Scenes on campus  photo by Daria Perevezentsev

Return to Campus Fall 2021

At Temerty Medicine we recognize how challenging and stressful the pandemic has been – and continues to be – for so many across our community. Please know that our commitment to health and wellbeing remains paramount and we will strive to communicate frequently and clearly, as new information becomes available.

All faculty and staff at Temerty Medicine will not be expected to return to work on campus in early September. Most will experience a gradual return-to-work in the months ahead, subject to the Province of Ontario reopening regulations and the University of Toronto’s guidelines. Within the University framework, each Faculty retains a degree of local decision-making to suit its needs.

We recognize there are diverse needs across Temerty Medicine’s dozens of distributed departments and units. Business officers and managers will be contacting their staff groups regarding work arrangements during the 2021-22 academic year.

Regarding learners, detailed updates are being sent directly to student cohorts in our undergraduate Medical Education Programs (MD, MRS, PA).

Graduate students should consult their programs/departments for details.

Rehabilitation Sciences Programs will continue with a hybrid learning model with clinical skills training occurring in-person. Students should consult their programs/departments for details.

Our Core Principles

  • Health and safety remain paramount for everyone coming to campus.
  • A positive and well-supported learner experience is a priority.
  • A fair and equitable approach to staff and faculty return-to-work is a priority.
  • Working closely with HR, departments and units will retain flexibility where necessary.

Get the latest information about masks, courses, facilities and more.

Detailed information and resources relevant to the University of Toronto research & innovation community.

This guideline applies to all work and study areas including research spaces.

Latest Updates

09/09/21 — Requirement to be Vaccinated (Employees)

Further to the Fall Planning – Welcome to the Start of a New Academic Year message sent earlier today, we are writing to provide you with additional details regarding the new Joint Provostial and Human Resources Guideline on Vaccinations and the requirement for our community to be vaccinated. As an employee of the University, you are subject to and bound by the Guideline, and you should carefully review and familiarize yourself with it.

As an employee of the University, you may be required to be able to attend and perform duties on University premises as required, even if some or all of your duties can be performed remotely. Accordingly, you must be fully vaccinated by October 29, 2021 (i.e. final dose no later than October 15, 2021).

Please upload proof of vaccination using the University’s UCheck system. If you have been identified as a participant in a high-risk activity (e.g., music instruction, athletics, etc) and have received instructions on how to upload your proof of vaccination via ServiceNow, please also upload your vaccine documents in UCheck.

Those seeking an exemption to the requirement to be fully vaccinated for medical or other protected human rights grounds can make a request through the University’s Vaccination Exemption Request Portal via the Enterprise Service Centre (ServiceNow). Please note that approval is not guaranteed. If your exemption is approved, you will be required to participate in the University’s rapid screening program, and must upload results twice per week. If your exemption request is not approved, you will be required to be fully vaccinated in order to work at the University.

As stated in the Guideline:

“…the University will educate the community about the benefits of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Consequences for a violation of this Vaccination Guideline will depend on the individual’s relationship with the University and the relevant circumstances but may include, in the case of:

  • Employees: prohibition from attending University premises and discipline up to and including termination of employment for cause, in accordance with the applicable University policies and procedures, guidelines, employment agreement or memoranda of agreement or collective agreement, if any.”

For more information on COVID-19 vaccines, please visit https://www.utoronto.ca/utogether/vaccines.

09/09/21 – Fall Planning — Welcome to the Start of a New Academic Year

Dear University of Toronto community,

We are delighted to welcome you back to our three campuses for a new academic year.

We believe that an increased presence on our campuses allows us to better fulfill our academic mission by providing a rich learning environment for our students and supporting critical research and innovation. A large part of what makes a U of T education great is the in-person environment of our three campuses, which are full of formal and informal learning experiences.

The health and safety of our community is at the forefront of our planning, with public health and provincial guidance setting the framework for our direction as an institution.

