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New Measures Announced in Response to Provincial Guidelines; Student Housing & Dining Services to Close 

ISSUED MARCH 20, 2020, at 4:56PM

It is with an abundance of caution based on progression of the provincial guidelines over the week that we are advancing our response to the COVID-19 outbreak. This will have an impact on Food Services and Student Housing for students who chose to remain on campus early in the week. 

CURRENT VIRUS OUTLOOK

Despite rumours to the contrary, effective Friday morning there are still 0 cases of COVID-19 at Prairie College and in Three Hills (confirmed by the local health unit). 

Three members of the campus community have been tested for COVID-19 (two faculty and one student). One person tested negative; the result of the other two tests have not been made available but are presumed to be negative, as well. Please refer to https://covid19stats.alberta.ca/ for a breakdown of the cases province-wide.

The health authority has moved from recommendations on social distancing earlier this week, to restrictions on mass gatherings, prohibitions on public recreation, private facilities and services. We anticipate that this may continue as other jurisdictions have moved into enforced quarantines and even further reduced gathering restrictions.

UPDATE TO FOOD SERVICES ON CAMPUS

Strong hygiene practices, coupled with responsible distancing, have proven to be a critical component to slowing the spread of this virus.  

In light of this, for the immediate time frame,  we have made the decision to reduce seating in the dining room and Atrium to a maximum of 2 chairs per table. Signs have been posted on each table to remind our community to practice this mandate.  

Changes to Food Services effective March 21, 2020 (Saturday): 

  • reduced grill hours
  • reduced salad bar offerings
  • reduced offerings on the hot line (1 culinary option, reduced from 2)
  • reduced meal time hours 

New Meal Times

  • Breakfast served: 8 – 9 am
  • Lunch served: 12 – 1pm
  • Supper served: 5 – 6 pm

Dining Room will be closed other than the three meal time hours.

Prairie has been reticent to close our Dining Hall and Residence while most of the private post-secondaries in Alberta have already announced the closure of their residences.   

Utilizing the  best knowledge we have today about this pandemic, increasingly aggressive mass gathering restrictions, and following the practice of our partners and other post-secondary schools, today we are announcing that our food services will be closed completely effective Saturday, March 28, 2020.  

UPDATE TO STUDENT HOUSING

We are now asking that all students living in Residence return home or make alternate housing arrangements by Saturday March 28 at 5 pm, if you are able. Please see your Directors of Student Development for any concerns or questions that you may have. 

It is our intent to work with every student to ensure they have a safe and reliable housing situation to go to.

GRADUATION & OTHER EVENTS

Prairie has officially postponed Graduation to the Fall of 2020.  Details on how and when this will happen will be communicated in the next 2 months. 

For a complete list of all the impacted on-campus events, please visit https://prairie.edu/campus-operations/

GUIDELINES FOR STAFF

In accordance with Provincial guidelines, we are continuing our plans to:

  • protect employees
  • limit spread in our workplace
  • ensure continuity of critical services if staff are ill or self-isolating
  • explore alternate working arrangements, such as:
    • working from home or remotely
    • doing work that doesn’t require contact with other people

As of Friday, staff are expected to report to work during regular business hours with the following guidelines and accommodations:

  • IF YOU ARE SICK: If you are ill (even if it is not suspected COVID-19) please stay home.
  • MEETINGS: All meetings include a call-in option for those who are not comfortable meeting in a group setting and Prairie will strictly observe the mass gathering limits set out by the Province (less than 50).
  • SOCIAL DISTANCING: Observe social distancing of 2 metres  between people in meetings. 
  • CLEANING: Cleaning supplies will be provided and it is highly recommended that private spaces be cleaned at least twice per day.

We will continually evaluate this response as the situation unfolds.

Further Reading

More details about the guidelines for Post-Secondary schools are available in the Province’s Record of Decision for Post-Secondary Institutions.

Lord be with us all and show us mercy!  And thank you for the promise that you are with us everywhere.

 For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment. 2 Tim 1:7 HCSB

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