Today, March 13, the Saint Mary’s University Students’ Association (SMUSA) is announcing the cancellation of all of its events until April 10, amid growing concerns over COVID-19 (previously known as “2019 novel coronavirus”). These include, but are not limited to, Financial Literacy Week, St. Patrick’s Day, Wednesday Wing Night Trivia, Fuego Fiesta Latino, and Charter Day. SMUSA has also been working closely with student societies to determine the best course of action regarding upcoming society events and galas.
Although there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia at this time, the decision to cancel was made in response to a call from Nova Scotia’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Robert Strang, to limit social gatherings to no more than 150 people, in an effort to reduce the spread of the virus.
“We’ve decided to cancel our events as a proactive measure to keep our students safe and healthy”, said Mary Navas, President of SMUSA. “We are recommending that students avoid crowds and gatherings as a way of protecting themselves and their peers against the risk of contracting and spreading the virus”.
Although many of SMUSA’s recently cancelled events were scheduled to take place at the Gorsebrook Lounge, all of SMUSA’s services, including the Gorsebrook Lounge and the Husky Patrol safe drive home program, will continue to operate with heightened safety precautions until further notice. In the case of a University closure, SMUSA will close its offices and all of its services.
“We want to make sure that we’re taking as much preventative action as possible”, explained Navas. “However, we don’t want to be taking away services from students. Our safety and well-being is the ultimate goal”.
SMUSA is encouraging all students to take additional measures to protect themselves against COVID-19 and reduce its spread by:
- washing hands frequently with soap and water or using hand sanitizer
- cleaning surfaces often (like taps, doorknobs, and countertops)
- coughing or sneezing into elbows or tissues (and throwing them away)
- limiting touching face, eyes, nose, and mouth
- avoiding close contact with others (especially if feeling sick)
- avoiding crowds and gatherings (like parties and other group activities)
- staying home if ill, especially if you have a fever and or a new cough
If anyone has developed a new cough, fever, and/or is experiencing difficulty breathing, they should use the self-assessment tool provided by 811 (see below). For more information on COVID-19, its symptoms, how to reduce its spread, and where to seek help, please refer to the following resources:
- 811 website: https://811.novascotia.ca/health_topics/covid-19-when-to-call-811/
- Saint Mary’s University COVID-19 webpage: https://smu.ca/covid19/
- Government of Nova Scotia: https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/
- Government of Canada: https://canada.ca/coronavirus
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