of the current term as announced in a statement this week by the Council of Ontario Universities.

Nipissing recognizes that the return to safe in-person learning and on-campus activity is critical for the mental and social health and well-being of students and will continue to work closely with local public health officials.

"The health and safety of students, faculty and staff remains our top priority," said Dr. Kevin Wamsley, President & Vice-Chancellor, Nipissing University. "By maintaining our current vaccination policy until at least the end of term, it will help ensure that there are minimal disruptions to classes and other activities that enhance student life."

Along with other Ontario universities, Nipissing will continue to work diligently to ensure there are open lines of communication with students, staff and faculty regarding any changes to in-person learning and on-campus activities.

"I want to thank all members of the Nipissing community for their continued support and understanding as we adapt and respond to our changing public health landscape," added Wamsley. "Your collective efforts to keep our campus safe should be commended."

The University will continue to carefully review its institutional policies and regulations around vaccination and other health and safety measures and provide updates regarding the summer and fall terms in the coming months.

All individuals accessing campus will continue to be required to complete a daily self-assessment and provide proof of vaccination via the Nipissing Safe App. Nipissing’s Facial Covering Policy also remains in effect.

As we all learn to adapt to new circumstances, a reminder that our Respectful Workplace & Learning Environments Policy applies to all members of the University community and that we all have a shared responsibility for fostering a positive campus environment.

January 31 - What’s Open on Campus as of January 31

COVID-19 Update

January 28, 2022 at 3:30 p.m.

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff Members,

As previously communicated, on Monday, January 31, 2022, Nipissing University will move to Phase 3 of its Return to Campus Framework. Below is a summary of what will be open on campus starting Monday.

Food Services

Effective January 31, the Main Cafeteria will be open Monday to Thursday from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Tim Horton’s will be open Monday to Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and will be closed on holidays and weekends. 

Library

The reopening of the Harris Learning Library will be phased over a two-week period:

January 31 - February 11

  • Monday – Friday: 8:30 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. - Open for in-person use and study
  • Monday – Thursday: 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. - Virtual assistance and curbside service
  • Weekends: Virtual assistance and curbside service available from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Beginning February 14

  • Monday - Thursday: 8:30 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. - Open for in-person use and study
  • Friday: 8:30 am - 6:00 pm - Open for in-person use and study
  • Weekends: Virtual assistance and curbside service available from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

For the latest operating hours, please visit the library website.

NUSU Student Centre

Effective January 31, the NUSU Student Centre will resume normal operating hours: Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Students will also be able to access the student food bank during these hours. The building will continue to only be open to Nipissing University students, staff and faculty. If you have any questions, please reach out to info@nusu.com.

R.J. Surtees Student Athletics Centre

The R.J. Surtees Student Athletics Centre will reopen to users at reduced capacity as of January 31. Students, staff and faculty should call the Athletics Centre at 705-474-3450 ext. 4397 to book a time slot to use the Cardio/Weight Room and Fitness Studio.

Hours of Operation are as follows:

  • Monday – Friday: 8:30 a.m.– 6:00 p.m.
  • Saturday & Sunday: Closed 

For more details on Athletics Centre protocols, please visit the athletics website.

Campus Access Protocol

A reminder that anyone accessing campus must provide proof of vaccination and complete a daily self-assessment via the Nipissing Safe app. Please be sure you have the latest updates installed. Click for instructions on how to update your app.

Face Covering Policy

A reminder that cloth face coverings are no longer considered acceptable face coverings on campus. Instead, students, faculty, staff, contractors and other visitors to campus are required to wear a non-medical mask with a minimum of three layers that covers the mouth, nose and chin, thus ensuring a barrier that limits community transmission of respiratory droplets. The University will be providing non-medical 3-ply masks to each employee as they return to work on campus as well to all students attending campus.

The updated Face Covering Policy can be found here.

Questions?

For questions regarding our return to campus or other COVID-19 protocols at the University, email coronavirus@nipissingu.ca or read our Frequently Asked Questions.

January 21 - Campus Returning to Phase 3 on January 31

COVID-19 Update

January 21, 2022 at 2:30 p.m.

