Queen’s plans for in-person Homecoming events dependent on coronavirus pandemic

Click to play video: 'Queen’s University planning in-person homecoming for October 2021'
Queen’s University planning in-person homecoming for October 2021
Queen's V.P. Advancement Karen Bertrand say plans will be based on pandemic and public health recommendations – Feb 3, 2021

Despite the current uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, Queen’s University has slated two weekends in October for in-person Homecoming celebrations.

With the pandemic still in full swing, the addition of new variants of concern and delays in vaccines, it’s unclear if any of those in-person events will go ahead.

The two on-campus Homecoming celebrations are scheduled for the weekend of Oct. 15, meant for classes whose graduating year ends in 0 or 5, and the weekend of Oct. 29, where classes whose graduations ended in 1 or 6 will be invited on campus.

The university has also planned a virtual homecoming event for Oct. 17, which will be open to all alumni, much like last year’s Homecoming celebrations.

Story continues below advertisement

In a statement, the university said staff recently sent out a notice asking for volunteers who might be able to help host in-person Homecoming events in October. But, those events will only go ahead if circumstances permit.

“Any decision to host in-person events will necessarily be predicated on an assessment made in concert with our public health experts and community partners, and we would only move forward with in-person events if doing so can be done safely,” the university said.

Breaking news from Canada and around the world sent to your email, as it happens.

When asked about whether they would sanction in-person Homecoming events, KFL&A Public Health said it would depend on the stage of the pandemic in October.

“The public health measures are expected to be in place for some time during and after vaccinations. This event is contingent on it being safe to host — otherwise it may be done as a virtual event as was done in October 2020,” said Dr. Samantha Buttemer, the health unit’s liaison with Queen’s University.

Click to play video: 'Pandemic causes Alumni Weekend at Queen’s University in Kingston to go virtual'
Pandemic causes Alumni Weekend at Queen’s University in Kingston to go virtual

When first asked about the potential large gatherings in Kingston in the fall, Mayor Bryan Paterson said he hadn’t been advised on the prospect. He added that he hopes the university would work with local authorities to ensure the celebrations do not endanger any locals.

Story continues below advertisement

“While I certainly hope that in-person gatherings are an option by the fall, I also think that with variant strains emerging and vaccine rollout seeing delays, that there are still a lot of unknowns going forward,” he said in a statement.

For its part, Queen’s said its decision on in-person Homecoming events has yet to be made.

“While we recognize that many of our alumni will be excited at the prospect of a return to safe in-person Homecoming events, should the public health situation still warrant virtual celebrations, we will focus our efforts on delivering a positive and rewarding virtual experience similar to what was delivered in 2020.”

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus: Canada received ‘strong assurances’ from EU leadership on vaccine deliveries, Trudeau says'
Coronavirus: Canada received ‘strong assurances’ from EU leadership on vaccine deliveries, Trudeau says

Sponsored content