Frequently asked questions

Browse return to work FAQs by category

Return logistics

1. What does all staff return to campus mean?

Rather than a gradual return to campus, leaders should prepare to return on a full-time basis on Feb. 1, 2021. This does not apply to staff already working on campus or those scheduled to return prior to Feb. 1.

The only exceptions to this initiative are:

  • Employees who are participating in a work from home pilot program;
  • Employees with medical accommodations;
  • Employees working in areas where density requirements cannot be met (in consultation with OCRO); and
  • Business continuity planning for essential functions and services.

To avoid congestion on the first day back, supervisors/units should schedule return of equipment over an appropriate time period prior to and following Feb. 1. If you need support with moving equipment from your home to the office, please contact facman@mun.ca or 864-7600. If you need support with IT equipment and setting up your office, please contact help@mun.ca or 864-4595.

2. Are health and safety plans necessary for return to campus?

Employees and units are not required to submit health and safety plans. However, all employees are to submit a form confirming their understanding of the controls in place and their requirements for managing the risks of COVID-19. This form is available online and must be completed before Feb. 1.

Contractors do require a health and safety plan. Please contact health.safety@mun.ca.

3. What buildings will be open on campus? What does access look like?

All buildings, tunnels and pedways will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays. If an area/faculty/building wishes to remain under limited access they must email that request to CRO@mun.ca where it will be reviewed in collaboration with Facilities Management. Employees can use key or card access or contact CEP for after hours building access if preferred for setting up their offices. 

4. Are offices for instance, general offices or offices that require internal ‘service’ open to the internal university community and/or to the public?

Offices should be open and accessible to the groups, and students they serve. This will be based on business requirements. Because the campus is a private facility with public access it is very difficult to limit access. We ask the general public to visit Memorial only for required tasks.


Services

1. What services including food services will be available on campus?

There will be limited services available. As times goes on, Memorial hopes to increase the services available to our campus communities.

On Feb. 1 the following services will be on the St. John’s campus:

  • The University Centre seating area is set up for staff to use the space while maintaining safety protocols. Within the University Centre:
  • Coffee, beverages and food at the Mustang Sally’s location (note: Mustang Sally’s will not be open under that brand name and with the usual menu). Hours of operation will be shared prior to Feb. 1.
  • The Attic is open from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. daily. The Attic contains snacks, mail stamps, soft drinks and bottled drinks.
  • Memorial University Bookstore is open Monday- Friday from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Vending machines will be available throughout campus. Users are expected to use hand sanitizer before and after using the machine.

The Marine Institute’s cafeteria is operating 8 a.m.-2 p.m. with a hot lunch available 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Seating is limited to 45 people.

More information about food service at Grenfell Campus will be shared when it becomes available.

2. What parking services will be available? Do I require a permit?

As previously communicated, parking permits on the St. John’s and Signal Hill campuses are being waived for the remaining winter semester. Permits are required in parking areas 60, 30, 27, 1, 25, 28, 20 and 4 on the St. John’s campus, but are free of charge.

Grenfell Campus and Marine Institute will issue permits, but there will be no charge. Meter and pay-per use lots are still in effect and being enforced, so please do not park there unless you have paid.

3. I am experiencing a high degree of uncertainty, worry, anxiety and stress about my health and safety as well as that of my loved ones when I return to work on campus. What do I do?

Supervisors and Human Resources will work together to provide resources to support employees through the return to campus plan. All reasonable efforts will be made to ensure employees feel as safe as possible. Newfoundland and Labrador has a low level of risk based on the number of COVID-19 cases in the province. If you are concerned about your personal stress and well-being as we commence this return to campus, there are a number of resources available to you. The Human Resources website has information to support physical and mental wellness, which includes links to videos, an exercise directory, webinars, community resources, etc. Additionally information about ergonomics, leave benefits, mask wearing, physical and mental wellness, tips for interviewers, etc. can be found here.

