COVID-19 Update #2: Classes continue, new event and travel guidelines

Posted: Mar 12, 2020 9:50 AM   |  Updated: Mar 13, 2020 8:43 PM

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, I would like to provide an update on the measures we are taking to ensure we continue to provide a safe and healthy learning and work environment. 

NAIT’s Emergency Operations Centre has been activated and is leading our response management. We have been monitoring the outbreak since Jan. 27, 2020, and have taken measures to minimize the impact of COVID-19. This includes enhanced cleaning and planning for potential disruptions to our work.

Up-to-date information about what NAIT is doing in response to this situation can be found at www.nait.ca/coronavirus. Please continue to check here for the most current information as this is where we will share all updates. 

As you may be aware, earlier today, the Province of Alberta issued new recommendations on events and travel. Here is what this means for our community at this time. 

Classes and events

Classes will continue as scheduled. Any student who may be ill or is required to self-isolate should contact their instructor.

Following the Alberta government’s direction, we are cancelling ALL events with more than 250 attendees. We also ask participants from high-risk populations (those travelling from other countries, seniors, critical infrastructure staff, etc.) not to attend any events with more than 50 people.

Events with less than 250 people and those that do not have high risk populations in attendance can proceed, but risk mitigation such as sanitizer stations and distancing between attendees must be in place.

Any business-related attendance at events with more than 250 people is restricted. In addition, we ask that you use an abundance of caution when attending any business-related event.

We are also limiting seating to 225 in the Common Market and bytes eating areas.  

Enhanced Cleaning

Our custodial teams have increased the cleaning and sanitization schedule, with a focus on high-touch areas such as door handles, elevator buttons and tables. Disinfectant wipes have also been deployed in common eating areas, meeting and conference rooms, and other high-traffic areas. 

Support for employees

Human Resources is working on a self-isolation and work from home protocol for staff who are experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19 or who have recently travelled abroad. In the meantime, we expect staff to follow the self-isolation process outlined by Alberta Health

We will be supporting employees through the pandemic by providing an additional 10 days of paid leave for COVID-19 related absences. This benefit will be extended to all salary, casual and sessional employees. We will reassess after 10 days on a case-by-case basis. 

Travel

Alberta Health is recommending against travel outside Canada at this time. All travellers arriving from abroad should check Alberta’s COVID-19 site for the latest directives around self-isolation.

As a result, NAIT is restricting all business travel outside of Canada.

Staff and students should follow government recommendations for all international travel.

Business continuity planning

NAIT leaders are reviewing their business continuity plans, which outline the actions school and department staff will take to manage any disruption, while ensuring the health and safety of students and staff. NAIT is looking at possible ways to deliver exams and program content off campus should such measures be required. This includes using Moodle or creating virtual classrooms through online platforms such as Microsoft Teams.

While the worldwide risk is rising, the risk of contracting COVID-19 in Alberta is low. We will continue to make decisions based on the latest information from Alberta Health and the Public Health Agency of Canada. 

For the most up-to-date information about COVID-19 and the situation in Alberta, please visit the Government of Canada and Alberta Health websites.

In the case of any presumptive or confirmed case(s) directly impacting a member of the NAIT community, we will work under the direction of Alberta Health to respond appropriately. 

I appreciate that this is a stressful time for everyone and that the situation is evolving rapidly. Please continue to support one another and be assured our top priority is the health, safety and well-being of the NAIT community.

We will continue to keep you updated as the situation evolves in the days and weeks ahead.

Dr. Ray Block
President and CEO
NAIT