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Coronavirus Information

News

Winter 2022 Update

December 17, 2021

With the increased concern of the highly transmissible omicron variant and projections from public health officials about a significant increase in cases of COVID-19 in January, RRC Polytech  has made the decision to change our plans for the Winter 2022 academic term.

For Winter 2022, we will maintain our current Fall 2021 methods of program delivery and operational plans. Since the start of the pandemic these measures have helped to keep our community safe and transmission low.

This means we will be maintaining physical distancing and continue to focus on online delivery, prioritizing essential hands-on learning as well as enriched activities where possible. We will also continue to maintain work integrated learning and practicums as public health orders allow. All courses which were delivered fully online in the Fall term will remain online as well.

For students, program areas are currently reviewing their Winter 2022 plans, and updating course delivery methods and timetables. More information will be shared directly with students by their program areas next week.

For Winter 2022, all current COVID-19 safety measures will remain in place. This includes physical distancing in workspaces, classrooms, labs, and common areas. Additionally, the College is enhancing mask requirements for all on-campus activities.

New mask requirements for Winter 2022 – cloth masks no longer permitted

As of January 4, 2022, students, employees and visitors are required to wear a medical-grade (level 3) mask or a KN95/N95 mask (recommended option) for all learning, teaching, and work requirements. Cloth masks, including those that are three-layer, will no longer be permitted on campus. Proper mask usage is proven to be an effective approach to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, and updates to our policy ensure consistency in mask usage. The College will continue to ensure access to medical-grade, and KN95 and N95 masks for anyone on-campus.

Read the full on-campus mask requirement update

Non-academic areas and staff will continue to operate as they have throughout the fall. Those staff who can work from home should continue to do so, while ensuring operational needs for on campus support continue to be met.

We understand that this sudden change in direction is disruptive, frustrating and can be upsetting as we navigate these new challenges of the pandemic. We also understand that this change may provide some staff and students with relief – thank you to everyone for your patience as we continue to work together and make decisions about how we can best support the vision and mission of the College through this pandemic.

We are communicating with you now to provide as much notice as possible for our entire community as we adjust to this change. Ongoing communication will be provided as our academic areas update their delivery methods to ensure the entire College community is prepared for the start of Winter term.

Thank you for your continued support as we navigate the changes and challenges of the pandemic together. 

If you not done so already, we encourage you to get vaccinated against COVID-19. If you are double-vaccinated, please get your booster shot as soon as you become eligible.

We will continue to monitor and follow all public health guidance and advice  and adjust our response as appropriate.

Further updates will be provided via email and through our COVID-19 website as our response continues to evolve. If you have any questions, please email safety@rrc.ca

Update to the On-Campus Mask Requirement

December 17, 2021

Woman in mask

RRC Polytech is updating its on-campus mask requirement to align with Health Canada guidelines and recommendations. From the onset of the pandemic, the College has been on the leading-edge of implementing COVID-19 safety measures, including being one of the first post-secondary intuitions to require medical-grade masks.

As of January 4, 2022, cloth masks, including those that are three-layer, will no longer be permitted on campus. From this date onwards, only College-supplied masks will be permitted for use for all on-campus activities.

The College will supply medical-grade level 3 masks and KN95 or N95 masks. This change is being made based on new data available on mask types and their effectiveness.

Staff, students and community members who will be on campus for the Winter Term can pick up their initial supply of College-issued masks on Jan 4 at designated entrances. Departments are responsible for continuing to ordering masks through the inventory form for their staff and students going forward and can be ordered now through procurement.

Below is more information about the three categories of masks that are permitted for all on campus learning and work requirements as of Jan 4, 2022:

KN95 or N95 Masks (Recommended Option)

  • This is a level 5 masks for staff and students to use for increased protection.
  • These are a more fitted mask and offer a higher level of protection.
  • These masks are not required to be fit-tested  as a result of the nature of the work
  • These masks come in a smaller and larger size, in sealed packs of two.

Medical Masks

  • The College will continue to supply level 3 medical masks.
  • Medical masks meet the guidelines outlined by Health Canada and Manitoba Public Health.
  • Medical masks are available in sealed packs of 10.

Medical Masks with a Clear Window

  • The College will supply medical masks with a clear window on campus for programs that have deaf and hard of hearing individuals as well as for language study programs.
  • These are approved level 3 medical masks.
  • These masks are available through Procurement. It is encouraged that an entire class wears these masks when there is an individual that is deaf or hard of hearing.

For more information regarding the College’s mask requirement, see the Frequently Asked Questions.

For questions that are not covered in the FAQs, please contact RRC Polytech Safety and Health Services at safety@rrc.ca.

