Employees

University College in winter

 

Employees are required to provide proof of vaccination to be on campus as part of the COVID-19 Vaccination Policy

Western’s Vaccination and Testing Centre is open and vaccinations and boosters continue to be available. 

COVID-19 Self-Assessment and Absence Notification

Western is asking employees to complete the province's COVID-19 self-assessment tool to ensure proper isolation guidelines are followed. It is a personal choice if you wish to download or print your daily assessment results. For each unexpected absence, employees are asked to complete the absence notification tool.


Faculty FAQs

Vaccinations

How do I submit my proof of vaccination?

We’ve designed an online process to make it easier to submit your proof of vaccination status. Employees can log into MyHR and look for the “My Vaccinations” tile to upload their proof of vaccination.

Steps to access MyHR can be found here.

How will we know if everyone in the classroom is vaccinated?

By January 9, 2023, all students will have received a COVID-19 booster dose or an exemption granted by the university. Compliance considerations are governed by MAPP 3.11, available at: https://www.uwo.ca/univsec/pdf/policies_procedures/section3/mapp311_covid19.pdf.

Will we be told if there are vaccine exemptions in our classroom groups?

No. Vaccine exemptions cannot be disclosed due to privacy regulations. Instructors will be notified only of any accommodation required by any students in the class as per Accessible Education policies  

Does the vaccine policy apply to students who are fully online?

The policy does not require students who are only enrolled in fully online courses, and who will not be accessing services on campus for any other reason, to receive a vaccine.  However, students in courses that have an in-person component are required to comply with the vaccination policy.  For example, a student cannot voluntarily excuse themselves from the vaccination policy by choosing to participate only in the online portions of the course.

How will the vaccine policy be enforced?

By January 9, 2023, all students will be required to have received either one booster dose or an exemption granted by the University.  The university will follow up with students and employees who don’t comply with the vaccination policy.  Students who are not fully vaccinated by January 9, 2023, will be subject to discipline in accordance with the Code of Student Conduct.

Am I permitted to invite guest lecturers/presenters from outside the Western community to my class?

As per our Visitors on Campus procedure, visitors to classrooms must attest that they are either vaccinated with one booster dose or that they have an active medical condition that prevents vaccination.

How do I notify Western if I am sick or unable to report to work?

Employees must use Western’s Absence Notification Tool or call Human Resources at 519-661-2194 and select option 3, and should also continue to follow normal departmental communication processes for absence notification. The tool is designed to provide the University with the vital information to track and monitor unanticipated absences from scheduled work during the COVID-19 pandemic. A newly adopted policy requires all Faculty and Staff members (including part-time, contract, Postdocs, Graduate Teaching Assistants and Student Employees) to report each day of an unanticipated absence using the tool.

I am on medical leave, do I still need to complete my proof of vaccination status?

Yes.

I am working from home with permission from my supervisor, do I still need to complete the proof of vaccination status?

Yes.

Will employees who become sick still receive pay?

Employees who were scheduled to work and reported their absence on the Absence Notification Tool or by contacting Human Resources may or may not be paid, depending on the employment policies or collective agreement provisions applicable to your role at Western.

Masking and enforcement

Should I wear a mask while I am teaching?

Instructors are not required to wear a mask while teaching. Anyone may choose to wear a mask as a matter of personal choice.

Are students required to wear a mask in class?

Students are required to wear medical-grade (ASTM level 3) masks in instructional settings, including lectures, tutorials, laboratories, tests, and examinations.  Students may unmask when presenting to the class, and for certain activities such as musical performances. Students who are unable to wear a mask must seek formal accommodation through Western Accessible Education.

While in the classroom, students can remove their mask temporarily to take a drink.  Eating should only take place outside of the instructional space in the eateries and common spaces. 

Students unwilling to wear a mask as stipulated by Western policy will be referred to the Dean/Associate Dean, and such actions will be considered a violation of the student Code of Conduct.

Will professors know who has a mask exemption?

Yes.  Mask exemptions will be managed by Accessible Education, and accommodation requests will be provided to the instructor via the Extranet (in the same way that other accessibility requests are communicated to the instructor). Instructors will not be provided with the reason for the mask exemption.