Dear Students, Staff & Faculty Members,

Yesterday, the Ontario government released details of steps to gradually ease public health measures starting on January 31, 2022. In light of these developments, on January 31, 2022, Nipissing University will once again progress to Phase 3 of its Return to Campus Framework - “Limited Campus Access – On-site Academic Program Delivery”. 

Staff and faculty approved to be on campus during Phase 3 will have the option to return to campus on January 26 as initially planned should they so choose. Otherwise, those required on campus during Phase 3 would resume working on site as of January 31. Please check with your supervisor or Dean if you are unsure about what this means for you.

Course Delivery

Winter term courses scheduled to take place in person will begin in-person as of January 31, 2022.

Note: Today (January 21) is the last day to register for Winter term courses or change course delivery modes.

Research

As of January 31, 2022, research will return to Stage 3 of the Research Recovery Plan and face-to-face research will be permitted to resume.

What Will be Open on Campus

More information on the services that will be available on campus as of January 31 will be shared soon.

Reporting of Positive Cases – Change in Protocol

Recent changes to case and contact management and the halting of mass PCR testing in Ontario means that Nipissing will no longer be receiving official notifications of positive COVID-19 cases on campus. For this reason, Nipissing University has suspended the tracking and communication of positive cases on campus via our website and email. We will, however, continue to keep you informed should there be heightened risk or outbreak situations identified on campus.

What to do if you test positive, have symptoms or have been exposed to COVID-19

The North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit has developed a webpage with guidelines for what to do if you test positive for COVID-19, have symptoms or may have been exposed to the virus. This webpage can be accessed at myhealthunit.ca/COVIDGuide.

Employees who are symptomatic or who develop symptoms while on campus should refer to our COVID-19 Illness Policy for more information.

Questions?

For questions regarding COVID-19 protocols at the University, email coronavirus@nipissingu.ca or read our Frequently Asked Questions.

We look forward to welcoming more students, staff and faculty back to campus on the 31st!

January 13 - Rapid Antigen Test Distribution Pop-Up Site on Campus

COVID-19 Update

January 13, 2022 at 5:15 p.m.

The Ministry of Health will be facilitating a rapid antigen test distribution pop-up site at the R.J. Surtees Student Athletics Centre on Tuesday, January 18, 2022 and Wednesday, January 19, 2022, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Please note that the event could end sooner based on supply demands).

Individuals who are interested in collecting testing kits will be required to register in advance. Registration will open on January 14, 2022, via the following link: https://www.ontario.ca/page/pop-up-holiday-schedule-rapid-antigen-tests#section-2.

Please note that this event is not hosted by Nipissing University. If you have any questions regarding the pop-up sites, they should be forwarded to the Ministry of Health via their website.

January 3 - Return to Phase 1 of Return to Campus Framework

COVID-19 Update

January 3, 2022 at 3:30 p.m.

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff Members,

Today, the Ontario government announced that effective Wednesday, January 5, 2022, the province will return to a modified Step Two of its Roadmap to Reopen in response to the rapidly increasing number of COVID-19 hospitalizations. In light of this, effective tomorrow, Tuesday January 4, 2022, Nipissing University will revert to Phase 1 of its Return to Campus Framework – "Required Campus Access". This phase will remain in effect for at least 21 days (until January 26, 2022), subject to trends in public health and health system indicators.

Course Delivery

  • Winter Term classes will begin online on January 10. Those courses that were scheduled to return to in-person learning on January 24, 2022, will now be delivered online until January 31, 2022. Faculty should be prepared to deliver all classes online including laboratory and studio sections of courses until January 31, 2022. Note: in-person nursing courses will still proceed as planned.
  • We intend for this shift to online learning to be a temporary measure and hope to return to offering both in-person and online options for the remainder of the Winter Term as planned.