Winter 2022 Term Update

December 9, 2021

The safety and health of our College community, along with continuing to provide a high-quality educational experience remain our top priorities as we prepare for the start of the Winter 2022 Academic Term on January 4th. 

Throughout the pandemic, RRC Polytech has been on the leading-edge of implementing COVID-19 safety measures that meet and exceed what’s required by Manitoba Public Health. This has enabled us to safely deliver our programs through blended learning over the past 20 months. This approach has allowed us to continue to safely expand the amount of in-person learning we can provide to our students across our programs. 

In addition to our approach, we’re very proud of the support that our College community has had as part of the ProtectMB Campaign. As of today, vaccine uptake among RRC Polytech staff and students exceeds provincial rates. More than 90% of our staff and faculty, and 88% of students, are fully vaccinated.

As we approach the end of the Fall Academic Term, we continue to closely monitor the situation around COVID-19 and its variants of concern. We have always monitored COVID developments and implemented measures based on the best advice of public health officials and will continue to ensure that the right measures are in place as we prepare for the Winter Term.

The continued increase towards in-person learning and the transition from physical distancing, previously announced on October 20, is an important step as we continue to safely expand the services and supports that are essential to our programs’ delivery. 

While we will see and experience more activity on our campuses, it won’t be what we were accustomed to prior to the pandemic. A considerable amount of planning has been done to ensure seamless access to our campuses and to ensure for a continued safe and supportive working and learning environment. 

As we continue to look at opportunities to increase our on-campus offerings, we will keep building on our capacity to offer courses in various delivery models, including online and blended options. 

Additionally, with the introduction of the Interim Remote Work Policy,  many staff and faculty will also have the opportunity for a continued blended working arrangement as operational requirements allow. 

As we prepare for Winter 2022, we are providing the following overview of the safety measures and requirements that will be in place for the upcoming term to ensure that we continue to safely deliver our programs and services on-campus.

Safety Measures Supporting In-Person Learning and On-Campus Activity

The College continues to work closely with provincial public health officials. The following COVID-19 safety measures are in place to support the safe increase of on-campus activity and allow us to transition towards the in-person learning that will be taking place. Those measures include: 

  • On-campus masking requirements
  • Vaccine requirement – all students are required to be fully immunized or have an approved exemption prior to the start of the Winter 2022 Term.
  • In-person rapid-antigen testing program for individuals with an approved exemption — please note that the College reserves the right to review and discontinue the rapid-antigen testing program should circumstances require.

See more information about vaccine exemptions and download exemption forms.

Note: Those who have an existing approved exemption do not need to re-apply for the upcoming term.

Monitoring Public Health Orders

As we approach the Winter 2022 Academic Term, the College continues to closely monitor public health directives. All decisions regarding program delivery and on-campus presence will continue to be informed by the guidance and approval of public health. While we look forward to the increase of staff and students on-campus, we will remain flexible should the public health advice require us to adapt.

We will continue to keep you informed and share updates through your College email, Staff Forum and Staff News, and the COVID-19 blog.

Wishing you the best of the holiday season, and we hope you enjoy a restful December break.

Dr. Jeanine Webber
Executive Director, Academic

Melanie Gudmundson
Chief Human Resource Officer

Confirmed case of COVID-19 at EDC

December 6, 2021

Red River College Polytechnic was advised today that a member of our community has tested positive for COVID-19. We wish them, and everyone else at the College affected by this virus a quick recovery.

Due to the stringent safety measures in place, Public Health considers this case low risk. At this time, we can share the following information:

  • This case involves an individual at the Exchange District Campus (EDC) and the last time they were on campus was Wednesday, December 1, 2021. The individual was asymptomatic when they arrived on-campus but later developed symptoms and left immediately at the onset.
    • Their activity was limited to one area of the College and they were following all of the appropriate safety protocols.
  • Everyone connected to this case has been contacted by the College. They have all been advised to follow Public Health advice to self-monitor or self-isolate and have been instructed to contact the Health Centre should their condition change.
  • Regular cleaning and disinfection protocols have since been completed to the affected space and surrounding areas.

EDC remains open and no programs or services are impacted. 

We want to remind everyone – on and off campus – to continue to follow the advice from public in order to limit the spread of the virus. For more information on the fundamentals and best practices, please click here.

For more important information on our protocols if you or someone in your household is experiencing symptoms, please click here.

Thank you for continuing to do your part to keep each other safe. 

Updates, if required, will be provided via email and will be shared online at rrc.ca/coronavirus

Pediatric Pfizer vaccine approved for children ages five to 11

November 22, 2021

Last week, Health Canada approved the pediatric Pfizer vaccine for use in children ages five to 11 and clinical guidance was provided by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI). 

Manitoba parents and caregivers will be able to make appointments for children beginning today, Monday, November 22 at 6:00 a.m, and the first shipment of vaccines are expected to be available in about a week’s time.