Employees are also encouraged to reach out to local services listed here or employees covered under the university’s health plan are encouraged to contact Memorial’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provided by Morneau Shepell. For immediate, confidential support, please call 1-800-387-4765 (TTY Service 1-877-388-0275).

Those employees with a chronic mental illness that precludes them from safely returning to campus are referred to the workplace accommodation process and will not be expected to return to campus until that process is finalized.


Common areas and meetings

1. How will I know the capacity for meeting rooms, lunchrooms and common areas

Maximum occupancy signage is available from Print Services. Occupancy levels should be determined and assigned by using the density calculator and adjusted as risk levels change. Supervisors are responsible for ensuring the common areas in their units have been analyzed and signage posted prior to Feb. 1.

2. Will lunchrooms and other common spaces be open? Is it advisable to open these spaces?

Lunchrooms will be open and we encourage supervisors to ensure these rooms to have maximum occupancy numbers posted on the doors. It is safe to open these spaces as there are considerable controls in place to reduce risk. Moreover, it’s important for employees to have access to these facilities to ensure their comfort while on campus. Some of the controls in place include:

  • Posted density limits
  • Requirement for masks to be worn (unless eating).
  • Hand sanitizer available.
  • Approved cleaning products available to disinfect high-touch items before and after their use
  • Memorial discourages communal food to minimize cross contact.

For more information, please review the health and safety moment about meals and beverages on campus.

3. I have been asked to attend a meeting in person, but I am concerned about physical distancing and exposure. What should I do?

While health and safety guidelines for meetings are available, employees should continue to conduct meetings via WebEx wherever possible including group meetings and job interviews. While face-to-face meetings may be preferred on occasion, these decisions should ensure that all invitees are given the opportunity to decline such a request without retribution given their personal preference and comfort level. All in person meetings must adhere to health and safety protocols.


General Health and Safety

1. What are the density or business considerations that could require a hybrid model of working from home and on campus?

The public health guidelines for physical distancing mean keeping our distance from one another. Some work areas that were acceptable pre-pandemic do not allow for safe physical distancing today. The COVID-19 website outlines the density requirements for most on-campus spaces. Where it is not possible for employees to share space, leaders are encouraged to find alternative space or develop a schedule that maximizes staff time on campus.

Additionally, business continuity plans may require units to utilize a hybrid model to ensure continuity of essential functions and services.

2. What if my group cannot meet the density requirements?

If a group cannot return to campus based on the density requirements for areas (ie shared spaces with cubicles) then it is up to the supervisor to fulfill business requirements while maximizing employee time on campus. In some cases, a deviation to the density calculator may be reasonable based on health and safety controls. In this case, please contact health.safety@mun.ca to review limits, numbers and controls. If staff on the St. John’s campus have to use a hybrid model, please email CRO@mun.ca with the:

  • Department
  • Office location, including room number
  • Position title
  • Schedule of time on campus and at home

This information will be shared with the appropriate vice-president for monitoring and evaluation of the return to campus program.

3. What expectations and protocols regarding masks and enforcement of mask usage is in place?

Masks must be worn in public spaces and common areas or anytime two-meter physical distance cannot be maintained while at university facilities or while conducting Memorial business off-campus. For directions on proper use of masks, please view this video. More information is available here.

4. Are ‘sign-ins’ required for the purposes of contract tracing for anyone visiting from other units or from the general public?

All offices must keep a list of all visitors who visit in person. Additionally, Memorial has endorsed the federal COVID Alert app and encourages all employees to download it.

5. What enhanced cleaning protocols are in place?

Since the start of the pandemic, Facilities Management has implemented enhanced cleaning protocols, which can be found here. Additionally, units are encouraged to provide hand sanitizer and cleaning products for shared equipment and frequently touched surfaces. These supplies are available to units through the strategic procurement office.

6. I am immunocompromised as a result of a pre-existing medical condition (or someone within my household), am I required to complete a medical accommodation request form?

