COVID-19 (coronavirus) updates for staff, faculty, and researchers
Updated Mar. 17, 2021 Latest updates and information
In light of current public health advice and expectations on the vaccine rollout, UM is planning to resume more in-person instruction for Fall Term 2021. The health and safety of our community remains our first priority, and we believe that a phased transition is prudent. As such, we have set the following limits on in person instruction:
- Classes with a maximum registration of 20 students can proceed with in-person instruction, as our spaces permit.
- Lab classes will be limited to no more than 25, or to the COVID room-capacity limit, whichever is smaller.
- Large classes will continue with remote delivery.
- Read President Benarroch's full update on Fall Term. More information can also be found on the students page of the COVID website.
Join us virtually on Tuesday, March 23, as the university community comes together virtually to mark the anniversary of learning and working remotely, reflect on the challenges we have faced, recognize how we have worked together to overcome them, and to find collective hope in the future. UM Together: Reflecting on a year of COVID-19 runs from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on March 23, 2021. For more details, visit here.
Use of 3-ply masks required in all indoor spaces:
In accordance with Canada’s Chief Medical Officer of Health’s recent recommendation, all individuals (students, employees, contractors and visitors) in all UM indoor spaces be required to wear 3-ply reusable or disposable masks. Rady Faculty of Health Sciences(including Helen Glass Building at the Fort Garry Campus) will continue to require the donning of 3-ply medical grade masks for some of their activities.
Federal and provincial health authorities continue to strongly discourage all international and all non-essential travel during this public health emergency. If an employee has plans to travel they should be contacting their manager and Human Resources prior to travelling to better understand how the mandatory quarantine time will be coded upon their return. The travel coverage offered through the UM full time benefit offering currently does not have a pandemic exclusion. This means that the full policy is still in force and employees covered by the plan are able to access all of it’s benefits. Employees who are considering travel are encouraged to reach out the Canada Life directly prior to their trip to ensure nothing has changed in this regard.
Generally for those travelling for either essential or non-essential reasons, they will be able to code their quarantine hours to regular time if they are able to fully continue to work remotely. If the employee is unable to fully work remotely and the travel is deemed essential, then they may be permitted to code the time to a paid COVID leave. If the travel is deemed non-essential, and the employee is unable to fully work remotely or in person if their role requires same, then they will required to use vacation or unpaid leave to cover the mandatory quarantine time.
On Jan. 29, public health orders were amended to specify that anyone entering Manitoba from anywhere in Canada will be required to self-isolate for 14 days. This includes those entering from northern and Western Canada, and from west of Terrace Bay in Ontario.
There have been a total of 66 positive COVID-19 cases at UM since the beginning of the academic year. Please see the COVID cases section below for more information.
- It is essential that employees and students self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms and/or exposures before attending any on-campus activities. For more information, please visit the self-assessment and screening section of our COVID site.
View our COVID-19 recovery plan: Your Safety is our Priority, ResUMe 2021/21
Individualized T2200S forms were distributed to all employees on Feb. 26. Employees have the option of using either the Temporary Flat Rate Method introduced by the CRA or the Detailed Method requiring the form. Receipt of this form does not constitute eligibility. See details here.
Common COVID-19 questions for Faculty and Staff
Updated October 21, 2020
What should I do if I’m not feeling well?
The health and safety of our UM community is a top priority. If you’re not feeling well, go home immediately or stay home and use the Shared Health Screening Tool to see if you need to be tested. This can be found online at this link: https://sharedhealthmb.ca/covid19/screening-tool/ or by calling 1-877-308-9038. Please contact your supervisor to let them know.
What should I do if I need to go for COVID-19 testing?
Contact your supervisor to let them know that you are going for COVID-19 testing. Please see the COVID-19 flow sheets for next steps to following this process.
What should I do if I have been told to self-isolate by Manitoba Public Health?