You can learn more about vaccinations for children ages five to 11, and book your appointment here, or by calling 1-844-626-8222 (1-844-MAN-VACC)

A reminder that RRC Polytech supports up to three hours of paid leave for staff and faculty to receive a vaccination, booster or to support those who are taking a dependent to their vaccine appointment.

Update on Vaccine Exemptions for the Winter 2022 Term

November 9, 2021

Post has been updated: 2021/12/09

All RRC Polytech students and employees are required to be fully immunized (having received two doses of a Health Canada approved vaccine) against COVID-19, or apply for and receive an approved exemption to attend any on campus learning, teaching, or work requirements for the Winter 2022 Term.

For those who are unvaccinated and wish to request an exemption, the following outlines the application process, asymptomatic testing requirements, and important upcoming deadlines and dates.

Applying for an Exemption

RRC Polytech will consider on an individual basis requests for exemptions from students and employees who have not received the COVID-19 vaccine.

The College has a legal obligation to accommodate individuals requesting an exemption based on protected characteristics including medical grounds or religion/creed based.

New RRC Polytech students and employees who are unvaccinated must apply for a medical, religious/creed, or other exemption. Those who currently have an existing approved exemption do not need to re-apply for the Winter 2022 Term.

To request an exemption, download and complete the applicable form:

Please complete your exemption form and email it to vaccinerecords@rrc.ca before November 30, 2021. Any exemption requests received after this date, may not receive a response before the upcoming term commences, resulting in suspension from attending campus.

Students and employees who have received a first dose of vaccine only, must receive a second dose before the Winter Term commences (January 4, 2022) or apply for and receive an approved exemption until they are fully immunized against COVID-19.

Asymptomatic Testing Requirement

Those with an approved exemption are required to participate in regular asymptomatic COVID-19 testing, and provide proof of negative test results through the Mobile Safety App, in order to attend campus. To support members of College community who have approved exemptions with asymptomatic testing requirements, rapid-antigen testing kits and/or on-site rapid-antigen testing will be provided free of charge.

Students and staff attending:

  • Notre Dame Campus
    Those attending the Notre Dame Campus will test on-site in the South Gym (Building A).
  • Exchange District Campus
    Those attending the Exchange District Campus will test on-site at The Roblin Centre (Tim Hortons).
  • Regional and Stevenson campuses
    Those attending Regional and Stevenson campuses will receive take-home testing kits and self-administer rapid-antigen tests. Additionally, you will be required to attend a monthly appointment with RRC Polytech Safety and Health Services on MS Teams.

Further information about asymptomatic testing requirements and testing schedule times will be provided to those with existing approved exemptions and new students/staff when they receive confirmation of their approved exemption.

Visit the Frequently Asked Questions page for more information about approved exemptions and asymptomatic testing.

For any additional questions regarding exemptions and testing, contact RRC Polytech Safety and Health Services at safety@rrc.ca

Confirmed case of COVID-19 at NDC

November 5, 2021

RRC Polytech was advised today that a member of our community has tested positive for COVID-19. We wish them, and everyone else at the College affected by this virus a quick recovery.

Due to the stringent safety measures we have in place, Public Health considers this case low risk. At this time, we can share the following information:

  • The case involves an individual at the Notre Dame Campus. The last time they were on campus was October 29, 2021, they were asymptomatic at the time.
    • Their activity was limited to one area of the College and they were following all of the appropriate safety protocols.
    • There are no close contacts connected to this case.
  • Regular cleaning and disinfection protocols have since been completed to the affected space and surrounding areas.

NDC remains open and no programs or services are impacted.

For more important information on our protocols if you or someone in your household is experiencing symptoms, please click here.

Updates, if required, will be provided via email and will be shared online at rrc.ca/coronavirus

Confirmed case of COVID-19 at NDC

November 4, 2021

RRC Polytech was advised that a member of our community has tested positive for COVID-19. We wish them, and everyone else at the College affected by this virus a quick recovery.

Due to the stringent safety measures we have in place, Public Health considers this case low risk. At this time, we can share the following information:

  • The case involves an individual at the Notre Dame Campus. The last time they were on campus was October 19, 2021, they were asymptomatic at the time, and it was outside of the transmission period for the virus.
  • Their activity was limited to one area of the College and they were following all of the appropriate safety protocols.
  • There are no close contacts connected to this case.

NDC remains open and no programs or services are impacted.

For more important information on our protocols if you or someone in your household is experiencing symptoms, please click here.

Updates, if required, will be provided via email and will be shared online at rrc.ca/coronavirus

Thank you,

Ready to work out at NDC? The gym is re-opening!

