The provincial government expects Alberta universities, colleges, and polytechnics to return to in-person learning without masking or proof of vaccination requirements as soon as March 1, according to a public letter sent to Alberta’s post-secondary institutions.
Demetrios Nicolaides, Alberta’s minister of advanced education, shared the letter on his social media accounts on February 9. The letter, addressed to the Board Chairs of Alberta’s post-secondary institutions, outlines how the government expects universities and colleges to respond to Alberta’s phased removal of public health restrictions.
Phase one, implemented midnight on February 8, saw the removal of the Restriction Exceptions Program and the lifting of capacity limits for private organizations. Phase two, which is expected to begin on March 1, will remove remaining COVID-19 restriction measures on businesses and other organizations. This includes the removal of provincial mask mandates in indoor settings and the lifting of the work from home order.
According to the letter, post-secondary institutions can return to pre-pandemic delivery as of March 1. Nicolaides specified it is his “expectation” that post-secondaries will change their policies to align with the new public health restrictions, lifting mask, vaccination, and physical distancing requirements on campus.
“Essentially, post-secondary institutions will have the full ability to return to pre-pandemic delivery without the need to enforce physical distancing, implement proof of vaccination programs and masking effective March 1,” the letter from Nicolaides said. “It is my expectation that all of Alberta’s universities, colleges and polytechnics will align their COVID-19 policies and practices with that of Alberta’s Government.”
“Like you, I am eager to see students returning to in-person learning without masking and proof of vaccination requirements this March.”
Nicolaides recommended post-secondaries still promote vaccination and follow current health orders and guidance “as appropriate.”
The day prior to Nicolaides’ letter, the University of Alberta sent out an announcement stating that no immediate changes would be made to made to existing COVID-19 protocols. The U of A will provide another update this Friday, February 11.
More to Come…