You may be contacted by Public Health if you have either tested positive for COVID-19 or been identified as being in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. It is important that you follow any directives from Public Health and not attend campus(es). Please notify your supervisor to let them know of the directive you have received from Public Health. Supervisors may contact the campus reps: Karen Meelker- Fort Garry and William Norrie campuses firstname.lastname@example.org or Raman Dhaliwal- Bannatyne campus and College of Nursing contact email@example.com.
Should I be letting others know (staff, faculty, students that I was around) I am going for COVID-19 testing?
No, ensure your supervisor knows you are going for testing and they will follow the required next steps including who needs to be notified as per the COVID-19 reporting flow sheets. If you expect to be absent from one or more classes, then you should contact your instructor; you may be required to provide medical documentation for extended absences.
If Public Health notifies me I tested positive for COVID-19 what should I be doing next?
It is essential that you follow all the directives Public Health provides related to self-isolation. If you test positive for COVID-19 and were on a UM campus, Public Health will notify the University of Manitoba’s Health and Safety Team Chair. We will then determine the best way forward to minimize risk to the campus community. If you expect to be absent from one or more classes, then you should contact your instructor; you may be required to provide medical documentation for extended absences.
Am I required to report a positive COVID-19 test?
There is no obligation for you to report your COVID-19 test result. However, if you are comfortable sharing your test result with your supervisor please do so. This may speed up our response on campus while we wait to be notified by Public Health. Anyone that is symptomatic and not willing to report their test results must self-isolate and stay off campus for at least ten days. If you expect to be absent from one or more classes, then you should contact your instructor; you may be required to provide medical documentation for extended absences.
What should I do if I think I came into contact with someone who is getting tested?
If you do not have symptoms you do not need to do anything unless you have been specifically directed to do so by Public Health.
What should I do if I think I came into contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19?
Public Health does an in-depth case investigation to identify close contacts of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. In general this means people who live in the same household, or people who spent more than 15 minutes within two meters of the case. If you are concerned that you meet this definition of a close contact you could self-isolate and wait to be contacted by Public Health for further direction. If you expect to be absent from one or more classes, then you should contact your instructor; you may be required to provide medical documentation for extended absences.
How will I know if I was in the same place as someone who tested positive on campus?
Public Health will contact you directly if you are considered a close contact of someone who has tested positive on the University of Manitoba campuses. The individual that has tested positive may also contact you directly to let you know, in which case you should self-isolate and wait for further direction from Public Health. If you expect to be absent from one or more classes, then you should contact your instructor; you may be required to provide medical documentation for extended absences.
How can I ensure my personal health information is being treated confidentially around COVID-19 reporting?
The University of Manitoba is obligated to comply with The Personal Health Information Act (PHIA). The UM is ensuring that personal health is protected and that only the minimum number of people will have access to testing information for an authorized purpose. If you have any questions, you may contact the Access and Privacy Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What should I do if I see someone not wearing a mask?
If you see someone who is not wearing a mask, you can remind them that masks are mandatory in all shared spaces at the U of M campuses; you can direct them to look online at the UM COVID-19 webpage for mask distribution information on our campus(es).
Can I take my mask off in the bathroom?
No, as bathrooms are small enclosed spaces, you need to wear your mask while in a bathroom.
Who is the Health and Safety Team?
The Health and Safety Team has been formed and liaises with Manitoba Public Health in the identification of COVID-19 positive cases on our campuses. The UM will respect privacy protocols while ensuring we provide timely communications to support the health and safety of our university community and limit the spread of COVID-19.
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Common COVID-19 questions for Researchers
Updated March 12, 2021
Do all on-campus/field sites research, scholarly works, and creative activities remain suspended?
No. Details on increases to activities can be found in this full message, dated February 1, 2021.
Is working remotely still required?
Yes. To limit the spread of COVID-19, researchers are asked to continue to conduct research remotely to the extent practical.
How many research personnel are allowed to return?
Effective, Feb. 1, 2021, Deans may plan to allow for an increase in the percentage of employees accessing our campuses up to a maximum of 30 per cent (includes teaching, research and work in support of academic mission). Please read this full message for further details.
