This update is provided for archival purposes only.

Public Health guidance and University of Waterloo operations may have changed. For the most up-to-date information, please visit our COVID-19 frequently asked questions.

Face masks and cleaning kits now available for researchers working on-campus

Monday, June 1, 2020

This message was originally sent to faculty approved for return to research labs on campus by Kate Windsor, director of safety.

  • We recommend that you wear a face mask on-campus when physical distancing may be challenging.
  • Researchers currently working on-campus can order non-medical, cloth face masks online from Central Stores at no charge for yourself, as well as for your lab groups, postdocs and grad students working with you on-campus.
  • Cleaning kits are available to order through Plant Operations.

We have approved some researchers to proceed with their work on-campus as part of our phased return to campus plan. To ensure that we welcome you back to campus safely, we have increased sanitization of high touch surface areas and are offering additional supplies to help you stay healthy.

In accordance to Public Health guidance, we recommend that you continue to practice physical distancing, but have cloth face masks available for researchers to use on-campus where maintaining a physical distance of two meters is challenging.

How to order face masks

We will provide two face masks to each researcher who we approve to work on-campus. Please be respectful of this as supply chain is limited and orders will be monitored.

If you have a lab group, postdocs or grad students currently working with you on-campus, you should place an order for face masks immediately.

You can order cloth face masks from Central Stores using the online stores requisition form (item code 33-0989). We will not charge your budget for this item, however you must give an account number in the requisition form.

As we phase-in our return to campus, you may order new masks for individuals that we approve to return to campus. If you are placing a large order (>30), please indicate the unit name(s) and number of researchers for which you are ordering. Please do not order masks unless you know you have people in your area approved to return.

Use and care of non-medical face masks

Cloth face masks are NOT personal protective equipment (PPE), so maintaining physical distancing and frequent hand washing/sanitizing are still our best defence against transmission of COVID-19. Please do your part.

You will receive package instructions with your masks detailing how to safely wear them. Remember:

  • Do not share face masks with others
  • Do not touch or move your face mask when wearing it

Researchers may also wear a face mask of their own choosing while at work, provided it meets the public health recommendations of proper fit and material.

How to order cleaning kits

Our custodial staff have modified their duties to increase sanitization of high touch surfaces including daily cleaning of main doors, elevator buttons, handrails and washrooms. In your labs, floors will be cleaned, waste picked up, door knobs and light switches wiped in accordance with the posted cleaning schedule. However, the cleaning of your work surfaces, computer equipment and research machinery remains your responsibility.

To help you maintain a safe work space, you can order cleaning kits through Plant Operations.

The cleaning kits include:

  • Two hand sanitizers for use in kitchens and at reception areas
  • One disinfectant appropriate for kitchens and one for general office/reception/dry lab areas
  • Disposable wipes
  • PPE if applicable to product

As you are likely aware, there is a shortage of PPE and sanitizing products. We were lucky to obtain high quality products through local sources, but our supplies are limited (we have approximately 500 kits available). To keep you safe, and to ensure fair support to all on campus, we will monitor requests as we receive them.

This kit is meant to help you get acquainted with available materials, and make informed decisions on which products you need to use in the future. Refills and a variety of products are available through Plant Ops website.

When you receive your kit, please review the instructions carefully. You can also obtain SDS sheets from the Plant Ops for all the chemicals included in the kit as well as direction on how to use them. If you are not sure about which product to use, you can contact Safety Office or Plant Operations Environmental Services for support.

Stay safe and please continue to follow advice from Public Health.