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Policy

The novel coronavirus, COVID-19, has been declared a worldwide pandemic by the World Health Organization. COVID-19 is extremely contagious and is known to spread mainly by contact from person to person. Consequently, local, provincial and federal governmental authorities recommend various measures and prohibit a variety of behaviors, in order to reduce the spread of the virus. Every member and/or guest of the Providence University College and Theological Seminary (hereafter Providence) community must commit to abiding by the measures recommended by local authorities and by Providence in order to protect the health and safety of all members of our community. As followers of Jesus Christ, we recognize our responsibility to love all members of our community and the world by doing our part to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Providence and its members commit themselves to comply with the requirements and recommendations of national, provincial, and local public health and other governmental authorities, and to put in place and adopt all necessary measures to that effect. However, Providence cannot guarantee that members of this community will not become infected with COVID-19. Attending on-campus activities at Providence could increase a person’s risk of contracting COVID-19, despite all preventative measures put in place.

All employees and students at Providence will be given education on physical (social) distancing, infection prevention and recognizing the symptoms of COVID-19.

Below is the official version of Providence's COVID-19 Protocols. This webpage will be kept up-to-date with any policy changes as we receive new guidance and information from Manitoba Public Health.

SCREENING AND SAFETY AGREEMENTS

All members of the Providence Community and guests to Providence are required to sign a screening and safety agreement prior to their first visit to campus. The agreement includes a commitment to follow the protocols outlined in this policy.

Self-Screening
Prior to any visit to the Providence campus, all community members and guests must screen themselves by answering the following questions. (Further information on screening can be found here):

  1. Am I currently experiencing a new onset of any of the following symptoms: Fever/chills, cough, loss of taste or smell, vomiting or diarrhea for more than 24 hours, sore throat/hoarse voice, shortness of breath?
  2. Am I currently experiencing a new onset of TWO OR MORE of the following symptoms: runny nose, muscle aches, fatigue, conjunctivitis (pink eye), headache, nausea or loss of appetite, skin rash of unknown origin?
  3. Have I been in close contact with someone that is suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19?
  4. Have I travelled to any location outside of Manitoba in the last 14 days that requires a 14 day self-isolation period upon return or have Manitoba health officials recommended that I self-isolate?

If the answer to ANY of the above questions is “yes,” that person should immediately go home to self-isolate and is NOT permitted to enter the Providence campus. Please see https://sharedhealthmb.ca/covid19/screening-tool/ or call Health Links at 1-888-315-9257 for details on your 14 day self-isolation.

If the student lives in residence or in Turner, they are required to call the Emergency On-Call Phone (204-746-4785) IMMEDIATELY for further instructions.

Conduct On-Campus
Providence is committed to following the fundamentals of infectious disease control recommended by public health. All people present on the Providence campus are expected to abide by the following protocols while they are on campus (including in residence and campus housing):

  1. Answer the self-screening questions (above) before coming to campus or before leaving your residence room.
  2. Maintain social (physical) distancing of two metres (six feet) from those outside of your immediate household at all times.
  3. Non-medical masks are mandatory in all indoor common spaces and where social (physical) distancing cannot be guaranteed (e.g., in hallways, cafeteria line-ups, library, classrooms, labs, MTH Hub, and other shared spaces). Masks are not required in offices, unless physical distancing cannot be maintained. In classrooms, students and instructors may choose to remove their masks once the entire class is seated, and only if they can maintain a two metre distance from others. Exceptions may be made to this rule for specific circumstances.
  4. Practice good hand hygiene throughout your time on campus and wash your hands frequently.
  5. Follow directional signage and arrows throughout the campus and abide by all social (physical) distancing signage. Exceptions may be made for those with accessibility concerns.
  6. Disclose to Providence if you are self-isolating due to a recommendation by Public Health either directly or indirectly through the screening tool, and if you have been on the Providence campus in the last 14 days.
  7. Uphold the dignity of and respect all people, regardless of their symptoms or if they have received a positive COVID-19 test result. This includes referring to COVID-19 by its proper names, not referring to it as the “Chinese Virus,” the “Wuhan Virus” or similar nomenclatures.
  8. Monitor your Providence email address frequently in case of changes to Public Health guidelines or to the Providence COVID-19 Policy.

