Readiness for Return to the Clinical Environment

When do I need to be back in Toronto?

Please ensure you have returned to Toronto in-time to participate in your scheduled Academy-based donning and doffing simulation. 

Do I need to self-isolate upon return?

You must self-isolate if you are returning from out-of-country or have been working in a role with a high risk of exposure to COVID-19. 

What should I do if I am an immunocompromised individual?

If you are immunocompromised, please notify the Office of Health Professions Student Affairs (OHPSA). They will work with you, the Clerkship Office, Academy Directors and Accessibility Services to identify an appropriate plan that will both fit your need and ensure the fulfillment of academic requirements. In some cases, it may be appropriate for a student to consider a Leave of Absence (LOA)

What should I do if I live with someone who is immunocompromised?

Depending on the circumstances, one consideration would be to develop a plan of how to isolate yourself from that individual or organizing an alternative living arrangement for the length of your training. Please contact OHPSA if you require further support. 

What social restrictions must I follow before returning to the clinical environment?

Please review the fact sheet resources provided by Public Health Ontario to familiarize yourself with the Province’s recommended best practices. 

Are there activities I cannot partake in before my return?

Students must not participate in activities with a high-risk of exposure to COVID-19. This includes (but is not limited to) working/volunteering at long-term care facilities or attending large social gatherings. 

Can I see my friends and family?

Students must comply with the recommendations outlined in the Physical Distancing fact sheet prepared by Public Health Ontario. This document indicates that visiting friends is an activity that is to be avoided. 

What if I feel uncomfortable returning to the clinical environment?

The MD Program prioritizes the safety of students and the learning environments. The revised Clerkship curriculum reflects these safety considerations of the program. 

If you have specific concerns about returning to the clinical environment, please contact OHPSA for further consultation. They can discuss this and work with you to develop a mitigation strategy. Depending on individual scenarios, this strategy may include consideration of pursuing a Leave of Absence (LOA). 

How will my skills be updated to ensure I am prepared for re-entering the clinical environment?

Prior to returning to the clinical environment on July 6, you will participate in a Return to Clerkship (RTC) course which will provide a COVID-specific curriculum (e.g. ethics, palliative care, infectious diseases, resilience, virtual care, occupational health). It will also include a donning and doffing simulation. Please review the full schedule of the Return to Clerkship course on Elentra for more information. 

What other training should I expect to receive

While participating in clinical activities, you must complete all safety orientation and training offered by your placement site and adhere to their health and safety processes, procedures, policies and directives. You are also expected to keep up to date on all communications and announcements of COVID-19 related policy or procedural changes at U of T and your placement site. 

Can I see suspected COVID-19 patients?

The following outlines what categories of patients you may/ may not see during your clinical rotations: 

  • Confirmed cases of COVID-19: Students should not interact with patients who are known to have COVID-19. As such, students are prohibited from participating in aerosol generating medical procedures with known COVID-19 positive patients. 
  • Patients under investigation for COVID-19: Students may interact with patients who are suspected of having COVID-19 such as patients presenting with symptoms of fever, cough and respiratory distress. 
  • In addition, the MD Program approves of student participation in aerosol generating medical procedures with COVID-19 negative patients. Individual sites may have stricter restrictions which students must abide by. 

Note: We recognize that patients may present asymptomatically with COVID-19. You should be wearing appropriate PPE at all times in the clinical setting. 

What happens if there is a second wave of COVID-19?

We wish we could predict what the next few months will bring. Unfortunately, there are many unknowns. We are confident that we will work together to problem solve around any eventuality, while keeping student and patient safety as our top priority. 

What should I do if I feel unwell or am showing known symptoms of COVID-19?

If you feel unwell or are showing known symptoms of COVID-19, you should not enter the clinical environment. You should report this immediately to your preceptor, Occupational Health at your base Academy, and the MD Program

What should I do if I am diagnosed with COVID-19?

Please follow the same instructions as above. In addition, please notify U of T’s Occupational Health Nurse by email at if you test positive for COVID-19. Do not visit the University or clinical site until you receive clearance to do so from UofT’s Occupational Health Nurse and/ or the occupational health lead at your Academy. 

Can I travel during weekends, holidays or during other periods of time-off?

You may travel, but are prohibited from travelling out-of-country, as this would necessitate a 14-day quarantine upon return. 

What kind of PPE will I be required to wear during my clinical rotations?

You must wear PPE as defined by the hospital policies of your current placement site or the Ministry of Health guidelines for community settings. 

How do I acquire PPE for my clinical rotations?

As per the University’s affiliation agreement, hospital sites will provide appropriate levels of PPE to you during your placement. 

If you are participating in community office placements, your Academy will provide you with enough PPE for the length of the placement. Academies will be in touch with you shortly to share information about where to pick-up your assigned PPE. 

Please use the PPE only for the placements for which it was assigned, as you will be given enough for that purpose only. The MD Program cannot guarantee that more PPE can be provided should you run out due to improper allocation of your supplies. 

Can I use campus space for studying and other activities?

While the majority of campus remains closed, some spaces are beginning to open and are available for student use. 

Beginning June 18, computer and Wi-Fi access will be available to current University of Toronto students who require it for academic work, within current public health requirements during the COVID crisis. This service will operate in the Gerstein Science Information Centre's Wallace Room, the large reading room on the north side. All other areas of Gerstein and its collections will remain closed. In-person library services will also remain closed at this time. The Wallace Room black and white printer will not be available for use. 

A maximum of five students at one time will be able to book a seat in one of two zones – a library computer zone and a bring-your-own-device zone. Seats can be booked up to 24 hours in advance for one 3-hour period per day. The service will operate by appointment only. For more information, visit: (search for “2.3 Which buildings and facilities are open at U of T? Which are closed?). 

Completion of the McCaul study space is scheduled for August 17. The maximum capacity for the space will be limited to 27 students at a time with some seating blocked off. Study rooms will accommodate only 1 person. We will share updates as they become available. 

Can I ride the TTC?

Yes. At the time of development of this FAQ, the Toronto Transit Commission has announced that, effective July 2, masks or face coverings are mandatory when travelling on 

the TTC. Please stay up to date on the TTC’s safety measures by visiting the TTC's webpage regularly.