Acadia student caught not self-isolating sparks community concern
Published Saturday, September 5, 2020 6:14PM ADT Last Updated Saturday, September 5, 2020 6:31PM ADT
WOLFVILLE, N.S. -- This is the last weekend that Acadia University students can arrive from campus outside of the Atlantic bubble, and be able to self-isolate for 14 days before classes begin on September 21.
“It’s nice to see that Nova Scotia is taking it seriously,” says Lara Hartman.
But there are some concerns in the community of Wolfville that not all Acadia students are taking their required 14-day self-isolation seriously.
Acadia confirms one of its students has been sanctioned for being caught off campus when they were supposed to be self isolating.
“I do know that they were reported by community members in the town of Wolfville, so we really appreciate that support from the community,” says Chad Johnstone, Acadia’s Director of Residence and Student Life.
A second student living off-campus is being investigated by RCMP for possibly breaking the same rule.
"If we do hear from members of the community that they suspect that a student may not be self isolating we are following up as a university and assisting the RCMP in those cases and fortunately most of the time those turn out to be not much but we certainly want to take anything that we’re hearing seriously out in the community," says Johnstone.
The school says it has no reason to believe either of the students have COVID-19, some Wolfville residents are worried.
“It’s put me a bit on edge, knowing that this early on in the stage of students coming back, I’m seeing things that make me uncomfortable,” says Wolfville resident Mike Butler.
Acadia expects 500 students to be arriving from outside the Atlantic bubble, which will require them to self-isolate for 14 days and get tested three times for COVID-19.
The school arranged shuttles from the airport to campus, and all meals are delivered on campus.
After a few days, the university arranged for the isolating students to have some time outside on campus, while still maintaining physical distance.
"Each of our buildings has a designated outside area that students can spend time in as well we have two recreational areas on campus," says Johnstone. "Two of our larger fields that students are allowed to get some exercise on. They have designated routes they’re allowed to use to get to those areas."
“It was absolutely amazing. It had been a few days since I was allowed to go outside,” said one happy student.
Acadia has also brought in extra security staff and plans to use its surveillance cameras for contact tracing.
While only one student has been sanctioned so far, some in the community have concerns that the problem might be more wide-spread.
“When they’re saying they’re going to have this much money for a party tonight, that doesn’t sound good to me,” says a local taxi driver.
While Lara Hartman plans to follow all of the health guidelines, she says she has seen videos on social media of people partying while they are supposed to be self-isolating.
“It’s pretty disappointing that people aren’t taking it seriously, because it ruins it for the rest of us,” says Hartman.
Acadia says it’s working in partnership with Public Health, RCMP, the campus and the community to make sure students follow the rules over the next two weeks.
A spokespersons says so far, the vast majority of Acadia students are playing by the rules and doing their best to protect themselves and the community.