Ally Buchanan
Ally Buchanan
Ally is in her second year at Renaissance College, pursuing minors in Political Science and English. She is originally from Hampton, New Brunswick
March 16, 2020

Updated: UNB confirms first presumptive case of COVID-19

Live updates on UNB's response to COVID-19 | Photo by Jules Keenan

With anxiety spreading alongside illness as the COVID-19, also referred to as the novel coronavirus infection, pandemic grows, it can be difficult to keep up with developments as they occur. 

Included here will be all information released by the University New Brunswick, updated as more is made available. Everything included here has been formally released to various units and groups across campus by the University of New Brunswick. 

As of Friday, March 16 at 5:18pm

On March 16, the University of New Brunswick put out notice of a presumptive case of COVID-19 within the university community.

The Horizon Health Network has requested all that community members self-monitor for symptoms for the next 14 days.

The university announced that they were closing all non-essential operations in order to limit the risk of interpersonal interactions and the spread of the virus.

The university has also required that students living in residence, who are not unable to leave or symptomatic, move out as of Wednesday, March 18. Students required to move out will be provided a refund.

The university president’s office announced the closure of all in-person classes at 5:08pm today, March 13, effective Saturday, March 14 at 8:00am and resuming using “alternative methods” in a week's time, beginning Monday, March 23.

The university states that they plan to stick to the current exam schedule, with no mention of concrete alternatives. They are currently exploring options of postponing exams until next September and, when possible, take-home options. 

The updating UNB informational website is advising basic anti-influenza precautions, such as regular hand-washing, covering your nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing, and touching your face, as well as reduced contact with others. 

New Brunswick Public Health has recommended that all non-essential events be canceled or postponed. All essential events must be limited to 150 attendees. 

In response to this, all intramural sports have been canceled for the remainder of the year, as of March 13, as well as the upcoming Red Awards.

The UNB Student Union has chosen to cancel all events, and will be suspending SafeRide services as March 14 for the remainder of the year. In a statement to students, president Craig Fernandez said that the SU will be contacting all ratified clubs and societies to advise them on how to proceed.

Extra precautions are being taken in residence dining halls, including increased cleaning efforts focusing on “serving utensils, railings, and other high touch surfaces”. 

In the case of a worsened situation on campus, gloved Sodexo staff members will serve food and distribute utensils as opposed to existing self-serve stations. My Kitchen stations will also close. 

In the event of a COVID-19 case in a residence, those diagnosed will be instructed to return home immediately if they can do so safely. Specific rooms will be designated for a quarantine period of 14 days, including off-campus housing, for those who cannot return home. 

All university sanctioned travel to Europe, the Middle East, China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan and Singapore was announced to be suspended on March 12. Travel to other places currently requires advanced approval from the faculty dean and the Office of Global Learning and Engagement. 

This means that most travel studies, internship, practicums, and exchange programs have been suspended until further notice. 

As concerns students currently abroad, UNB is currently developing a “comprehensive information package” concerning safe travel, as well as academic and housing accommodations for students who may have to stay longer or choose to come back early. 

At this time, the university is not requiring students currently abroad return to Canada, but has encourages these students to follow the Government of Canada's travel advisory, which recommends avoiding all non-essential travel. They stated on March 14 that any decision to stay would be "at [their] own risk" and that students would assume all financial responsibility.

St. Thomas University has suspended all in-person classes as of March 13 for the remainder of the year. The university has encouraged all domestic and international students to travel home if they feel safe to do so. Existing dates set for the term will remain in place, with online or take-home exams to replace sit-down exams.

All STU campus buildings and services will remain operational, including residences, dining halls and other food services. However, all "discretionary campus events" up until April 9 have been canceled.

The New Brunswick College of Craft and Design has joined the other institutions in canceling classes and shutting down all builidings, effective March 16 at 11:00pm.

The Brunswickan has contacted units across UNB through the university Communications Office and is awaiting response, and will continue providing immediate updates on information for the duration of this event.

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