Last Updated on December 12, 2021 by YGK News Staff
On Friday, Queen’s University released a statement confirming a widespread COVID-19 outbreak within its student community.
The outbreak comes as Queen’s today confirmed several suspected cases of the new Omicron variant within the community.
The university now says its working with public health to address the current situation. They are also asking students to take immediate measures to prevent the further spread of the virus.
“If you have come into close contact with a known case over the last ten days or have any symptoms, you must isolate and get tested as soon as possible with a PCR test. Testing can be booked online through KFL&A Public Health,” wrote the university in a statement today.
Additionally, the university says it will also be automatically granting academic consideration for individuals who have symptoms or have tested positive for the virus, and making rapid test kits available to students next week.
”All students symptom-free and not a high-risk contact are strongly encouraged to use these tests within 48 hours of travel outside of the KFL&A region.”
The availability of rapid test kits come in response to a shortage of access to PCR and antigen testing in Kingston. At Kingston’s Beechgrove testing complex, appointments for a test are at least 5 days away. This has forced some students to travel as far as Ottawa and Belleville in order to receive test results in time for their exams.
Despite the outbreak in the student community, the university still plans to carry out in-person exams. Students have been openly calling for all exams to be moved online after fears arose that students would be put at risk by writing exams in person.
One an open letter by one student called packing students into gymnasiums for exams “dangerous and tone-deaf to Kingston’s current struggles” to contain the spread of COVID.
Another student in Engineering said he was disappointed to see that KFL&A Public Health had not responded to his questions about what is being done to prevent the virus from spreading during the exam season.
Queen’s media relations officer Julie Brown says however that some of the points made in the students’ letter are factually incorrect, including the assertion that those students need a positive PCR test in order to be exempt.