Latest updates and information

Updated May 28, 2020

 

  • The University has approved a plan to deliver all possible courses for the Fall Term online by remote learning, with very few exceptions:
    • The University of Manitoba will offer a robust Fall Term through remote learning with some in-person exceptions;
    • UM will provide students with the preparation that they need to be successful in this remote learning environment;
    • UM will commit to a safe return to campus when the time is right; and
    • UM will ensure that our community’s health and safety are at the forefront of all of our decisions.
  • Closure of campus - all employees are to work from home with only limited access for employees deemed as essential on site.
  • All events have been cancelled or postponed, including Spring Convocation. The University is exploring creative options to fully celebrate the academic success of our graduands.
  • Research, scholarly works and creative activities have been suspended (with exceptions approved by VPRI) for most on-campus/field sites. Researchers will continue as much research as possible remotely.
  • Senate Executive Committee was approved to act for Senate in determining academic matters which require urgent resolution.
  • Mental health supports are available for staff and their dependents through the UM Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) plan. Members and their dependents can contact Lifeworks by Morneau Shepell at 1-800-387-4765 (English) or 1-800-361-5676 (French).
  • Sport and Recreation Facilities are closed and programming suspended.
  • Campus Children’s Centre closed as of March 23.
  • Winnipeg Transit rapid transit schedules has changed as of April 12 with the launch of the BLUE rapid transit line.
  • Academic policy changes have been implemented to provide options for students. Academic advisors can answer students’ questions around grading approaches (excluding courses, or keeping letter grades) and understanding policy changes.
  • Mini U summer camp programs and swimming lessons have been cancelled (originally scheduled to run from July 6 through to Sept. 4, 2020). If you paid online, a refund will automatically be processed and will appear on your credit card in 4-6 weeks. If you paid in-person, or over the phone, please contact the customer service team Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 204-474-6100 to arrange for a refund.
  • Staff  parking fee will not be withdrawn from your bank account for the month of June. Please continue to check the parking website for updates: umanitoba.ca/parking

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Remote working

What equipment should I use while working remotely and how?

Whenever possible, employees should use the equipment assigned to them by the University. University devices should not be shared with any other members of the household. You should ensure that screens are set to timeout after 15 minutes of inactivity, and you should lock your device when you leave your workspace. 

It is understood that some employees may be using their own personal devices to work remotely. If using a personal device, ensure your anti-virus software is up to date. Employees will need to use VPN to access shared drives, home drives, and many software systems. Ensure you log out of all systems and close all documents when you take breaks or finish work for the day.  On personal devices ensure you close all internet browsers and clear internet caches after accessing university systems through web portals. 

Further information on how to protect and secure data from a technology perspective is available in IST’s Working Remotely Guidelines.  

How do I protect privacy and confidentiality while working remotely?

Staff must be careful when sharing workspace and technology with others, such as family members and roommates. Ideally, you should have a separate workspace that other members of the household do not access. Log out of all systems when not in use, and clear your workspace of any paper documents when not in use. Paper files should be held securely as possible and safely filed when not being used. 

Phone conversations and video conference calls should be conducted privately, away from other members of your household, to maintain the privacy of sensitive information and the confidentiality of business information. Wearing headphones can also help ensure that those around you can’t overhear your conversation.  

When using software for online meetings, ensure that any workspace that is visible to meeting participants is clear of documents. If you are leading a meeting, and plan to share your screen, ensure you are logged out of all other systems and documents that are not required for the meeting to ensure you don’t share any additional information. 

How do I manage electronic records while working remotely?

Where possible, information should be saved in the same place it was retrieved from. Electronic records should not be saved locally on a personally owned device, unless there is no other option for saving documents, including emailing them to yourself or supervisor for proper management. 

If you must store documents locally, you should maintain a log of the documents on your device and share regular updates with your supervisor. Any university records should be stored in a protected folder on your computer, and all documents should be password protected.   

You should ensure you also empty your recycle bin of deleted items daily. All documents must be transferred to University-maintained storage locations and systems at the earliest opportunity. 

How do I manage paper records while working remotely?

Paper records should be stored securely while offsite. Any destruction should wait until a return to campus. If you find yourself in an extraordinary situation regarding paper records, you may contact the Records Manager at fippa@umanitoba.ca for additional advice. 

Faculty and Staff

Updated April 29, 2020

What do I do about my on-campus parking permit?

Staff and faculty will not be charged for parking for June. Parking fees will not be withdrawn from bank accounts for this month. All staff will retain their space in the lot they currently occupy.

If staff want to cancel and no longer retain their staff parking permit assignment indefinitely, please complete a Staff Parking Cancellation form and return by email to staffparking@umanitoba.ca.