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 on the Latest updates and safety information page.
How will increasing research activity be operationalized?
Individual faculties are responsible for operationalizing increased research activity. Please contact your department head or ADR for faculty specific information.
What public health guidelines must be followed to undertake research activities?
UM is following current provincial public health guidelines. Refer to the Latest COVID-19 Recovery Updates for current updates and news relevant to the UM community. Further information can be found on the UM’s COVID-19 webpage.
UM’s Safety information and measures information webpage. Individual units/facilities can add additional safety requirements as their situation dictates. Please contact your head and/or dean for faculty-specific operational details.
What is the process to undertake research involving human participants?
Effective March 5, 2021 requests for the resumption or initiation of new research involving human participants will be considered. Recommendations will be reviewed by the COVID-19 Recovery Steering Committee (CRSC) based on the following governing criteria:
- Research cannot be done remotely.
- All facets of the research must adhere to all UM and provincial health and safety requirements and protocols at the time the activity occurs
- The researcher must submit a Request to Undertake Research Involving Human Participants at On- or Off-Campus Research Site with approval from their Department Head and Faculty Dean or Associate Dean (Research) to the COVID-19 Research Recovery Committee (CRRT).
- If research is to be conducted at an off-campus site/facility, a letter of support from the external partner must be provided.
*NOTE* After approval is granted to resume previously approved research involving human participants, researchers will be required to reconsent and will need to contact the appropriate Human Ethics Officer for further information.
**NOTE** Researchers should resume previously approved studies or begin new studies with the understanding that pandemic restrictions are fluid and may change quickly. As such, human participant research could be halted again in the future, depending on the course of the pandemic and provincial restrictions.
What is the process to undertake fieldwork not previously approved?
The form to request to undertake or continue research off-campus and/or at field stations can be found on the Research Opportunities and Supports page.
What is the process to begin a new research project not involving human participants, that has not been previously approved?
To begin a new research project on-campus not previously approved, a researcher should complete an In Person Activity Request Form (located on the COVID-19 Information page forms/document section at the bottom of the page) and submit it to their dean’s office. The form will ask the rationale for undertaking this research. Researchers should address:
- Why this work cannot be done remotely The impact on building occupancy
- The plan for ensuring the safety of researchers, such as: how will the researcher(s) get to the lab/field work/research location, what are the procedures for decontaminating the lab after use by a given researcher, what is the plan if an researcher(s) becomes ill and cannot continue.
If approved at the faculty level these requests are reviewed for by the COVID-19 Recovery Steering Committee (CRSC) and recommended to the Provost for approval.
Where can I find information on the UM’s Canada Research Continuity Emergency Fund?
Information is provided on UM’s processes on the Canada Research Continuity Emergency Fund.
What support is available for pandemic-related expenses for tri-agency funded research?
Details on the funds provided by the Government of Canada through the tri-agencies, for tri-agency funded researchers who incurred pandemic-related expenses, are available from the individual agency websites. Each agency is administering their grant programs differently.
Information regarding CIHR
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Common COVID-19 questions for Instructors, advisors and supervisors
Updated November 10, 2020
What should I do if a student, or faculty or staff member reports not being well?
The health and safety of our UM community is a top priority. They should be instructed to go home or stay home and use the Shared Health Screening Tool to see if they need to be tested. This Screening Tool can be found online at this link: https://sharedhealthmb.ca/covid19/screening-tool/ or by calling 1-877-308-9038.
What should I do if I learn that a student, or faculty or staff member needs to go for COVID-19 testing?
Please complete this form and send to your respective campus contact (Karen Meelker- Fort Garry and William Norrie campuses email@example.com or Raman Dhaliwal- Bannatyne campus and College of Nursing contact firstname.lastname@example.org). The individual being tested is not required to report their test results to you. However, anyone tested is expected to self-isolate for a minimum of ten days and return to their studies or duties only once free of symptoms for at least 24 hours.
