Researchers FAQ

What protocols should I follow if working in a Temerty Medicine research lab?

Lab personnel must wear a face mask at all times when in the lab, along with any additional appropriate safety equipment (e.g. eyewear) as per laboratory protocols.

Outside the lab, personnel are expected to follow directional signage and guidelines posted for moving through public spaces such as hallways, stairwells and elevators. 

Research-related work that can be done remotely – including but not limited to meetings, literature reviews, writing/editing – should be done remotely.

What if a faculty member, staff or student 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.

If my research takes place off campus – e.g. at MaRS or in a hospital-based research institute – whose policies/guidelines do I follow?

Within the lab space, the Faculty and University policies apply, e.g. the lab personnel schedules. In the general building e.g. entryways, elevators, stairwells, the hospital policies apply. The Faculty developed its plan in close consultation with TAHSN partner institutions to ensure policy alignment wherever possible. In the event of a discrepancy, you must adhere to the more restrictive of the two policies.

Should I wear a mask outside the lab?

Yes. As per its July 6th memo, the University now requires that individuals who are in a normally publicly accessible space within a University building wear a non-medical mask or face covering. Such space may include hallways, lobbies, elevators, meeting rooms, and other common use facilities.  Further details in the memo.

Are there guidelines if I’m working alone?

Yes. The University has Working Alone Guidelines that outline responsibilities and resources for personnel and supervisors.