COVID-19 - 2019 Novel Coronavirus

Manager Tools and Resources

Ontario government has enacted a provincewide shutdown and a stay-at-home order that affect operations at U of G. Those who can work remotely must do so.

Reference Documents and Tools for Managers

Communications to Managers

Dear chairs, directors, managers and supervisors,

The provincial government has declared a provincial emergency, which takes effect Wednesday, Jan. 13, and a stay-at-home order, which comes into effect on Thursday, Jan. 14.

According to the government’s website, the stay-at-home order requires all Ontarians to remain home except for essential purposes, such as visiting the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health-care services or for essential work. The stay-at-home order will be in place for at least 28 days.

Those who can work remotely are required to do so.

The only faculty and staff currently permitted at U of G facilities are those who:

  1. perform essential services at the facility
  2. cannot do their work remotely (e.g., need access to equipment or systems not available from home, need technology or space to record lectures for remote learning)
  3. have been approved to teach face-to-face courses or labs
  4. have been approved to conduct research at a U of G facility

Impact on research

Research is deemed essential business and is permitted to open under the stay-at-home order (see page 27 in the link).

Consistent with this, University of Guelph research may proceed only if it is underpinned by an approved Research Management Plan.

Additional limitations include:

  • Researchers may access University of Guelph-operated facilities to conduct research only if they fulfil two criteria:
    1. there is an approved Research Management Plan (RMP) for the research; and
    2. the researcher has been approved to conduct the RMP-related research on-site by their department chair or school director.
  • All human participant face-to-face research taking place in Ontario must be paused until further notice. The Research Ethics Board will continue to review all protocols, including face-to-face protocols, during this time.

Considering requests to access U of G facilities

Employees and researchers are directed to speak to their managers or supervisors about accessing University facilities to perform work or research that cannot be done from home.

When determining whether staff or researchers should be approved to come to campus or our facilities during the stay-at-home order, please consider whether the individual specifically needs to be on campus or at the facility. Requests to work at the facility for convenience or to avoid distractions should not be approved. Please consider each request individually based on the position requirements, rather than applying a general decision to your department or unit.

If someone in your unit or department needs to access a U of G facility, and did not previously have card access, please work with the building’s contact to arrange access. A list of building contacts is available on the Electronic Access website. Managers with staff working in the University Centre will receive a follow-up email with further details.

Workplace safety

When approving access for individuals who have a specific and justified need to be at a U of G facility, please follow the guidelines in the Manager Tools and Resources section of the Return to Campuses website, specifically:

If any individuals in your unit are required to work at a U of G facility, you are asked to take steps to minimize the number of employees in the workspace and to ensure 2m physical distance at all times. Please remind your teams that COVID-19 safety protocols must be followed at all times, including when travelling in a vehicle or when occupying a break room.

Maintenance and custodial services will continue to operate.

Those approved to come to U of G facilities are expected to:

Any additional questions may be directed to your HR or FASR representative.

Thank you for helping keep our community safe.

Daniel Atlin
Vice-President (External)

Malcolm Campbell
Vice-President (Research)

Gwen Chapman
Provost and Vice-President (Academic)

Sharmilla Rasheed
Vice-President (Finance and Operations)

Dear Managers,

The Return to Campuses steering committee is committed to helping you navigate the challenges of COVID-19 and a gradual return to the workplace. The following information can help you support those on your team who are currently working on campus or at another U of G location.

Manager tools and resources on Return to Campuses website

U of G’s Return to Campuses website now has a Manager Tools and Resources page. Visit this page to access communications to managers and other useful checklists and resources.

Keep working from home when possible

The most important way we can reduce the spread of COVID-19 is by maintaining physical distance. That means limiting the number of people we have on campus. If your employees can continue to work from home, please plan for them to do so.

There may be specific situations in which certain employees are not able to effectively perform their duties from home. A staffing guidelines document is being developed to help you create a plan for those who need to return to campus to perform their job duties. The document will be shared with you soon.

New screening tool for all those coming to campus

All staff, faculty, students and visitors are now required to complete U of G’s COVID-19 Screening Form every day before they come to a U of G location. Information about the new form will be sent to all faculty, staff and students today.

