Students from outside the Atlantic in store for a unique welcome at Nova Scotia universities amid COVID-19

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“It won’t be the move-in weekend we’re used to. “This is how Bryn de Chastelain described what is to come for college students like him from outside Atlantic Canada who will need to self-isolate before venturing onto campuses this fall.

After spending time in his home province of Ontario this summer, he returns this week to Halifax – where he is a student at Saint Mary’s University (SMU) and president of the student union. In accordance with COVID-19 public health guidelines, he will need to spend his first 14 days away from the wider community.

With SMU’s plan to offer courses primarily online, not all students will choose to return to campus, which will make it easier for those who do. De Chastelain said he expects SMU’s dorms to have around 50% capacity.

Most universities in Nova Scotia operate as SMU, with courses taking place mostly online, but Acadia University in Wolfville and St. Francis Xavier University (St. FX) in Antigonish will soon be hosting all of their students. students for in-person lessons.

At least 500 Acadian students from outside the Atlantic bubble will need to self-isolate upon arrival, likely more once international students are considered. Scott Duguay, vice-provost of students, recruitment and enrollment management at Acadia, said international numbers remain uncertain due to travel restrictions.

Daily check-ins for COVID-19 symptoms

About half of these students will move into dormitories. They will have meals delivered and will have to comply with a daily health check to watch for symptoms of COVID-19.

A question mark remains regarding campus testing for the coronavirus.

“We’re talking about testing in the first 14 days for all students arriving from outside the Atlantic bubble,” said Duguay.

The final test plan will be developed in the coming days in collaboration with the province, he said.

Acadia students will start arriving in early September, as usual, but Duguay said the start of the fall semester has been pushed back to September 21 to allow time for quarantines.

Make the most of a tough year

Elizabeth Yeo, vice president of students at St FX, said some students from across Canada and abroad have already started arriving on campus, but most will arrive on two dates at the end of August. , with moving in hours.

Yeo said St. FX expects nearly 800 students from outside the Atlantic bubble, and about half of them will live on campus, where they will be provided with additional accommodation for their period of isolation. As in Acadia, they will have meals delivered. They will also benefit from a laundry service and an assigned support person.

“It’s a unique experience and we try to make it memorable in the most positive way,” Yeo said.

She said the school is trying to alleviate the challenges of self-isolation with mental health and resilience sessions and other virtual programs.

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