New protocol to track COVID cases on campus

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

This message was originally sent to students and employees by Feridun Hamdullahpur, president and vice-chancellor.

As Ontario grapples with increased numbers of COVID-19 cases, we are taking steps to increase transparency for our campus community.

Starting October 1, 2020, the University of Waterloo will post information provided to us by public health units on positive cases of COVID-19 amongst students and employees who attended one of our campuses.

Our new dashboard will track confirmed positive cases and keep a complete record of cases as they are reported. We are voluntarily adopting this new protocol for all cases reported by public health to University officials. We will continue to follow public health guidance on specific cases to ensure that every individual at risk of infection knows what to do.

We take the privacy of individuals extremely seriously. In reporting on positive cases, the University will seek to protect the private health information of individuals. You should check our disclosure protocol for what to do if someone reveals to you that they have tested positive for COVID-19.

Cases amongst the campus community are low

Before adopting this new reporting protocol, the University followed guidance of public health representatives to determine if we needed to make public any confirmed positive cases. Up until October 1, no such guidance was received and cases in our community have stayed low.

Since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, public health units have confirmed a total of five positive cases of employees or students who visited campus. In all cases, the risk to other individuals was deemed to be low and public health informed the close contacts of the affected individuals.

In the last 24 hours, Region of Waterloo public health informed us of one individual from our community who tested positive for COVID-19. The individual is in self-isolation and public health officials are in the process of contacting relevant close contacts.

If you have not been identified as a close contact of the individual, you should continue to self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 and seek testing if needed.

Take precautions to stay safe

We know that COVID-19 is in our community, so we encourage everyone to take precautions by washing your hands, practicing physical distancing when you have to go out and wearing a mask in public spaces.

To ensure the health and safety of everyone who comes to our campuses, we require that employees and students monitor daily for symptoms of COVID-19.

Before arriving on campus each day, please complete the  COVID-19 self-assessment, which can also be found in the  WatSAFE app. The self-assessment is only meant as an aid and cannot diagnose you with COVID-19. If you have medical questions, contact your health care provider or your  local public health unit.

You should familiarize yourself with our protocols for employees and students who test positive for COVID-19.

I know that news of any cases amongst our campus community will cause some people concern. I want you to be assured that we have plans in place to respond to any case or outbreak.

Working together, and looking out for other Warriors, will help us all limit the spread of COVID-19.