On-campus activity continues following positive COVID-19 case: FAQs
August 13, 2020

On the evening of Aug. 11, Georgian was informed by the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit that a suspected COVID-19 case involving a member of Georgian’s Barrie Campus community was confirmed positive. The individual was on campus Aug. 6 and 7 in the Sadlon Centre for Health, Wellness and Sciences. The health unit has communicated with those who were in close contact with the individual. Based on the interviews and risk assessment, one close contact was asked to self-isolate and the health unit has advised individuals they spoke with what, if any action, is required.

Public health has confirmed there’s no need to alter our on-campus activity; all of the health and safety measures we’re following as individuals, and the specific requirements to enter and participate in labs on campus, are exactly what are needed to reduce the possible transmission of COVID-19 – and campus activity can continue.

We know you have questions and we’ve provided answers to the most common ones below (Please note additional FAQs are being prepared for Health, Wellness and Sciences students).

Is it safe for me to come on campus?

This answer applies to all campus visitors, whether you’re a student, employee, contractor, etc.

COVID-19 is present in our communities and therefore, there’s always a risk of infection any time you’re in a public space. That’s why we’ve implemented strict health and safety protocols to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, including entrance screenings, mandatory face coverings, physical distancing, and enhanced cleaning. Public health has confirmed these are the exact measures we should be taking in order to reduce the risk of transmission during on-campus activity.

It’s critical that only those with scheduled activity be on campus and that they complete the screening process. The screening ensures those who are ill, have travelled or those who have been advised to isolate due to a close contact, don’t come on campus.

If you feel unsafe to take part in your scheduled on-campus activity, please contact your professor or manager. To make the decision that’s best for you, review these considerations for personal and social activities from the Government of Canada.

What are Georgian’s COVID-19 safety protocols?

We have two major college-wide protocols. They were created based on a framework provided by the Ministry of Colleges and Universities, and adapted for Georgian use with input from college employees from several departments and academic areas, and reviewed by local health units. The protocols are:

1.      Protocol for the Prevention of COVID-19 Transmission

2.      COVID-19 Reporting Symptoms and Direct Contact Protocol

Safety measures include entrance screenings, mandatory face coverings, physical distancing, and enhanced cleaning.

These protocols are shared with all members of the Georgian community with scheduled on-campus activity and available on our website.

In addition, each academic program has its own lab protocol that’s specific to the equipment and work stations in its labs.

Who tested positive?

Due to privacy legislation and respect for the individual, we’ll only report the campus and dates attended by a member of the Georgian community who tests positive for COVID-19. As mentioned above, this individual was at the Barrie Campus, in the Sadlon Centre for Health, Wellness and Sciences, on Aug. 6 and 7.

How did the individual get past the screening?

The individual passed the self-assessment when completing the [email protected] app, and followed campus protocol. People take the COVID-19 test for a variety of reasons, some don’t have any symptoms when they do. In some cases, they test positive.

If I was at the Barrie Campus on Aug. 6 and 7 should I get a COVID-19 test?

The health unit has been in touch with individuals who may have been in close contact with the person who tested positive and provided them with direction as appropriate (e.g., self-isolate, self-monitor, etc.).

As previously communicated by the health unit and the Government of Ontario, anyone who wants a test can go to a testing centre. In our discussions this week with health unit officials, they reminded us there’s a 14-day incubation period. If you feel symptomatic during those 14 days, you should go for a test. If you don’t have symptoms but want a test for ease of mind, it’s most beneficial to take the test near the end of the 14-day incubation period.

How and when were people notified?

While the health unit conducted its investigation, out of an abundance of caution we cancelled all labs in the program related to the individual who had a suspected case. All individuals who had their lab activity cancelled received an email from us the evening of Aug. 10 noting there was a suspected case of COVID-19 that was under investigation by public health.

When the case was confirmed positive, a list was provided to the health unit who contacted anyone who was in close contact with the individual, as is the protocol. Calls began on Aug. 12 and were completed Aug. 13.

Students and employees involved in this case received confirmation Aug. 12. Georgian employees and students received notice later that afternoon.

Will you change your safety protocols based on this incident?

Public health has confirmed that our protocols are the exact measures we should be taking in order to prevent transmission during on-campus activity.

We’re also pleased that those coming on campus are aware of the safety measures as the individual who tested positive immediately reported the case through the proper channels.

As on-campus, hands-on learning continues in August, we’ll continue to assess our protocols in anticipation of the start of the fall semester, and make revisions if needed and recommended by public health.

Do you still plan to continue offering limited in-person learning in August and during the fall semester?

Yes. We plan to continue with remote delivery wherever possible and only necessary, in-person, on-campus activity will be permitted.

Public health has confirmed there’s no need to alter our on-campus activity; all of the health and safety measures we’re following as individuals, and the specific requirements to enter and participate in labs on campus, are exactly what are needed to reduce the possible transmission of COVID-19 – and campus activity can continue.