Frequently Asked Questions

Your return to campus

When will I be able to return to work on campus? Who is currently allowed on campus?

On-campus activities are being slowly and carefully phased in to comply with public health workplace requirements. On-campus activities must be approved to avoid further stresses on in-demand resources and safely manage our workspaces.

Currently, only the following categories of work are permitted on campus:

All other employees must continue working remotely until further notice.

We understand that you may be eager to get back to your office or workspace. Thank you for your patience. By gradually returning to our campuses we are creating a safer and more sustainable immediate future for our colleagues, our students, and our greater community.

What are essential on-campus services?

During the COVID-19 pandemic, on-campus essential services are services that, if interrupted, would (1) endanger the life, personal safety or health of our community, or (2) irrevocably damage the environment or university property. On-campus essential services include activities such as infrastructure maintenance, animal care, hazard risk management, security, and health care. Talk to your supervisor if you are unsure if your work is considered essential.

I’m working remotely. Can I visit campus to pick up supplies or retrieve items from my office?

Yes, but prior to visiting you must coordinate with your supervisor or faculty to ensure applicable health measures can be followed, and you must minimize your time on campus.

What are the exceptions to be able to work on campus? What approvals do I need?

If you cannot conduct your work remotely, you are eligible to apply to return to campus. On-campus activities must be managed by supervisors and approved to avoid further stresses on in-demand resources and safely manage our workspaces. Please follow the links below to submit your request to work on campus. 

If you are conducting research, please follow the Procedures to Request a Return to Campus

If your work does not involve research, team managers or supervisors should follow the Working from Campus approval process outlined in the Safety Measures General Directives.

 Services and supports

Are campuses open? What campus buildings are open?
U of A buildings are currently closed to the public. Employees who have been approved to work or pick up items from campus can access buildings with their pre-existing ONECard or key access. See the full U of A building hours listing.
What common spaces or lunchrooms are available on campus for faculty and staff?

When resuming your work on campus, consider that space to take a break or eat lunch may be limited. Please be flexible as faculties and departments adjust and offer non-traditional but available spaces for your downtime. Breaks may need to be scheduled to ensure occupancy limits and physical distancing requirements are maintained. If space is not available within your department or faculty area, please contact the applicable Facility Services Manager for assistance. Food services during spring and summer terms will continue to be extremely limited.

When will the libraries be open?

We anticipate that our in-person campus libraries will start to open during the second phase of our relaunch. The government is currently developing guidelines for library operations. When our libraries open again, it will be a gradual start first with limited capacity, similar to other library spaces across the province. 

Faculty, staff and students can continue to access U of A Libraries online collections and resources from off-campus as well. Cameron Library continues to remain open (with restrictions) for students who need computer access only. Find more information on the U of A Libraries site.

Health and safety

Is my workspace, building, or lab ready, safe and clean?

If you have been approved to come back to campus to work, then your workspace has met all the public health requirements for a safe work environment. Meeting public health requirements will be the key consideration in approving additional work to operate or resume on campus throughout all relaunch stages.

Do your part to ensure the continued safety of our campuses and workspaces. While working on campus during the pandemic, diligently following public health requirements, all safety measures, and health and safety updates on the university’s COVID-19 website.

What can I do if I have a concern about my work environment?

We understand many in our community are currently working remotely in less than ideal situations, multipurpose spaces or with competing demands. We also understand that some employees who may be invited back to campus might not be able or ready to do so just yet. 

If you have concerns about your current or proposed working environment — whether on or off campus — discuss it with your advisor, your supervisor, your human resources representative, or student support services. They are prepared to connect you with the right resource or help you find the best option for you.

Do I need to provide my own mask, or other personal protective equipment (PPE)?

If it is required for your work or workspace, faculties and departments will be responsible for providing PPE for employees and graduate students. Employees should discuss PPE needs with their supervisor.

Students, public or campus visitors and external service providers/vendors will be responsible for procuring their personal PPE, including masks. 

Masks must be worn in all campus indoor common areas (e.g. corridors, lounge areas, stairwells). The Government of Alberta encourages all Albertans to wear non-medical masks any time they are in public when it's difficult to maintain physical distancing of two metres. The Government of Alberta is providing free, single use, non-medical masks (four per person) at all A&W, McDonald’s Canada and Tim Hortons drive-thru locations in Alberta, while supplies last. No purchase necessary. See for more information.

More information