COVID-19 FAQ's

Answers to frequently asked questions for Saint Mary’s University students.

I have questions about:

Academics

Classes, exams & graduation.

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Employment & Financial Assistance

What to do if you’ve lost your job or are low on money.

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Campus & Residence

What’s still open for students on campus.

Learn more >

Travelling & Studying Abroad

Visas, permits and going home.

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Symptoms & Treatment

What to do if you think you’re sick.

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Services

What services are open to students and how to access them.

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Preventative Measures & Staying Healthy

Social distancing, self-isolation, and other ways to protect yourself and your peers.

Learn more >

Additional Resources

Updates from the University and government.

Learn more >

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Academics

Are classes still on?

All face-to-face classes are suspended for the remainder of the term, and courses will continue remotely. Your professors have provided revised course outlines detailing how classes and assessments will move forward until the end of the term.

Are final exams still happening?

Final exams may continue in various forms, such as take-home or online tests. Some professors may choose to have final projects instead, or shift weight to previous and/or upcoming assignments. Check your revised course outlines for all information relating to final exams/assessements.

What happens if I can’t complete a course remotely?

Please contact Bryn de Chastelain immediately at [email protected]if you don’t have strong internet access or access to a computer at home! 

I’m a Fred Smithers student, can I still get accommodation?

Yes! Contact your professor and the Fred Smithers Centre to let them know that you need accommodation.

What do I do if my new course outline is unfair?

Professors have been asked to create course outlines that are fair and reasonable. If you don’t think your revised course outline is fair for your situation, you should start by emailing your instructor. If you need further support, you can contact Bryn de Chastelain at [email protected]

Will I still be able to graduate?

Yes! Students will still graduate despite convocation being cancelled. Students will be updated when more information is available on the logistics of the graduation process. 

Do I have options in terms of how my grades are reflected on my transcript this semester?

Yes! If you’re concerned about how your final grade has been evaluated (even after speaking with your instructors), you have the option to request a grade change for each of your individual courses. You can request a Pass (P) or No Credit (NC).  To pursue this option, submit a request to the Associate Dean of the faculty in which you’re registered (Arts, Sobey School of Business, Science, Graduate Studies). The request deadline is May 15, 2020If you’ve applied to graduate in May and wish to pursue this option, we encourage you to submit your request as soon as you receive your grade. For more information, and to submit a request to change a grade, please visit the University’s website on virtual operations.

How will Academic Probation/Suspension/Dismissal be affected by the Winter 2020 semester?

No student will be placed on Academic Probation as a result of the Winter 2020 semester. If you’re currently on Academic Probation, you won’t be suspended or dismissed. You’ll be able to be removed from Academic Probation if your grades have improved and you’ve achieved good academic standing.

Are Spring and Summer courses still happening?

Spring and Summer courses will be delivered remotely, and will continue with the original start and end dates listed for the term.

Is convocation still happening?

The May 2020 Convocation is cancelled. Students who wish to cross the stage during a convocation ceremony will have the opportunity to do so at a later date (to be determined).

Is the Service Centre still open?

While the Service Centre offices are closed, Service Centre staff are working remotely, and responding to emails. You can contact them at [email protected] for more information.

What do I do if I have a Library book due?

The Library has extended all loans until May 30. The Library will be closed, but they are increasing access to scholarly journals and other sources online. Please email [email protected] with any questions.

Campus & Residence

Is the campus still open?

As of Friday, March 20, the Saint Mary’s University campus is closed to the public and all students who are NOT living in residence. Most departmental/service staff are working remotely, and can be reached via email.

Do I have to go home?

If you can go home or find another place to stay, you should do so! If you have no place to go, you can stay in your residence room for the foreseeable future. Either way, please contact [email protected] to let them know what you plan on doing.

Am I going to be kicked out of residence?

No! But, if you can go home or find another place to stay, you should do so! If you have no place to go, you are allowed to stay! Either way, please contact [email protected] to let them know what you plan on doing.

Can I still get food on campus?

