Employees

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All members of our community – including employees, students and visitors – are required to provide proof of vaccination to be on campus as part of the COVID-19 Vaccination Policy.   Employees granted an exemption for medical or creed/religious beliefs are required to participate in Western’s COVID-19 rapid antigen testing program. Western’s Vaccination and Testing Centre is open and vaccinations and boosters continue to be available. 

Medical grade (ASTM level 3) masks must be worn by employees who are required to be on campus.

COVID-19 Self-Assessment and Absence Notification

You are required to complete the province's COVID-19 self-assessment tool each day you plan to visit campus. To support ongoing continuity of operations, for each unexpected absence, the University is asking employees to complete the absence notification tool.

Working in a shared space

If you work in a shared space with open cubicles, you are permitted to remove your mask while seated and physically distanced. Instructors behind a barrier at the front of a classroom may remove masks. Employees who are working from home are encouraged to speak to their leaders regarding arrangements for returning to campus.

Medical grade (ASTM level 3) masks are available through your supervisor or can be picked up at Western library locations. There are some exceptions for those working or learning in designated clinical or research areas where an N-95 mask is required. If you have been notified an N-95 mask is required in your area, please note that this direction remains in place. 

Answering COVID-19 questions

For questions regarding Western's COVID-19 vaccination policy, please visit : https://www.uwo.ca/coronavirus/vaccine.html#faqs


 

Employee FAQs

1. What is Western's plan for employees?

Employees who can work from home should continue to do so. Leaders will be in contact with their teams to provide direction. Some employees working in health, safety, well-being and core services for students, staff and faculty will be required to complete daily or twice-weekly rapid testing. These individuals will be notified by their leaders.  

2. What steps should I take when returning to campus?

Before returning to work on campus, employees must:

Once on campus:

  • Wear a medical mask provided by the University. These are required indoors and outdoors when physical distancing is a challenge. 
  • Wash hands thoroughly and often and avoid touching your face.
  • Disinfect your desk, work area, computer equipment and tools frequently.

3. Does Western’s COVID-19 vaccination policy apply to all employees?

The policy applies to all students, employees and visitors of the university and its affiliated university colleges: King’s, Huron, and Brescia.   

4. Where can I get a COVID-19 vaccine or a COVID-19 test on campus?

Western’s on-campus vaccination and testing centre is located in Thames Hall, Room 3189.

5. How can I access campus mental or physical health supports during this time?

  • Western's Employee Assistance Program (LifeWorks) can be accessed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This free and confidential service is for employees and their family members.
  • The Mental Health webpage for faculty and staff members lists other counselling opportunities as well as campus and community resources for those experiencing mental health challenges.
  • Employee Well-being provides both supportive and proactive services and programs to help you be your physical and mental best.
  • Wellness opportunities, including a link to Living Well @ Western can be found on the Human Resource Wellness webpage.
  • Western’s remains open and recently moved to Thames Hall. Appointments are required. Visit the Clinic website for more details. Please note: any patient experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 will be redirected to an assessment center for evaluation.
  • Our COVID-19 Employee Resource page offers resources for your mental and physical health, as well as tips for working from home.

6. How can I access information technology (IT) support?

Please visit Western Technology Services (WTS) for assistance with online teaching, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Owl, Blackboard Collaborate, WROAMS, etc. You can also call the WTS Helpdesk at 519-661-3800 or submit a service ticket for assistance.

7. 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.

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

Yes.

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

Yes.

10. 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.

11. Are employees required to provide a doctor’s note for short-term, unplanned absences?

Doctor’s notes are not required for absences shorter than 21 working days.

12. If employees have a dual-role (student and staff relationship) do they need to report absences on the Absence Notification tool and on the Illness Notification system?

Student-staff employees will be required to report to the Student Illness Notification Tool and the employee Absence Notification Tool .


Research FAQ

1. What is the status of research on campus?

  • Capacity in research spaces has been reduced to 50 per cent, effective December 18, 2021.
  • Human face-to-face research involving non-campus personnel requires verification of full vaccination status.
  • Three-layer 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.

2. What precautions should I take when on campus?

Three-ply 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 “ Return to Campus Questionnaire” must be completed before each return to campus. Please also review the recommended health and safety measures.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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).

6. 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:

7. 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.



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