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How New Brunswick post-secondary institutions are handling masks this fall

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The new school year is just around the corner and many parents are nervous about how their kids will adapt. During the last two years many children were learning at home, or in class wearing masks and didn’t get to socialize much. Sharmeen Somani spoke with some experts and tells us how parents can help prepare their kids for the new school year – Aug 13, 2022

Some post-secondary institutions in New Brunswick have updated COVID-19 guidelines for the upcoming school year, though wearing a face mask is no longer required by the province.

New Brunswick lifted all provincial COVID-19 restrictions — including mandatory mask-wearing in indoor public spaces — on March 14 of this year.

Since then, the province has reported thousands of new cases, including an average of about 720 new PCR-confirmed cases in the past three weeks. Numerous rapid-test positives are no longer reported by the province.

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Though cases have been on a slight decrease in the past month, hospitalizations and deaths remain stable.

Read more: New Brunswick universities hesitate to follow province in lifting all restrictions

With no provincial restrictions in place, some universities and colleges are taking extra precautions against COVID-19. Here’s what the province’s schools have planned at this point.

University of New Brunswick

In August, the University of New Brunswick announced that face masks will be mandatory in all instructional spaces and indoor shared spaces, as well as in hallways and stairwells.

This requirement will apply to all faculty, staff and students regardless of vaccination status, said UNB.

Face masks can be removed while seated in libraries, cafes, meal halls and student buildings, including the Student Union Building in Fredericton and the Hans W. Klohn Commons in Saint John. In addition, masks will not be required while participating in theatre, music or athletics.

“Instructors or students presenting in class may choose to remove their masks while maintaining 2-metre distance from front of class,” reads the guideline.

In rooms of more than 10 people, food and drinks will not be allowed.

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Though it’s not a requirement, the university recommends vaccination against the virus as well as keeping up with booster doses. More information of COVID-19 guidelines is available on the UNB website.

Université de Moncton

The Université de Moncton said that as of June 1, masking in indoor shared spaces will not be required, but strongly recommended.

“Members of the university community are invited to continue to wear the mask if they wish, while respecting the choice of others,” said the university.

However, it said that everyone who enters a university building must disinfect their hands. It also said the furniture in university buildings is arranged to facilitate a one-metre distance between patrons.

Read more: New Brunswick parent worried as province has ‘no plan’ to bring masks back in schools

These guidelines can change at any time, the school said, and are available on the Université de Moncton website.

The university has no vaccination requirements for students or staff.

Mount Allison University

Mount Allison University announced on Aug. 12 that masks will continue to be mandatory for everyone on campus in most indoor spaces.

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There are several exceptions. Instructors or presenters can choose to remove their mask while teaching or presenting. Those working alone in an office or cubicle can remove their mask, as well as anyone seated in these locations: Jennings Dining Hall, Gracie’s, The Pond, and the R.P. Bell Library and Archives.

People participating in athletics, music and theatre will also not be required to wear a mask during those activities.

“Masks will not be provided by the University for the Fall term,” Mount Allison said.

The university encourages its members to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and keep up with boosters.

St. Thomas University

St. Thomas University said in an Aug. 11 memo it is continuing the mandatory use of masks in classrooms, unless teaching or presenting, as well as in other indoor shared spaces.

“At the start of the semester we will provide each student with a KN-95 mask,” the university said.

Masking will not be required while sitting down in meal halls, libraries, study halls, “or when actively eating or drinking (where permitted).” It will also not be required while participating in sports, theatre and music recitals.

“Masking is encouraged, but not required, in rooms or common spaces in residences,” the memo said.

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The university encourages everyone to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and keep up with boosters.

New Brunswick Community College

Masking is not required in any New Brunswick Community College building, indoors or outdoors.

“Our operational response will continue to be informed by and consistent with guidelines and requirements outlined by Public Health and the Government of New Brunswick,” said spokesperson Tanya Greer.

New Brunswick College of Craft and Design

The New Brunswick College of Craft and Design continues to have a mandatory masking requirement for all indoor common spaces.

“Before you enter a college building, pop your mask on,” read the COVID-19 protocols at NBCCD.

Instructors or presenters are able to remove their mask while teaching, as long as there is a two-metre distance from students.

Workstations at the college will be distanced, and students are able to remove their mask while in their station. When stepping away from the workstation, masks must be on.

Collège communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick

Information on masking requirements was not available for the Collège communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick as of Aug. 17.

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Maritime College of Forest Technology

Information on masking requirements was not available for the Maritime College of Forest Technology as of Aug. 17.

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