Nova Scotia

Some Nova Scotia universities will require masks this fall, but others won't

St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, N.S., and Dalhousie University will require staff and students to wear masks.

Public Health has dropped all mask mandates

Nova Scotia's universities are taking a variety of approaches to mask requirements this fall. (Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press)

Masks will still be mandatory in all educational areas for some Nova Scotia universities for the upcoming fall semester.

On Friday Acadia University in Wolfville became the latest university to announce new mask protocols for the fall term.

A news release from the university said, effective Sept. 1, masks would be required in  "all indoor classrooms, labs, instructional spaces, and high-traffic areas like hallways where physical distancing is not possible." 

It said masking was also encouraged in group study areas and gathering spaces. 

According to the release, the decision was made after consultation with campus stakeholders, the Acadia COVID-19 task force and Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health.

St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, N.S., notified staff and students that "masks will continue to be required in all instructional spaces such as classrooms, labs, and studios until further notice," in a statement last month. 

Dalhousie University announced Aug. 11 that masks will be required in all indoor classrooms and instructional spaces.

On Tuesday, Saint Mary's University announced that masks must be worn in classrooms, learning spaces, shared residence areas and common areas. 

St. FX officials say masks may be removed by faculty and students when they are teaching or presenting if they're physically distanced. Outside of the classroom, masks will be "strongly encouraged."

St. FX and Dal are following New Brunswick's Mount Allison University in keeping up its masking requirements. The Sackville, N.B.-based school announced last week masks will continue to be mandatory indoors, including in hallways, stairwells and classrooms, with some exceptions. 

Nova Scotia dropped all public masking mandates in July, though some facilities like hospitals continue to enforce masking in certain situations. 

Halifax's Mount Saint Vincent University will also require masks in classrooms and labs in the fall, as well as at health services. Instructors and students can remove their masks to teach or present, and to take a drink.

Elsewhere in Halifax, the University of King's College announced three-ply masks will be required in all indoor common spaces on campus as of Aug. 25. The mandate will remain in effect until at least Sept. 18. The policy will be reviewed on a regular basis, the university said in a statement on its website.

"We are mindful that the 'new normal' includes new variants and more COVID cases," said Sarah Clift, university vice-president, in the statement.

"The usual increase in our population at the start of the fall semester will heighten the associated risks. As we begin a new term, taking appropriate steps to support our collective health and wellness — including mask wearing — will be especially important as there are those among us who are at higher risk and remain vulnerable."

Masks not mandatory at NSCC, NSCAD

Nova Scotia Community College spokesperson Kathleen Cameron said the college strongly recommends masking, but they are no longer required. 

Cameron said there will be programs where masking may still be required. 

"As we've done since March 2020, if the situation evolves, we will adapt our policy to align with any changes introduced."

Nova Scotia College of Art and Design will also not require students or staff to wear masks while in class, according to the university's website. 

NSCAD's website says it will continue to track positive cases detected at the school and offer rapid antigen tests. 

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