The message below is being shared on behalf of Dr. Mark Abrahams, vice-president (academic), pro tempore, and Kent Decker, vice-president (administration and finance).
As previously announced, the initiative to return staff to all Memorial’s campuses has resumed, with a planned full-time return on Monday, Feb. 1.
Memorial’s campuses are safe. The university has followed all public health guidelines and implemented measures to ensure the return to campus is a positive experience.
Please review the detailed update below for more information.
Timing of return
The health and safety of the campus community continues to lead decision-making.
When the original return to campus plan was announced in November, it included a gradual approach with the intention of further expansion in 2021.
The short spike in cases in November did not continue and has since decreased. Based on the original timeline for further on-campus expansion in winter 2021, Memorial is implementing a full return to campus in February.
This expanded on-campus arrangement applies to all staff.
There are limited exceptions based on density requirements, medical accommodations, work from home pilot programs and business continuity planning for essential functions and services.
Faculty have had access to their offices since early in the summer and their terms of employment do not specify their hours or location of work.
Memorial’s COVID-19 website has been updated with detailed FAQs to answer common questions that staff may have. Please review this information and discuss any questions or concerns with your supervisor.
At this time, all employees should work with their supervisor to determine their individual plan to return to campus.
For example, some units may consider bringing employees back to campus earlier than Feb. 1 to reduce elevator and corridor congestion on that day or may stagger return to offices to have everyone back and operational by that date.
If any employee needs support with moving equipment from home to their office, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 864-7600.
If you need support with IT equipment and setting up your office, please contact email@example.com or 864-4595.
There will be limited food services available on Feb. 1. Work is ongoing to increase the services available to a normal level.
On Feb. 1 the following services will be available on the St. John’s campus:
- University Centre (UC): The seating area in the UC, with safety protocols in place, will be available for staff use. There will be food services at Mustang Sally’s (hours will be announced before Feb. 1). Mustang Sally’s will not be open under the brand name and franchise, but the location will serve drinks, coffee and food.
- The Attic is open in the UC from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. daily. Snacks, soft drinks and bottled drinks are available for purchase.
- The Memorial University Bookstore is open in the UC from 11 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday-Friday.
- Vending machines will be stocked and available throughout campus.
Grenfell Campus does not have food services available at this time.
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.
Please review this health and safety moment regarding food and beverages on campus.
Information about other common spaces, such as lunchrooms, is provided in the FAQ.
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.
Building and tunnel access
All buildings, tunnels and pedways will be open from 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m. on week days.
Offices should be open and accessible to the groups and students they serve, although virtual meetings are still preferred.
If an area/faculty/building wishes to remain under limited access, they must email that request to firstname.lastname@example.org where it will be reviewed in collaboration with Facilities Management.
While health and safety guidelines for face-to-face meetings are available, employees should continue to engage in meetings via WebEx wherever possible.
When a face-to-face meeting is preferred, all invitees should be given the opportunity to decline the request and attend the meeting virtually.
Health and safety
A density calculator is available online to determine the maximum capacity of on-campus spaces.
In some cases, a deviation to the density calculator may be reasonable based on health and safety controls. In this case, please contact email@example.com to review limits, numbers and controls.
When on campus, employees should treat it the same as other public locations and take necessary precautions including:
- Following public health guidelines;
- Completing the daily self-assessment (also available in the MUN Safe app) before coming to campus;
- Wearing a mask in all public spaces and common areas, or any time two-metres physical distance cannot be maintained;
- Reviewing and following all posted signage;
- Maintaining physical distancing;
- Washing or sanitizing hands on a regular basis (note: there are sanitization stations set up at the main entrance of buildings), and;
- Staying home when sick.
Memorial also encourages faculty, staff and students to download the COVID Alert app to help protect yourself and others. The app is designed to let Canadians know whether they may have been exposed to COVID-19.
Empathy during this transition is crucial.
Some employees may require COVID-19 related accommodations or may have heightened anxiety around the return to campus.
There are resources available through Memorial’s Employee Assistance Program, to help make the transition easier on those who are struggling.
The transition back to our workplace is reflective of what has already happened at similar organizations in the Atlantic region and in the province.
COVID-19 risk levels are low in Newfoundland and Labrador. The number of active COVID-19 cases in the province remains low and a vaccine administration program is underway.
The return to campus plan will be continually monitored. At any point, Memorial could quickly revert back to a remote work environment.
Such a decision would be made based on provincial risk levels and the occurrence of community spread.
Thank you in advance for your support, as Memorial returns to a new normal for operations. Memorial employees have shown incredible dedication, professionalism, nimbleness and tenacity during this unprecedented time.
We are eager to welcome you back to campus.