The form is accessible through:

Employees who are already working on campus must complete the U of G COVID-19 Screening Form every day before coming to campus.

The Qualtrics-based form directs users to complete the Ontario COVID-19 Screening Tool and then provides directions on next steps (e.g., stay home and contact your manager, or clearance to come to campus).

This new mandatory process helps us adapt to our changing campus environment and helps keep our community safe. Please share this new process with your team members who are working on-site and ensure they complete the form every day before arriving.

If you have any questions about the tool, please contact Occupational Health and Wellness at

Face coverings: Understanding them and ordering them

To help protect our community, face coverings are required in most situations when you are on campus. Face coverings include any material that is at least two layers thick and that covers the wearer’s nose, mouth and chin. Visit the Face Coverings section of the Return to Campuses website to learn more.

The University will supply two reusable face masks to any employee working on-site who requests them. To order face masks for employees working on-site, visit the Ordering COVID-19 Personal Hygiene Supplies page on the Physical Resources website.

New COVID-19 Recovery Checklist for Supervisors

While employees who can work from home should continue to do so, some employees in specific areas have returned to working on campus or other U of G locations. As mentioned, a staffing guidelines document will be made available in coming weeks to help managers plan for those who need to return to campus to perform their job duties.

A companion checklist to that guidelines document – the COVID-19 Recovery Checklist for Supervisors – has also been created. This document can be used now with employees who have already returned to campus to remind them of protocols they must follow to help protect themselves and our community.

Requirements for employees working on campus

Please ensure all employees on your team who are working on-site at a U of G location follow the directives below. These directives are also listed on the Before You Return page of the Return to Campuses website.

  1. Review the information on the Return to Campuses website.
  2. Complete the COVID-19 Infection Prevention and Control Awareness Training course via CourseLink.
  3. Complete U of G’s COVID-19 Screening Form every day before coming to campus and follow directions provided by the form.
  4. Consider downloading the Government of Canada’s COVID Alert app.
  5. Bring a face covering (e.g., non-medical mask).

Employees should not come to campus if they are feeling sick or have been in close contact with someone who is sick.

 Communicating a positive case

On Aug. 13, a message was shared with managers via the University Leadership Team that explains the process U of G will follow when someone in your unit who is working on campus tests positive for COVID-19.

Please familiarize yourself with this process (also available on the Manager Tools and Resources page) and connect with Occupational Health and Wellness at if you have any questions.

More to come!

Watch for another message soon on supporting employees who continue to work from home.

On August 13, information was shared with managers on Communicating Positive Cases. To avoid duplicating information, please see the Communicating Positive Cases on Campus section below.

Communicating Positive Cases on Campus

If an employee who reports to work at a U of G location tests positive for COVID-19, the University will work closely with Public Health to communicate with the U of G community as appropriate. If you are informed that an employee on your team has tested positive for COVID-19, please contact Occupational Health and Wellness at 519-824-4120 Ext. 52647 or for further direction.

If someone on your team tests positive for COVID-19, the following steps take place.

Step 1: The individual tests positive and is notified by Public Health (amount of time from testing to results being provided varies).

Step 2: The individual is contacted by their local Public Health unit and asked a series of questions to assess the risk of transmission to others. Public Health will determine next steps (usually within 24 hours of positive test).

Depending on the health unit:

  • the individual may be asked to notify others they have been in close contact with, OR
  • the health unit will determine whether the unit needs to inform others who have been in close contact, including the individual’s employer. As a manager or supervisor, you will be contacted by Occupational Health and Wellness (OHW) if needed, AND
  • if the individual has the COVID Alert app, they will be given a key code to enter and notification will be sent via the app to other users who have been in close contact with the individual.

NOTE: In some cases, the employee may choose to let others know about the positive test results outside of official channels. In cases like this, news often spreads quickly that someone has tested positive. Managers may hear about the positive result before Occupational Health and Wellness does.

NOTE: If an employee tells you they have tested positive for COVID-19, please contact OHW at 519-824-4120 Ext. 52647 or and advise the employee to contact OHW themselves as soon as possible.

