In an email sent out to all UNBSJ students earlier this afternoon, around 2:30pm, it was disclosed that the NBCC building on campus has been shut down, for a duration of time currently unknown, due to health-related concerns.
The email continues on to explain that officials from WorkSafe New Brunswick and Public Health were looking into the situation. Purely based upon speculative research, it is worth noting that Saint John Public Health, according to their website, deal with “communicable disease prevention, management and control” as well as “epidemiology and health emergency preparedness and response”. WorkSafe New Brunswick deals with accident prevention and response, and general workplace safety.
The NBCC building on the UNB Saint John campus “houses its Health programs”.
The full statement from the email is as follows:
“We have been informed that NBCC has temporarily closed their building on the Saint John campus as a precautionary measure due to health-related concerns.
WorkSafe New Brunswick and Public Health officials are looking into the situation.
We will continue to keep you informed.”
As of October 27th, at 12:05pm, the Acting Director of Communications at WorkSafe New Brunswick informed The Baron that the NBCC building on the UNBSJ campus has been closed “[in relation] to students and staff breaking out in an unexplained rash.” WorkSafe New Brunswick is currently running an active investigation into the situation. The duration of the closure is still unknown.
Later, around 7:22pm, it was suggested that the cause of the “unexplained rash[es]” may be “potential allergens” within the Allied Health Education Centre. The building will remain closed until at least October 31st while WorkSafe New Brunswick work on identifying and resolving the problem.
There have been seven cases of this rash reported so far this week among students and staff of NBCC. A full statement from Catherine Sidney, Regional Director for NBCC in Saint John, can be read below:
“In an effort to ensure the health and safety of our building occupants, NBCC has decided to temporarily close the Gerald S. Merrithew Allied Health Education Centre (AHEC) located at 100 Tucker Park Road on the University of New Brunswick Saint John Campus following seven reports of adverse reactions experienced by staff and students over the past week.
Due to the unknown cause of the adverse reactions, the decision to temporarily close the building was made as a precautionary measure while NBCC works with external service providers including WorkSafeNB to identify and remove any potential allergens that may be the cause of the adverse reactions.
As a result, the AHEC building will remain closed on Monday, October 30 however; staff and students are encouraged to check email and Brightspace regularly for updates including classroom schedules and assignments. NBCC is also working closely with UNB Saint John to ensure they are updated on this situation.
NBCC will share more information as it becomes available.”
UPDATE: On Tuesday morning (October 31st), at 11:09am, UNBSJ officials finally sent out a followup email confirming that the Allied Health Education Centre will remain closed for at least another week, with a date of reopening still undetermined. All NBCC classes held in the building “have been relocated to the NBCC Grandview Campus.”
As of October 31st, the cause of the rashes is still unknown.
This story will be updated as more information is made available.
LAST UPDATED: October 31st @ 6:40pm