Vaccination Requirements

As stated in our previous memo, in order to attend University premises for any reason you must:

  1. Be fully vaccinated and have provided the University with proof of vaccination
  2. Complete daily health screenings via UCheck

We expect all members of the community to have their first vaccine dose by September 13, and to have received their second dose by October 15 (i.e., full vaccination by October 29).  Those awaiting the conclusion of the 14-day period after their second vaccination or who have a University-approved exemption must participate in the University’s rapid screening program and may be subject to additional safety measures.

You can now upload your proof of vaccination in UCheck. Only the vaccine receipt(s) that provides proof that you are fully vaccinated is required.  For example, if you have a Government of Ontario vaccine receipt that documents the second of two doses, upload only this document.

Those vaccinated in Ontario can generate and download their vaccine receipts here.

Vaccination continues to be the best way to protect ourselves and our community against the spread of COVID-19. This week, over 34,245 people have already uploaded their proof of vaccination through UCheck, with 94% fully vaccinated.

Vaccination Guideline

We encourage all members of our community to familiarize themselves with our Joint Provostial and Human Resources Guideline on Vaccination. This document details the guiding principles and requirements of our vaccination mandate.

Learning and Working On Our Campuses

We are committed to providing enhanced on-campus learning experiences for our students across all three campuses. U of T campuses and divisions are making the best decisions for their communities with available information. Ontario universities remain in step 3 of the provincial reopening framework with some allowed exemptions for essential activities such as teaching in indoor instructional spaces (including classrooms, teaching laboratories, instructional spaces in libraries, in-person experiential learning, etc.). Outside of this context, the University remains subject to physical distancing, capacity limits, and other measures.

Please remember that you must wear a face mask indoors with limited exceptions and follow posted directional signage.

We Are Here to Help

We recognize that while the transition back to in-person learning, teaching, and working is exciting, it will also be a period of adjustment and may be stressful for some. The well-being of our students, faculty and librarians, and staff is the University’s highest priority, and we encourage anyone who may need assistance to please access the wellness supports listed below:

If you have specific questions about uploading proof of vaccination and the University’s COVID response, please visit our recently-updated FAQs for answers to these and other key questions. You can also reach out via the Enterprise Service Centre to submit a query. Our support team is available 7 days a week to help answer your questions (Monday – Sunday from 8:30am to 9pm).

We deeply appreciate all that you have done in preparation for this academic year, and thank you for everything you will continue to do to maintain a safe and supportive environment for our community.

Further and New Resources

09/03/21 — Fall planning – Update

Dear Temerty Medicine community: 

As we move into the academic year for all students, the Provost’s Office issued a comprehensive weekly update yesterday that I urge you to review, as it includes the latest information on: 

  • Provincial Guidelines on In-Person Instruction 
  • Proof of Vaccination 
  • Requests for Exemption 
  • Rapid Screening Program 

Beginning September 13, to attend University premises for any reason you must: 

  • Provide proof of vaccination 
  • And complete daily health screenings via UCheck; as of Sept. 6, you will be able to upload proof of vaccination. 

Those awaiting their final vaccine dose (required by October 15) or who have a University-approved exemption must submit negative rapid screening results through UCheck

On campus, you will see construction is in high gear on the King’s College Circle Landmark Project, as well as other important maintenance upgrades underway.  We are putting into place plans to ensure safe access into our buildings and throughout our spaces. 

Medical Sciences Building 

  • FOB access is available only at the north entrance to MSB; east side (Queen’s Park) entrance is closed due to construction. 
  • Stanchions and signage will direct students attending MSB classroom lectures to enter through three stairwell entries.  
  • Starbucks and the cafeteria will be open for takeout only. 
  • Facilities and Space Planning will have two staff onsite in the building to monitor the flow of pedestrian traffic and troubleshoot any issues arising. 

The Donnelly Centre, MaRS, Naylor Building and 500 University will continue to be FOB access only. 

Please know that all of us at Temerty Medicine are committed to a healthy and productive academic year ahead for our community of learners, faculty and staff. 

Thank you all for everything you’ve been doing throughout this pandemic. I hope you have a safe and relaxing long weekend. We will stay in touch as needed. 