Please continue to check the parking website for updates - umanitoba.ca/parking. Information will be communicated as further updates become available.

Due to the closure of schools and daycares, what options are in place for staff who need to stay home with children?

We are committed to doing the best we can to support all employees during this unprecedented public health situation, and we ask that employees do their best to support university operations.

As of March 23, 2020, all employees – unless told otherwise by their Manager/Department Head/Dean – are to work from home. 

Managers/Department Heads/Deans should work with employees to support their health and well-being and to continue university operations to the greatest extent possible. This can include reassigning duties or flexible work hours to accommodate childcare needs.

If the above approaches are not possible, then employees will have the following options to cover the time missed:

  • Use vacation or banked time; or
  • Purchase VPP days. (In response to the current public health situation, UM has temporality increased the total number of VPP days available for purchase to 15 days. Eligibility requirements for this program still apply.)
  • Other leaves outlined in their specific collective agreement or applicable university policy.
  • For extended absences, employees may be eligible for unpaid leave. Employees can contact Service Canada to discuss eligibility for federal support programs.

Please note that these are interim measures in response to an unprecedented public health situation.  We will re-evaluate on or before April 9, 2020.

Will staff continue to be paid if required to self-isolate as per the federal and provincial health guidelines?

All employees – unless told otherwise by their Manager/Department Head/Dean – are to work from home.

If you are able to work from home during self-isolation, the time should be coded to regular time. If you are asymptomatic, but your Manager/Department Head/Dean approves that you are unable to work from home, the time should be coded to the time off-COVID exception code. If you are symptomatic and unable to work from home, the time should be coded to sick time. Please note that these are interim measures in response to an unprecedented public health situation. We will re-evaluate on or before April 9, 2020.

Managers/ Department Heads/Deans should work with employees to support their health and well-being and to continue university operations to the greatest extent possible. We are committed to doing the best we can to support all employees during this unprecedented public health situation, and we ask that employees do their best to support university operations.

I was unable to retrieve an item before the university closure on March 23. How do I access my belongings?

The UM is now closed. Please respect the university closure to the greatest extent possible and do not return to retrieve items. If you must retrieve an item in order to continue university operations, please contact your Manager/Department Head/Dean to request permission and to provide you access, as Security Services cannot respond to these types of requests. Please respect social distancing at all times.

Who needs to self-isolate?

Please review federal and provincial health guidelines to confirm if you need to self-isolate. If you have additional questions regarding testing or self-isolation, please contact the Health Links-Info Santé line at 204-788-8200. If you develop any cold or flu symptoms, please stay home until your symptoms fully resolve.

Will I be required to provide a medical note if I am away sick or required to self-isolate?

No. In order to avoid overwhelming the medical system, we have suspended requirements for medical notes related to COVID-19 at this time.

Will mandated self-isolation impact placement in the attendance management program?

Time missed due to mandated self-isolation will not be counted as part of attendance management reviews.

I need to stay home and take care of a sick family member. What are my options?

We are committed to doing the best we can to support all employees during this unprecedented public health situation, and we ask that employees do their best to support university operations.

Managers/Department Heads/Deans should work with employees to support their health and well-being and to continue university operations to the greatest extent possible. In addition to working remotely, this can include reassigning duties or flexible work hours to accommodate family care needs.

If the above approaches are not possible, then employees will have the following options to cover the time missed:

  • Use vacation or banked time; or

  • Purchase VPP days. (In response to the current public health situation, UM has temporality increased the total number of VPP days available for purchase to 15 days. Eligibility requirements for this program still apply.)

  • Other leaves outlined in their specific collective agreement or applicable university policy

  • For extended absences, employees may be eligible for unpaid leave. Employees can contact Service Canada to discuss eligibility for federal support programs.
     

Please note that these are interim measures in response to an unprecedented public health situation. We will re-evaluate on or before April 9, 2020.

What if I choose to take non-essential travel and am unable to return to work as a result?

Federal and provincial health authorities are strongly discouraging all non-essential travel during this public health emergency. If you have plans to take non-essential travel that results in your inability to continue your work responsibilities upon your return, you must contact your manager and Human Resources to determine how resulting time away will be treated. This may include using vacation and unpaid personal leave.

What should I do if I have concerns about another employee who is coming to work with COVID-19 symptoms?

All employees – unless told otherwise by their Manager/Department Head/Dean – are to work from home.

However, if you are working on campus and another employee is displaying symptoms of illness, managers should discuss with them the need to stay home. It is appropriate for employees to raise such concerns with a manager, however, it is not appropriate for a manager to engage in any further discussion regarding another employee’s medical circumstances.

What should I do if a member of the UM community discloses to me that they are COVID-19 positive?