The Dockside Dining Hall is open for students who are currently living in residence. 

If I leave residence will I get a refund?

As of Friday, March 20, students who leave residence will get a partial refund. Please contact [email protected] if you’re leaving residence and would like more information.

How do I self-isolate in residence?
      • Fill out the Residence Self-Isolation Intake Form if you are experiencing any COVID-19 related symptoms or have travelled outside of Canada within the last month.
      • Don’t go to any part of residence besides your room and the bathroom, limit contact with others, avoid sharing household items, and keep your surroundings clean. 
      • Stay connected with friends and family by text, email and social media.
Is the SMU clinic still open?

As of Wednesday, March 18, the Student Health Services Clinic (4th Floor – Student Centre) is only seeing urgent patient appointments, and is being monitored on a weekly basis. Please call ahead before entering the clinic: 902-420-5611Patients can request to receive a phone call from the doctor instead of in-person visits.

Is the SMU gym still open?

No, the Homburg Centre for Health & Wellness is closed. The decision to close was based on direction from the provincial government to close of fitness centres. If you attended the Homburg Centre between March 5 and 7, please review this Nova Scotia health advisory: http://www.nshealth.ca/news/nsha-advising-potential-covid-19-exposure-two-halifax-locations.

Travelling & Studying Abroad

I’m an out-of-province student living in Halifax for school. Should I be going home?

Yes! If you’re able to, you should go home to better serve those who can’t. For more information, check out https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/#alerts.

If I am an international student, can I leave and come back to Canada?
What do I do if I can’t afford to come back to Canada?

If you are a Canadian citizen, you need to try to come home as soon as possible. If prices are too high, you can apply for an Emergency Loan by contacting this email address: [email protected].

Am I still able to fly?
  • Both International and domestic flights are becoming less frequent. If you’re travelling outside of Nova Scotia, try to leave as soon as possible. If you have plans to travel by air, contact your airline for more information about your trip.
  • Depending on where you are traveling to, you will most likely be required to self-isolate for 14 days upon your arrival. If you are travelling from province to province (within Canada) by vehicle, you may be required to check-in at a provincial border.
  • For the latest on travel advice, please visit https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/latest-travel-health-advice.html?topic=tilelink 
What do I do if family members have travelled abroad recently?

If you or anyone you’ve been in contact with has travelled outside of Nova Scotia within the last month, you are advised to self-isolate for 14 days, avoid contact with others, and self-monitor for symptoms.

What do I do about my study visa?

We advise all international students to contact the International Centre about any questions relating to visas/study permits, returning to Halifax after going home, etc. You can contact them via email at [email protected]

Employment & Financial Assistance

Can my employer make me come into work if I'm worried about getting sick?

No, your employer cannot require you to produce a doctor’s note if you’re sick or concerned that you’ve been in contact with someone who has symptoms. For more information, go to https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/#alerts 

Will SMUWorks grants still be paid?

At this point, SMUWorks grants are still going to be allocate if the work can be completed, either remotely or in a shorter time period (ex. June-August, instead of May-August)

Will Teaching Assistants still get paid?

Teaching assistants are going to be paid until the end of the Winter term (Jan-Apr). You can contact your supervisor for more information.

Are summer research jobs still on?

Contact your research supervisor for more information, since every grant/job is slightly different.

I've lost my job. Can I apply for financial assistance?
What is Employment Insurance (EI) and how do I apply?
Who can get EI?

There have been some recent changes so more people are now eligible for EI because of COVID-19. Please see the Government of Canada Website for the eligibility requirements at https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/ei-regular-benefit/eligibility.html 

What if I can’t pay off my student loans?
What happens if I can’t pay rent?

For the next 3 months, Nova Scotia has mandated that landlords cannot evict their tenants if they’ve been affected by COVID-19. This includes getting fired or laid off from your job.

What if I can’t pay off my taxes?

The Canada Revenue Agency is deferring the final due date for personal income tax filings until June 1, 2020. The CRA will also allow individuals to pay their personal income tax balances until August 31, 2020. For more information, please visit https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan/covid19-individuals.html#emergency_support_benefit.

