Principal Investigator FAQ

What does my lab have to provide for personnel coming into the lab?

Appropriate personal protective equipment, disinfectants, wipes etc. for each lab are the responsibility of the PI to purchase and provide to personnel.

How much flexibility do I have in scheduling?

You can schedule your personnel in the way that works best for them and encourage two safe scheduling strategies:

  1. Longer work periods, e.g. 7-8 hours of duration, to minimize the number of individuals coming on-site per day
  2. Small recurring groups (pods) of personnel who consistently work together

Can I schedule personnel throughout the full 24-period?

No. Allowable scheduled hours are from 7 am-12 midnight. The University’s Approach for Restart Recovery & Adaptation states:

“Scheduling regular research cohorts between midnight and 7 a.m. as a way to increase capacity is not allowed as the University does not have the full complement of institutional safety resources available during this time.”

Can PIs schedule work only Monday to Friday?

No. Personnel can come onsite on the weekends. However, supervisors cannot mandate weekend work, unless the employment contract allows for this.

What if I or one of my personnel tests positive for COVID-19?

Any faculty member, librarian, staff or student who tests positive for COVID-19 should immediately take the following actions:

  • Report this result directly to U of T’s Occupational Health Nurse by email at
  • Report their sickness to their manager in accordance with departmental processes.

Note: Faculty members, librarians or staff who become aware of a probable/confirmed COVID-19 case amongst students, contractors or visitors should also contact the U of T Occupational Health Nurse (OHN). The Occupational Health Team will provide guidance to the unit regarding what to do in the event of a probable/confirmed case. Each situation is different and the OHN will assess on a case by case basis through contact tracing to determine next steps including disinfection of applicable areas (see below).

If an employee/student feels ill with COVID-19 symptoms, they should inform their supervisor/academic lead of this immediately, and contact the Occupational Health Nurse who will provide specific guidance (including the need to go get tested) to the individual who is ill as well as to the applicable supervisor/academic lead regarding what to do while awaiting a test result.

The Occupational Health & Safety team at EHS will work with the appropriate offices to do our best to inform those who have had contact with the individual in U of T workplaces, in keeping with public health directives. Public health authorities may also contact exposed persons as is their usual practice. Please note: ALL CONTACT TRACING for the University MUST be conducted by the Occupational Health Nurse.

Please note that the University must respect the privacy of individuals who are being tested or who have tested positive for COVID-19 and ensure that this information is kept confidential. Managers, Academic Administrators including Deans and Chairs, and Unit Heads should not send any messaging directly to faculty members, librarians, staff, students or others about suspected or confirmed cases. If you have questions regarding appropriate messaging about COVID-19, please contact

Once a risk assessment is completed, instructions on cleaning and disinfection of work areas will be provided by EHS to Caretaking. Caretaking on each of the three campuses have procedures in place to close off the affected areas. Cleaning and disinfection will be completed in compliance with public health guidelines. Notifications regarding disinfection, closure of areas and reopening of areas will be provided.