Latest updates and information

Updated July 24, 2020

 

  • A new page dedicated to preventing the spread of COVID-19 on UM campuses has been created.
  • UM will be offering Fall Term 2020 primarily remotely, with the exception of a very small number of courses that require in-person delivery. Please see Classes, scheduling and other academic matters on the student information page.
  • Closure of campus - all employees are to work from home with only limited access for employees deemed as essential on site.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • Winnipeg Transit rapid transit schedules has changed as of April 12 with the launch of the BLUE rapid transit line.
  • Staff  parking fee will not be withdrawn from your bank account for the month of August. 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 September 4, 2020

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

Staff parking charges have been reinstated as of September. Should you wish to review your parking permit options, please visit the Staff Parking page for more information,

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 July 23, 2020

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).

Researchers

Updated September 4, 2020

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

No. UM has developed a phased approach to the recovery, cautiously resuming critical research and essential activities on our campuses, while ensuring a strong focus on health and safety. We are currently in Phase 3: September 1 to December 31 (Fall Term). Details on the phased approach for the campus can be found on the webpage COVID-19 UM Recovery: Resources and Updates 

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 the next step to allow those with a compelling need to access laboratories and facilities. 

How many research personnel are allowed to return?

For Phase 3 of UM’s recovery, the maximum percentage of employees (any individuals paid by UM funds: operating, research, contingent, endowment funds etc.) within a Faculty or unit that may be permitted to attend campus at a given time is restricted to 40%. The limiting principle in Phase 2, i.e., that no more than 50% of research staff can be in a building at any given time is no longer applicable. The 40% maximum percentage of employees now governs and must balance teaching, research, and administrative (including ancillary) functions. 

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 webpage COVID-19 UM Recovery: Resources and Updates 

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 provincial public health guidelines. Details can be found on the webpage COVID-19 UM Recovery: Resources and Updates. 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 add additional research personnel or change their schedules to a previously approved project?

To add (or delete) research personnel or change schedules, a researcher should complete a Sub-Unit Template, which can be found in the right hand margin of the Research Services website (right hand margin), and submit it to their dean’s office. The balancing of teaching, research and administrative activities within a building is the responsibility of your dean. 

What is the process to begin a new research project that has not been previously approved?

To begin a new research project not previously approved a researcher should complete a Sub-Unit Template, which can be found on the Research Services website (right hand margin) and submit it to their dean’s office.  The Sub-Unit Template 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. 

The VP Research and International Office will also undertake post-decanal approval monitoring of these requests to ensure consistency across the university. 

What is the process to undertake fieldwork not previously approved?

A Phase 1 form, which has been modified for this Phase 3 purpose, can be found on the Research Services website (right hand margin) and should be completed and submitted to vpri@umanitoba.ca.

What is the process to undertake research involving human participants?

To undertake research involving human participants, a researcher should complete the form Request to Undertake Research Involving Human Participants at On- or Off-Campus Research Sites located on the on the Research Services website (right hand margin).   

Researchers will need to:  

  • Describe why this research is essential at this time and why it cannot be done in a remote contactless manner 

  • Outline the risks to the participants, research personnel, and community 

  • The nature and duration of the contact with human participants 

  • The steps that will be taken to mitigate the risks 

The completed form should be submitted to vpri@umanitoba.ca for review. Researchers must complete a Sub-Unit Template, which can also be found on the Research Services website (right hand margin) and submit it to their dean’s office to apprise them of any impacts on building occupancy. 

Where can I find information on the UM’s 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  

  • Information regarding NSERC  

  • Information regarding SSHRC