MH Vicars Will Maintain COVID-19 Protocols for September 2021

As of the end of August, most of Alberta’s public health measures targeting COVID-19 will end. This includes most mask mandates, contact tracing, and isolation requirements.

With this controversial decision it appears that schools will be free to return to pre-pandemic operations for the start of September classes. At MH Vicars School, however, we have chosen to take a more cautious approach.

Even with the widespread use of vaccines, the COVID-19 virus remains present in our community. This is especially true of dangerous new strains like the Delta variant, which is on the rise in Canada and globally.

Keeping each other safe is a collective responsibility. By strictly adhering to our guidelines over the last year, we have successfully prevented the transmission of COVID-19 on campus. By working together and continuing to follow special safety protocols, Vicars will continue to be a safe place to learn, work, and get massages.

Our September 2021 COVID-19 plan at a glance

  • We strongly encourage all students, staff, and clients to get vaccinated if they are able to do so.
  • Masks are mandatory for everyone and must be worn at all times when on campus. This includes clinic clients, who must keep their mask on during their massage treatment. Masks should fit well, covering both nose and mouth without gaps, and be replaced when damp or dirty. Cloth masks should have three layers of material and be washed between uses.
  • Campus facilities have been reorganized to allow for as much physical distancing as possible.  Though it will not always be possible to maintain 2 metres of distance between yourself and others, everyone is asked to be aware of their surroundings and do their best to give each other space. Class groups keep to their own campus areas as much as possible during the class day.
  • Anyone who visits campus must complete a COVID-19 screening questionnaire before entering. Students, staff, and clients are requested not to be on campus if they are sick or know they have been in close contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Stringent cleaning protocols will remain in place.

The most significant difference between this September and the 2020-2021 school year is that we are reopening our supervised practicum clinics to members of the public. We have not made this decision lightly, just like we didn’t take it lightly to keep it closed for most of last year. We believe that with appropriate precautions in place, the benefits for our students and clients outweigh the risks, at least for now.

Please note: The official clinic opening dates for each campus have not yet been set but will be announced soon.

Vaccines make us all safer

For now, students, staff, and clients will not be required to get a COVID-19 vaccine. However, we request that everyone who can get the vaccine does so.

The COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in Canada are safe and effective in preventing illness and hospitalizations from COVID-19, including the highly contagious Delta variant. The vaccine is available for free without an appointment for Albertans aged 12 and up.

As massage therapists, we have a responsibility to safeguard our clients’ health as well as our own. The Vicars community is large and diverse. It includes our students, faculty, and staff as well as our clinic clients. Each campus is a point of connection for hundreds of people each week.

We are asking all of our students to get vaccinated for their own protection, and to protect the health of their clinic clients. By getting fully vaccinated, you will reduce your chances of developing severe or life-threatening symptoms if you become infected with any COVID-19 strain. Avoiding serious illness means you won’t be stuck missing weeks of valuable hands-on class and clinic time.

One of the things that sets the Vicars program apart is our supervised clinic experience. It’s an extraordinary opportunity to get “real-world” experience treating clients from all walks of life. Many of our clients come to our clinic because they’re living with health conditions that massage can help treat. But having those conditions often mean that they’re at a higher risk of developing severe illness if they catch COVID-19. Protect your clients’ health and their peace of mind by taking all available steps to keep them safe—including vaccination.

We make the same request of our clinic clients and everyone else who visits our campus.

Thank you for your support

We would like to thank all of our students and clients for their support over the past year. We have appreciated hearing from members of the Vicars community, and we remain open to your feedback as we all work together to navigate the next stages of this pandemic.

Robin Collum
Author: Robin Collum