What do I do if there is a student in my class who isn’t wearing a mask?

Instructors should first ask the student in question to don a mask.  If the student does not have one, they should be asked to leave the classroom until they can obtain a mask.  If the student refuses to leave the class, the instructor may end the class and dismiss all of the students.  The instructor must immediately notify the appropriate Chair/Dean of the incident so that they can initiate a Code of Conduct investigation.

I have a student who has self-reported a mask exemption. Should I evaluate it?

No.  Instructors are not to review requests for mask exemptions.  The student should be referred to Accessible Education to have their request for accommodation reviewed and communicated (via the Extranet) to their instructors.

Am I required to accommodate students with an approved mask exemption?

Yes. As with any other accommodation request from Accessible Education, recommendations will be made by that office regarding the student’s accommodation needs and may only be denied if the recommended accommodation compromises the essential requirements of the course, and only after the resolution of a formal request for reconsideration by Accessible Education.  In such cases, the student will need to be accommodated in an alternate fashion (e.g., online course materials, note takers, etc.).  Further information is available from Accessible Education.

Should instructors plan to distribute masks to students who arrive without them?

Students will be able to obtain masks from the Libraries or from mask dispensers installed on campus.  Instructors are not expected to supply masks to students in class.

Will the university supply masks to TAs? Where do they get them?

Yes. The university will supply masks to TAs.  Please direct your TAs to contact the School or Department for further information.

Can I require students to wear masks during office hours?

Yes. An instructor can require anyone visiting their personal office space to wear a mask.  For the purposes of this policy, the instructor can at their discretion declare office hours, whether they are held in a private office or another space, to be an instructional activity and therefore subject to the masking policy.

Symptoms

Should instructors be asking students with “COVID symptoms” if they “should be on campus?

No, instructors are not to ask symptomatic students if they should be on campus.

What is the procedure if an instructor contracts COVID-19 and must self-isolate?  Can classes continue online?

The procedure to be followed here is similar to the procedure for non-covid absence or illness. Instructors should contact their Chair (or Dean or Associate Dean, if appropriate).  Instructors may move the course online for up to one week, or (if, e.g., the instructor is too ill to teach) ask a colleague or TA to cover the missed classes.  As a last resort, the missed classes may be canceled.  In any case, students should be notified immediately as to the steps that will be taken in the instructor’s absence.

What is the contingency plan for an in-person class pivoting to 100% online?

In the event of a COVID-19 resurgence during the course that necessitates the course delivery moving away from face-to-face interaction, affected course content will be delivered entirely online, either synchronously (i.e., at the times indicated in the timetable) or asynchronously (e.g., posted on OWL for students to view at their convenience). The grading scheme will not change. Any remaining assessments will also be conducted online as determined by the course instructor.

Student absenses

Because the COVID-19 pandemic has not ended, student illness is likely.  How should I deal with absences in my class?

Instructors are encouraged to post lecture material on-line when appropriate and should make it clear to students how they are expected to catch up on missed material.  It should be clarified with students that absences that follow from the daily campus questionnaire do not automatically give students permission to miss assessments.

They must, by policy, indicate on their course outline how they will be dealing with missed assessments worth less than 10% of the overall course grade.  It is permissible to grant academic considerations for such absences without referring the student to their Dean’s Office/Academic Counselling unit, provided that procedures are clearly stated in the course outline to ensure that all students are treated equally.  As an example, instructors may wish to build flexibility into their grading scheme by, e.g., automatically excusing some number of assessments (“best n–2 of n assignments”) or some fraction of attendance.

Academic consideration for work worth 10% or more of the final course grade requires approval from the student’s Dean’s Office/Academic Counselling unit.  Procedures for approved absences, such as a make-up test for a midterm, should be specified in the course outline.

In cases where particular course requirements such as labs or presentations are essential to learning outcomes and no viable alternative to achieve these outcomes exists, students should be notified of this requirement in the course syllabus.  In such cases, a student who is unable to complete the requirement due to illness (whether or not covid-related) may be asked to complete the requirement at a later date.

