URSU Statement Regarding Return to Campus

To the faculty, staff, and leadership of the University of Regina and its Federated Colleges,

The University of Regina Students’ Union (URSU) is concerned about the new COVID-19 protocols introduced by the Saskatchewan government which have trickled down to the University. Per the new provincial public health orders, proof of vaccinations will be ending on February 14th and masking requirements are ending on February 28th.

As a result of these changes, the University of Regina will be continuing mandatory masking, but on the 14th visitors to campus will no longer need to provide proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test results when attending on-campus events. They will be encouraged, though, to self conduct rapid antigen tests prior to their attendance to events, while retaining proof of vaccination requirements for students.

We at your Students’ Union want to work together to ensure the well-being of students who are eager to interact outside of a Zoom window. URSU is enacting measures and taking precautions in an effort to help welcome students back in a setting that exemplifies security, support, and safe socializing. This transition will be easier if students receive support from the University community, especially our professors.

We ask for compassion and understanding.

Returning to campus can bring with it anticipation, anxiety, and the awareness that one is taking another step in the educational track and indeed their life’s journey. These feelings will be magnified as many students return to in-person classes, opt for online only, or continue with a combination of both. Some will go with the flow excited to see more people, but for others the rush to ‘normal’ comes with a racing heart as their nerves reach their breaking point. Others may fall victim to further isolation and miss out on the connections that make our campus a community.

We ask for clarity and patience.

COVID-19 prevention protocols change rapidly; it can be hard to keep up or know the correct procedure. Students may have struggles with obtaining the necessary vaccinations and some may be undergoing rapid testing. We are adjusting to the new COVID protocols to keep everyone safe.

We ask for empathy and awareness.

Our lives outside of the classroom have changed drastically, and that change will continue to put pressure on us. Many students work in the hospitality and retail industries which have been on the front lines of the pandemic, and have been severely impacted by reduced hours and shifts available. Many may not have the social support they need. We experience stress when people we love possibly have COVID or do have COVID. If we are distracted or need a second chance, please understand some of us are in financial distress and missing our family.

We are resilient, but we need your help. We have been going through a dynamic time in society with social movements, reckonings with our shared histories, and the effects of the pandemic. The pandemic has shown that institutions and governments continue to leave the most marginalized and the most at risk of people behind. We need to question how things work, we have to think critically, we have to focus on how to accomplish our goals, and how to create a world we want to live in. We need your patience, dedication and understanding so we can take charge of our education and our futures.

URSU is here for students. We’re here to listen, we’re here to help, and we’re here to act. We’re here to strengthen the student voice so all of us can be heard.

We are ready to rise to the challenges that the future holds but we cannot do this without you.

Will you help us thrive?

URSU Executive Committee

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