Failure to abide by the COVID-19 Policy and Protocols will result in disciplinary action through the Providence Accountability Process or through Human Resources for employees. Disciplinary actions may range from warnings to prohibition from the Providence campus or expulsion from the institution. Providence may also notify public health authorities if members of the Providence community have violated public health orders (including failure to properly self-isolate).

Notes on Mask Wearing:
To be effective, reusable non-medical masks must be made of multiple layers (minimum 2), use tightly woven materials (i.e. cotton or linen), and fit securely with no gaps. Further, reusable non-medical masks should not have any holes or valves that are open to the air. Face shields are NOT an appropriate substitute for non-medical masks.

DO wear a non-medical mask or face covering to protect others.
DO ensure the mask is made of at least two layers of tightly woven fabric.
DO inspect the mask for tears or holes.
DO ensure the mask or face covering is clean and dry.
DO wash your hands or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer before and after touching the mask or face covering.
DO use the ear loops or ties to put on and remove the mask.
DO ensure your nose and mouth are fully covered.
DO replace and launder your mask whenever it becomes damp or dirty.
DO wash your mask with hot, soapy water and let it dry completely before wearing it again.
DO store re-usable masks in a clean paper bag until you wear it again.
DO discard masks that cannot be washed in a plastic lined garbage bin after use.
DON'T reuse masks that are moist, dirty or damaged.
DON'T wear a loose mask.
DON'T touch the mask while wearing it.
DON'T remove the mask to talk to someone.
DON'T hang mask from your neck or ears.
DON'T share your mask.
DON'T leave your used mask within the reach of others.

Remember, wearing a non-medical mask or face covering alone will not prevent the spread of COVID-19. You must also wash your hands often, practice physical distancing and stay home if you are sick.


Amnesty
As a way of reducing barriers to reporting symptoms of COVID-19 or contacts with people who have confirmed cases of COVID-19, students will be exempt from discipline if they reveal that they have violated areas of the Community Life Policies and Procedures related to consumption of drugs, alcohol, open dorm hours, consensual intimacies, and other similar violations, insofar as they relate to possible exposures to COVID-19.

Stigma and Discrimination
Discrimination toward members of the Providence community who have symptoms of COVID-19, or who have received a positive test result, or those who may have been in contact with someone who has received a positive test result for COVID-19, or people from specific ethnic groups or areas with higher COVID-19 rates will not be tolerated. The Covenant of Community Life at Providence commits all members to upholding the gospel of grace, and this extends to people who have been exposed to COVID-19. People who are found to be discriminatory or malicious (e.g., spreading rumours, avoiding people who no longer need to self-isolate, referring to COVID-19 as the “Chinese Virus,” etc.) will be held accountable.

The purpose of this policy is to guide faculty and students towards best practices and safe actions while together in a classroom. The implementation of these protocols is the responsibility of each employee and student. Each member of the Providence community is committed to working together graciously to create a safe space for learning. Each faculty member must save and/or print a copy of this policy so they may consult it regularly.

This policy contains the following sections: guidelines before class, guidelines during class, guidelines after class, final exam policy, and important notes and definitions.

Guidelines Before Class

  1. Professors are strongly encouraged to wear the provided reusable face shield and/or to wear a non-medical mask. When social (physical) distancing is not possible, non-medical masks are mandatory.
  2. Students are strongly encouraged to wear a non-medical mask and are required to do so in situations where social (physical) distancing is not possible.
  3. Professors and students must clean hands before and after in-person class.This cleaning should be especially thorough when using common equipment such as computers in the computer lab.
  4. Professors must bring their own whiteboard markers (available in the resource room) to class to limit common touch points.
  5. Professors should follow directional arrows to arrive 10 minutes before the start of class.Please ensure that desks, chairs, and teaching podiums are spaced 2 meters apart as indicated by tape. No one should adjust these unless they are out of line.
  6. Professors must pass out items (e.g., papers) to empty desks before students arrive. This prevents close contact.
  7. Students must follow directional arrows to enter the classroom. They should grab a sanitizing wipe upon entering to disinfect their desk and chair (and retain the wipe for disposal after class). They should fill the seats furthest from the aisle first. In this way, students are not walking by other students to reach a free seat. Professors should encourage this.
  8. Professors should leave classroom doors open whenever possible to improve airflow and limit touch points.
  9. Professors should leave windows open whenever possible and weather permitting to improve airflow.

