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Students who didn't self-isolate made 'poor choices,' says Yukon University official

Yukon University's Whitehorse campus reopens Friday morning after being closed to students earlier this week. The closure came after 2 students moved into campus housing without self-isolating.

Campus reopens to students on Friday morning after 3-day shutdown to clean

Yukon University's Whitehorse campus was closed on Tuesday after officials learned that two students had come from outside Yukon and moved into campus housing without self-isolating for 14 days, as required. (Laura Howells/CBC)

Yukon University's Whitehorse campus reopens Friday morning after a three-day shutdown to clean and minimize any risk of COVID-19 exposure.

The campus was closed to students on Tuesday, after officials learned that two students had moved into campus housing without having self-isolated for 14 days beforehand. The two students had come from outside of Yukon.

They did not have symptoms, and the chief medical officer told the university that the risk was considered low.

"I think we were being abundantly cautious to shut and clean," said Janet Welch, vice-president academic and student services. 

"But I also think that we as an institution made a commitment to our students and our staff that we will do everything we can to keep them safe."

Besides cleaning, the university has spent the past two days speaking with people who may have been in contact with the two students. Welch would not say where the students had come from before arriving in Yukon.

Welch said those students are now in self-isolation at a government facility, and taking online classes. The university does not have a facility on campus for students to isolate.

She said it was up to students to send the university copies of their self-isolation plans, and to follow through. For some reason, that didn't happen with these two students and the university was notified by Yukon COVID-19 compliance officers. 

'No malicious intent' 

Welch blamed "poor choices" by the two students.

"I spoke to one of them earlier today [Thursday]. I think they would make different choices, doing it all over again," Welch said.

"I think there was no malicious intent by either student ... they didn't, I don't think, realize the severity of the decisions they were making at the time."

Welch said the university has made some minor changes ahead of reopening, including requiring masks in some new areas.

Otherwise, she said, things will carry on as planned. That means a quieter-than-normal campus, as students do most of their coursework online this semester. 

Welch said university officials anticipated the possibility of having to shut down campus or take other further precautions. 

"One of the reasons we made a decision several months ago to go online was so that we could minimize the number of people on campus, and we could adapt if there was a case in our premises," she said. 

With files from Dave White

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