Symptoms & Treatment

What are and aren't symptoms of COVID-19?

The most common symptoms associated with COVID-19 are:

  • Fever
  • Dry cough
  • Shortness of breath

 

 

What should I do if I've had close contact with someone who has COVID-19?

If you have had close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or who has travelled outside of Nova Scotia within 14 days, you should self-isolate and stay home for 14 days, avoiding contact with others and self-monitoring for symptoms.

I'm feeling sick. What do I do?

If you feel unwell or you think you have COVID-19, you should use this online self-assessment tool to determine if you should call 811:  https://when-to-call-about-covid19.novascotia.ca/en

Where do I go for help?

If instructed by the Nova Scotia self-assessment tool, call 811 and you will be referred to a health care professional in your area or a COVID-19 assessment centre. Nova Scotia is instructing everyone to only call 811 if instructed by the self-assessment tool and to only visit a COVID-19 assessment centre if instructed by 811.

How do I get tested for COVID-19?

If instructed by the Nova Scotia self-assessment tool, call 811 and you will be referred to a health care professional in your area or a COVID-19 assessment centre. Nova Scotia is instructing everyone to only call 811 if instructed by the self-assessment tool and to only visit a COVID-19 assessment centre if instructed by 811.

Preventative Measures & Staying Healthy

What's the difference between social distancing, self-isolation and quarantine?
      •  Social Distancing: People with no symptoms should avoid close contact with others by avoiding non-essential gatherings and crowded places, and by keeping a distance of 2 metres (6 feet) from others. 
      • Self-Isolation: People with no symptoms who have potentially come into contact with people who have either travelled outside Nova Scotia within the last 14 days or who have tested positive for COVID-19 should stay home, avoid contact with others and self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days. 
      • Quarantine: People with symptoms (even if mild) or who have been positively diagnosed with COVID-19 should stay at home until local public health authorities say you are no longer at risk of spreading the virus and avoid contact with others.
When do I need to self-isolate?

You should self-isolate for 14 days immediately upon returning from anywhere outside of Nova Scotia or once you’ve come into contact with someone who has either travelled outside of Nova Scotia or has tested positive for COVID-19.

How do I practice social distancing?
Should I be wearing gloves or a mask?

If you’re a healthy individual, the Government of Canada does not recommend the use of masks or gloves to present the spread of COVID-19. However, if you’re experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, your health care provider may recommend that you wear a mask as a barrier to stop the spread of the virus.

Services

Are SMUSA and the Health Plan Office still open?
Are SMU services still open?

Most SMU Services are working remotely and can be contacted by email. For more information, visit https://smu.ca/covid19/.

Is the SMU clinic still open?

As of Wednesday, March 18, the Student Health Services Clinic (4th Floor – Student Centre) is only seeing urgent patient appointments, and is being monitored on a weekly basis. Please call ahead before entering the clinic: 902-420-5611Patients can request to receive a phone call from the doctor instead of in-person visits.

Is the SMU Community Food Room still open?

As of Thursday, March 19 at 5:00pm, the SMU Community Food Room is closed. For information about other food banks and resources, please visit: https://www.feednovascotia.ca or call 311.

Is Halifax transit still running?

Halifax Transit is still operating with waived fares, passengers having to enter and exit through the rear door, and reduced occupancy limiting passengers to only the number of seats available. For more information, check out https://www.halifax.ca/transportation/halifax-transit/coronavirus.

Are the grocery stores still open? Banks? Pharmacies?

Most major grocery stores, banks, and pharmacies are currently open, with reduced hours and increased safety percautions. For updates on this, please visit https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/#alerts 

Is it safe to go see a doctor for non COVID-19 related issues?

The Nova Scotia Health Authority recommends cancelling all non-essential appointments and calling your healthcare provider to see if you should go for an in-person appointment. For more information, visit http://www.nshealth.ca/temporary-service-and-facility-closure-notices-nova-scotia-health-authority-updated-310-pm-march-16

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