Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada

COVID-19 Legal Waiver and Student Community Protocols

A SHARED COMMITMENT TO SAFETY 

In 2020, StFX introduced two documents that all students were required to sign: a COVID-19 legal waiver, and a list of Student Community Protocols related to health, safety, and wellness. StFX plans to introduce a similar requirement for students in this coming 2021-22 academic year. 

“What is the COVID-19 legal waiver?”

Waiver documents have become common in the era of COVID-19, with many organizations implementing them as part of their standard business procedures. Simply, many insurance providers will not offer coverage specific to COVID-19, placing organizations (including StFX) in a challenging position. To this point, the COVID-19 legal waiver acknowledges there is no “zero-risk” scenario with regard to the COVID-19 pandemic and that all students must make an informed decision about assuming these risks before attending StFX.

“Does a legal waiver imply that I won’t be safe?”

The health and safety plans that we introduced last year worked. We fully expect to offer the same safe university experience this year, but acknowledge there is no “zero-risk” scenario in the era of COVID-19.  Last year we successfully offered more face-to-face classes than any university in the country and had thousands of students living safely in residence. We had zero cases of COVID-19 transmission on campus or in the wider community, and fewer than five travel-related cases discovered while students were completing their mandatory quarantine. In these instances, we implemented our COVID-19 response plans designed to minimize the risk of transmission and support students while they recovered.

It is important to note that the COVID-19 legal waiver does not absolve the university of doing everything it can to meet the standards expected by public health officials, nor does it impact a student’s health coverage. Last year public health officials reviewed and approved our plans to offer face-to-face learning, and we continue to work closely with them. 

“Are these legal waivers new?”

No. In fact, StFX has long used similar waivers for programs such as Service Learning and Athletics and Recreation. These programs have been offered safely for many years.

“Why do I need to affirm these Student Community Protocols?”

StFX has developed robust health and safety protocols to help ensure the wellbeing of all students in the era of COVID-19. However, safety is a shared responsibility. Our Student Community Protocols outline how we expect students to do their part in keeping both themselves and the wider campus community safe and healthy. Your affirmation of these protocols signifies that you understand what will be expected of you when you come to StFX.

“When will I receive the COVID-19 legal waiver and student community protocols to review and sign?”

We anticipate sending these documents to all students, via your StFX student email account, in July. All documents will be signed and submitted electronically. Please check your student email on a regular basis so you will know when the COVID-19 legal waiver and student community protocols have arrived.

“I have questions and would like additional information. Where can I learn more?”

More information will be shared in the coming weeks and months. In the meantime, please email waiver@stfx.ca if you have questions.

“Last year the Univerity and the StFX Students' Union signed a Memorandum of Understanding related to in-person learning and community life in the time of COVID-19. Will that happen again?" 

Yes. StFX University is working with the Students’ Union to write another Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). This MOU will outline the supports and accommodations that StFX University and the Union are committed to this year to help students transition back to classes. Please stay tuned for more information. 

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