How Halifax’s post-secondary institutions are dealing with COVID this fall

Post-secondary institutions in Halifax release COVID-19 masking policies and more for the 2022 fall semester.

Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Robert Strang, recently spoke to reporters about his worry that people have become too complacent when it comes to preventing the spread of COVID and still recommends masking up when indoors and in large crowds. However, with the worrisome news that public schools across the province will return to a no-mask school year, all eyes have turned to Halifax’s post-secondary world.


With the start of the fall semester just around the corner, post-secondary institutions in Halifax have been faced with adapting their COVID-19 policies to reflect the new normal we’re now living in. From the policies released, it’s clear this isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” situation, and perhaps the (drastically) different protocols between institutions show just how confusing it can be to decipher what this “new normal” should actually look like.


Dalhousie University


Effective September 1, Dalhousie will be reintroducing mandatory masking in indoor instructional spaces where scheduled teaching is taking place. Students enrolled in music classes will be allowed to remove their masks when training, either vocally or with instruments. Instructors who are able to maintain at least two metres between themselves and students are also able to remove their masks. Masks will also be required at the institution's student health and wellness clinics. Masking in other facilities across campus remains optional but is strongly recommended.


There is no vaccine mandate this year but Dal continues to encourage students and staff to get vaccinated, as well as to stay home if they feel unwell. For more info, you can head to Dalhousie’s COVID-19 update page.


Saint Mary’s University (SMU)


Similar to Dalhousie, as of September 1 students and staff will be required to mask up in learning spaces, common areas, residence buildings, athletic facilities and anywhere there is a large gathering of people. Lecturers are able to remove their masks while teaching if they can remain two metres away from others. Masks can also be removed while eating and drinking and when exercising.


SMU will not introduce a vaccine mandate for the fall term but is encouraging its community to get vaccinated and receive boosters. Students or staff who are sick are asked to remain at home. For more info, you can head to Saint Mary’s COVID-19 info page.


University of King's College


As of August 25, King’s requires all students to wear three-ply masks while in indoor common spaces. However, on September 18 the university plans to reevaluate the situation on campus and will announce whether the masking mandate will remain in place for the semester.

The institution does not have a vaccine mandate but is encouraging its community to get vaccinated and boosted. It also recommends students get tested when they feel unwell and remain at home until they feel better. For more updates, you can visit the Kings’ COVID-19 information page.


Mount Saint Vincent University (MSVU)


As of September 4, students at Mount Saint Vincent University will be required to mask up in classrooms and student labs, and masks are “strongly recommended” in other public spaces on campus. Lecturers and students who are presenting will be allowed to remove their masks as long as they can properly social distance in the learning space.

Classrooms will also not return to full capacity this fall and will be at 80% capacity to maintain space for social distancing. Other facilities on campus like the health office, counselling services, career services and accessibility services will also require masks.


There is no vaccination mandate on campus, but MSVU is recommending students get vaccinated before returning to campus and that they remain home if they don’t feel well. For more information, you can check our MSVU’s COVID-19 protocol page.


Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD)


As of August 29, NSCAD does not have a masking policy in place although students who chose to wear a mask will be supported. It also does not have a vaccination policy, although the institution is encouraging students to get vaccinated and boosted.


The college's COVID-19 tracker will continue to be updated, sharing any reported cases on campus, and rapid tests will also be offered at its service centre. For more information, you can head NSCAD’s COVID-19 update page.


Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC)


The Nova Scotia Community College is not requiring students to mask up this fall, although wearing a mask is still recommended. There are certain programs that will require students to wear a mask and they will be made aware of this.


NSCC also no longer has a vaccination policy but recommends students get vaccinated and boosted. For more information, check out NSCC’s COVID-19 policy page.


About The Author

Alyssa Goulart

Alyssa is the Newsletter Editor at The Coast and has been with the publication since 2022. She was born and raised in Toronto where she graduated from the University of Toronto studying English and professional writing. She previously worked as a writer and reporter for Narcity Media and Valnet Inc.

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