June 3, 2020

New re-entry protocols take effect as designated researchers return to campus 

Message to the campus community

Since mid-March, the University of Calgary’s campuses have been relatively quiet as we focused on our response to the COVID-19 pandemic, pivoting to remote learning and working, while a significant number of researchers carried on their work on campus in critical areas. Last Friday brought the welcome news that summer camps will go forward on campus for July and August with restructured program offerings. This week brings more good news: an additional group of researchers will begin returning to campus soon under a rigorous new set of health and safety protocols, allowing them to move forward on campus with timely research vital to fighting the pandemic and solving other societal challenges. 

The researchers involved are those who have received approval under the university’s Expanded Research Designation (ERD) to resume their research operations on campus. The Vice-President (Research) Office began issuing notifications to the approved researchers on Tuesday and will continue to do so on a rolling basis, so that they can return to in-person activities on campus or in the field/community. No one is obligated to work on campus or in the field, even in cases where there is a Critical or Expanded Research Designation.  Learn more here about research operations during the COVID-19 response. 

With the increase in activity, it’s important that everyone who will be on campus soon or in the weeks ahead be well informed about our re-entry protocols and understand the impact on their work and study areas, how they will navigate common spaces, what campus services are available, and even how they will travel to campus.  

At this time, most members of the campus community will continue their studies and work from home. Spring and summer courses will continue to be delivered remotely and online. Only those who are approved or required to be on campus, should be on campus in-person. But as you are aware, instruction in the fall term will be provided through a combination of face-to-face and online or remote learning. Significant work is being done behind the scenes to prepare a phased re-entry strategy for our campuses and details will be shared with you as soon as they are available. 

Here are some highlights of the re-entry protocols that will affect Critical and ERD researchers, summer camp participants, and others whose work requires them to be on campus — but they will be relevant to everyone as we return university operations to a “new normal” for the fall.   

If you aren’t feeling well 

  • Anyone who feels ill, and particularly those with COVID-19 type symptoms of cough, fever, shortness of breath, runny nose or sore throat, or any of the other symptoms identified by Alberta Health Services, must not come to the campus.  

Minimum standards 

  • Maintain a physical distance of two metres from other people. Where adhering to physical distancing measures may not be possible, wear a non-medical mask. 
  • Follow signage and floor markings when moving around campus spaces and buildings. 
  • Continue to follow health guidelines for social distancing, such as washing your hands frequently, coughing or sneezing into your bent elbow, and avoiding touching your face or rubbing your eyes. These measures are especially important before and after coming into contact with high-touchpoint surfaces like door handles, bannisters, elevator buttons, kitchens and equipment. 

Moving around campus 

  • Walk on the right-hand side of the street/hallway wherever possible, creating one-way pedestrian traffic and minimizing contact with passersby. 
  • Keep to the right-hand side of sidewalks and pathways, allowing faster walkers to pass you.  

Navigating common spaces 

  • Elevators: No more than one person may use an elevator at any time unless there is sufficient space for two people to stand diagonally 2m apart. Where possible, use an object to press elevator buttons. Use stairs whenever possible. 
  • Entry/exit: Use automatic door buttons wherever possible to reduce touchpoints. Follow any “in” and “out” signs posted on building doors to allow people to keep their distance. 
  • Hallways and stairwells: Walk on the right in stairwells and hallways. If there is not sufficient space to maintain a 2m distance, yield to oncoming traffic. Be sure to wash hands or use a hand sanitizer after touching handrails or other surfaces. Follow any directional tape or signage indicating traffic flow. 
  • Washrooms: Follow all signage indicating sink and stall closures to maintain proper distancing.  

Your workspace 

  • Ensure you are familiar with the requirements laid out by your department/faculty. Familiarize yourself with the Workspace Safety Plans approved for your work areas.  
  • Shared offices and open-area workstations: Unless a shared office is large enough for 2m distancing, it must only be occupied by one person per work interval. Where sit/stand stations are used, make sure any dividers between stations work for the full range of heights. 
  • Kitchens: At this time, there is no access to kitchens or kitchen appliances on campus. This includes refrigerators, microwaves, dishwashers, coffee brewing equipment, kettles, and shared utensils or dishware. Kitchen sinks may be used for drinking water. Faucets and any other areas touched when a person is in a kitchen must be disinfected before and after use. Please bring food or beverages from home and store the containers at your desk. 
  • Meetings and meeting rooms: Every attempt should be made to continue using online videoconferencing tools. Hold outdoor meetings where possible for easier social distancing. Where there are meetings required in enclosed offices, review the distance between the workstation and guest chair. 

Making your way to campus 

  • To minimize the risk of exposure, consider cycling, walking or driving by yourself. Take proper precautions when commuting via bus or train, including maintaining physical distance from others, consider wearing a protective mask, and wash your hands thoroughly upon arrival to campus. 

The measures put in place by the Government of Alberta have so far been very successful in controlling the spread of COVID-19 and flattening the curve in our province. It’s essential that as restrictions are lifted, we all protect our campus community by doing our part to reduce the risk of infection and transmission.  

Your well-being: During this time of transition, we encourage all students, faculty and staff to be especially mindful to take care of their health and well-being. We realize this is an anxious time with much uncertainty. We want to assure you that we are focusing on keeping you safe and well, while also minimizing impact on academic programs. Support through Student Wellness Services continues to be available – Learn more. Faculty and staff can access resources and supports – Learn more.  

Updates and FAQs: Follow the COVID-19 Response page for the most-up-to-date information that affects the entire community – Learn more.  NEW: Get answers to your questions about how the COVID-19 pandemic will impact your studies this fall – Learn more.  

We will continue to update the campus community as our re-entry planning is finalized. Please submit any questions or feedback to covid19comms@ucalgary.ca. Your suggestions are greatly appreciated and will help inform re-entry protocols and communications as we transition through the summer and fall.