Student and employee COVID-19 recommendations

Revised: November 8, 2022

The University of Waterloo in compliance with Public Health recommendations has been taking measures to be able to live with and manage COVID-19 for the long-term. We still need to do our part to protect ourselves and others, especially during respiratory illness season. This includes practicing good hand hygiene, wearing a mask, staying home when you are sick, and staying up to date on your vaccinations.

What to do if you have COVID-19 symptoms or test positive for COVID‑19

Take the COVID-19 self-assessment to get recommendations on what to do.

If you have one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Fever and/or chills 
  • Cough – Not related to other known causes or conditions (e.g., chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) 
  • Shortness of breath – Not related to other known causes or conditions (e.g., chronic heart failure, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) 
  • Decrease or loss of smell or taste – Not related to other known causes or conditions (e.g., nasal polyps, allergies, neurological disorders)

or

You have two or more of the following symptoms: 

  • Extreme fatigue (general feeling of being unwell, lack of energy, extreme tiredness) – Not related to other known causes or conditions (e.g., depression, insomnia, thyroid dysfunction, anemia, malignancy, receiving a COVID-19 or flu vaccine in the past 48 hours)
  • Muscle aches or joint pain – Not related to other known causes or conditions (e.g., osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, receiving a COVID-19 or flu vaccine in the past 48 hours)
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms (i.e., nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea) – Not related to other known causes or conditions (e.g., transient vomiting due to anxiety in children, chronic vestibular dysfunction, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, side effect of medication) 
  • Sore throat (painful swallowing or difficulty swallowing) – Not related to other known causes or conditions (e.g., post-nasal drip, gastroesophageal reflux) 
  • Runny nose or nasal congestion – Not related to other known causes or conditions (e.g., returning inside from the cold, chronic sinusitis unchanged from baseline, seasonal allergies)
  • Headache – Not related to other known causes or conditions (e.g., tension-type headaches, chronic migraines, receiving a COVID-19 or flu vaccine in the last 48 hours)

You must stay home until all the following apply to you:

  • Your symptoms have been improving for at least 24 hours (or 48 hours if you had nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea)  
  • You do not have a fever
  • You do not develop any additional symptoms

You must also do the following: 

  • Tell your household members and similar close contacts (workplace/school settings) that you are sick and that they should self-monitor for 10 days after exposure and isolate if they develop symptoms. A close contact is anyone you were less than two meters away from for at least 15 minutes, or multiple shorter lengths of time, without measures such as masking, distancing, and/or the use of personal protective equipment in the 48 hours before your symptoms began or your positive test result, whichever came first
  • If you are a student and have concerns about your symptoms, please book an appointment in Health Services by calling 519-888-4096. If you need to miss classes, due dates or exams due to COVID-19:
  • If you are an employee and have questions or concerns about the above information, please contact Occupational Health at 519-888-4567, extension 40538/40879/41388 or e-mail occupationalhealth@uwaterloo.ca. If you will be absent from work, inform your supervisor and report your absence in Workday.

For 10 days after your symptoms started or you tested positive:

  • Wear a well-fitted mask in all public settings (masks are always required for any indoor activity that is part of academic course delivery)
  • Avoid non-essential activities where you need to take off your mask (for example, dining out)
  • Avoid non-essential visits to anyone who is immunocompromised or may be at higher risk of illness (for example, seniors)
  • Avoid non-essential visits to highest risk settings in the community such as hospitals and long-term care homes
  • If you develop severe symptoms requiring medical attention, such as shortness of breath or chest pain, call 911 and inform them that you may have COVID-19.

If you are immunocompromised

If you are immunocompromised and test positive for COVID-19 or have not been tested, you should stay home for 10 days and follow the guidance below on COVID-19 testing and treatment, as you may benefit from available therapies to prevent severe illness.

If you test negative for COVID-19, you can stop isolating at home once your symptoms are improving for at least 24 hours (or 48 hours if you had nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea) and you do not have a fever.

You can then take additional precautions for up to 10 days after your symptoms started as extra protection against the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses circulating in the community.

For more information on how to protect yourself and others, read Public Health Ontario’s fact sheet.  

You can also visit the Government of Ontario website