President message to community

Posted April 8, 2021


Hello everyone!

While your focus is on the final weeks of the Winter semester, I wanted to take a moment to answer a question I’ve been getting a lot lately.

The question is, “Are we changing our plans to return to campus in the Fall of 2021 given the shifts in the pandemic?”

I want to acknowledge that a lot has happened since my initial message that we should plan for a fall return.

The province has issued a directive for universities to plan for face-to-face learning in the fall.

In Alberta, there’s been a sharp increase in the number of cases of COVID, including variants of concerns.

This week, we’ve returned to Stage 1 of the provincial reopening framework.

And, of course, the vaccine rollout is shifting and evolving daily.

Nevertheless, my answer to whether or not we will return to campus is this … we must continue to plan as if we are returning to campus in the fall, but be ready to adapt to whatever situation and restrictions are in place at that time.

This planning is critical because there are so many decisions and preparations the University needs to do.

We also must give you, our students and employees, time to make decisions and prepare as well.

Our top priority has been and will continue to be the health and well-being of our campus community.

I really appreciate how careful everyone has been in following safety protocols on campus and I know you do that for your own safety, as much as for the safety of those around you.

With the increase in cases in Alberta, people are asking about the number of cases we’ve had at Mount Royal.

Since January we have had 26 confirmed positive cases among our students, faculty, and staff, as well as contractors working at Mount Royal. These individuals were either on campus, or at the Springbank hangar and this number does also include those off site doing practicums. Since the pandemic started in March of 2020, there have been a total of 93 confirmed COVID-19 cases.

While I wish this number were zero, my understanding is that it’s lower than many other universities. I ask that you please do your level best to stay healthy and to keep the spread as low as possible.

As I said, the health and well-being of our campus community will continue to be a priority, especially as we plan.

As we deal with our return to stage 1 restrictions, the work to get ready for the future must continue.

Work has already begun as we move furniture, create more signage and develop toolkits to reorient students and employees to the return. It’s a long list and we’re working our way through.

I hope you will get your vaccine when you are eligible to get one. This will help to make our community safer for our return. I’ve just become eligible myself and I’m working hard to secure an appointment for my first dose of the vaccination.

So, to sum it up, in spite of the uncertainty, we must continue to plan for the fall and this activity is well underway. If we need to adapt these plans as time nears, we will do that.

Students choose Mount Royal because of the high-quality learning experience and support they receive. I think faculty and staff choose MRU for the exact same reason.

I remain committed to making sure that teaching and learning, and our academic programs are prioritized as our planning continues and doing my level best to communicate with the campus community and our governing bodies as we plan.

I thank all of you for your patience and your flexibility. Please remember there are resources available to you during these challenging times.

I know this has been a long road and we will get through this, we will prevail as an institution and, more importantly, as a campus community. Last but not least, I wish all of you the very best in these final weeks of the Winter semester. Please take care.