COVID-19 Update: July 30, 2020

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The following updates are provided by the Return-to-Campuses steering committee.

The University of Guelph continues to prioritize physical distancing. Access to campus remains limited to those approved to be on campus. For now, staff, faculty and graduate students able to work from home will continue to do so. Please do not come to campus unless you are conducting approved work, research, or teaching preparations.


Premier updates province on plans for elementary and secondary schools this fall

Today, Premier Doug Ford announced plans for elementary and secondary students to return to school this September. Based on the announcement, parents will have the choice of sending their children to school or continuing with remote learning.

The University recognizes the challenges our employees with children have faced in balancing childcare and work responsibilities during the pandemic and greatly appreciates these ongoing efforts. As the University continues developing plans for a gradual return to campus, we will take into consideration the province’s decisions on elementary and secondary schools and how those decisions and their outcomes could affect our employees.


Return to Campuses website gives guidance on gradual return

A new Return to Campuses website is now online providing useful information to faculty, staff and students approved to be on campus.

The site provides information on how to safely navigate campus spaces and information on important practices during COVID-19, such as wearing face coverings. It provides managers and administrative staff with quick access to the Physical Resources site to assist with ordering disinfectant and other cleaning supplies.

For those approved to come to campus, the site also includes a Before You Return checklist with steps to be completed every day before coming to campus.

If information on the website applies to specific work groups that do not have online access, supervisors are asked to print the information and post it in a central location.

The full Return to Campuses website is available through a link on the COVID-19 website or at www.uoguelph.ca/return-to-campuses.


Progress on buildings

The Physical Resources team continues to make progress on building preparations that support approved work, research, and teaching preparation for the fall.

As of this week, the team has:

  • completed installation of hand sanitizer dispensers outside public washrooms
  • installed new hand sanitizer dispensers at main building entrances and near classrooms and elevators in 27 buildings
  • installed paper towel dispensers in the washrooms of 29 buildings and disconnected the power to electric hand dryers, following recommendations from public health
  • readied 45 buildings to support increased research phase-in and teaching preparation for the fall.

Access to these buildings continues to be limited to those approved to be on campus.


Recent info session helps units with return-to-campus building preparations

As U of G progresses with preparations for a gradual return to campus, academic chairs and leaders of administrative units have been asked to identify department contacts who will help with workspace readiness planning. Many of these department contacts provide support for research within colleges and departments.

Earlier this week, the Return-to-Campuses steering committee hosted an online session for these identified department contacts. The session provided information that will help these individuals with their departments’ planning for a gradual return to campus and for continuing to meet the needs of those already working on campus.

During this session, representatives from Environmental Health and Safety, Occupational Health and Wellness and Physical Resources shared resources, guidance documents and protocols. Units will reference these resources as they build their plans for bringing employees back to campus.

As plans for building readiness progress, these identified department contacts will work together with building designates from Physical Resources and liaisons from Environmental Health and Safety. An additional session is planned for those who were unable to attend this week’s session.


New Framework for Phasing-In Human Participant Face-to-Face Research now available

The University of Guelph recognizes the vital importance of human participation in its vibrant research enterprise. These activities have been severely impacted by COVID-19. To support and inform the gradual and careful return of these activities, a Framework for Phasing-In Human Participant Face-to-Face Research has been developed.

This new framework is now referenced in an updated version of the University of Guelph Research Phase-In Framework and will assist researchers in returning to human participant research as restrictions ease. It outlines return to research guidelines for decision-making and provides a checklist to facilitate preparation specific to the phase-in of face-to-face human participant research. It adheres to the overarching principle that health and safety are the top priorities. This document emphasizes protocols for on-campus research. A separate document with suggestions and considerations for resuming and implementing projects outside of University grounds will be available soon.

This document does not replace the Research Phase-In Framework, but rather, is meant to function as an addendum.

The Office of Research thanks you for your patience as we work through new protocols and processes that will allow us to resume as much of our research as is safe and practical to achieve.


Update your U of G WiFi connection next week

On Aug. 6, CCS will renew the certificate for our WiFi networks. As a result, your devices many need their WiFi settings reconfigured in order to connect to the U of G network next time you are on campus.

Next week, you will receive an email from CCS with instructions on how to reconfigure your devices in order to connect to the U of G secure WiFi network. This reconfiguration can be done from home. Make sure you complete the required steps before you come to campus to allow for a more seamless connection.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the CCS Help Centre at IThelp@uoguelph.ca.


Arboretum reopening for outdoor events

On Aug. 8, U of G’s Arboretum will begin offering outdoor venue rentals for external activities on a restricted basis.

Outside-only events will be allowed, in keeping with COVID-19 safety protocols that follow the latest guidelines from the province, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health and the University.

This includes restricting events to invitation-only, limiting their duration to two hours and allowing no more than 50 people to attend. Physical distancing plans and measures will be in effect, and seating arrangements and other plans must be approved. Invitation lists must be carefully maintained to ensure contact tracing best practices.

There is still no access to indoor spaces, including washroom facilities, and U of G’s hospitality services will not be offered.

For more information on booking space at the Arboretum, contact Bookings Coordinator Dawn Ann Webster at 519-824-4120 Ext. 54110 or email dawnann@uoguelph.ca.


The University’s COVID-19 website is your best source of information on U of G’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Return to Campuses website provides essential information for those approved to be on campus.