Patricia Houston 
Acting Dean and Vice Dean, Medical Education 
Temerty Faculty of Medicine 

09/02/21 — Fall planning – Welcome Back

Dear University of Toronto community,

As we welcome our community to a new academic year, we have planned for a fall term with expanded in-person experience and have put in place measures that protect and promote safety in our working and learning environment.

Further to last week’s COVID-19 fall planning update, we are providing you with additional details on the latest announcement from the Ministry of Colleges and Universities, proof of vaccination, and the UCheck platform.

Provincial Guidance on in-Person Instruction

New guidance from the Ontario Ministry of Colleges and Universities released August 31 provides Ontario universities with the ability to deliver in person teaching without physical distancing and capacity limits as long as there are stringent public health measures in place that include a vaccine mandate and indoor masking.

All other requirements at Step 3 of the province’s reopening plan continue, including physical distancing requirements and capacity limits in non-instructional spaces.

Faculties and Divisions will apply this guidance based on local conditions and their unique instructional needs in consultation with Divisional leadership and their teaching staff. We will continue to adjust plans as public health conditions evolve.

Students should check their Faculty/Divisional websites for more information on their courses.

Proof of Vaccination

As stated in our previous memo, beginning September 13, in order to attend University premises for any reason you must:

  1. Provide proof of vaccination.
  2. Complete daily health screenings via UCheck.

Those awaiting their final vaccine dose (required by October 15) or who have a University-approved exemption must submit negative rapid screening results through UCheck.

Starting September 6, you will be able to upload proof of vaccination in UCheck. Only the vaccine receipt(s) that provide(s) proof that you are fully vaccinated is/are required to be uploaded. For example, if you have a Government of Ontario vaccine receipt showing the second of two doses, upload only this document.

Instructions on how to upload documents are available on the UCheck website.

The provincial government will be launching a vaccine passport program effective September 22 that will provide a way to verify vaccination status for those without UCheck access. We will provide additional details as they become available.

If you are participating in an activity that is identified as higher risk (e.g., athletics, living in residence, and music instruction) and have received instructions on how to upload your proof of vaccination via Star Rez or ServiceNow, you will also be required to upload your vaccine documents in UCheck.  

Requests for Exemption

Those seeking an exemption for medical or other protected human rights grounds can make a request through the University’s Vaccination Exemption Request Portal via the Enterprise Service Centre (ServiceNow). Forms are now available and completed requests can be uploaded for review beginning today. Please note that approval is not guaranteed.

If you have already applied for an exemption through another process (i.e., living in residence) continue to follow that process.

Rapid Screening Program

U of T’s Rapid Antigen screening program is now open.

Rapid screening is mandatory for those with an approved vaccination exemption or those in the process of becoming fully vaccinated if they are coming to University premises or live in residence. Results must be uploaded through UCheck twice a week. 

The Council of Ontario Medical Officers of Health has advised that rapid screening cannot be used as an alternative to vaccination.

Vaccination Clinics

Pop-up vaccination clinics will be available on our campuses this fall in addition to other vaccination clinics. More information is available on the UTogether vaccine page.

Thank you for your hard work, patience, and understanding as new protocols are established. We appreciate our community’s dedication to keeping each other safe. A further update will be provided next week.

Further and New Resources

 

Trevor Young, Acting Vice-President & Provost 

Kelly Hannah-Moffat, Vice-President, People Strategy, Equity & Culture 

08/27/21 — Update on Temerty Medicine Fall Planning

This message is being sent to the Chairs’ and Business Officers’ listservs on behalf of Dr. Patricia Houston, Acting Dean and Vice Dean, Medical Education, Temerty Faculty of Medicine.

For information and for action — please share with all faculty, staff and learners.

Dear Colleagues,

Yesterday, the University issued a COVID Fall Planning Update.

I strongly encourage you to read this important update for information about the University’s new policy on mandated proof of vaccination via UCheck for all members of the University community coming to campus, and on the rapid screening programfor people awaiting a final vaccine dose or who have received a University-approved exemption. Please note that the ability to upload your proof of vaccination will not be available until early September.

The update also provides information on a revised mask policy and related safety measures, including the University’s 12-step plan for a safe return to campus.

