Tips to clarify current safety measures with faculty and staff

29 October 2020

Increasing COVID-19 rates have led to tighter safety measures on campus. Beginning October 26, 2020, non-medical masks are required in all classrooms, labs, and meeting rooms, even when you can maintain a physical distance of more than two metres from others. Campus safety is a shared responsibility, however the volume and scope of information about COVID-19 that we all see every day can be overwhelming. You can provide simple, straightforward reminders to colleagues and students on campus about our safety protocols.

Tips on approach:

  1. Know the rules. Review and stay up-to-date with the campus Safety Measures General Directives.
  2. Stay calm and approach with compassion. New habits (like wearing a mask to work) take time to adopt. Acknowledge their viewpoint. Approach individuals how you would like to be approached: non-confrontationally and with kindness. Tone can also make a difference. Don’t engage with aggressive behaviours.
  3. Start with awareness. Focus on guiding and informing. You could acknowledge that measures may be misinterpreted, forgotten or missed.
  4. Reinforce consistent and verified U of A information. Refer to the U of A’s COVID-19 Information website uab.ca/covid19 for campus COVID updates, or uab.ca/hours for building hours and places to sit.
  5. De-escalate by suggesting feedback. If someone challenges a policy, citing an inconsistency or loophole, do your best to advise them of the correct policy and direct them to send their feedback to the Public Health Response Team at phrtinfo@ualberta.ca.

Examples of ways to clarify current safety measures with faculty and staff:

No mask | Did you forget your mask today? They are required in this area. If you don’t have one, there are masks available at the Bookstore in SUB and in campus vending machines.

Masks outdoors | If you’re less than two metres from other people outdoors who are not in your social cohort, don’t forget to put your mask on or take a few steps further apart. It’s a campus safety protocol, and it will keep you safe.

Designated eating areas
| Just a reminder, if you’re not actively eating or drinking, wearing a mask is still needed in this area. Thank you.

Mask exceptions
| Ok, thanks for letting me know. Without a mask, don’t forget to keep at least two metres away (length of a hockey stick) from other people—more if you can. Thank you.

Physical distancing
| Even small actions, like moving an extra seat or a few steps further apart, can help you be safe. You might feel comfortable, but we have to keep in mind our fellow students/colleagues as well when we’re sharing physical spaces.

The pandemic has had a mental and emotional toll on many of us. Fear and anxiety about COVID-19 and its impact can be stressful, overwhelming and cause strong emotions. Sharing those fears and concerns with someone can be very helpful in increasing resilience and managing our emotions. Please remind faculty and staff members they have access to the Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) at 780-428-7587. The program is available 24/7 and is completely confidential in nature.