COVID-19 FAQ's

Answers to frequently asked questions from fellow students about COVID-19.

I have questions about:

Travel & Study Abroad

Learn More >

Symptoms & Prevention

Learn More >

What's Open?

See what services are running.

Academics & Graduation

I need a place to study. Is there anywhere on campus I can access?

Yes there is! The library is open to students every Monday – Friday  from 2:00pm – 5:00pm, but you must book a spot before coming to the library. Click here to book!

I have complaints about how my class is being conducted. What should I do?

Depending on the nature of your complaint, it may need to be addressed by different people within the university. Please contact Abigayle Winters at [email protected] for more information about the complaint process.

My professor isn't answering me. What do I do?

If your professor isn’t answering you, we can raise these concerns to the university. Please contact Abigayle Winters at [email protected].

What does an asynchronous or synchronous course mean?

For the Fall 2020 (September – December) term, all courses are being delivered online. Courses are either asynchronous or synchronous.

  • Asynchronous: Complete coursework when you want/can. No assigned meeting time aside from assignment deadlines or test periods.
  • Synchronous: Has an assigned lecture time.

If you have complaints about a professor who is not correctly following these, please contact Abigayle Winters at [email protected].

Can I request a Pass or No Credit option for this term?

For the Fall 2020 term Saint Mary’s will be using it’s normal grading scale, meaning there is no pass/ fail option. The grading scale can be found here.

If you feel that your grade is unfair, you have the right to submit a grade appeal. Please contact Abigayle Winters at [email protected] for more information.

What will final exams be like in this virtual environment?

Final exams may take place 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 course outlines for all information relating to final exams/assessments.

I need a library resource or I have a book I need to return but can’t. Is there anything I can do?

The library is doing resource pickup Monday – Friday from 12:00pm – 5:00pm.

You can access the Research Help Desk at [email protected] or by texting 902-702-3057. The operating hours are Monday – Friday: 9:00am – 7:00pm and Saturday: 1:00pm-5:00pm.

If you need to return a resource to the library, you can use the metal drop-off bin on campus. If you can’t make it to campus, contact [email protected].

What will classes be like in the Winter 2021 term?

Saint Mary’s has announced that the Winter 2021 (January – April) term will be a blend of in-person and online classes. All classes will be available online, but there will be some options to take classes in-person as well. You are not required to attend in person as there will be online options available. Click here to learn more.

What happens if I can't complete my course(s) remotely?

If you can’t complete a course remotely for reasons, such as poor internet connection or computer access, please contact Abigayle Winters immediately at [email protected].

Can I still get accommodations through the Fred Smithers Centre?

Yes you can! Please contact your professor and the Fred Smithers Centre right away to let them know that you need accommodation.

Am I still able to graduate? Will there be a convocation?

Yes, graduation is still happening! However, your convocation ceremony may be held online. Click here to visit the SMU website for the latest updates about convocation.

Make sure you apply to graduate! You must submit an application form to graduate. Click here to learn more and to find the application deadline for your convocation.

Travel & Study Abroad

If I am an international student, can I leave and come back to Canada?

As long as your study permit is valid and was issued or approved before March 18th, 2020, you are allowed to enter Canada, as long as you self-isolate for 14 days upon your arrival and you are coming to Canada for an essential purpose. This means you cannot leave your place of residence for 14 days and must not be in contact with other people except those who might be isolating with you. Learn more here.

Your travel to Canada would be considered essential if it is for one of the following reasons;

  • you already live in Canada;
  • you need to be in Canada for your program (e.g. for laboratory work, workshops, or similar);
  • your school isn’t offering online study options;
  • you can’t study online from your home country because of internet restrictions or bandwidth limitations;
  • you can’t participate in live online classes from your home country because of the difference in time zones.

For more information about travelling to/from Canada, click here.

Am I still able to fly?

Both International and domestic flights are becoming less frequent. 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, click here.

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 the Atlantic Bubble within the last 14 days, you must self-isolate for 14 days, avoid contact with others, and self-monitor for symptoms.

What do I do about my study visa?

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

Symptoms & Prevention

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Symptoms can vary from person to person and in different age groups. Symptoms may take up to 14 days to appear after exposure to COVID-19. Click here for a list of common COVID-19 symptoms. If you are experiencing any symptoms, please call 811 and refer to the Self-Assessment Tool.

What do I do as a student who has travelled to NS from outside of the Atlantic Bubble?

Anyone who travels from outside of the Atlantic Bubble (meaning anywhere other than Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island) MUST self-isolate for 14 days upon their arrival.

Every post-secondary student travelling into NS from outside of the Atlantic Bubble must complete the Nova Scotia Safe Check-In form here.

Throughout your isolation you will need to complete a digital check-in everyday and information on this will be provided once you have completed your Nova Scotia Safe Check-In form.

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 are advised to 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.

Where can 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.

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, click here.

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.

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 the Atlantic Bubble (meaning anywhere other than Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island or Newfoundland) or once you’ve come into contact with someone who has either travelled outside of the Atlantic Bubble or has tested positive for COVID-19.

Is the SMU Health Clinic still open?

The Student Health Services Clinic (4th Floor, Student Centre) is open. Please call ahead before entering the clinic: 902-420-5611. You can request a phone call appointment with the doctor instead of an in-person visit.

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 the 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.

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

As of July 31st, 2020, masks are mandatory in most public places in Nova Scotia. More information can be found here!

What's Open?

Most campus buildings are still closed. The Library and Homburg Centre have reopened for bookings and the SMUSA Information Desk is open in the Student Centre. See below for a list of what’s open and what you need to know to access the services!

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.

Are SMUSA and the Health Plan Office still open?

SMUSA services like the Gorsebrook Lounge, Husky Patrol, and Information Desk are closed.

SMUSA offices and the Health Plan Office are physically closed, but they’re working remotely and can be reached by email at [email protected].

If you need to access your Health Plan card and coverage details, prescription information, or make claims, click here for more information.

Is the SMU gym open?

Yes, the Homburg Centre for Health & Wellness reopened on September 21st in a limited capacity. The weight room, cardio room, and spin room are now open with limited capacity in each room.

You must book a workout time here and abide by all protocols set out on the Homburg Centre website while in the facility.

Is Halifax Transit running?

Halifax Transit has resumed fare collection as of August 1st 2020 and full capacity onboard with passengers able to enter through the front door. Masks are mandatory on all buses and ferries. For more information click here.

Can I still get food on campus?

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

Is the SMU Community Food Room open?

Unfortunately, the SMU Community Food Room is closed and does not currently have a date for reopening. Once the reopening plan has been approved, details will be posted on the Facebook page.

For information about other food banks and resources, please visit their website.

Are grocery stores still open? Banks? Pharmacies?

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

Is the SMU Health Clinic open?

The Student Health Services Clinic (4th Floor, Student Centre) is open. Please call ahead before entering the clinic: 902-420-5611. You can request a phone call appointment with the doctor instead of an in-person visit.

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, click here.

Additional Resources

Can’t find an answer to your question? Ask us!

If you don’t see your question listed on this page, or can’t find an answer to your specific question, fill out the form below and we will get back to you!

Ask us your COVID-19 related questions by using the form below.

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