I am confident these new measures will further ensure a safe fall term for those coming to campus, including many of our research and teaching faculty as well as staff who provide essential and student services. I would like to remind managers of staff coming to campus that you need to complete the General Assessment Tool (GAT), but that a new form is not necessary unless changes are significant.

For those planning to use classrooms, you can review the University’s approach to ensuring adequate ventilation in specific classrooms by reviewing the information provided on the classroom ventilation page. If the room has not been tested, we recommend use in conjunction with current public health requirements for physical distancing and capacity.

Many of our Faculty’s staff will continue to work remotely this fall. The Faculty has determined that departments should have the flexibility to allow staff to continue with current work arrangements throughout the fall term. Staff who are not on-site five days a week and hope to continue this into 2022 will need to propose and receive approval for a documented Alternative Work Arrangement by the end of 2021.

I will continue to provide updates in the next few weeks, as the pandemic evolves and we receive further guidance from public health, the province and the University. Thank you for your attention to the many changes the pandemic continues to bring, and your dedication to ensuring a safe return to campus this fall. 

You can find more information and resources on the University’s ongoing response to COVID-19 here:

Find the latest Temerty Medicine updates on fall term planning here:

If you have questions about fall planning in our Faculty that are not covered in these links, please contact myself or Lynn Wilson, Vice Dean Clinical and Faculty Affairs at lynn.wilson@utoronto.ca.

Thank you,

Patricia Houston
Acting Dean and Vice Dean, Medical Education
Temerty Faculty of Medicine

08/26/21 — COVID-19 Fall Planning Update: U of T

From: Trevor Young, Acting Vice-President and Provost
Kelly Hannah-Moffat, Vice-President, People Strategy, Equity, and Culture

Dear University of Toronto community,

We look forward to welcoming our community to our campuses and we are writing to provide you with additional information about fall planning. We have been working diligently with the U of T community, public health experts and others for a safe return. As has been evident through the course of the pandemic, the situation evolves, often rapidly. Given the changing public health landscape, you will be receiving weekly updates on return-to-campus plans.

We are awaiting further guidance from the Ministry of Colleges and Universities about physical distancing and capacity limits, and we will continue to follow local public health guidance.

Vaccination and rapid screening

All members of our community who come onto our campuses in the fall must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and will be required to upload proof of vaccination via UCheck. We expect all members of the community to have their first dose by Sept. 13, and to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 15. This requirement aligns with the recent recommendations of the Council of Ontario Medical Officers of Health for post-secondary institutions in the province and the sector’s response.

Individuals seeking a permitted exemption for medical reasons or other protected grounds under the Ontario Human Rights Code will be able to make a request through the University’s Enterprise Service Centre (ServiceNow). More information about requesting an exemption will be available next week. Students who have already applied for an exemption (i.e., living in residence) will continue that process.

Individuals who are awaiting their final vaccine dose or who have received a University-approved exemption must participate in the University’s rapid screening program and may be subject to additional safety measures. At-home screening kits will be provided to these individuals and available for pick-up at no cost, along with an instructional video. Results must be uploaded in UCheck at least twice weekly (subject to change depending on public health conditions), and a negative result will be required before coming to University-owned or operated premises. Individuals who are neither fully vaccinated nor enrolled in the rapid screening program by Sept. 13 cannot come to any University premises. Rapid screening cannot be used as an alternative to vaccination without an approved exemption.

Visitors to U of T premises will also be required to be fully vaccinated. More details about the process for visitors - including vendors, events attendees, gym members and others - is coming soon.

Updated mask policy and other safety measures

The University has a 12-step plan for a safe return to campus for our entire community. This plan includes many layers of safety measures such as:

We developed these strategies based on scientific evidence and with advice from leading public health experts within and outside of the University. In addition, the University has protocols and supports for students who need to quarantine following travel to Canada.

The University of Toronto is committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for its faculty and librarians, staff, students, volunteers, visitors, and other community members. We will continue to refine our comprehensive plan as new information becomes available, including updated public health recommendations.

We look forward to a safe and exciting fall term back on our campuses together.

