FAQ

Campus Face Coverings Protocol

For the safety of our campus community, UCalgary students, faculty, post-doctoral fellows, staff, and visitors to campus are required to wear face coverings in indoor public spaces at all UCalgary facilities in the province as of Aug. 1. This decision was made to align with the City of Calgary COVID-19 Face Coverings Bylaw

Face coverings are required in all UCalgary indoor public areas such as hallways, washrooms, and elevators. You are not required to wear a face covering in your office area unless it is required by your Workspace Safety Plan.

In classrooms and labs, students if they wish, can remove face coverings once seated, and as long as they maintain a two-metre distance from others.

Visitors to campus are also required to wear face coverings in indoor public spaces on campus. This also applies to those running or enrolled in summer camps.

Before entering any building on campus, please pause and ensure that you are wearing a face covering, even if you are entering the building for just a few minutes. Let’s keep our community safe and healthy.

Exceptions to face covering use in indoor public spaces on campus are the same as those outlined in the City bylaw (while eating, drinking, or exercising in a fitness facility) and those who require medical accommodation.  For accommodations, faculty, postdocs and staff will need to provide valid medical documents to Staff Wellness in accordance with the Workplace Accommodation Policy and procedure, and students should review the Student Accommodation policy and connect with Student Accessibility Services or Office of Vice-Provost Student Experience as directed by the policy.

The university’s protocols for public spaces reflect the guidelines of the province and the city, and are subject to change as the fluid COVID-19 situation evolves. 

There are a number of reasons why individuals might not be wearing masks, and the university will not enforce the protocol for those with valid reasons.

Individuals who demonstrate disregard for the protocol and put the well-being of others at risk, may be subject to disciplinary action under the University of Calgary Code of Conduct or associated policy. Reports of non-compliance among faculty and staff may result in sanctions that could impact employment including, but not limited to, immediate prohibition from campus and/or further disciplinary action. For students, reports will be considered through the Student Non-Academic Misconduct policy, and non-compliance could impact student status, including, but not limited to, being suspended or expelled from the university.


How to use a non-medical mask

 

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Chief Medical Officer of Health, provides step-by-step instructions for putting on, wearing, taking off and disposing of a non-medical mask.

Mask tips:

  • Before putting on the mask, wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or alcohol-based hand sanitizer with a minimum of 60% alcohol.
  • Check the mask for damage; if damaged, discard.
  • Open mask fully to cover from nose to below the chin.
  • Place over nose, mouth and chin and secure to your head with ear loops.
  • Adjust if needed to make sure your nose, mouth, and chin are fully covered.
  • Avoid touching the mask while wearing it; if you need to adjust your mask, clean your hands with alcohol-based hand sanitizer or soap and water before and after you touch it.
  • Keep your nose, mouth and chin covered at all times, until you are ready to remove the mask.

Choosing the right non-medical mask for wearing in public

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Chief Medical Officer of Health, talks about what to look for in a non-medical mask and shares some dos and don’ts of wearing them.


General FAQs

Please also visit the City of Calgary’s Q&A page on this topic.

You are required to wear a mask in common/indoor public areas including hallways, bathrooms, elevators and lounges.

Yes. When you remove your mask, follow instructions to remove mask safely including washing your hands and removing mask from behind, and then storing in plastic bag. Plan to eat and drink in a location that allows you to remain physically distant from others.

Beginning Aug 4, faculty and staff who are included in worksite safety plans for working on campus can pick up two complimentary reusable masks from their department leader. Department leaders will receive instructions from Staff Wellness on how to receive their reusable masks. If you’d rather wear your own reusable or disposable mask, you’re welcome to do so.

The university is providing two reusable masks to each student who needs to be on campus this fall to attend an in-person course component or complete another activity required for their program. Eligible students should have received an email on Sept. 2 with instructions for picking up masks.

Those enrolled in summer camps as well as visitors to campus are required to bring their own masks.

  • People with underlying medical conditions or disabilities inhibiting their ability to wear a face covering
  • People who are unable to place, use or remove a face covering safely without assistance
  • People who are eating or drinking at a public premises that offers food or beverage services
  • People engaging in an athletic or fitness activity
  • People who are caregiving for or accompanying a person with a disability where wearing a face covering would hinder the accommodation of the person’s disability (for example, the ability to lip read)
  • People who have temporarily removed their face covering where doing so is necessary to provide or receive a service (for example, a visit to the dentist)
  • Children under 2 years of age
  • People in a classroom or other instructional space when physical distancing is being maintained
  • People in an office or lab space (that does not face an indoor public space) where physical distancing is being maintained

If you wear a religious garment made of fitted fabric that covers the nose and mouth, you do not have to wear an additional mask or face covering.

