Mayor concerned but confident in university’s winter term

ANTIGONISH: With the upcoming winter semester at StFX University and students returning to the community after their Christmas break, the mayor says despite having underlying concerns, she feels they’ll be ready.

Mayor Laurie Boucher suggested they’ve been through the process of students returning to the community before, which was successful back in September

Following the town’s regular council meeting November 16, Boucher said she understands that there are other variables this time around.

“Now, when [they’re] coming in January, there’s a different set of circumstances,” she said. “The numbers are higher across Canada.”

If all is done right, Boucher said the same protocols that worked last time, should work again.

Some people are worried, she said, but most are grateful they have already been through a 14-day self-isolation period already, which would make a potential second one slightly easier.

Officials with StFX University will lean on the Antigonish community once again to ask for their assistance with students who as they did in September, had to self-isolate for 14-days when they returned for classes.

“The temperature of the community was pretty high coming in, [but] a lot of people did step up and try to help the students as well,” she said. “The success of the university is also the success of the community.”

Town councillors passed a motion to send their provincial counterparts a letter to call for enhanced testing for students as they return to campus.

During their initial 14-day self-isolation in September, students were checked for COVID-19 three times, and council would like to see something similar when those that do go home over Christmas return in January.

Overall, Boucher indicated despite having underlying concerns, she’s optimistic in the university’s return to campus plan that was built in consultation with public health officials in the province.