Research FAQ

What is the status of research on campus?

  • Capacity in research spaces has returned to 100 per cent, effective March 1, 2022.
  • Western’s COVID-19 Vaccination Policy remains in place, including for off-campus volunteers and research participants.
  • Medical grade (ASTM level 3) masks are required for all researchers, trainees and research participants on campus.
  • Researchers and participants working within two metres of each other must also wear safety goggles, with further protection provided by a face shield if recommended by their supervisors.
  • International research activities requiring travel should be suspended.
  • All other previously permitted research models can continue. Please discuss all new research studies with your decanal support unit.

Please see the Western Research COVID-19 update page for current notices.

What precautions should I take when on campus?

Medical grade (ASTM level 3) masks are required for all researchers, trainees and research participants on campus. Researchers and participants working within two metres of each other must also wear safety goggles, with further protection provided by a face shield if recommended by their supervisors.

Wash your hands frequently, do not touch your face and clean surfaces.

Please note: the “provincial self-assessment tool” must be completed before each return to campus. Please also review the recommended health and safety measures.

Will I need to be screened prior to returning to campus?

All employees must complete a Health Assessment Questionnaire prior to returning to work. Individuals will receive a unique link in a daily reminder email (please do not share your link) or alternatively, they may go directly to the questionnaire on Qualtrics.

How will cleaning be managed?

Research personnel are expected to clean surfaces and tools prior to, and following, use. In addition, Facilities Management caretaking staff will clean floors using a hydrogen peroxide-based cleaner (ES65H) on a weekly basis and will empty garbage receptacles. They will focus on cleaning high-touch surfaces, such as door handles and light switches at least daily using disinfectant cleaner.

What do I do if I begin to feel ill with COVID-19 symptoms during a visit with a study participant?

In instances where research with participants is permitted, based on Western's Research Recovery Plan:

  • Stop the test and inform everyone in the room why.
  • Ask all participating people to watch for symptoms.
  • Clean the room as usual following a research study, which includes wiping everything down (deep cleaning only for confirmed cases, which would include the addition of e-cleaning).
  • Anyone with COVID-19-like symptoms should be tested based on clinical assessment.
  • a) If results are negative:
    • Inform your team to watch for symptoms; individuals need to self-isolate until 24 hours after symptom resolution.
  • b) If results are positive:
    • Individuals need to self-isolate for a minimum of 14 days from symptom onset.
    • All people in the lab who were exposed should be tested and, while waiting for test results, must quarantine.
    • The local health unit (in our case MLHU) receives positive test results, and will step in for contact tracing and provide recommendations.
  • Clean the room as usual after a research study, which includes wiping everything down (deep cleaning only for confirmed cases, which would include the addition of e-cleaning).

What do I tell a study participant exhibiting COVID-19-like symptoms – with or without travel history?

In instances where research with participants is permitted, based on Western's Research Recovery Plan:

  • Stop the test and inform everyone in the room why.
  • Inform your team to watch for symptoms.
  • Inform your team that this matter is confidential.
  • Anyone with COVID-19-like symptoms should be tested based on clinical assessment.
  • a) If results are negative:
    • Inform your team to watch for symptoms; individuals need to self-isolate until 24 hours after symptom resolution.
  • b) If results are positive:
    • Individuals need to self-isolate for a minimum of 14 days from symptom onset.
    • All people in the lab who were exposed should be tested and, while waiting for test results, must quarantine.
    • The local health unit (in our case MLHU) receives positive test results, and will step in for contact tracing and provide recommendations.
  • Clean the room as usual after a research study, which includes wiping everything down (deep cleaning only for confirmed cases, which would include the addition of e-cleaning).

Additional Resources:

Should I contact the sponsor if I am engaged in sponsored research with industry?

Delays to research programs may occur as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is important to keep research sponsors apprised of the status of research projects that are subject to agreements with contractual obligations. If you have questions/concerns about existing research agreements, please contact crt@uwo.ca. Our team will help you discuss the status of your research project with the sponsor and find solutions during this uncertain time.

Employee Resources

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