Further Resources

08/19/21 — Update on Vaccination and Rapid Screening for Fall 2021

Earlier this week, Ontario announced another development in the fight against COVID-19. The Province released a new vaccination policyfor activities in higher-risk settings, including universities. While we wait for details, the University is finalizing our own strategy.

This September, all members of the University community—including students, staff, faculty, and librarians—will be required to provide proof of full vaccination or register in the University’s rapid screening program, where results will need to be uploaded regularly.This program also offers educational opportunities and access to vaccination clinics. 

Some individuals have already been informed of the need to provide proof of vaccination (i.e., students living in residence; and students, faculty, and staff involved in varsity athletics and music performance in the Faculty of Music). They will follow the process communicated directly to them.

We understand that coping with the evolving COVID situation is not easy for many in the University community, and requires ongoing flexibility. We appreciate your hard work and commitment to the University of Toronto. We will share more details with you on the UTogethersite soon.

Trevor Young, Acting Vice-President & Provost

Kelly Hannah-Moffat, Vice-President, People Strategy, Equity & Culture

08/11/21 — Letter from President Gertler to faculty, librarians and staff 

Dear colleagues, 

With the fall term just a few weeks away, I want to reassure you all that the health and safety of our faculty, librarians, staff, and students remains our top priority. 

The University of Toronto will require that all those intending to be present on our campuses be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations. This is a key part of the University’s carefully developed and extensive COVID-19 protocols, which include the mandatory wearing of masks indoors and other safety measures. 

Our plans are consistent with those of our peer institutions in Ontario. In fact, we are pleased to see others now adopting the standards we have established in planning for a safe return to in-person activities. 

I appreciate that the public health situation remains concerning. Let me reassure you again that the University will remain vigilant in protecting the health and safety of all members of our community, and we will take additional measures if conditions change in the fall and winter ahead. Let me also take this opportunity to thank you all for your patience and adaptability as we continue moving forward together. 

Sincerely, 

Meric S. Gertler 

President 

07/30/21 — Vaccination and Our Community

For the past several months, the University has been working hard to prepare for a safe return to our campuses in September. Improving ventilation within our buildings, enhancing cleaning protocols, requiring indoor mask use on University property, and promoting vaccination are among our key strategies. We are introducing several new strategies this fall.

As you know, all students, staff, faculty, and librarians are expected to complete a UCheck screening before visiting our campuses. This fall, the UCheck platform will include a new section about your vaccination status. The answer you provide about your vaccine status through UCheck will not be connected to your individual employee record. At an aggregated, anonymous level, attestations will inform the University’s continuous improvement of the measures in place to reduce the risk of COVID-19. Attestations will not be used for any other purposes.

Community members who are not fully vaccinated or who choose not to share their vaccine status via UCheck are expected to participate in a rapid screening program using a University-supplied, at-home testing kit. More details about participation in the program will be provided to the University community in the coming weeks. We encourage you to read these FAQs on the University’s UTogether page to learn about the rapid screening program and the enhanced UCheck platform.  

Beginning in the fall term, U of T will also require full vaccination for students, staff, faculty, and librarians engaged in certain activities. These activities include varsity sports, music instruction, and some educational placements. Further information on this requirement, and which areas and roles it will apply to, will be shared in the coming weeks. The list of activities that require vaccination may change or be updated, and individuals can apply for an exemption. We will continue to follow the vaccination requirements currently in place for students living in our residences this fall. 

We have made these changes in consultation with local public health units and experts in the field, including the University Health Network (UHN), who cite the proven efficacy of vaccinations in preventing the spread and mitigating the effects of COVID-19. With these new measures, we aim to protect everyone in the U of T community—and by extension, to protect our families, friends, and neighbours.

We also remain committed to an inclusive and accessible return to in-person operations, and have developed the resource Returning to Campus: Keeping Accessibility in Mind to provide a starting point for reimagining our campuses and how we all use them.

We will see an end to this pandemic. In the meantime, we can move forward as a community by showing respect and compassion for each other, and by doing whatever we can to keep each other safe. 

