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Faculty, staff or union employee, Graduate students, Teaching Assistants, Visiting Faculty/Post-Docs, Co-op Students/Unpaid Learners, Undergraduate Students Employed at UWaterloo.

Group Protective Equipment (GPE)

Includes non-medical masks or face coverings, the intent of which is to reduce the potential exposure to COVID-19 by containing the wearer’s respiratory droplets.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Personal protective equipment, (PPE), is equipment worn to minimize exposure to hazards that cause serious workplace injuries and illnesses. Specific to COVID-19, this includes surgical masks, respiratory protection, gowns, gloves, and face-shields commonly used in healthcare environments. 


The term Supervisor is used interchangeably with Manager and is defined as a person who has charge of a workplace or authority over an employee, including graduate students under their authority. 

Guiding principles

Seven principless guide our plan to safely and successfully return employees and students to campus. 

Health and Safety First

The health and safety of employees and students will be the guiding principle and primary focus as we plan to return to campus and sustain the ‘next normal’. This includes incorporating newly accepted norms of physical distancing, hygiene, and responsible use of group protective equipment (GPE) and personal protective equipment (PPE) to prevent the spread of COVID-19. It also depends on a culture that encourages personal and group adherence to new safety standards.

Government-informed and evidence-based

Applicable local, provincial, and federal public health directives and guidelines will inform the planning, timing and sequence of resuming research, operational and student support operations. Decisions and directives will be evidence-based, strive to follow best practice and align with institutional priorities.


To reduce risk, faculties and departments will follow a coordinated approach that considers the overall impact of increasing operations and risk exposure associated with it.


The University will give consideration and recognition of equity issues unique to different groups and individuals. This will include but is not limited to consideration and appropriate accommodation of those who feel that they are at increased risk and those who rely on schools and daycare centres for childcare.

Responsive and Proactive

The University will plan for and react immediately to new directives from government and public health authorities or to any signs of a possible resurgence of COVID-19. We will remain nimble, flexible, and adaptive as we gain insights from the progressive physical return to campus. All plans for resumption of operations will include contingency plans for safe and rapid modification, scale-back or complete shutdown if necessary.

Open, Transparent and Collaborative

The University will put mechanisms in place to ensure that employees are represented and involved in developing plans and recommendations. Final plans, recommendations and responsibilities will be clear, well communicated, and ready to implement.


Efforts to return to campus must be appropriately resourced to ensure safety for the entire community. When prioritizing and timing the return to campus, we will use resources efficiently to responsibly manage any incremental costs.


This guideline applies to all University employees and facilitates the planning and implementation of safe working procedures. It applies to all University workplaces and field work locations. 

Contractors / independent contractors must abide by the rules established with their respective university contact. 

Students looking for more information, please visit the student section of the COVID-19 website