Should I advise others, such as other staff, faculty, or students, in addition to the designated campus contacts that someone is going for COVID-19 testing?
We must ensure we are handling personal health information with the utmost of care and that it is shared only on a need to know basis. If you have any questions/concerns, please reach out to your respective campus contact as described above in the question above.
What should I do if I am notified by a student, or faculty or staff member that they have tested positive for COVID-19 and have been on campus(es)?
Advise the student, or faculty or staff member to follow Public Health guidance. If the individual was on campus and Public Health deems there to be a risk to the University of Manitoba community, they will contact our Health and Safety Team lead. You should notify your campus contact about the positive case so they can work with the COVID-19 Health and Safety Team lead and Public Health.
What should I do if I am notified by a student, or faculty or staff member that they have tested positive for COVID-19 and have not been on campus(es)?
If a student, or faculty or staff member tests positive but has not been on campus then there is no risk to the UM community, and you should follow your usual process related to staff, faculty and students being off due to sickness. No further notification to the campus contact or the COVID-19 Health and Safety Team lead is required.
Should I be sending any communication out to faculty, staff and students about individuals self-isolating or being tested?
No, do not send out any communications around these matters. All communication decisions will be handled centrally and not individually by each faculty or working unit. Personal health information must be managed with the utmost of care and the communication needs to be consistent and accurate.
Should I be requesting additional cleaning of the space(s) where an individual that tested positive had been?
Typically this will not be required. Our overall campus cleaning protocols have been strengthened to ensure the safety of the University community on a daily basis. UM buildings meet or exceed building code standards for filtration and air handling systems. Additional cleaning protocols will be applied on a case by case basis, depending on the situation. The campus key contacts will provide additional direction if required.
What should I do if my faculty, staff or students are not wearing a mask on campus?
If you see someone who is not wearing a mask, you can remind them that masks are mandatory in all shared spaces at the U of M campuses; you can direct them to look online at the UM COVID-19 webpage to learn more about mask distribution on our campus(es).
What should I do if I notice a student, or faculty or staff member is not feeling well and on campus?
Approach them while maintaining physical distancing and ask them if they are not feeling well. Ask them if they have completed the Shared Health Screening tool which can be found at: https://sharedhealthmb.ca/covid19/screening-tool/ or by calling 1-877-308-9038. If they completed the online assessment and are now exhibiting signs of being unwell they could be asked to go home and complete the assessment again. If they didn’t complete the online assessment they could be asked to go home and complete the assessment and only return to the campus when they can answer ‘no’ to all the questions.
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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 email@example.com for additional advice.
Claiming Remote Working Expenses
In December 2020, the Federal Government's Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) introduced a Temporary Flat Rate Method to simplify claiming expenses (up to $400) for employees working from home.
Employees have the option of using the “Temporary Flat Rate Method” -- or the “Detailed Method," which requires employees to track allowable expenses based on defined use-criteria and the employer to provide a T2200 Short Form (T2200S).
Individualized T2200S forms were distributed to all employees on Feb. 26. Receipt of this form does not constitute eligibility. See details here.
If I received this form, does that mean I am eligible and should claim all expenses that I incurred while working from home?
No. You should consult with a tax advisor or accountant to assist you with determining your eligibility for claiming expense while working from home.
How do I know if I should claim expenses using the flat rate method or the detailed method?
The University cannot provide employees with tax advice -- you should consult with a tax advisor or accountant to determine with method is preferable.
What if I was reimbursed for a printer that I bought?
All non-consumables purchased or reimbursed using UM funds remain University property. Please consult with a tax advisor or accountant to assist you with the preparation of your personal tax return.
How can I get more information about how to proceed with this?
Consult with a tax advisor or accountant. You can also visit the CRA website for more information.
Who can I contact within the University if I have more questions?
UM employees cannot provide you with advice related to your personal income taxes; please consult with a tax advisor or accountant.