These points can be summarized in chronological order. First, don your personal protective equipment. Then, clean your hands. Next, gather your supplies (ex: white board markers, handouts, cell phone, etc) and set up the classroom (ex: open door and windows if they were closed, distribute handouts, turn on computer and projector, open Populi and be prepared to take attendance, start Zoom if students are joining by distance, etc

Guidelines During Class

  1. All students and professors are required to ask themselves the screening questions (see above) before entering the classroom. If the answer to any of the questions is “yes,” they must immediately leave the Providence campus and should begin self-isolation.
  2. Professors must stay inside the taped off teaching zone in their classroom.
  3. Professors must take attendance every in-person class, ideally using the Attendance tab in Populi. These records will help contact-tracing efforts if a positive case arises.
  4. Professors are encouraged to pause to clean their face shield and hands whenever necessary (e.g., after sneezing, coughing, or touching your face).
  5. Close conversations and group work are prohibited. This violates social (physical) distancing.
  6. Professors are encouraged to interact with students in creative and physically distant ways. This may involve small white boards for students to write on; video introductions and discussions in FlipGrid; collective annotations in Perusall; polls and games in Kahoot; online chat forums like Poll Anywhere, the chat feature in Office 365 Teams app, or the chat feature in the Populi webpage; and others.
  7. Items should not be passed out directly to students or passed around class from student to student.
  8. Professors must accept all assignments and deliver all quizzes/tests/exams online (e.g., through Populi or Office 365 suite). This saves paper, limits the handling of shared materials, and will not force a student to attend class if they have symptoms and should stay home. This accommodates all learners, including those that participate fully online. See the Final Exam Policy for specific information regarding these asynchronous exams.
  9. Professors must dismiss in-person class if a student presents with persistent (e.g., constant coughing, not just a single cough) COVID-19 symptoms (see self-screening questions above). Professors can use their discretion to assess the situation. To protect the student who is symptomatic, they should not be called out publicly in class. Instead, they should be spoken to immediately after class. Remind them to stay home whenever they are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, and remind them of ways to interact with the class by distance (e.g., Zoom).
  10. Classes, meetings, and office hours held online (fully or partially) through Zoom must be introduced to students and follow inclusive practices, as described below. All Zoom classes must be recorded. (a.) Assume your students do not know how to use Zoom, or any of the other online programs you are adopting. Explain the programs you are adopting, and how you are using them; (b.) Students must be given choice on their mode of participation in Zoom (either video, audio, chat, or any or all of the above); (c.) When teaching a class to both in-person and online participants at the same time, don’t neglect the online participants. When you minimize the Zoom videos, it can be easy to forget about those class members; and (d.) Any student may choose to participate online through Zoom or other means. Permission is needed if an online learner wishes to rejoin the in-person class due to classroom space limitations.

These points can be summarized in chronological order. First, guide students as their enter and take their seats. Then, take attendance in Populi. While teaching, pause whenever necessary to clean your face shield and your hands. Refrain from passing around items or requiring close conversations or groupwork. Remember your Zoom class members. Prioritize active learning in class; class time is not the time to be receiving assignments and giving tests- these should be done online instead. Dismiss class if persistent symptoms are evident, but in a way that does not place blame on any particular student.

Guidelines After Class

  1. Students seated closest to the aisles should exit first through the exit door and dispose of their cleaning wipe on their way out. Students seated furthest from the aisles should exit last. This creates a logical flow of movement that prevents students crossing in front of one another. Everyone must keep physical distance and follow directional arrows in the hallways even if it is inconvenient.
  2. Professors must close windows after class.
  3. Professors must clean their face shield with either soap and warm water, or ethanol-based disinfectant at the end of the day.
  4. Students and professors must clean hands with either soap and warm water, or ethanol based disinfectant after class.
  5. Professors must end on time. The class must leave the room as soon as class ends. Socially (physically) distant conversations can occur elsewhere, while keeping hallways clear. This efficient exit provides time for the room and touch points to be cleaned.
  6. Cleaning staff will thoroughly sanitize the following items with spray or wipes at least once a day.
    (a.) Desks
    (b.) Chairs
    (c.) Teaching podium
    (d.) Keyboard(s)
    (e.) Mouse/mice
    (f.) Computer monitor button(s)
    (g.) Remote(s) for projector or computer
    (h.) Light switch(es)
    (i.) Door knobs
    (j.) Window opening cranks

These points can be summarized in chronological order. First, leave the classroom promptly to allow the cleaning staff time to clean the common touch points. Clean your hands and remind your students to clean theirs. Clean your face shield and replace your mask if necessary.

