Frequently asked questions

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1. What does all staff return to campus mean?

Employees returned to campus on a full-time basis on July 13, 2021. 

The only exceptions to this initiative are:

  • Employees who are participating in a work from home pilot program
  • Employees with approved accommodations through Human Resources

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

Employees and units are not required to submit health and safety plans. Contractors do require a health and safety plan. Please contact

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

All buildings, tunnels and pedways are open from 7 a.m.-5 p.m. on weekdays.

Offices should be open and accessible to the groups and students they serve, although virtual meetings are still encouraged.

Some on campus service units that would normally be open with full access to the internal university community or students may be by appointment only or virtual. Please make contact with the unit or check respective webpages for service hours and directions. Individuals with questions about their own unit should discuss with their supervisor. If an area/faculty/building wishes to remain under limited access they must email that request to 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. 

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

Some on campus service units that would normally be open with full access to the internal university community or students may be by appointment only or virtual. Please make contact with the unit or check respective webpages for service hours and directions.

5. What do I need to do before returning?

A checklist has been prepared to help employees prepare for return to campus. 


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

There are services available. 

  • The University Centre seating area is set up for staff to use the space while maintaining safety protocols. Within the University Centre:
    • Secret Sandwich Society: 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). 
    • The Roastery in the University Centre. They will be open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. The Roastery is an extension of the locally owned 7th Wave Craft Roasted Coffee. Offering a full line of espresso-based drinks, lattes, cappuccinos, brewed coffee and organic teas in addition to baked goods, soups, salads, sandwiches, sausage rolls and pretzel dogs. 
    • Tim Horton's in the Arts and Administration building 8 a.m-2:30 p.m. daily.
    • 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 began renewals on July 5 and will be effective Sept. 1. The cost will be prorated for the remainder of the year. 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 until Sept. 1. 

Grenfell Campus permit renewals are available for purchase through the Grenfell Campus Bookstore. Marine Institute permit renewals will begin on July 13 through the Marine Institute Cashier’s Office.

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 . What do I do?

Supervisors and Human Resources are working together to provide resources to support employees. 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.

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

Lunchrooms are open and we encourage supervisors to ensure these rooms 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
  • 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 if my group cannot meet the density requirements?

Based on the current density requirements, these cases should be very rare. If a group cannot meet density requirements for areas (i.e. shared spaces with cubicles), please contact Environmental Health and Safety. In some cases, a deviation to the density calculator may be reasonable based on health and safety controls. In this case, please contact to review limits, numbers and controls. If staff on the St. John’s campus have to use a hybrid model, please email 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.

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

The use of masks indoors at Memorial University campuses and locations is mandatory.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. I am immunocompromised as a result of a pre-existing medical condition (or someone within my household) and want an accomodation am I required to complete a medical accommodation request form?

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.

6. 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. 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.

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

Requirements for rotational workers and self-isolation depends on travel and vaccination status. Follow public health guidelines issued by the Chief Medical Officer of Health.

8. 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 about working remotely while symptomatic. Attendance must still be managed in consultation with Human Resources.

9. Public Health has advised me that I should be tested for COVID-19. Should I come to work while awaiting the test results?

If Public Health advises you to get tested for COVID-19, please do not come to campus, your office or field work prior to the test or until after you have received a negative test result. Public Health will provide the most comprehensive guidance and Memorial University follows their direction. Employees are encouraged to work with their supervisor to see if they can work remotely during this time. If remote work is not feasible, employees will be required to use sick leave.

Test results are usually made available 24-72 hours after the test. Individuals will be contacted by Public Health if they test positive. If there are any further questions or advice is needed, please contact your HR advisor with employment related questions or the Office of the Chief Risk Officer with health and safety related questions.

Public Health strongly encourages everyone to download COVID Alert to help reduce the spread of the virus.

10. If someone in my household is awaiting test results, can I come to work?

You should follow the advice of Public Health. This is dependant on the reason for COVID-19 testing. Testing may be conducted due to travel, vaccination status or development of symptoms. Refer to requirements on self-isolation in the above question.

Looking ahead

1. Under what conditions could the return to campus be changed 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

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 July 13. 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 2020, I feel that my unit is able to work from home on a permanent basis. How should I proceed?

Currently the university is not accepting new proposals into the pilot work at home project. If this is something unit heads would like to explore (deans, directors, associate vice-presidents), first discuss the possibility of a future 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 in the future.



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