Queen’s principal Patrick Deane says the university has been taking action against a small number of students who have been in breach of COVID-19 regulations.
In an interview with Global News, Deane says while the majority of the student body is following pandemic safety protocols, the behaviour of some students has been deplorable and dangerous.
There have been no expulsions as of yet, but other consequences have been given to some students who have been breaking the rules.
“A number of students have been evicted from their residences for breaching COVID regulations. And a good number of students are going through the process of our non-academic discipline process. I think there might be approximately 40 students in that process,” Deane said.
Between March 8 and March 23, there have been 86 cases of COVID-19 linked to the school, the majority of which have been variants of concern. The surge in cases at Queen’s has led to significant tension between the Kingston community and the school, anger often expressed on social media.
“Our community has managed to stay relatively free of COVID compared to other communities throughout the pandemic. So I completely understand people’s concerns,” Deane said, adding that “by far, the majority of students have been mindful of the issues.”
Right after the outbreak at Queen’s was announced, there were reports of a party in the Queen’s area that had approximately 140 people in attendance.
Deane says it’s difficult to prevent parties and COVID-19 breaches in the student population, but that the school is working to implement punishments when breaches are discovered.
“It’s more important to tend to the consequences of this. The behaviour is unacceptable, problematic and dangerous for the community. Therefore, it’s not something the university nor the city should accept.”
Still, Dr. Kieran Moore, medical officer of health for the region, says so far, none of the region’s cases have been linked back to that party, or any large gathering for that matter. He also noted that despite more than 80 cases associated with the university so far, he believes the health unit is getting the outbreak under control.
Over Monday and Tuesday, there were six cases linked to the school. The week previous, there were 60 cases associated with the university outbreak.
Deane says there are no plans for shutting down the campus and sending students home, but the school will continue to enforce COVID-19 rules.
— With files from Global News’ Alexandra Mazur.View link »