Final Exam Policy

  1. Final exams for Fall 2020 must:
    (a.) be asynchronous; (b.) occur on the day assigned by the Registrar’s office; (c.) allow significant time for exam completion: 12 to 24 hours (i.e. not a conventional exam time period of 2 or 3 hours); and (d.) be de facto “open book.”

This policy accommodates all learners, including those that participate fully online. It takes into account a variety of technological limitations that may affect remote learners (for example, rural Internet connections, hardware failure, international network connections and so on). It also mitigates the need for Faculty to attempt to secure remote proctoring.

Important Notes & Definitions

  • A face shield must be worn low on the forehead to allow for optimal protection below the mouth. The foam strip will provide some comfort, and the adjustable elastic band should provide a snug fit. The clear plastic shield must be washed after each day’s use with soap and warm water, or with an ethanol-based disinfectant. The face shield should be reused unless it is damaged. In this case, a replacement should be requested.
  • Science labs will have different regulations than other classrooms for the wearing of masks.
  • In-person attendance should not count towards the student’s grade, as this provides incentive for students to ignore symptoms and attend class when they should be staying home. If attendance is important in your class, adopt ways to grade attendance that considers the current pandemic. For example, allow students to attend by videoconferencing, consider dropping the lowest two grades, and more.

Providence is committed to creating a safe space for our students to live in residence. Here are the steps we are taking to reduce the risk of COVID-19 in residence:

  1. Single room occupancy only. All residence rooms have space for two students, but only one will be allowed in each room this year. All residence spaces will therefore operate at 50% capacity.
  2. Shared bathroom spaces - (a.) Bathroom shared by more than four students will be sanitized at least three times daily; and (b.) All bathrooms will be provided with appropriate sanitization products to allow students to clean the space themselves as desired
  3. Common areas and recreational spaces - (a.) Removal of furniture and/or signage to ensure social (physical) distancing in all common areas including study rooms, prayer rooms, and the communal kitchen in Muriel Taylor Hall (MTH); (b.) Daily sanitization of lounges and study spaces up to three times daily for spaces shared by more than 15 students and for other high-touch surfaces (e.g., the communal kitchen in MTH); and (c.) Social (physical) distancing signage throughout communal spaces (e.g., occupancy signage in elevators).
  4. Self-isolation and quarantine spaces - Spaces set aside with individual bathrooms for students requiring self-isolation or quarantine due to travel, exposure to COVID-19, or illness.5.
  5. Meal-time processes - (a.) Sodexo will follow all current public health guidelines for restaurant spaces throughout the school year in the cafeteria and dining hall; (b.) Table seating is limited to ensure social (physical) distancing; (c.) Floor stickers are in place to ensure social (physical) distancing when students line up; (d.) Removal of all self-serve stations from cafeteria (e.g., fountain drinks, ice cream, salad bar, soup, etc); (e.) Limited meal choices during high traffic times to limit lines; and (f.) Food delivered to all students required to self-isolate or quarantine (no contact).)
  6. Contact-free move-in and move-out process - (a.) Move-in and move-out forms will be processed without contact and keys will be left in the room for students to pick up; and (b.) Arrival times strategically staggered to allow for move-in without contact with other arriving students.
  7. No guests in residence spaces - Open Residence hours have been cancelled for 2020-2021 and overnight guests not permitted. Only students living in residence spaces will be permitted in those spaces.
  8. Off-campus visits - All residence students will be expected to practice the recommendations of Public Health when they are off-campus.
  9. Hand hygiene - Hand hygiene stations will be placed at all entrances to Providence buildings and in strategic locations throughout the building (e.g., outside of residence rooms and in study rooms).
  10. Increased signage - (a.) All entrances to Providence buildings will include screening posters to help ensure that people who are ill will not enter the buildings. All faculty have been instructed to provide alternative options so that students are not expected to come to class if they are feeling ill; (b.) Signage will be posted throughout all Providence buildings with guidelines on social (physical) distancing and other infection prevention protocols; and (c.) Social (physical) distancing signage will be placed throughout Providence buildings to ensure that people are not congregating in spaces (e.g., direction arrows in hallways, limits in elevators, signs on couches and common areas).

