On March 29 Memorial changed the status of the COVID Impact Scale to low, based on the low number of COVID-19 cases in Newfoundland and Labrador.
While the province has continued to see low case counts and strong public health measures since that time, there are no plans to change Memorial’s current operations.
Faculty and staff who need to be on campus include those who cannot complete the majority of their responsibilities while working remotely, who require access to specialized equipment/files, or those required to support operational requirements. It also includes those whose mental and/or physical well-being are at risk due to remote work. Staff require approval from their supervisor before returning to on-campus work.
Under some circumstances, staff may be required to be on campus to support necessary services, including preparing for the planned return of on-campus instruction in fall 2021.
Employees and students who can work or study from home should continue to do so. This ensures that those who need to be on campus have the safest possible environment in which to work.
There are extensive controls in place to ensure the safety of students, staff and faculty who have returned to campus. These include the use of non-medical masks in public areas, enhanced cleaning protocols, staying home when sick and social distancing requirements. More information about these controls is available online.
Anticipated full return
Based on the provincial government’s vaccination roll-out plan, it is anticipated that all eligible members of the community who wish to be vaccinated will have their first dose by July 2021.
With that in mind, and the anticipated return of students in September, supervisors and employees should begin to plan for a return to working on campus in between June and August.
As noted above, some employees may be required on campus prior to that in order to support operational requirements and Memorial’s core mandate.
Living with COVID-19
“At this point we are in a race between COVID-19 (and variants) and the vaccine, and we are nearing the end,” said Greg McDougall, chief risk officer.
“The only way to return to some level of normalcy is through vaccinations. We are encouraging everyone able and willing to get the vaccination to do so when it is their opportunity. However, it is important to recognize that we will most likely be living with COVID and public health restrictions until 2022.”
Work is ongoing to determine the best way to minimize risk to campus communities while ensuring the teaching, learning, research and public engagement activities of the university continue.
This includes regular consultation with the provincial Public Health department as well as collaboration with Memorial’s faculty experts.