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COVID-19 update for staff

Category:To: All staff CC: Leaders
January 13, 2021

In addition to  (PDF file) new orders from Toronto Public Health regarding workplace safety last week (external link) , on January 12, the provincial government issued a Stay-at-Home Order for Ontario (external link) , effective Thursday, January 14. While the new orders are largely consistent with Ryerson’s current processes, we are providing updates on new directives and reiterating key workplace safety provisions, per direction from Toronto Public Health to all employers. 

As a reminder, you should not be coming to campus during this time, unless the nature of your work can only be completed from campus. 

Confirming whether you are required to work on campus

With the implementation of the stay-at-home order as of January 14, 2021, the provincial government has indicated there will be increased enforcement of the directives, including in workplaces.

In cases where you may have received specific approval from senior leaders to access campus during the period of remote work, please reconfirm that these duties cannot be completed remotely.

Given the possibility of increased enforcement, please work with your leaders who will provide you with a letter or email with your supervisor’s name, title, and contact information, which you may present if asked to show proof that your position requires you to leave your home for work. A brief letter could include, for example, "The Employee is permitted and authorized to attend work at Ryerson University as the nature of their work requires them to be on-site at the workplace."

Additional reminders for employees required to be on campus

If you are an employee who is required to continue to come to campus, please be reminded of important processes that Ryerson has implemented to limit the spread of COVID-19 in your areas, including: 

  • Following physical distancing guidelines. 
    • Note that Toronto Public Health has recently reinforced direction to ensure physical distancing of employees takes place by at least two metres throughout the workplace and during eating and rest periods (e.g., lunchrooms, change rooms, washrooms). 
  • Wearing a mask when required while on campus as outlined by the Mask Use Guidelines
    • Note that the new order requires masks to be worn at all times while indoors (including in offices) and recommends masks be worn outdoors if physical distancing of two metres cannot be maintained. The mask policy will be updated to reflect this. 
  • Completing Ryerson’s health screening form prior to attending campus each day.
  • Reviewing information on what to do if you feel unwell while on campus.

Please also ensure you have reviewed the information about Planning for a Gradual Return to Campus online and confirm any department-specific guidelines with your leaders, such as department-specific contact tracing logs. 

If you are unable to attend work due to COVID-19 related illness or isolation requirements 

To encourage transparent reporting and limit further spread of COVID-19, we want to ensure that all employees are aware of their access to sick leave provisions in the event you are unwell or required to isolate due to COVID-19. 

  • If you are experiencing symptoms then sick leave provisions apply.
    • If you have exhausted sick leave provisions, a leave with pay will apply.
    • If you have not yet earned sick leave provisions, a leave with pay will apply or sick leave provisions granted.
  • If you are not experiencing symptoms and have to isolate, and your duties can be completed remotely, please work with your leader to continue to work remotely. 
    • If you and your leader determine you cannot perform your duties remotely then sick leave provisions apply or a leave with pay if you have exhausted your sick leave entitlement.

In these circumstances, please work with your leaders to coordinate as needed.

Additionally, if you have been on campus in the past 14 days, please also review information for employees on reporting COVID-19 cases to determine if you should submit  (google form) Ryerson’s Self-Declaration form (external link) .

If you are concerned about balancing dependent care with extended school closures 

While you may have already adopted flexible work practices, speak with your leader if you need further support, which might include:

  • Adjusting start or end times of your workday.
  • Splitting the workday to take a larger break in the middle of the day.
  • Adjusting workflow and duties to minimize the impact of distractions, for example, reduced meetings and increased project work.
  • Using vacation time, CTO hours and personal/family days for shorter days or weeks.

If you require even more flexibility than is offered above, you may wish to explore an unpaid leave. You may be eligible for federal or provincial wage subsidy programs and/or job-protected leaves, such as the Government of Ontario job-protected Infectious Disease Emergency Leave (IDEL) (external link)  and the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) (external link) .

Please note that unpaid leaves are voluntary, and can be explored together with your leader upon your request.

Thank you for your continued support 

It cannot be overstated that we are continuing to move forward through unprecedented times. Our staff continue to be key to providing support to students during this time and we want to thank you for your continued efforts.

While the majority of our workforce has been able to shift to remote work, we want to acknowledge and express our appreciation to our staff who are required to continue coming to campus. Thank you for ensuring the continuation of critical services on campus.

If you have any questions about remote work and return to campus processes, please connect with your leader.