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Update on working remotely and developing return to campus plans

Category:To: All employees
May 25, 2020

Further to the president’s message in Ryerson Today on May 14, we’d like to share with you some of the work being done to plan and prepare for a gradual return to campus in alignment with government regulations. Human Resources (HR) and Facilities Management and Development (FMD) are focused on planning for the workforce and preparing the workplace. As part of this, we are consulting across the university with leaders, unions and the Joint Health and Safety Committee.

The safety of our faculty, staff and students is paramount, and our community’s wellbeing will be front of mind as we make decisions about returning to campus. We are working on university-wide standards and protocols that can then be applied locally in departments and faculties, with the ongoing support of HR and FMD.

Planning for the workforce

Consistent with the government’s plans for reopening the economy, returning to campus will not be as simple as flipping a switch. Ryerson will be adopting a phased approach in which remote work will continue to be a core strategy to maintain physical distancing requirements and prevent the spread of infection.

Please note that at this time the university remains under an essential services model on-campus. Remote work arrangements continue, and we anticipate these will be ongoing for some time. 

Preparing the workplace

FMD is developing plans to prepare our spaces to support a gradual return to campus, including disinfection and enhanced cleaning protocols to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The strategy will be based on priority areas identified by the Executive Group and the Scenario Planning Group. In addition, the university will be following public health guidelines to assess the requirements for personal protective equipment and we are looking into coordinated purchasing.

We ask that leaders please do not implement physical changes to your workspace at this time. 

Returning to research labs

Facilities and the Office of the Vice-President Research and Innovation (OVPRI) are currently working on protocols to ensure that any research facilities that are approved to reopen are done so in a safe manner. In many cases, labs require pre-start inspections to ensure electrical and mechanical systems are up and running and that facilities are cleaned for reentry. Researchers will be required to ensure that proper plans are formulated and put into place to follow current public health guidelines before they will be approved to return to their research spaces. Please refer to the COVID-19: SRC-Related Updates page for the latest information.

Stay tuned for more information

We are expecting to receive guidelines and recommendations from the Council of Ontario Universities soon which will help inform what we implement for Ryerson.

We will also continue to follow the provincial government’s directives that workplaces only reopen when they are fully prepared.

As more concrete guidelines on returning to campus are developed, we will continue to update Ryerson’s COVID-19 website and communicate with you by email. 

Thank you to everyone for your continued patience and commitment to continuing the work of Ryerson.