COVID-19 - 2019 Novel Coronavirus

COVID-19: Safety Measures and Practices

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.

Our Response to Non-Compliance with COVID-19 Protocols Summary details how we will address breaches of federal, provincial and public health by-laws, controls and guidelines and U of G protocols regarding COVID-19.

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Vaccination

U of G strongly encourages everyone to stay up to date with their COVID-19 vaccinations and booster doses. Learn more about vaccination at U of G.

When You or a Close Contact Are Sick

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 What to do when you are sick or have been exposed page of this site or call U of G’s COVID-19 call centre at 519-824-4120, Ext. 53906.

Masks and Face Shields

The University of Guelph will pause its mask requirement as of July 1, with masks no longer required indoors or outdoors at U of G facilities. This decision aligns U of G’s approach to masking with the public health approach used in other learning spaces (e.g., high schools and elementary schools) and work/public venues (e.g., theatres, malls).

Until July 1, those working in cubicles, offices or other indoor spaces may remove their masks in workspaces where they can predictably maintain 2 metres of distance from others. Please use your best judgment in these situations and be considerate of others. Until July 1, masks are required at all times in classes, labs, research spaces, Student Wellness Services and lounge areas.

In June, grads will have the option to remove their masks as they cross the stage at convocation.

The University may reinstate its masking requirement at any time and with little notice.

After July 1, many of our community members will still choose to wear a mask while in our facilities. As a community, let’s support one another’s decisions and remember that each person’s situation is unique.

The University will continue to monitor public health trends and evaluate the need for masking, particularly as the fall semester approaches. Any updates on our masking requirement will be shared as they become available.

With the lifting of this requirement, the need for self-monitoring becomes even more important. Remember, if you’re sick, stay home!

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In general, until July 1 all those at any University of Guelph location are required to wear masks when indoors. Masks are not required outdoors. Situations in which masks can be removed are listed in the “When are masks not required?” section of this page.

At minimum, students, faculty and staff are required to wear a medical-style mask while on site. Cloth masks alone are currently not considered acceptable for wear at U of G locations but may be layered over top of medical-style masks to help with fit. As we have seen with transmission peaks and valleys over the past two years, we can expect that the University’s mask requirements will vary over time.

Medical masks must:

  • Fit tightly to the face without gaping, and
  • Completely cover the nose, mouth and chin.

Masks must be worn in 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, 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.

Environmental Health and Safety provides further FAQs about face coverings.

In general, until July 1 wear a mask when you are indoors in a U of G location.

This includes in:

  • classrooms
  • hallways
  • washrooms
  • stairways
  • meeting rooms
  • student residence common spaces
  • common spaces (lounges, dining areas, etc.)

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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Medical masks are available for purchase from the University Bookstore at cost.

A limited quantity of medical masks are available for students, faculty and staff should they come to campus without one.

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In general, until July 1 all those on University of Guelph campuses are required to wear masks when indoors. 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 cubicle when 2 metres of distance can be predictably maintained or in a private office with the door closed (others are not present)
  • Eating or drinking while maintaining 2 metres of distance.
  • While exercising in designated areas of the Athletics Centre
  • When crossing the stage at convocation

Masks are not required outdoors. You are encouraged to maintain 2 metres of physical distance from others if you choose not to wear a mask outdoors.

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

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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

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!

Ventilation

Learn more about how U of G is updating ventilation to help create safe spaces.

Wastewater Testing

Since October 2020, U of G researchers have been sampling wastewater from U of G on-campus residences. This sampling looks for RNA fragments of the COVID-19 virus. This testing can give us information before people show symptoms of COVID-19 so we can respond appropriately. Sampling is conducted in all student residence wastewater, seven days a week.

Rapid Testing

U of G, including the Ridgetown Campus, uses University-provided rapid antigen tests to respond to potential high-risk exposures in specific settings that the University has assessed as high-risk (e.g., rapid tests may be provided if there was a risk of exposure due to close proximity in a workspace or residence).

Call Centre

The U of G COVID-19 call centre helps support students, faculty and staff who contract COVID-19 and can answer COVID-19 questions and concerns. You can reach the call centre at 519-824-4120, Ext. 53906 or email covid.calls@uoguelph.ca.

Self-Declaration and Safe Returns

U of G has self-declaration forms that students, faculty and staff are required to complete when they have symptoms of COVID-19 and there is a higher risk of transmission on site. After completing the form, community members will be connected with supports from Student Health Services or Occupational Health and Wellness.

Managing Positive Cases and Outbreaks

Our call centre and self-declaration forms help the University manage positive COVID-19 cases on campus and prevent outbreaks.

COVID-19 Guidelines from Environmental Health and Safety

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.