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SLC discusses provincial COVID-19 restrictions

By Enobong Ukpong, September 28 2021—

This week’s Students’ Legislative Council (SLC) meeting was held on Sept. 21, the main focus being on the provincial restrictions due to COVID-19 and the effects that will have in the current Fall 2021 term.

Last Wednesday, the provincial government declared a public health emergency in response to increasing COVID-19 cases in Alberta, bringing back public health restrictions from earlier this year and installing new ones, such as a vaccine card. Students will note that in-person classes were cancelled late last week due to the suddenness of this announcement.

“In order for the university to remain open and in-person, it’s really critical that we have as many students as physically possible registered in the university’s COVIDSafe Campus Program,” said Nicole Schmidt, Students’ Union (SU) president. 

The COVIDSafe Campus Program is a web-based application where students can provide their proof of vaccination.

“In order for the university to not get shut down by the government again, we need as close to 100 per cent registration on that website as physically possible,” said Schmidt, and acknowledged that 100 per cent compliance for 26,000 undergraduate students “might just be a dream at this point.”

Schmidt encouraged faculty representatives to communicate the need to provide proof of vaccination to their fellow students, stressing that if the vaccination rates aren’t high enough, the university may be shut down again.

As of Sept. 21, 37,000 people in the campus community, including students, faculty and staff, have registered on COVIDSafe Campus — 91.3 per cent of those who registered are fully vaccinated. 

Students who were affected by last-minute course format changes are likely eligible for the Fall 2021 Online Learning Reallocation Grant. The grant awards $500 to domestic students and $1,000 to international students. 

“It was very disappointing to see the university only offer $500 and $1,000 to students who were affected by the course changes,” said Schmidt, stating that she had approached the administration several times about her concerns, but they turned down all her meeting requests. 

“I think that sends a blatant message to students that this isn’t an important issue to them.” Schmidt also stated that she believed the eligibility requirements were too strict.

Agendas, minutes, and upcoming meetings for SLC can be found online.

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