Maintaining the health and wellness of our University community and taking actions to slow and limit the spread of COVID-19 continue to be key priorities for UM. A Response Committee has been formed to address the possibility that someone in our University community could be diagnosed positive for COVID-19. The committee is guided by a respect for privacy; coordination of an immediate response; appropriate communication; a response team.

If a member of the UM community reports to you that they are positive for COVID-19, please contact the designated Response Committee contacts who will ensure an immediate, organized, and respectful response:

  • Fort Garry Campus and UM satellite sites:
    Karen Meelker, Access & Privacy Officer
    Karen.Meelker@umanitoba.ca 
    Tel: 204 474 8339
     
  • Bannatyne Campus:
    Raman Dhaliwal, Director of Administration/Operations, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences
    Raman.Dhaliwal@umanitoba.ca
    Tel: 204 789 3492

 

What mental health supports are available for staff and their dependants?

UM Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) plan members and their dependants can contact Lifeworks by Morneau Shepell at 1-800-387-4765 (English) or 1-800-361-5676 (French).

What do I need to know about privacy during a pandemic?

During a pandemic, public health directives aimed at minimizing health risks and protecting the population may result in a reduction of personal privacy rights. Still, employers should pursue the least privacy-intrusive way of collecting the minimum amount of personal information from employees while following directives from government and health authorities. UM’s Access and Privacy Office has created this resource to answer specific questions on privacy during a pandemic.  

Faculty

Updated May 21, 2020

Will UM offer Summer Term courses?

Yes. Registration for Summer Term Distance Education courses and Masters/PhD Re-Reg thesis courses started on April 20, 2020. While some courses may be viewable beforehand, the full schedule of Summer Term remote learning courses that begin on or after June 1 can be viewed on May 4, 2020 with registration for those courses starting on May 19, 2020. Check the Registrar’s Office website for all academic schedule dates and financial payment deadlines.   

April 20 - Distance Education Summer Term registration begins 
May 4 - Distance Education Summer Term courses begin 
May 4 to 19 - Students are able to review the full schedule of Summer Term course options 
May 19 - Summer Term remote learning registration opens 
June 1 - Summer Term remote learning begins 

How will English Language Proficiency tests be completed?

UM will continue to accept scores on all approved tests of English Language Proficiency (ELP). In addition, Duolingo (an acceptable test of ELP) has been approved for this purpose for the Fall 2020 and Winter 2021 terms. The minimum acceptable test score is 115, which equates to approximately 7.0 on the IELTS test. Duolingo is recognized globally as comparable to IELTS and TOEFL. It is available online so may be completed without accessing a formal test centre. Duolingo has already been approved for use as an acceptable test of ELP by a number of other universities in Canada including Dalhousie, Queen’s, McGill, Alberta, Calgary, UBC, and Simon Fraser.

Are students required to provide a medical note if they are sick or need to self-isolate?

Students are not required to provide medical notes to support absences from class activities/requirements and from evaluations including final examinations. Students will be required to self-declare through email note to their faculty/college/school’s Academic Advisor that they will be unable to meet their course obligations. The Advisor will in turn notify the relevant Instructor. This declaration will be treated as necessary and sufficient for the student to be afforded reasonable accommodation.

What are the changes under the Responsibilities of Academic Staff with Regard to Students (ROASS)?

The Provost has also suspended sections 2.6, 2.8, 2.9(f), and 2.12 of the Responsibilities of Academic Staff with Regard to Students (ROASS) Procedure, effective immediately and for the remainder of the winter term. This suspension is to facilitate adjustments to courses and evaluation method to allow instructors the flexibility to make changes to their courses and their assignments. Please note the details as outlined at the special meeting of Senate on March 16, 2020

In addition, the requirement for course evaluations for the Winter 2020 term as outlined in the ROASS procedure Section 2.21 will not be requiring any on-line evaluations of instructors or courses (SEEQs).

What about Spring Convocation?

Spring Convocation 2020 is cancelled. This includes:

  • May 1, 2020 Spring Convocation Ceremony, Agriculture Diploma;
  • May 2, 2020 Graduation Pow Wow at Fort Garry Campus;
  • May 21, 2020 Spring Convocation Ceremony at Bannatyne Campus;
  • June 4, 2020 to June 9, 2020 Spring Convocation Ceremony at Fort Garry Campus;
  • June 15, 2020 Spring Convocation Ceremony at Université de Saint-Boniface.

At an appropriate time in the future, we intend to celebrate the academic success of our students.

 

What approaches to grades has senate approved for Winter Term 2020 and spanned Fall 2019/Winter 2020 courses?

Students have four grading options for courses completed in the Winter Term 2020 and courses that spanned both the Fall and Winter Terms 2019-2020.  