November 3, 2021

Student Support Services is happy to announce that the fitness area of the Notre Dame Campus North Gym is scheduled to re-open. The area, known as “The Loft”, will open for student and staff use on Monday, November 15. Customer Service Representative, Evelyn Carriere will be there to welcome patrons and answer questions about the facilities and equipment. The Loft offers a variety of cardio, weight training, and functional fitness equipment.

Hours and Services Available:

• Hours: Monday to Friday 6:30am – 10:00am & 11:00am – 2:00pm
• Lockers and showers will be available for use.
• No towel service at this time.

The re-opening of the North Gym at NDC is the first step of a phased approach to increase opportunities for in-person fitness and recreation on our campuses. We are actively planning next steps including the opening of the Fitness Facility at Roblin Campus (more news to come), but are also eager to hear your thoughts and ideas on how the College can best support the needs of our community when it comes to fitness and recreation. Watch for a survey coming soon!

Proof of Vaccination required for gym use:

Please note, as per MB Public Health guidelines, vaccine exemptions will not be accepted to enter the North Gym for fitness and recreation. Only fully vaccinated individuals will be allowed entry to use the Loft and change room areas. Staff and Students wishing to use the Loft will be required to provide their provincial immunization card or QR code from their Shared Health account, along with photo ID. Masks must be worn except when actively working out. There is no requirement for physical distancing in the Loft itself.

We know that exercise is critical to our overall physical and mental health so we invite students and staff to engage in this opportunity for safe on-campus activity. Questions can be directed to Breanna Sawatzky.

Winter 2022 Update

October 20, 2021

Work to prepare for the Winter 2022 Academic Term, which begins January 4, 2022, is well underway. Today’s update will outline some important anticipated changes for the upcoming term and let you know what you can expect regarding blended and face-to-face delivery, our COVID-19 safety protocols, and vaccine requirement.

Increased On-Campus Learning

For winter 2022, we intend to continue increasing face-to-face learning for many of our programs while maintaining our flexible and blended approach as well. We will post the updated delivery methods for all programs online later this month.

Vaccine Rates on Campus

We are pleased to share that RRC Polytech has very high vaccine rates. In a recent survey, more than 90 percent of our staff and faculty reported they were fully vaccinated, while two percent indicated they would be fully vaccinated this fall. 

As part of the survey, we found equally high rates among students, with 79 per cent fully vaccinated and another nine percent indicating that they will be fully vaccinated this fall.

When asked about College’s vaccination policy, 83 percent of staff and faculty supported the policy, with five percent neutral on the topic. By comparison, 71 percent of students are supportive, 11 percent said they were neutral. 

These findings reaffirm our approach to make vaccinations a requirement for coming on campus and indicate that this is a health and safety measure that matters to the College community.

Physical Distancing & Vaccine Requirement

To support the increase in on-campus learning for winter 2022, physical distancing in classrooms and labs will no longer be required. 

We have worked closely with Manitoba Public Health to ensure our safety measures continue to meet and exceed all requirements. Public Health has provided this change in guidance with respect to physical distancing because the College will continue to maintain the on-campus mask requirement, vaccine requirement, and rapid-antigen testing program for individuals with an approved exemption. 

Safety and Health Services and the Incident Management Team are currently reviewing how the change to physical distancing may be applied beyond the classroom, as it will look different across departments, campuses, and common spaces. More information about this will be provided to help support planning for the increase in on-campus activity.

Flexible work & non-academic operations gradual return

As on-campus presence increases, we will see a corresponding increase to in-person services and supports. While there is no firm date for areas to begin increasing the amount of staff on-campus next January, Managers will continue their planning to ensure that we can meet the needs of the increased activity that will be taking place during the winter term. 

We are in the process of finalizing an interim Flexible Work Policy to support return to campus planning. The College will share the policy and supporting procedures in early November to help inform and guide this staged approach as we continue to increase the number of people on-campus for winter 2022.

All decisions regarding program delivery and COVID-19 safety protocol will always be informed by the guidance and approval of public health. While our plan is to increase on-campus presence, we will continue to be flexible should the pandemic prevent the rollout of our winter 2022 plans.

Webinar & Updates

Staff are invited to join us on Wednesday, October 27, for a webinar focusing on our plans for the winter 2022 term. 

We will discuss our Flexible Work Policy, COVID-19 safety protocols, and the projected increase in academic activity, services, and supports. Details to participate in the webinar will be posted in Staff News later this week. 

We will always keep you informed and share updates through College email, Staff Forum, and Staff News.

We look forward to connecting with you at the webinar. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to safety@rrc.ca

Thank you for your continued support of each other and our students.

Dr. Christine Watson
Vice President Academic and Research

Melanie Gudmundson
Chief Human Resource Officer