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.

Masks now required for indoor academic activity

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

This message was originally sent to undergraduate students by Vivek Goel, President and Vice-Chancellor, and James W.E. Rush, Vice-President, Academic and Provost.

  • You must wear a mask for all indoor academic activity for the rest of the term. 

Your health and safety are top of mind as we respond to changes in COVID-19 trends and make decisions about our campus communities. We have been monitoring the latest data from Public Health Ontario and the Region of Waterloo and keeping in touch with colleagues in public health to inform our plans for the health and safety of our campuses.

Recently, we have seen increases in local COVID-19 hospitalizations, and there are emerging trends from test positivity and wastewater that suggest increasing levels of COVID in the community now and in the near future.

These trends mean we need to act now to minimize disruption to the end of term exam season and to protect the most vulnerable people in our community.

Starting November 9, you must wear a mask for any indoor activity that is part of academic instruction. This includes, but is not limited to, lectures, seminars, teaching labs, tests, exams and all other forms of academic instruction wherever it happens indoors. You may also be asked to wear a mask in other places, like when you meet with your TA or instructor.

Your instructors can temporarily remove their masks when speaking in class if they are physically distanced from others. If you are presenting, you’ll also be able to temporarily remove your mask.

If you are not sure what to do: wear a mask. We all have a role to play to protect the most vulnerable in our society. We strongly encourage you to wear a mask in all indoor spaces, though this is still optional in non-instructional settings and activities, like libraries and residences. When you are in close contact with others, please consider wearing a tight-fitting, multi-layer mask. A medical-style mask is best.

Masks are available for pick up on campus in the Student Life Centre. If you have a medical condition that prevents you from wearing a mask, you can contact AccessAbility Services to discuss your needs and apply for an accommodation from this requirement. 

Get boosted as soon as you are eligible

Experts agree that getting booster doses of a COVID-19 vaccination as soon as you are eligible is important because vaccination continues to offer the best protection against the severe illness, hospitalization and death. Up to date vaccinations also reduce your risk of infection. You can book your booster dose on the provincial vaccination portal or by booking with Campus Wellness.

If you are sick, stay away

As always, if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or think you were exposed to the virus you should complete the  Ontario self-assessment  to get advice on what to do and whether you should stay home.

If you need to miss classes you can self-declare your absence in Quest to let your instructors know what is going on. During the final exam period, if you get sick with COVID or the flu, use the Quest self-declaration form for a "public health event requiring an absence due to illness or a requirement to self-isolate" form.  For all other illnesses use the Verification of Illness process as outlined on the Campus Wellness website.

We know that more pandemic-driven change is unsettling and can be stressful. If you need any help coping, please know there is help available for you. Please reach out to one of the many resources for mental health on the Campus Wellness website.

The COVID-19 information website continues to provide access to information and the University’s COVID-19 health and safety measures.