Remote Work

  • Only those employees approved to access campus during Phase 1 of the Return to Campus Framework are required to report to campus for work. All other employees should work remotely. Please check with your supervisor or Dean if you are unsure about what this means for you. Staff should be prepared for the University to return to Phase 3 of its Return to Campus framework on January 26, 2022, subject to any changes in public health requirements.
  • Any employees who need to access campus to pick up essential items to facilitate remote work are asked to do so tomorrow, January 4, 2022. Please make this request through your supervisor or Dean for approval. Once approved, the request should be forwarded to facilities@nipissingu.ca with a copy to michellb@nipissingu.ca so that campus access can be granted. Individuals will be able to access campus through the main doors and must complete the self-assessment and vaccine passport via the Nipissing Safe app. If you have any symptoms, please do not come to campus. Alternative arrangements will be made to retrieve any items you may require.
  • Faculty members should teach their courses from home rather than from their University offices. If this is not possible, please contact your Dean immediately for further direction. For any IT-related issues, please create a ticket with the Help Desk at https://helpdesk.nipissingu.ca

Research & Research Travel

Vaccines

  • All students, faculty and staff members are encouraged to get their COVID-19 booster shot as soon as they are able. You can book a COVID-19 vaccine through Ontario’s online booking portal.

Updated Illness Policy, Return to Campus Framework and Communications Protocol

  • We are carefully reviewing the latest announcements and public health developments and will be updating our COVID-19 Illness Policy, Return to Campus Framework and Positive Case Reporting Protocol accordingly in the coming days.

Meetings & Events

  • All in-person events should be moved online or cancelled.

Food Services

  • In-person dining will not be available on campus during Phase 1. Details on cafeteria hours of operation will be forthcoming shortly. Please visit our Frequently Asked Questions page for updates.

Library

  • The Harris Learning Library will be open at limited capacity. Please check the Library website for updated hours of operation.

Athletics

  • The R.J. Surtees Student Athletics Centre will remain closed during Phase 1.

Residence

  • Residence will be reopening to students as planned on January 8th, 2022. Students living in residence will receive a separate communication regarding any changes to residence operations. Any questions regarding residence should be directed to residence@nipissingu.ca.

Internships, Clinical and Practical Placements

  • For students with internships, clinical courses, preceptorships and placements in Winter Term, more information will be forthcoming from the appropriate School or Faculty.

Student Services

For questions regarding COVID-19 protocols at the University, email coronavirus@nipissingu.ca or read our Frequently Asked Questions. Thank you for your ongoing support as we navigate these latest challenges together.

January 7 - Important COVID-19 Policy Updates & What’s Open on Campus

COVID-19 Update

January 7, 2022 at 4:00 p.m.

Dear Students, Faculty & Staff Members,

Below are some important updates regarding our COVID-19 Illness Policy, Face Covering Policy as well as information on what is open on campus during Phase 1 – Restricted Campus Access.

COVID-19 Illness Policy

Due to the recent changes to COVID-19 testing eligibility and self-isolation protocols in Ontario, we have updated our COVID-19 Illness Policy. You can view a copy of the policy here. For questions related to this policy, please contact Michelle Banks, HR Generalist Health, Safety and Wellness by email at michellb@nipissingu.ca.

Face Covering Policy

Due to changes in public health guidelines, effective, Monday, January 10, 2022, cloth face coverings will no longer be considered acceptable face coverings on campus. Instead, students, faculty, staff, contractors and other visitors to campus are required to wear a non-medical mask with a minimum of three layers that covers the mouth, nose and chin, thus ensuring a barrier that limits community transmission of respiratory droplets. The University will be providing non-medical 3-ply masks to each employee as they return to work on campus as well to all students attending campus.

The updated Face Covering Policy can be found here.

What’s Open on Campus During Phase 1

With Winter Term set to begin on Monday, we wanted to reiterate what is open on campus during Phase 1 – Restricted Campus Access. Our Frequently Asked Questions have been recently updated with this information.

One update to note since our last communication is that effective Monday, January 10, 2022, the Harris Learning Library will be closed for in-person use, however library services and support will be offered virtually via email at info@eclibrary.ca and by phone at 705-474-3450 ext. 4221. Curbside service will also be offered seven days a week. For further information about library services, please refer to the library website.

Although campus access is temporarily restricted and we are once again distanced from one another, please remember that you are not alone and the supports through our Nipissing community remain available to you virtually. Below are some useful contacts to assist you in navigating services:

For any additional questions about our COVID-19 policies and procedures not covered in our Frequently Asked Questions, please email coronavirus@nipissingu.ca.

Wishing you continued success this Winter Term.