Yes, any individual who identifies that they have (or someone within their household has) a compromised immune system, should complete a medical accommodation request form. Medical accommodation requests will be assessed and evaluated by the Department of Human Resources in consultation with Memorial’s disability consultant. All medical accommodation request forms must be supported by medical documentation acceptable to the university.

Employees with an outstanding medical accommodation request will not be expected to return to work on campus until the accommodation process is finalized.

7. I (or any member of my household) have one or more risk factors, such as age, gender respiratory illness, use of certain medications, associated with severe illness if I contract COVID-19. Can I continue to work from home full-time?

Employees with valid medical accommodation requests will be assessed. However, risk factors alone would not automatically qualify an employee for an accommodation. Significant measures and protocols are in place to help protect all employees working on campus. A decision to return to campus was made because it’s determined to be safe to do so as determined by our Environmental Health and Safety team and in consultation with provincial public health officials. Employees with any specific concerns about their workplace should discuss these with their supervisor. All reasonable efforts will be made to add additional measures as needed to alleviate any safety concerns in the workplace.

8. A member of my household is a rotational worker, am I able to continue to work on campus when they return home?

Yes, as per the public health guidelines issued by the Chief Medical Officer of Health, household members may continue to interact with others outside their household while the rotational worker is in self-isolation.

9. I have completed the daily self-assessment and cannot report to campus as I have a COVID-19 related symptom (e.g. headache or sore throat). Am I expected to work from home?

Employees who would have reported to work prior to COVID-19 with a mild cough or head cold should remain at home and use sick leave. If an employee is feeling well enough to work, and has the necessary equipment at home to do so, they should consult with their supervisor abou working remotely while symptomatic. Attendance must still be managed in consultation with Human Resources.


Looking ahead

1. Under what conditions could the return to campus be changed, delayed or even cancelled?

The return to campus plan is dynamic and is dependent on the number of COVID-19 cases in the areas and communities of Memorial University campuses. Return to campus has the potential to change at any time based on:

  1. Exponential growth of cases in the region
  2. Community transmission
  3. Public health advice
  4. Changes in provincial COVID-19 alert level

2. If there is adverse weather, will the university close for a snow day?

There are some changes to Memorial’s typical process for adverse weather. In the event of severe weather, access will be restricted at the St. John’s, Signal Hill and Marine Institute campuses. Regularly scheduled on-campus classes and activities will be cancelled. Remote and online classes will continue. 

Prior to Feb. 1, employees who are working remotely will continue to do so while access is restricted to campus. After Feb. 1, employees will follow the usual snow day process for their unit.

In the event of adverse weather that leads to widespread power outages in the region, the university will announce both restrictions to campus access as well as suspension of remote activities (online and remote courses).

All members of the Memorial community are encouraged to download the MUN Safe app for up-to-date information about weather-related closures and other emergency information.


Work from home

1. I am productive working from home on a full-time basis. Can I continue to work from home?

All staff are expected to return to campus as of Feb. 1. It is safe to return and there are benefits for doing so. Bringing staff back to campus will help to:

  • Increase support levels in an orderly manner to fulfill the academic mission
  • Aid socio-economic recovery throughout the province in the longer term
  • Alleviate mental health concerns, anxiety and equity issues in a controlled and monitored approach.

The work from home pilot now underway, and the work from home policy under development may lead to future opportunities. More information will be shared when it becomes available but at this time, all staff are expected to return to campus.

2. Based on our experiences since March, I feel that my unit is able to work from home on a permanent basis. How should I proceed?

It is important that all unit heads (deans, directors, associate vice-presidents) first discuss the possibility of a pilot work from home project on a long-term basis with the senior leader responsible for their unit (vice-president or president). Any work from home proposal is intended to go beyond the pandemic and will not be considered for only the timeframe of the pandemic. There is no current work from home policy, and with the approval of the applicable VP, Human Resources will work with units that wish to pursue this pilot option over the next number of months.

Contact

COVID-19

230 Elizabeth Ave, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1B 3X9

Postal Address: P.O. Box 4200, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1C 5S7

Tel: (709) 864-8000