COVID-19 FAQ Academic Staff

updated Aug 31, 2021

Student Accommodations, Flexibility and Support

  • The Student Accommodation Policy and associated Procedure for Accommodation for Students with Disabilities will be followed in student medical accommodation requests concerning COVID-19.
  • Any requests for accommodations related to academic courses based on other protected grounds would be directed to the person(s) in the faculties designated (per the policy) to deal with such requests. In some faculties, this is the instructor of record and, in others, an associate dean.
  • Requests for exceptions from in-person classes for any other reason would be considered on a case-by-case basis by the instructor. In some situations, it may be that the student be advised to take another course at this time.  More information can be found through the Exceptions to Course Requirements resource. 
  • Students not able to return to campus are encouraged to work with their course instructors and student advisor to discuss options.
  • The Student Accommodation Policy and associated Procedure for Accommodation for Students with Disabilities will be followed in situations where students require formal accommodation.
  • Adaptive course-design strategies may also be necessary to provide reasonable access to course materials and to support student learning. Instructors seeking additional learning and instructional design support to discuss adaptive course-design strategies are encouraged to connect with resources through the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning, or to consult with learning and instructional designers.
  • Instructors seeking additional teaching support in order to manage the workload associated with anticipated Fall 2021 complexities can request additional GAT or sessional support.

Academic Staff Accommodations, Flexibility and Support

Academic staff should reach out to the leaders in their unit to discuss their teaching situation and options. There are a number of reasons why a request to teach fully online might be made. These would be approached in different ways depending on the reason. The examples below provide guidance on how requests could be navigated and who would approve requests.


 A) Reason to request teaching online: Pedagogical grounds

Pedagogical grounds – the course is best offered online, and fits with program goals for student experience and student learning.

Discussion, Recommendation, Decision:

Initial discussion with academic leader who assigns teaching: Department Head, Program Director or Associate Dean.

Final oversight/signoff with the Dean.


B) Reason to request teaching online: Informal requests for flexibility*

Logistical issues/personal circumstance (e.g., living arrangements).

Discussion, Recommendation, Decision:

Initial discussion with academic leader who assigns teaching: Department Head, Program Director or Associate Dean.

Final oversight/signoff with the Dean; may involve Human Resources.

*Requests for short-term flexibility may be addressed through Section 4.2 of the Workplace Accommodation Procedure, where appropriate.


C) Reason to request teaching online: Formal Accommodation^

Medical grounds, family status, other protected grounds.

Discussion, Recommendation, Decision:

Academic staff members submit accommodation requests to HR, Staff Wellness, Manager, Dean or equivalent; see Workplace Accommodation Roles and Responsibilities document for overview.

^Requests for formal accommodation are guided by the Workplace Accommodation Policy and Workplace Accommodation Procedure. Formal accommodations are based on the restrictions identified by a staff member.

Classroom Safety

  • The University of Calgary is committed to providing a safe work environment. The Facilities team has been paying close attention to heating, ventilating and air-conditioning systems (HVAC) and how to ensure their optimal operation in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • Health Canada and the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) have established air-quality parameters for indoor (non-industrial) environments, with specific statements on infectious aerosols. These standards are used as best practices throughout the industry. All UCalgary buildings have ventilation and air-circulation standards that currently meet or exceed these standards, including the use of MERV 13 air filters.
  • In addition to this, UCalgary maximized air circulation starting last summer based on ASHRAE infectious aerosol recommendations and continues to operate in this manner to ensure peak air quality is maintained throughout our buildings while maintaining thermal comfort.

Starting on September 1, all staff, students, and faculty will be required to undergo regular rapid testing. Those who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are exempt from this requirement.

Students, faculty, and staff who are not fully vaccinated, and those who would prefer not to disclose their vaccine status, will need to regularly complete a rapid screening test, and receive a negative result, before they participate in in-person activities.

Members of the public, contractors and other individuals who work on or visit university campuses will also be required to complete regular COVID-19 testing or fully vaccinate before coming to campus. 

Any individual who cannot be tested or vaccinated based on medical or other protected grounds recognized by the Alberta Human Rights Act can request an accommodation.

Read the vaccine FAQs.

updated Aug 17: Non-medical face masks must now be worn in all public indoor areas on University of Calgary campus where physical distancing is not possible.

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and the U.S. Centre for Disease Control (CDC) both formally recommend mask use indoors. Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw also recommends mask usage to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Masks are not necessary to be worn on campus under the following circumstances:

  • Working alone in private offices
  • Working outdoors and there is a minimum of 2 metres between people
  • Meeting indoors and there is a minimum of 2 metres between people
  • Working alone in a shared space
  • Working in a cubicle with plexiglass, wall, or other approved barrier between people and when not providing services to anyone
  • In a classroom where there is a minimum of 2 metres between instructor or among students

Learn more.

The following resources have been created to provide information and strategies for teaching in-person this fall term, including strategies for addressing mask regulations and compliance.

Teaching Supports and Resources

  • Learning Technology Coaches can provide support for recording and editing lectures:
  • Additional support may be available through graduate student GAT/GANT positions in your academic units
  • Additional support for the fall term have been made available through graduate student GAT/GANT positions in your academic units.
  • Instructors wishing to reuse material recorded in a previous semester are reminded of the need to anonymize recorded material to ensure student privacy if the videos include student images from a different course section. Information on recordings in learning environments can be found in these resources. Support is available to assist with editing or training in the use of editing software with the Learning Technology Coaches
  • For information on the technology available in classrooms scheduled by the Registrar’s Office, reach out to the Audio Visual (ComMedia) team in through IT Services. For the technology available in classrooms overseen by academic units, reach out to your Faculty/School or Program office.
  • Section G in the 2021-2022 Calendar contains the current regulations that guide the scheduling of timed online assessments.
  • The university will not have an online proctoring platform available for tests, timed assessments or exams for the Fall 2021 term.
  • There are many issues to consider when implementing an online proctoring system including: privacy and security of students and staff; resources to support the implementation, training and use of a proctoring system; setup and alignment of the system; setup and use with university policies, practices and procedures for academic integrity and academic misconduct; and ensuring students and staff are aware of the technology needed to run proctoring software.
  • We want to ensure time for consultation with students and staff and make sure we have a system that will support academic integrity and academic success. Given these considerations, we will not have time to implement a system for the Fall 2021 term.

Any additional questions about teaching and learning? Contact us