In light of the relaxation of public health restrictions as part of the Ontario government’s Roadmap to Reopen and on the basis of current local public health conditions, our vaccination and face covering requirements are currently suspended.
As has been the case throughout the pandemic, the evolution of the virus and the course of disease activity are difficult to predict. Decisions about the safety of our campus are contingent on current public health conditions and directions continuing. If the situation changes, it may become necessary to bring back requirements for masking and proof of vaccination on short notice based on an assessment of risk under Policy #34 – Health, Safety & Environment.
As of May 1, 2022, the following precautions will remain in place:
Self-assessment, illness and absence reporting
You must not attend campus if you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or you are required to isolate.
To help you decide if you should isolate, you can use the provincial self-assessment tool. Signage and daily emails remind individuals to complete screening before coming to our campuses
Follow the applicable Employee Protocols or Student Protocols for COVID-19 Cases and Exposures.
Effective May 1, our mask requirement has been suspended. Though the trends right now allow us to remove the requirement for everyone to wear a mask, we encourage you to continue to wear a tight-fitting, well-constructed mask if you feel it is the right choice for you, in any setting (and especially in large gatherings).
Please refer to our face coverings page for more information.
Physical distancing or capacity limits are not required under current public health guidance. However, physical distancing continues to be an effective method of reducing risk of transmission and we recommended you continue to physically distance when possible.
Throughout the pandemic, we have utilized safety plans for various scenarios including event planning. Safety plans are no longer required, however if an event or activity is planned that may result in a higher risk of COVID-19 transmission, these safety precautions still apply and additional precautions may be considered to reduce risk.
Cleaning and disinfection
We will continue with enhanced cleaning protocols for high contact touch points, including classrooms, classroom equipment, door handles, elevator buttons, handrails, washroom faucets, water fountains, garbage receptables, and more. Environmental Services staff will clean these common high touch contact points in line with the current recommendations of public health authorities.
Staff and faculty are responsible for cleaning their own equipment including workstations, keyboards, phones, office equipment, lab equipment, and other shared equipment. Supervisors must implement protocols for the cleaning of shared tools, equipment, and vehicles. Supervisors can purchase cleaning and disinfecting products through Plant Operations.
Good hand hygiene must continue to be practiced and can be achieved through frequent handwashing or the use of an alcohol-based hand rub (ABHR). Hand hygiene bottles/stations should be provided by departments in all office and customer service areas and are located at building entrances.
Upgrades to maximize air exchange rates and to support higher levels of air filtration will be maintained for the foreseeable future. We have made all possible modifications to HVAC systems without fully replacing our ventilation infrastructure.
These upgrades include:
- Installation and maintenance of MERV-13 filters, which are recommended by the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers. During the pandemic, these filters have become standard across the industry because they are more effective at filtering small droplets and particles that travel through the air (at least 85 per cent efficient at capturing particles in the 1 µm to 3 µm size range).
- Up to 300 standalone HEPA filter units have been deployed as an additional measure to filter air, particularly in rooms that may have lower ventilation rates or have high occupancy limits.
- HVAC retrofits have been completed to operate systems at their maximum capacity. Ventilation rates in all classrooms have been assessed using a combination of room sizes, capacity limits and air exchange rates. Although there is no threshold recommended by the Public Health Agency of Canada or other professional bodies in the context of COVID-19, out of an abundance of caution, we will continue to use classroom spaces that have greater than four air exchanges per hour or have an additional HEPA filter unit installed.
We are in the process of removing most COVID-19 signage, except for those posted on building entrances. Departments are responsible for the removal of signage and floor decals within their space.
If your unit would like to order signs that encourage booster doses or masks, you can find them under the “order online” function through Print + Retail Solutions. Any issues ordering, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Barriers or shields are not required, however may be considered to reduce risk in open-plan offices or customer service areas where staff, students and customers may find themselves near one another. These barriers can provide protection during interactions in addition to simultaneously enabling clear and unobstructed lines of sight. Plexi-glass barriers that are already installed should be maintained where it is feasible.
On Monday, January 3, 2022, Region of Waterloo informed us of changes to their case and contact management practices to align with the Government of Ontario’s Testing Eligibility and Case & Contact Management requirements announced December 30th, 2021.
Public health staff have informed us that they are prioritizing case and contact management for only the highest-risk settings. Post-secondary institutions including student residences are not currently on the list of highest-risk settings. We will no longer be receiving official notifications of positive COVID-19 cases amongst our campus communities. For this reason, as of January 4, 2022, we have suspended reporting on our case tracking dashboard.