Managing safe returns to campus


Work for most employees must continue remotely to minimize the number of people on our campuses to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and allow us to manage the health and safety of those who need to be working in person with the limited resources we have available.

The only exceptions are: 

  • approved essential services on campuses
  • approved research activities that cannot be conducted remotely
  • approved in-person teaching exceptions
  • approved limited work exceptions on campus (e.g., access to equipment or inadequate work space at home)
Please see the Safety Measures General Directives for the circumstances under which teams can return to campus now.

Activities on our campuses will resume gradually. While many are looking forward to returning to normal operations, the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff is our top priority. 

Planning for return to campus

Essential 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 areas such as infrastructure maintenance, animal care, hazard risk management, security, and health care. Talk to your HR partner if you are unsure if your employees’ work falls into this category.

Managing employees working on campus

Employee is concerned about getting COVID-19 by coming to work

Listen to and discuss their concerns with empathy. Share your solutions for safety and welcome their input. Review the health and safety measures the university and your department are taking.

Learn about your role in hazard identification and employee work refusal in the “If an employee refuses to return to work” section of the Engaging employees page.

Employee has medical condition that increases risk
  • Discuss the employee’s concern with empathy. Employees are not required to disclose their condition.
  • Encourage employees to discuss the concern with their physician.
  • If the employee is working on campus, discuss alternatives to modify work to decrease exposure.
  • If modified duties are not appropriate, consider assigning work/duties that can be done remotely.
  • Discuss options with your HR Partner.
Employee feels ill
Employee tests positive for COVID-19 or may have been exposed

Alberta Health Services will alert the appropriate people as quickly as possible if a confirmed COVID-19 case is identified.

The privacy and protection of an individual’s personal and health information continues to apply. Managers and supervisors must not share the identity of any staff member who may be impacted (e.g., isolated, being tested, confirmed diagnosis, etc.). An individual may share their personal and/or health information with colleagues, and managers and supervisors may be in a position where many staff are already aware of a situation/individual, however, managers/supervisors are required to maintain privacy.

Employee is directed to self-isolate, but is not ill

Explore options for working from home with full or modified duties. Consult your HR Partner for directions related to casual employees.

Employees returning from travel outside of Canada

Ask employees to self-isolate for 14 days. Explore options for working from home with full or modified duties.