Dec. 10, 2020

Impact of new government COVID-19 restrictions on campus

Message to the campus community
Winter on the UCalgary campus
Winter on the UCalgary campus

On Dec. 8, 2020, the Government of Alberta enacted a series of new mandatory COVID-19 restrictions. These province-wide restrictions include a stricter requirement for all Alberta employees to work from home, as well as the closure of some facilities and activities on campus.

Classes and exams are expected to continue as previously planned. At this time, we can advise you of how the latest public health rules impact your work. As the University of Calgary works with the Ministry of Advanced Education to determine how regulations apply to post-secondary institutions, some of these guidelines may evolve in the coming days.

Work from home

Effective Dec. 13, 2020, all UCalgary faculty and staff must work from home — except under the following conditions:

  • Campus access is required to use tools and equipment.
    Some positions, such as those involved in ongoing research, have unique requirements for ongoing access to tools and equipment, and greater reliance on the physical campus setting. This is distinct from where materials or equipment are needed from time to time, such as accessing paper files. Positions that have an ongoing reliance on equipment that cannot be removed from the campus in order to be productive are permitted to continue to work on campus.
  • Work involves secure data and confidential information.
    Work that involves access to and handling of confidential, classified or sensitive information and data in some cases is best performed on campus, particularly if this information is not in electronic form.
  • On-site preparation and attendance are required to deliver services to faculty, students, staff and the public.

In all cases where work is being performed on campus, an approved workplace safety plan must be in place, and all must comply with those plans. Provincial restrictions are in place until at least Jan. 12, 2021.

For those staff who are not included in the above three conditions, managers are asked to ensure that between now and Jan. 12, all options are explored for employees to work productively from home. For those who are unable to work remotely from home, managers are asked to work with employees to undertake alternate work plans or use vacation, PLD, CTO or other paid or unpaid leaves. During this time period, managers are asked not to lay off staff.

On-campus closures

As of Dec. 13, 2020, please be advised:

  • The fitness centre, pool and recreational facilities must close.
  • All Active Living group programs are suspended.
  • The University Athletics suspension first announced on Nov. 26 will continue.
  • All university libraries must close. This means students cannot access post-secondary libraries for any purpose, although they can do front door pick-ups and drop-offs of books and materials.
    • Study spaces outside of libraries will remain open to solo study only.
  • Group studying is not allowed except in situations where two or more students must be physically present for the purpose of practice or a practical activity (e.g., lab practice, massage practice).
    • Students should opt for virtual study groups instead.
    • If two or more students must be physically present to practise a specific activity, the students should stay two metres apart from each other at all times and be masked.
    • Students who must come within two metres of each other for practice, rehearsal, or study must wear a mask, even if they are outdoors.
  • The performance activity exemption for school settings also applies to post-secondary institutions. However, although performance practices and rehearsals can occur, performances, concerts, and inter-school performance activities are not allowed at this time.
    • Streaming a live performance for an exam is permissible if there is no live audience involved.
  • All social gatherings in indoor workplaces, such as lunchroom gatherings, are not allowed.
  • Food courts will only be permitted to provide take out; there will be no use of tables and seating permitted.

We understand these restrictions will not be easy, especially as we wind down from a challenging year. To help protect each other, and to support our health-care system at this critical time, we need everyone to embrace the new rules to keep our entire community safe. Thank you for your attention to these details — please stay safe and healthy!

Dr. Dru Marshall
Provost and Vice President (Academic)