Will New Brunswick allow out-of-province parents in to move university students home?

·3 min read

There is less than a month to go until the university year ends and students need to leave residence and other accommodations to return home to other provinces, but New Brunswick has yet to announce how those plans will work within pandemic restrictions.

At the start and end of previous academic terms within the pandemic, parents or someone supporting a university student moving in or out were permitted to drive into the province to pick up a student and their belongings and leave. They were required to register their travel with the province and isolate themselves while here.

Both Mount Allison University and St. Thomas University told Brunswick News they have asked the province if they can expect a similar policy this time around and have not heard back. Heather Campbell, associate director of communications for the University of New Brunswick, said they also were not yet made aware of an exemption this time.

“As more than half of our students are from outside New Brunswick, this is a very important measure for students at Mount Allison,” said Anne Comfort, vice-president of international and student affairs at Mount A. "Many are relying on parents or other family members to pick them up once the term is over.

“We have asked the provincial government for this same measure to be in place during move-out in April. We understand this is currently being considered and are waiting to hear the final decision,” said Comfort.

While St. Thomas currently has less out-of-province students than Mount Allison, they too have yet to receive answers, said Ryan Sullivan, associate vice-president of enrolment management at STU.

The province is cutting it close.

All residence buildings at Mount A close on April 25, said Comfort.

They close on April 18 at St. Thomas, said Sullivan.

UNB students have until April 28.

According to their contract, students at the Moncton Campus of l'Université de Moncton need to move out by May 1, said Nathalie Haché, communications director for UdeM.

Schools like St. Thomas are supporting students who may need to find housing off-campus or who may need an extension in residence, said Sullivan.

“We’re operating under the notion it would be similar to what was in place before, but we’re waiting on Public Health,” he said.

Other schools are also trying to support students who may need to make other arrangements this year. Comfort said Mount A has introduced a bridging housing option for students who may need to stay in residence between April 25 and May 1, as well as summer stay housing for students who may find it challenging to get home due to travel restrictions.

In the fall, family members or friends helping a student move were not allowed to enter Mount A’s residences and simply came to campus to pick them up and their belongings, said Comfort. Distancing and masking were all followed, she said.

When asked what universities and students can expect to happen this time around, government spokesperson Bruce Macfarlane, said, "Discussions are currently underway to accommodate this sector. A decision will be made and communicated in time for students returning home in April."

Clara Pasieka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Telegraph-Journal