COVID-19 Update: Masking, Building access, Mental health, Rapid testing and more

Remote work and start to the semester

The global pandemic and public health guidelines continue to evolve at a rapid pace. The University is in regular contact with provincial and local public health officials. If any new information or advice emerges, we will assess and adapt our plans as appropriate and communicate any changes with you.

As a recap of messages from last week:

  • Most winter 2022 courses at U of G will be delivered remotely from Jan. 10 to 24. Check CourseLink in early January for more information.
  • Consistent with the recent letter of instruction from Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health,employees who can conduct their work remotely and who are not needed on campus to support in-person activitieswill work from home until further notice. Please contact your manager for more information on your work arrangements.
  • Graduate students should speak with their departmental administrator or graduate program assistant to secure access to spaces. Please be understanding of the fact that departments must manage access consistent with the recent public health directive and evolving operational plans.
  • Students living in residence have been asked to delay physically returning to campus (weekend of Jan. 21, Guelph campus; Jan. 22-23, Ridgetown campus); fees will be adjusted. Exceptions are being made for students remaining in residence during the holiday break and for those with course or varsity athletic schedules requiring in-person attendance, international students returning to Guelph, and students with home environments not conducive to remote learning. Information has been emailed to affected students and is available online.

Building shutdowns

The University will be closed for the winter break from Friday, Dec. 24, 2021, until Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022. In general, members of the U of G community are asked to not access U of G buildings during the holiday break. Some client and student service areas and research facilities will remain open, offering reduced holiday hours and services. The remaining buildings will be secured and closed to the public; access will be permitted only for authorized users. If you must come to campus, speak to your director/manager first to ensure you have access.

Masks

Based on current advice from WDG Public Health, U of G’s mask policy remains sufficient in protecting our campus community. Masks continue to be required indoors and outdoors when physical distance cannot be maintained. If public health recommends changes to our mask policy, those changes will be communicated through a COVID-19 Update email and the University’s COVID-19 website.

Events

U of G events should continue to be held remotely as much as possible. Events are not scheduled during the winter break. More information will be available in the new year.

Travel

On Dec. 17, the federal government announced it is advising that non-essential travel outside of Canada should be avoided, regardless of your vaccination status. With this advisory, U of G’s travel framework continues to apply.

All U of G-sanctioned travel must be:

  • considered essential consistent with travel frameworks
  • approved by a dean, AVP or department head and
  • be supported by a travel plan as outlined in the framework.

Student travel outside of Canada is suspended except in specific cases.

Read the U of G travel frameworks for more information.

COVID-19 vaccination clinic returns to campus

Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health hopes to hold a vaccination clinic on the Guelph campus in the W.F. Mitchell Athletics Centre in early January. The University is working with WDG Public Health to facilitate this; details are forthcoming.

Rapid testing

U of G has worked with the Ontario government to secure initial shipments of COVID-19 rapid testing kits to be dispersed in two phases.

Phase 1 focused on providing tests to U of G employees who will be physically working on campus during the holiday closure Dec. 24 to Jan. 4. These tests will be provided specifically to employees whose jobs require them to be in proximity with others and who cannot maintain physical distancing. 

Test kits were also made available to residence students for use before and upon return to campus in January.

We have distributed all the rapid testing kits available for Phase 1.

In Phase 2 (beginning in January 2022), further rapid testing measures are being explored for the broader U of G community to support our safe return. We hope to distribute further tests subject to availability, recognizing that a limited supply is being managed consistent with government priorities. Learn more about our approach to rapid testing. We appreciate your patience as we work through this process.

In the interim, people are encouraged to obtain personal COVID-19 rapid tests in their respective communities through the Government of Ontario.

Mental health

The return of public health restrictions in the face of COVID-19 and the surge in cases caused by the Omicron variant is weighing heavily on many of us. We’ll get through it, but a little help never hurts. If you need mental health support, check out these resources:

Students:

  • Crisis Text Line: Text UofG to 686868
  • Good2Talk: 1-866-925-5454 or good2talk.ca
  • Here24/7: 1-844-437-3247 or here247.ca
  • keep.meSAFE (for international students): 1-844-451-9700. Outside of North America, call 001-416-380-6578 or download the My SSP app

Faculty and staff:

U of G’s employee and family assistance program provided by Homewood Behavioural Health Corporation


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 coming to campus. If you need to be on campus, make sure you complete the U of G COVID-19 Screening Form every day before you arrive.