The University of Guelph is increasing measures, monitoring and enforcement to help prevent the further spread of COVID-19 on campus.
People found to be violating University, government and Public Health protocols will face penalties that could include a provincial fine of $880 under the Reopening Ontario Act. Violations may include failure to wear a mask and failure to maintain physical distancing as well as holding social gatherings.
“We know this is an upsetting and unsettling time,” said Carrie Chassels, vice-provost (student affairs).
“The COVID-19 outbreak has significantly disrupted our residence and U of G community. We are taking this situation very seriously.”
Chassels said the University’s top priority is the health and safety of students and staff in residence.
“Right now, we are focused on ensuring those in isolation are being supported and putting additional measures in place to increase compliance and reduce the spread of COVID-19.”
Currently, 49 students have tested positive for COVID-19; the outbreak is connected to unsanctioned social gatherings held at the East Village Townhouses on Jan. 15 and 16. Most attendees were first-year domestic students taking virtual courses at U of G.
Already, Campus Community Police have issued more than two dozen fines to individuals connected to these gatherings. Further penalties connected to those gatherings, including the provincial fine, eviction and restrictions from University property, are forthcoming pending the conclusion of investigations, said Chassels.
To ensure that COVID-19 protocols are followed on campus, additional surveillance measures are being put into place, including:
- Installation of security cameras around the perimeter of East Village Townhouses; and
- Additional monitoring by security personnel and Campus Community Police of residence areas on campus and communal spaces in East Residence.
Depending on compliance, the University may also implement a campus curfew.
To prevent further spread of COVID-19, the University has grouped students with confirmed positive tests in a single residence. As an added precaution, more than 200 students are self-isolating in campus residences.
The University has increased cleaning and disinfection; communicates regularly with students in residence about who is considered a high-risk contact and isolation criteria; and continues to work with Public Health in responding to the situation and conducting contact tracing.
U of G is also providing additional virtual programming to help support and engage students living in campus residences, especially those who are not isolating. Tips for staying active and keeping connected, as well as listings of mental health and well-being supports, are available online.