Each member of the campus community needs to follow protocol and take actions that keep all members of our community safe and healthy. There are a number of reasons why individuals might not be wearing masks, and the university will not enforce the protocol for those with valid reasons.

Individuals who demonstrate disregard for the protocol and put the well-being of others at risk, may be subject to disciplinary action under the University of Calgary Code of Conduct or associated policy. Reports of non-compliance among faculty and staff may result in sanctions that could impact employment including, but not limited to, immediate prohibition from campus and/or further disciplinary action. For students, reports will be considered through the Student Non-Academic Misconduct policy, and non-compliance could impact student status, including, but not limited to, being suspended or expelled from the university.

 

Department leaders should ensure members are aware of and follow the requirements for mask use.

There are a number of reasons why individuals might not be wearing masks and the university will not enforce the protocol for those with valid reasons. However, where there is evidence of clear, wilful disregard for the protocol that puts the well-being of others at risk, the university will consider disciplinary action under the relevant Code of Conduct or associated policy e.g. Student Non-Academic Misconduct Policy, etc.

  • Store your masks in a way that protects them from getting dirty or damaged (for example in a sealed and clean storage bag)
  • Place in a dry area of your home or workplace
  • Identify or label mask storage bags so masks are not used by others, accidentally
  • Place the cloth mask directly into the washing machine or a bag that can be emptied into the washing machine. Throw out the bag after you have used it to store used masks.
  • Launder with other items using a hot cycle, and then dried thoroughly.
  • Do not bleach, press, iron or steam.
  • Inspect the mask prior to reuse to ensure it has maintained its shape after washing and drying.
  • Perform hand hygiene immediately after handling a used mask.

Yes. A reusable face covering is not considered personal protective equipment (PPE).

Reusable Face Covering: These include home-made or purchased reusable cloth masks. These are cloth masks typically made of a tightly woven fabric that help prevent the spread of droplets from the wearer’s mouth. While these are helpful to reduce the risk of spreading germs to others, these will not protect the wearer against workplace exposures such as particles, vapours, or gasses, and should not be used in place of PPE. Quality, care and use of reusable face coverings may vary and generally are not standardized although there are recommendations for their quality, care and use.

Procedure or Surgical Masks (PPE): These are disposable masks that are usually created to a quality standard. Disposable masks are discarded between uses and therefore do not require the wearer to clean, or care for, between uses. They may be labelled as medical, surgical or procedure masks. When used in conjunction with other PPE items such as eye protection, gown, and gloves, these masks provide a barrier to splashes, saliva, or spit, droplets. When not used with other PPE these masks help prevent spread of droplets from the wearer’s mouth but do not protect the wearer from exposure to the droplets of others. For work-related tasks that put individuals within close proximity of each other, such as situations where physical distancing is not possible, a procedure or surgical mask (rather than a reusable face covering) is required by both individuals.

Respirator (e.g. N95 mask, cartridge respirator) (PPE): These are masks that filter out particulates or other contaminants in the air. They are tested and certified by recognized certification agencies and other authorities. These masks provide a tight seal to the wearer’s face and must be fit tested to ensure that seal is adequate. They are generally only required during specific, high-risk medical procedures and lab activities where the wearer is exposed to chemicals/dust or droplet/airborne viruses and bacteria.

For accommodations, faculty, postdocs and staff will need to provide valid medical documents to Staff Wellness in accordance with the Workplace Accommodation Policy and procedure, and students should review the Student Accommodation policy and connect with Student Accessibility Services or Office of Vice-Provost Student Experience as directed by the policy.

No, a procedure/surgical mask or respirator is required when this activity is approved as part of a Workspace Safety Plan.

Wearing a reusable face covering is not required in a lab since the public does not have access to the lab. If you choose to wear a reusable face covering, then there must be strict adherence to established safety procedures (e.g. removal of gloves and handwashing) prior to touching or removing a reusable face covering.

If a procedure/surgical mask or respirator is worn (as part of the Workspace Safety Plan), then there must be strict adherence to established safety procedures, including personal protective equipment trainingremoval of gloves and handwashing prior to touching or remove a procedure/surgical mask or respirator.