 

Trevor Young, Acting Vice-President & Provost

Kelly Hannah-Moffat, Vice President, People Strategy, Equity & Culter

07/23/21 — Fall Planning: Staff Survey Results – and September

Dear Temerty Medicine full-time staff:

Our sincere thanks to all who took part in our June employee survey around your work during the pandemic and work in the future. This email is to share the survey results and update you on next steps regarding plans for the fall.

As pandemic restrictions lift, we know everyone is keen to know when, how and how often they will be working on campus in the fall. While some staff who have been working remotely will be required to return to their offices for at least part of the work week, we expect most will experience a gradual return in the months ahead. There will also be opportunities for staff to formally request alternative work arrangements involving hybrid-remote work settings or differentiation in work hours.

Plans are actively being worked on by a fall restart committee chaired by Vice Dean Lynn Wilson – working in concert with the University – with the goal of preparing for a gradual return-to-work in the fall 2021, subject to Province of Ontario reopening regulations and University of Toronto guidelines.

Within those guidelines, each University division will retain a degree of local decision-making to suit their needs. We expect business officers and managers will be connecting with their staff in the coming weeks regarding work arrangements during the 2021-22 academic year.

And please bookmark the Return to Campus 2021 page, which includes the core principles guiding Fall 2021 decisions and will be the home for future updates. For managers with staff who do not use email regularly in their work, please ensure your team members have access to this information in print.

Regarding the employee survey, more than 600 people responded, which represents 76 per cent of our total full-time staff. Of the respondents, 89% have worked remotely during the pandemic, while the remainder have come onto campus for work one or more days per week.

On the last 15 months:

  • Nearly half of all respondents (47%) said their connectedness to the people they normally associate with at the university has not changed since they started working remotely.
  • Close to half of those who worked both remotely and on university premises (45%), however, said their connectedness has gotten worse over the past 15 months.
  • Length of time in current position had little impact on sense of connectedness.
  • Staff commented on several aspects of connectedness:
    • Social / mental health
    • Positive (n=61) – maintained strength of connection with colleagues, there was an active effort to maintain connectedness, some strengthened their relationships, and their mental health improved
    • Negative (n=67) – felt loss of connection, missed social benefits of informal encounters, ‘not the same’, missing co-workers, felt isolated, less connected to larger community
    • Communication
    • Positive (n=35) - improved access/ease/frequency of communication, easier to coordinate meetings and engage, more efficient communication
    • Negative (n=25) - missed work benefits of informal encounters, less efficient/effective communication, more difficult to access people, worsened relationships
    • Productivity
    • Positive (n=47) – limited impact/sufficient adaptations, productivity increases, improved meeting attendance, fewer distractions/interruptions
    • Negative (n=10) – onboarding virtually is more difficult, reduced productivity, collaboration is harder, too connected/ always on work

On the future of work:

  • Half of staff members (53%) believe that most, if not all, of their work can be completed remotely; of those who have been working on university premises only, 41% responded that work could be completed remotely on 1-2 days/week.
  • Staff in areas such as Finance, IT, Advancement, Student/Learner Services and HR reported the highest proportion of their work that could be completed remotely. Facilities, Research and Technical staff, not surprisingly, reported the lowest.
  • The majority of all respondents (68%) prefer to work remotely most of the week; 25% preferred 1-2 days remote; and 7% preferred no remote work.
  • Main factors for wanting to work remotely: not commuting, improved work-life balance, fewer interruptions; flexibility in hours.
  • What staff look forward to about returning to their regular workplace: seeing friends and colleagues; keeping work and personal life separate; easier collaboration with clients and colleagues; access to better physical resources.
  • The majority of staff members (73%) plan some return to pre-COVID activities but are still wary of some activities, such as crowded elevators and transit.

Thank you again for your participation in the survey. Your insights will be an important factor in decision-making ahead. If you have any questions about the survey or Temerty Medicine’s fall restart committee, you can contact me at je.robertson@utoronto.ca

Kind regards,
Jean

Jean Robertson
Human Resources Director
Temerty Faculty of Medicine & Dalla Lana School of Public Health