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SU supports U of C’s decision to continue its health measures after provincial restrictions lift

By Sophia Lopez, February 9 2022––

Yesterday, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announced that the province is going to begin following a three-step plan to remove public health measures over the course of the next few weeks.

Feb. 8 at 11:59 p.m. marked the start of step one, which includes removing the COVID-19 Restrictions Exemption Program (REP) and any occupancy limits on venues under 500 capacity. People are also now permitted to consume food or beverages in seated audience settings for large events and entertainment venues, but closing times, alcohol service and table capacity restrictions will remain in place.

While these restrictions are removed, masking will remain mandatory for children and youth in schools, and those aged 12 and under until Feb. 13 at 11:59 p.m.

“The last two years have taken a significant toll on Albertans’ overall health, social and economic well-being,” said Kenney in yesterday’s press release. “Now that we are through the worst of the fifth wave and have achieved high vaccination rates, it is time to shift to a balanced approach where we are able to live with COVID-19 and return to normal.”

With this announcement from the premier, the University of Calgary has decided to proceed with the announcement made last month to return back to campus by the end of February. On Feb. 28, students who originally had registered for in-person classes will begin in-person learning, and those who had registered for online classes will continue online.

The U of C’s Students’ Union (SU) President Nicole Schmidt expressed her support for the university’s commitment to continue with the plan of moving back in person with the proper protocols in place.

“Students, like everyone, are tired,” said Schmidt. “The pandemic has presented unique challenges for post-secondary students with a constant swing between in-person and online learning. Yesterday’s announcement from the premier resulted in the university committing to continuing its health protocols, including vaccination. The SU supports this move.”

However, Schmidt explained how work continues to be done on their part to ensure students are being supported adequately when it’s time to come back on campus.

“The SU has presented a number of asks to university administration for the return of in-person learning,” said Schmidt. “These include pro-rating the Athletics and Campus Recreation fees since students could not make use of these while learning online, re-introducing the relocation bursary to support students with travel and accommodation expenses and offering short-term leases in residence for students who wish to live there.”

Step two of Kenney’s plan will begin March 1, where Albertans can expect to see most of the health restrictions removed, with the exception of COVID-specifc measures in continuing care and mandatory isolation. These will be evaluated after step two has commenced and hospitalization rates lower.

For more information on each step and specific details regarding COVID-19, visit the Alberta government website. For more information on the university’s plan to return to campus, visit the U of C website.

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