For more information to help students make informed decisions around grading options specific to each faculty, please visit this website.   

These options do not apply to students in the Faculty of Law who will only have the option of receiving pass/fail grades.  

  • Option 1 (standard approach): Students do not need to take any action and can accept the letter grade you received. This is the default grading approach and a student's letter grade will be used in GPA calculations.  

  • Option 2: Students can accept the letter grade received, but have it excluded from their UM GPA calculations. Their letter grade will appear on the transcript, with a note that they chose to exclude it from UM GPA calculations. Grades excluded from UM GPA calculations will still be used to determine AGPA (Adjusted Grade Point Average) for admission purposes.  

  • Option 3: Students can choose to receive a “pass” grade if they receive a grade of D or higher. No letter grade will be recorded on their transcript and a note will indicate that they chose this approach. The “pass” grade will be excluded from UM GPA calculations, which is the normal way “pass” grades are treated at UM because they have no letter grade equivalent.  

  • Option 4: You can voluntarily withdraw from the course.  

Please note: If a course is being used as a pre-requisite for any related course or program and a student receives a final grade that achieves that pre-requisite, they should not opt for the “pass” option or they will have to retake the course in order to progress.  

If students have made an error in their grading option selection on UM Learn, they should contact their faculty advising office.  

If students have a failing grade, it will automatically be excluded from their UM GPA calculation. The grade will be identified as being excluded due to the COVID-19 situation.  

Regardless of the grading option chosen, students must still meet all existing admission, prerequisite, progression, degree, and graduation policies and requirements for their current programs and faculty as well as any program or faculty they may wish to pursue in the future.  

Students will have until 11:59 p.m. on May 10, 2020 to decide which grading option is best for them. To make their choice, students should log into UM Learn and follow the instructions. Courses that have final grades in Aurora will be added to their record overnight, so if their grades aren’t there yet, students should check back again the next day. If students receive a final grade after May 10th then they have 10 calendar days to request a change through their home faculty. 

To understand how this will impact a student's standing in their program or their eligibility for admission to your target program, they should contact an academic advisor from their faculty/college/school, their target faculty/college/school or the Admissions Office.  

Researchers

Updated May 27, 2020

Do all on-campus/field sites research, scholarly works, and creative activities remain suspended?

No. A phased re-opening of research that requires access to labs and facilities located in UM buildings and field research stations is allowed, beginning June 1. 

Is working remotely still required?

Yes. This phased approach does not apply to research that can be conducted remotely. To limit the spread of COVID-19, researchers are asked to continue to conduct research remotely to the extent practical.  

Is this a return to business as usual?

No. This is not a return to normal. It is a first step to allow those with a compelling need to access laboratories and facilities.  

How many research personnel are allowed to return?

No more than 50% of research personnel should be on campus at any given time. However, with staggered scheduling, it should be possible to accommodate the majority of requests for those who need to access laboratories and facilities. 

What are the guiding principles and preventive measures that will be put in place in order to resume research activities?

The guidelines and preventive measures to be followed are outlined in: UM Phased Approach to The Re-Opening of Research During COVID-19:  Phase 2

How to principal investigators (PIs) request access to a building’s labs or field stations?

How will increasing research activity be operationalized?

Individual faculties are responsible for operationalizing increased research activity.  

Must all units and faculties increase research activity?

Each faculty will be asked whether it wishes to increase research activity within their units, recognizing that each faculty may have different needs or impediments. 

What public health guidelines must be followed to resume research activities?

UM is following provincial public health guidelines. Individual units/facilities can add additional safety requirements as their situation dictates. For example, if physical distancing can be maintained, then masking is not required but is still strongly encouraged. If physical distancing cannot be maintained, then masking is required. In the case of maintenance employees, caretaking staff, etc., if contact with others is brief and not sustained, then masking is optional, but strongly encouraged. If, however, there is sustained or prolonged contact with others, then masking is required.  Please contact your head and/or dean for faculty-specific operational details.  

Are research personnel required to resume activities?

If a research personnel is unwilling to return to a building as part of this re-opening, please discuss this with your department head and/or dean. 

Should summer undergraduate research award students (URAs/USRAs) resume research activities?

Please note that all students who received a summer undergraduate award from the University of Manitoba (URA) or NSERC (USRA) should contact their supervisor to determine how to proceed. You will receive your award as originally outlined in your award letter.  However, you may have to work on your own at home (remotely connected with your research mentor/supervisor) and spend your time reviewing literature, assisting your supervisor with analyzing data, compiling a review article or other publication, etc. If conditions permit, your supervisor may also include you in the research personnel returning to lab or field site. The main change due to the COVID-19 situation is your working conditions and research.