FOR COMMUTER STUDENTS

If you are recommended to self-isolate by Public Health based on your responses to the screening questions located above, you are required to disclose to Providence that you are self-isolating if you have been on the Providence campus in the 14 days previous.

If you choose to be tested for COVID-19:

If the test is negative, you can stop isolating after you have not had symptoms for at least 24 hours.

If the test is positive, contact tracing will being in cooperation with Public Health to determine who else at Providence may require self-isolation. You should remain in quarantine until cleared to leave by Public Health officials.

If you do not choose to be tested for COVID-19:

If you do not wish to be tested, you can stop isolating after 14 days and after you have been symptom free for 24 hours (whichever is later).

FOR INCOMING STUDENTS REQUIRING SELF-ISOLATION

If you are a Providence student requiring self-isolation upon entry into Manitoba, you will be provided with housing with a private bathroom on the Otterburne, MB campus for the duration of your 14 day self-isolation. You must do the following:

Incoming Campus Arrivals

Contact a member of Student Life to inquire about available accommodations for isolation a minimum of three to four weeks in advance of your anticipated arrival. If you have found isolation accommodations elsewhere, confirm with a member of Student Life that your accommodations are acceptable.

Give the appropriate Student Life staff your arrival information a minimum of two weeks in advance of your arrival.

Choose one of the following transportation options:

(1.) Make your own arrangements to have your personal vehicle dropped off at airport parking so you can drive yourself to the school.

  • Any necessary campus keys will be left inside your personal vehicle, along with a
  • mask and gloves.
  • Coordinate arrival time with Student Life so that touch points can be sanitized
  • after you enter your isolation space.
  • Drive straight from the airport to your campus isolation space.
  • Wear a mask and gloves from the time you leave your car to when you finish moving in.

(2.) Make your own arrangements for someone to come and pick you up from the airport.

  • This person will be asked to deliver your campus keys, mask, and gloves to you.
  • Coordinate arrival time with Student Life so that touch points can be sanitized after you enter your isolation space.
  • Drive straight from the airport to your campus isolation space.
  • Those picking you up from international or interprovincial travel must also wear their own mask and gloves in the vehicle and while helping you move into your campus isolation space.
  • After dropping off you off, this person must immediately leave the Providence campus.

(3.) Drive yourself from your current accommodations to your campus isolation space.

  • Arrange drop-off of necessary campus keys with Student Life in advance of your arrival.
  • Coordinate arrival time with Student Life so that touch points can be sanitized after you enter your isolation space.
  • Drive straight from your current accommodations to your campus isolation space.
  • Bring your own mask and gloves to wear from the time you leave your car to when you finish moving in.

(4.) If you are unable to make your own pick-up arrangements, you must contact the appropriate Student Life staff a minimum of two weeks in advance to discuss other arrangements. Providence will arrange to pick you up from the airport and transport you to the Providence campus for self-isolation.

Your isolation space will come stocked with the following things:

  • Kitchen – 1 dish set (plate/bowl/cup/cutlery/mug), dish soap/brush, paper towel, hand towel, extra garbage bags, instant coffee/tea, snacks.
  • Bedroom/Bathroom – 1 set of bedding (twin sheets/blanket, pillow), laundry detergent (for hand-washing clothing), shampoo, conditioner, bar soaps, toothpaste, toothbrush, face cloth/hand towel/bath towel, toilet paper, pads/tampons, bathroom cleaners, extra garbage bags.

You will not be permitted to leave your campus isolation space during your two-week isolation except for a medical emergency or to be tested for COVID-19, or for a building emergency, such as a fire.

Arrange with a member of Student Life to have someone drop off any extra supplies at your isolation space during your time in isolation.

