Working During COVID-19

Phases of transitioning to on-campus work

The transition to on-campus work will be done in a way to ensure the safety of students, faculty and staff, and in accordance with applicable public health measures.

Research Ramp-Up (beginning July 2)

The return to full research activity on university campuses began in July. While physical distancing was not required, mask wearing and hygiene routines continued. A record of all staff working in the lab was maintained for contact tracing purposes. Refer to the COVID-19 Response Information for Researchers and Research Groups for more information.

Critical Services (August 2021 to September 2021)

Roles that were critical to support the reintroduction of in-person activities began to transition in early August, including staff who were engaged in direct support to students. Academic faculty, instructors, and others whose work supported learning activities prepared for the return of students to in-person learning. Joining staff who worked on our campuses throughout the pandemic, these faculty and staff helped to welcome our students back to campus life.

State of Public Health Emergency Declared (September 2021)

A state of public health emergency was declared on September 16. Staff whose physical presence is not required (e.g. other than in-person class instruction, in-person medical services, student services, etc.) and who can work from home transitioned to remote service.

Selective Expansion (October 2021 to December 2021)

Once the state of public health emergency is lifted, faculty/unit administrative staff may transition to campus in accordance with applicable public health measures. In particular, staff whose work will be enhanced by in-person delivery of service to leaders, administrators, faculty, instructors, and fellow staff members will be welcomed to campus.

Full Return (January 2022)

At this time, we anticipate that wherever possible all staff will return to on-campus work by the end of January.

Staff Who Wish to Continue Working from Home

During the phased transition to campus, employees may continue to work from home subject to administrative, operational, and academic program requirements. Speak to your supervisor about whether this could be an option.

A formal work from home program will be introduced this fall to align with the full transition to campus in January 2022. Employees who wish to continue to work from home on an ongoing basis will be able to discuss with their manager or supervisor for consideration.

  • Applications will be assessed based on operational needs. Some roles may not be suitable for remote work and therefore excluded from eligibility.
  • All approved requests will include a trial period and a regular review schedule to ensure operational and employee needs are met.
  • There will be a requirement for occasional ongoing in-person presence in the workplace.
  • All work from home arrangements must be in compliance with collective agreements and legislation.
  • Guidelines for the program, including the application procedure, will be shared this fall.

Staff Accommodations

If you have a medical condition that may impact your transition to in-person work, or require alternate work arrangements due to personal health conditions, you may seek temporary medical accommodations or permanent medical accommodations.

If you require alternate work arrangements for reasons other than your own health, including residing with a person who may be at risk for health complications, speak with your supervisor. Your supervisor will work with your HR Service Partner to explore options.

Balancing work and personal responsibilities

Flexible Work Arrangements

The goal of the university is to support all employees in fulfilling their personal and work commitments during these uncertain times. If you need flexibility with your schedule in order to meet your personal or family obligations while working from home, talk to your manager or supervisor, department chair, or director.

Managing childcare or family caregiving
  • Consider all reasonable options for alternative family obligations; expect to outline what you have explored to your supervisor.
  • Discuss options with your supervisor for modified hours or duties, and if you are working on campus, discuss working from home.
  • If you are unable to work due to childcare or other family or personal responsibilities, you may use vacation accrual, banked time, or request leave without pay.
Caring for someone with COVID-19
  • Stay home and take all reasonable precautions to protect yourself while you care for the person. Contact Health Link at 811 for advice. 
  • Contact your supervisor to advise them of the reason for your absence. Discuss options for working from home with your supervisor.
  • Leave provisions as per the collective agreement or terms and conditions of employment (e.g. compassionate leave) will be applied.
  • You may use vacation accrual or banked time, or request leave without pay.

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Can't find what you're looking for? Ask us at hrs.covid19@ualberta.ca.