NAIT's response to COVID-19

Posted: Mar 12, 2020 10:01 PM   |  Updated: Mar 10, 2020 11:38 PM

Further information on COVID-19 and what NAIT is doing can be found here.

To members of the NAIT community,

Yesterday, the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic. With 19 confirmed or presumptive cases in Alberta as of today, we know you have many questions about the actions we are taking at NAIT to provide a safe and healthy learning and work environment. Let me address those questions here.

While the current risk of catching COVID-19 in Alberta is low, Alberta Health advises this may change in the coming weeks. NAIT’s Emergency Operations Centre is in the active planning stage and has been monitoring the situation since Jan. 27, 2020. We have put measures in place to minimize the impact of COVID-19, including enhanced cleaning and planning for potential disruptions to instruction.

Prevention and preparation

NAIT is following the advice of the Public Health Agency of Canada and Alberta Health, and will continue provide further updates and information as it becomes available.

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

We are also coordinating with other post-secondary institutions to share best practices.

NAIT leaders are reviewing their business continuity plans, which outline the actions schools 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. Leaders have been asked to talk to their staff about the possibility of working from home, should they be required to self-isolate.

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

Campuses operating as normal

At this time, classes, activities and services on our campuses are continuing as normal.

We know many of you have questions about the potential for disruptions to classes and services. Any decision to move classes online, cancel classes or services or close our campuses would be made on the recommendation of Alberta Health and NAIT’s executive.

Travel

NAIT has introduced a ban for business travel to countries under active Government of Canada travel health notices, including China, Iran, Italy, Japan, Hong Kong, France, Germany, Singapore, Spain and South Korea. NAIT continues to monitor these and others daily.

Any staff member considering vital work-related travel to an area under a travel advisory should contact John O'Keeffe, Director of Campus Safety & Security, to implement a travel risk management plan.

Some of you may be making plans to travel in the coming weeks during spring break. Please review Alberta Health’s memorandum on spring travel and consult the Government of Canada’s Travel Advice and Advisories page for destination-specific travel information. Staff and students should follow government recommendations for all international travel.

What it means to self-isolate

You may have questions about what it means when a student or staff member at a post-secondary institution is asked to self-isolate after being in close contact with a case of COVID-19. Self-isolation is a cautious approach and if that person has no symptoms, they are not considered to have exposed others to the virus. Other students and staff do not need to be kept home. Health officials will be ensuring that all appropriate precautions are being taken.

Stay informed

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

For NAIT specific information, please continue to visit the COVID-19 section of our emergency website at www.nait.ca/coronavirus. As well, please download the NAIT Alert App for any emergency notifications.

We are committed to keeping you updated about our planning, preparation and any impacts to campus operations as the situation evolves.

John O’Keeffe
Director, Emergency Operation Centre