NOTE: For privacy reasons, Public Health does not always inform employers that someone has tested positive. Public Health will advise when there is a high risk of transmission within the workplace. In some instances, they may request assistance with identifying potential close contacts.

Step 3: Occupational Health and Wellness will contact the employee’s manager and provide a template message that can be shared with the manager’s team. Details in the template message are kept to a minimum to protect privacy. The message also directs employees to resources if they have concerns.

Step 4: The manager shares the template message with employees. It is recommended that the message be shared with all employees within the relevant work unit to address rumours and build trust in the process.

Step 5: The University’s Cases on Campus page is updated. The page indicates the number of cases on campus within the last 14 days and is meant to provide transparency.

If proper COVID-19 protocols were followed –  including practising physical distancing, wearing a face covering and following good hand hygiene and cleaning practices –  the risk of transmission is considered low and Public Health will advise those who have interacted with the individual to monitor for symptoms. Testing is usually required for close contacts only if protocols were not followed. Such direction will be provided if and when Public Health performs contact tracing.

Learning that an employee has tested positive for COVID-19 can be stressful. Members of your team will react in different ways when they hear the news. Remember to be respectful and patient; everyone has their own way of processing this kind of information and may have other personal considerations to address.

It is very important not to speculate or make assumptions about a positive case. It is not uncommon for someone to be asymptomatic and test positive. It is also not uncommon for the individual who has COVID-19 to feel stress, grief or embarrassment. The University is working to normalize positive cases and build empathy within the community.

Occupational Health and Wellness will provide you with the only information that can be shared based on Public Health’s assessment of the situation. To maintain privacy, do not share any personal details about the individual who has COVID-19 beyond what has been provided by OHW. Employees are not required to disclose a diagnosis to their managers.

If you are worried about what a positive test means for you or your team, contact Occupational Health and Wellness at

U of G’s employee and family health program provider – Homewood Health – offers counselling and support 24/7. Call 1-800-663-1142 or visit the Homewood Health website.

Guidelines for Meetings and Departmental Events

To support physical distancing, meetings and events should take place through Microsoft Teams or Cisco WebEx, even when attendees are on campus.

To help promote physical distancing, refrain from scheduling in-person meetings whenever possible. Continue to use Microsoft Teams or Cisco WebEx when you need to meet or collaborate with others, even for small, on-site gatherings.

In-person gatherings should be limited. That means restricting the number of people who need to meet face-to-face to no more than 10 people at a time (while following room capacity limits) and limiting how often such meetings occur. If you need to meet in-person, face coverings should be worn and attendees must be able to maintain 2 metres of physical distance.

Outdoor meetings should also be considered, when possible and weather permitting.

Departments, in consultation with Physical Resources, are responsible for determining shared meeting room capacities and furniture configurations that ensure attendees can maintain 2 metres of physical distance.

With assistance from their Physical Resources building liaison, departments must:

  • remove or stack chairs that will not be used
  • ensure that indoor meetings occur in spaces that are properly ventilated
  • post signage for room occupancy limits, maintaining physical distance between attendees, and cleaning requirements
  • ensure no more than 10 people meet in a room at a time, while adhering to room capacity limits (i.e., if a room is limited to a maximum of 5 people, no more than 5 people can meet in that space)

Department social events such as retirement celebrations, service recognition, and celebrations of other important work and life events are an important way to show appreciation for employees. With many employees working off-campus, these events should continue to take place to help build social connections and engagement. But, it is crucial that such events are hosted safely.

Department social events should be encouraged, provided they take place online (e.g., Teams and WebEx) to support physical distancing.

If your team is mostly “deskless” an in-person event can be considered, as long as:

  • a detailed plan is submitted to your unit’s department head (dean or AVP) for approval before the event is scheduled
  • the event is hosted in a space that allows proper physical distancing (e.g., in a large meeting room or outdoors for 2m of space between attendees)
  • the number of attendees is limited to no more than 10
  • face coverings are worn

Employees who are working remotely should not be asked to attend social events on campus.

Department heads should consult with their Human Resources or Faculty and Academic Staff Relations representative and  their Environmental Health and Safety representative in decisions on in-person social events.