Meals will be delivered to your isolation space at least once per day each weekday. Weekend meals will be delivered all at once each Friday or more frequently. You are required wear a non medical mask when picking up your meals outside your door.

You cannot have any guests in your isolation space during your two-week isolation period.

A member of Student Life staff will be in communication with you every day during your isolation to check in on your symptoms (if any), your mental health, and to see if you need anything brought to you.

If you experience any symptoms associated with COVID-19 while in isolation, you should use the online Screening Tool or contact Health Links at 1-888-315-9257 to determine if you require testing. Note: Providence is required to inform public health authorities if incoming international students develop symptoms of COVID-19 during self-isolation.

  • If testing is recommended, you must discuss arrangements for transportation to and from the testing facility with the appropriate Student Life staff and communicate the
  • results as soon as you receive them.
  • If your test results come back positive, you must coordinate with Student Life and Manitoba Public Health to determine when your quarantine will be completed. Providence will be in communication with Manitoba Public Health regarding any positive COVID-19 test results on-campus.
  • If your test results come back negative, you must still remain in isolation until the end of the 14-day period because of your recent travel.

At the end of the quarantine/isolation period, you must vacate the quarantine/isolation space by 8:00 am the morning after your last day in isolation. You must leave the quarantine/isolation space as clean and tidy as possible. If any significant physical damage is found in the quarantine/isolation space, your account will be charged for the cost of materials and time for repairs based on the estimation of the Facilities Department.

FOR MID-YEAR STUDENT IN RESIDENCE OR TURNER

If you experience any symptoms associated with COVID-19, contact the Residence On-Call phone as soon as symptoms begin at 204-746-4785. (This is for Turner students too).

Student Life staff equipped with proper PPE will bring a COVID-19 Kit and help you move out of your accommodations and into an isolation space. Some students may stay in their rooms for self-isolation if they have a private bathroom. Student Life staff will inform you if you are required to move.

You will be required to wear a mask and gloves from the time you leave your regular accommodations to the time that you move into your isolation space. A Providence employee will also follow behind you, sanitizing all touch points after you have entered your isolation space.

Your isolation space will come stocked with the following things:

  • Kitchen – 1 dish set (plate/bowl/cup/cutlery/mug), dish soap/brush, paper towel, hand towel, extra garbage bags, instant coffee/tea, snacks.
  • Bedroom/Bathroom – 1 set of bedding (twin sheets/blanket, pillow), laundry detergent (for hand-washing clothing), shampoo, conditioner, bar soaps, toothpaste, toothbrush, face cloth/hand towel/bath towel, toilet paper, pads/tampons, bathroom cleaners, extra garbage bags.

Meals will be delivered to your isolation space at least once per day each weekday. Weekend meals will be delivered all at once each Friday or more frequently. You are required wear a non medical mask when picking up your meals outside your door.

Once you are in your self-isolation space, you will be directed by Student Life regarding tracking your symptoms, providing contact information, as well as information about food delivery. This information will be passed on through the appropriate channels to ensure that necessary professors, Student Life staff, and Food Services staff are properly informed.

A member of Student Life staff will be in communication with you every day during your isolation to check in on your symptoms (if any), your mental health, and to see if you need anything brought to you.

If you are in self-isolation due to a possible COVID-19 exposure and develop symptoms of COVID-19 (see screening tool above), inform a member of Student Life staff immediately.

If you wish to be tested for COVID-19, you must discuss arrangements for transportation to and from the testing facility with the appropriate Student Life staff and communicate the results as soon as you have received them.

  • If you test positive, contact tracing will begin in cooperation with public health to determine if others will require self-isolation. Providence will be in communication with Manitoba Public Health regarding any positive COVID-19 test results on-campus.
  • If you test negative, you will remain in isolation until you have not had symptoms for at least 24 hours.
  • If you do not wish to be tested, you will be required to remain self-isolated for the full 14 days or until your symptoms have ended, whichever is later.

You must receive confirmation from a member of Student Life about when you will be permitted to leave your quarantine/isolation space at the end of your time in quarantine/isolation.

You must leave the quarantine/isolation space as clean and tidy as possible. If any significant physical damage is found in the quarantine/isolation space, your account will be charged for the cost of materials and time for repairs based on the estimation of the Facilities Department.