We all have a role to play in helping protect our community and reducing the spread of COVID-19. Follow the guidelines below to help keep yourself and others safe when you are on campus.

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Safety Protocols and Best Practices

As we adjust to life at U of G during COVID-19, remember to follow these important practices.

When You or a Close Contact Are Sick

Reviewed: June 22, 2021

COVID-19 is highly transmissible – staying home when you are sick is essential to stopping the spread.

If you or a close contact are sick, follow the directions on the I Have Tested Positive for COVID-19 or I Am Feeling Sick: What Should I Do? page of this site or call U of G’s COVID-19 call centre at 519-824-4120, Ext. 53906.

  • Do not go to work, class or other public places
  • Do not use public transportation, taxis or rideshares
  • Do not have visitors unless essential (e.g., care providers)
  • As much as possible, stay in a separate room away from other people in your household and use a separate bathroom if you have one

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Physical Distancing

Updated: September 5, 2021

Maintaining distance from others is an important way to reduce the spread of COVID-19. To help promote physical distancing, most U of G events are being held online. For information on a specific event, contact the event’s organizers. Check the University’s events calendar for more information.

The Government of Ontario has provided conditions under which universities can safely operate while in Step 3 and the Roadmap Exit Step under the Reopening Ontario Act. Starting Sept. 7, previous physical distancing and instructional space capacity limits may be removed only for indoor instructional spaces (e.g., classrooms, laboratories and libraries). Although physical distancing is no longer required in instructional spaces, U of G will proceed with its plans to reduce density in classrooms. Classroom capacities will not exceed 75 per cent in most cases, and we continue to cap classes at 250 students. To help create safer spaces for our community, instructors who are scheduled to teach in classrooms with a planned student capacity of 75 per cent or more have the option of transitioning to hybrid or remote course delivery for the entire fall semester.

COVID-19 Screening and Infection Prevention Safety Course

Reviewed: September 5, 2021

Before coming to campus, all faculty, staff, students and visitors must complete the  COVID-19 Infection Prevention and Control Awareness Training course via CourseLink. You may be asked to show your course completion certificate.

Every day, before you come to a U of G space, you must complete the U of G COVID-19 Screening Form.  If you have symptoms or if the tool indicates you should seek medical attention or isolate, do NOT come to campus. 

The Qualtrics-based form connects you to the Government of Ontario’s COVID-19 assessment tool and then provides you with directions and next steps depending on your results (e.g., stay home and report your absence, or clearance to come to campus). Full terms and conditions for the form are available online.

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You can access the U of G COVID-19 Screening Form:

U of G’s COVID-19 Screening Form helps us adapt to our changing campus environment. As a reminder, you should check the Before You Return page of this site daily before coming to campus.

If you have any questions about the tool, please contact Occupational Health and Wellness at ohw@uoguelph.ca

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Masks and Face Shields

Reviewed: September 3, 2021

Masks and face shields

In general, all those on University of Guelph campuses are required to wear masks when indoors. You must also wear a mask when you are outdoors and unable to maintain 2 metres of distance from others. These requirements align with Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health’s Section 22 Order on face coverings. Situations in which masks can be removed are listed in the “When are masks not required?” section of this page.

Masks must be worn in cubicles, classrooms, hallways, washrooms, stairways, meeting rooms and common spaces.

If you have a medical condition, disability or impairment that affects your ability to wear a mask and need accommodation (e.g., a clear plastic face shield, other accommodation, etc.), please contact:

  • Employees – Occupational Health and Wellness at ohw@uoguelph.ca and notify your supervisor. You are not required to disclose your specific medical condition to your supervisor.
  • Students – Student Health Services at 519-824-4120, Ext. 52131.

Masks must be at least two-layers thick (preferably three-layers thick) and:

  • completely cover the nose, mouth and chin without gaping
  • allow for easy breathing
  • not contain an exhalation valve
  • fit securely to the head
  • fit comfortably to avoid frequent adjustments
  • maintain their shape after washing and drying

Reusable masks must be appropriate and safe for the specific workplace (e.g., no cloth masks when working with hazardous materials).

Environmental Health and Safety provides further FAQs about face coverings.

In general, wear a mask when you are on campus.

This includes in:

  • classrooms
  • cubicles
  • hallways
  • washrooms
  • stairways
  • meeting rooms
  • student residence common spaces
  • common spaces (lounges, dining areas, etc.)
  • outdoors if you are unable to maintain 2 metres of distance from others

If you have questions about the use of masks:

  • Employees: Questions related to safety and the use of masks should be addressed to Environmental Health and Safety at ehs@uoguelph.ca. Questions related to health concerns and the use of masks should be addressed to Occupational Health and Wellness at ohw@uoguelph.ca.
  • Students: call Student Health Services at 519-824-4120, Ext. 52131.

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In general, all those on University of Guelph campuses are required to wear masks when indoors. This requirement aligns with the Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Section 22 Order on face coverings. Under certain, very limited circumstances, it may be acceptable to remove your mask.

Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to remove your mask while:

  • Working alone in a private office with the door closed (others are not present)
  • Eating or drinking while maintaining 2 metres of distance.
  • While exercising during a booked appointment in designated areas of the Athletics Centre
  • Outdoors when you are able to maintain 2 metres of distance from others

Children under the age of 5 are not required to wear a mask on campus.