If the reusable face covering becomes contaminated with hazardous materials, it must be treated using established procedures in the lab for contaminated clothing. If it cannot be treated, then the reusable face covering must be discarded appropriately as contaminated waste.

Wearing a reusable face covering does not increase potential for contamination from work activities in a lab/workshop/maintenance area. The hazard controls already in place to protect a worker's nose and mouth for whatever activity continue to protect you. Reusable face coverings are not prohibited in a lab/workshop setting. 

Lab procedures must include adequate controls to mitigate risk of fire. The measures already in place to protect from a fire risk continue to protect you.

No, in most cases there is no requirement to change cloth reusable face coverings when leaving one work area to go to another, unless specifically required by that area (e.g. Some work areas do not allow use of cloth face coverings inside their areas and will supply other types of PPE or non-medical face coverings).

Face-coverings with exhalation valves are not recommended, because they don't protect others from COVID-19 and don't limit the spread of the virus.


Students

These classrooms will be organized to facilitate physical distancing. A mask is required when within 2 metres of others or 3 metres for activities of physical exertion.

Yes. However, you are required to maintain 2 metres physical distance from others while in your classroom.

While in transit you should be wearing a mask in these spaces. Once you have reached your study space you may remove your mask. You are required to maintain 2 metres physical distance from others while in your study space.

If you have face-to-face classes and maintain physical distancing protocols, you do not need to wear a mask in the classroom. If you have a registered disability, please contact Student Accessibility Services.

Students living in residence buildings will be required to wear face coverings if they step out of their unit/apartment.  This includes all common areas, elevators, lobbies, hallways and laundry rooms. 

The university is providing two reusable masks to each student who needs to be on campus this fall to attend an in-person course component or complete another activity required for their program. Eligible students should have received an email on Sept. 2 with instructions for picking up masks.


Faculty/Staff

Plexiglass shields can be a reliable control to replace mask use. In situations where an individual may not be protected from the plexiglass barrier, it is recommended for the frontline worker to wear a mask. In any case, people coming in to receive the service need to wear a mask.

Mask use is not required in office spaces. However, you are required to maintain a 2-metre physical distance in office spaces and follow other controls as per the approved Workspace Safety Plan for your workspace.

Mask use is required in indoor public spaces on campus.

Faculty and staff are not required to wear masks in office spaces unless the office space faces a general public area. Speak to your supervisor about the workplace measures that are in place to prevent your COVID exposure.

Work should be organized in a way that promotes physical distancing including single person vehicle use where reasonable. Refer to your workplace safety plan.

 


Manager FAQs for non-compliance

Managers who observe their staff first-hand in non-compliance with the mask protocol should promptly remind the staff member that they are in breach of the policy and must immediately put on their mask. If they refuse to comply, they should be required to leave campus promptly and advised not return until further notice after which the manager should contact their HR Partner to determine the appropriate next steps including documentation of the incident.

In the event that an incident of non-compliance is reported to you, safely determine whether the individual continues to be in non-compliance and if so, immediately remind them of their obligations under the policy. If they refuse to comply, they should be required to leave campus promptly and advised not return until further notice. Immediately following, the manager should contact their HR Partner to determine the appropriate next steps including documenting the incident.

The university requirement to wear a mask on campus is reasonable in the present circumstances and given the recommendation of Alberta Public Health. Refusal to comply with reasonable direction may be considered insubordination and could attract employment consequences. These may include, but are not limited to, immediate prohibition from campus.

An employee who cannot wear a mask for legitimate medical reasons must provide staff wellness with sufficient medical documentation forthwith to validate their claim. In the interim, as a matter of health and safety, the staff member should be prevented from attending campus until sufficient medical documentation is received and a reasonable accommodation is identified.

No, a staff member who is otherwise capable of performing their normal duties but for the requirement to wear a mask on campus in public areas or in accordance with their worksite safety plan, is not entitled to sick leave. That said, the staff member may be entitled to a reasonable accommodation under human rights law including, but not limited to, bundling duties that can be performed remotely where possible. Please contact your Human Resourced Partner for assistance with requests for human rights accommodations.

Those who attended work on campus during the COVID-19 pandemic have not been provided with additional pandemic-related compensation and there are no plans to do so going forward.

Please submit any COVID-19 questions or feedback to covid19comms@ucalgary.ca