If you have a medical condition, disability or impairment that affects your ability to wear a mask and need accommodation (e.g., a clear plastic face shield, other accommodation, etc.), please contact:

  • Employees – Occupational Health and Wellness at ohw@uoguelph.ca and notify your supervisor. You are not required to disclose your specific medical condition to your supervisor.
  • Students – Student Health Services at 519-824-4120, Ext. 52131.

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Reusable masks are available from the Bookstore.

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If you have a medical condition, disability or impairment that affects your ability to wear a mask and need accommodation (e.g., a clear plastic face shield, other accommodation, etc.), please contact:

A face shield should be used only if Occupational Health and Wellness or Student Health Services determine it to be an appropriate accommodation.

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Remember, not everyone can wear a mask. Wearing a mask can be challenging for people with breathing difficulties, those who wear hearing aids, those who have sensory issues, and those who need to communicate with others through lip reading, among others.

The University will make accommodations for those with medical conditions, disabilities or impairments that affect their ability to wear a mask.

  • Employees should contact Occupational Health and Wellness at ohw@uoguelph.ca and notify their supervisor. You are not required to disclose your specific medical condition to your supervisor.
  • Students should contact Student Health Services at 519-824-4120, Ext. 52131.

If you have ongoing concerns about someone not wearing a mask:

  • Staff – speak with your supervisor
  • Students – speak with your instructor
  • Instructors – speak with your department chair

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Clean Your Hands

Reviewed: September 5, 2021

Washing your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds using soap and water is an important way you can protect yourself from COVID-19. If you can’t access soap and water, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60 per cent alcohol base.

Physical Resources will install and maintain hand sanitizer dispensers around building entrances, washrooms, classrooms and elevators.

Cover Your Coughs and Sneezes

Cough or sneeze into your bent elbow or into a tissue that you throw away immediately. Don’t forget to wash your hands!

Be Mindful of High-Touch Surfaces

Reviewed: September 5, 2021

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19 be mindful of high-touch surfaces:

  • Disinfect shared equipment, tools and work spaces before use. Learn more about cleaning accountabilities on the Physical Resources website.
  • Use a barrier (e.g., paper towel, sleeve) between your hand and the door handle when opening and closing doors
  • Clean your hands regularly with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Physical Resources has increased their frequency of cleaning high-touch surfaces

Plan for Safe Gatherings

Reviewed: September 5, 2021

Visit the Government of Ontario’s website for guidance on safe gatherings.

Disposable Gloves

Reviewed: September 5, 2021

Review the Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) COVID-19: Use of Disposable Gloves in Non-Health Care Workplaces page for more information about the use of disposable gloves to prevent the transmission of COVID-19. According to the the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, gloves are not necessary for prevention of COVID-19 in non-health-care workplaces.

Accessibility

Reviewed: September 5, 2021

COVID-19 presents additional barriers to participating in the academic environment for many individuals. In support of inclusion, the University provides academic accommodation in accordance with the Ontario Human Rights Code.

  • If you are a student and need academic accommodation relating to:
    • a disability – contact Student Accessibility Services
    • a religious observance – contact your course instructor or follow the procedures described in the academic calendar for your program.
  • If you are an employee and need accommodation relating to a disability, contact Occupational Health and Wellness.
  • If you are a member of an equity-seeking group and have concerns about inclusion, contact Diversity and Human Rights.

Workplace Etiquette

Reviewed: September 5, 2021

When you return to working on campus, things will be different than they were in March 2020. Remember to be kind and patient with your colleagues and yourself. We’re all in this together.

The following workplace etiquette sets some common ground rules that can make working together during this stressful time a bit easier.

  • Avoid unnecessary physical contact such as shaking hands.
  • Use technology for communication (e.g., text message, phone calls, online meetings) rather than in-person meetings or conversations when possible.
  • When taking part in online meetings, use earphones or a headset to minimize distractions for those around you.
  • When booking meetings in shared spaces, add extra time to allow you to disinfect the space before you use it, and strictly observe meeting end times so others can do the same.
  • To help reduce the spread of germs, avoid bringing in food to share. Put potlucks and parties on hold for now. Department events and celebrations should be held through Microsoft Teams or  Cisco Webex so that everyone can participate and to support physical distancing.
  • Remember to show appreciation for your colleagues and others on campus. A kind word goes a long way during stressful times.
  • Avoid sharing cups, mugs, cutlery or plates. Remove these shared items from shared kitchenettes if possible. Never leave containers open in the fridge. Store food and drink in sealed containers. Leave space between containers.
  • Understand that not everyone can wear a mask and be respectful of that.
  • Stay connected with those not at the office – plan regular online team meetings and update each other on important decisions.
  • Take your breaks and use your vacation time. Don’t let yourself get burnt out. Ask for help if you need it and help others when you can. The Gryphon Family Resources portal has resources that may be useful.

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COVID-19 Guidelines from Environmental Health and Safety

Reviewed: September 5, 2021

U of G’s Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) team has created a number of resources to support safe learning and work on campus. Visit the EHS Guidelines under COVID-19 section of the HR website for more information.