Saskatchewan Health Authority

View SHA's most recent news updates.

July

Updated on-campus mask use mandate

All faculty, staff, students and visitors will be required to wear 3-ply single-use masks in all indoor spaces on USask campuses in Saskatoon, Regina and Prince Albert. Beginning July 11, masks will no longer be required in outdoor locations on all USask campuses, except for prescribed activities, like Kids Camps, for example. 

While the Government of Saskatchewan is easing its mandatory mask mandate, USask's masking guidelines will remain in place until August 31. These guidelines will be reviewed prior to the end of August and any changes will be communicated with the campus community.

COVID-19 vaccinations and rapid screening tests available at USask

USask students, faculty and staff can book COVID-19 vaccination and COVID-19 rapid screening test appointments at the Student Wellness Centre. To find out if you meet the eligibility requirements for the vaccine and the screening test, visit the Student Wellness Centre webpage.

Campus/Field Activity or Campus Access Requests 

As of July 19, the Campus Access Request form will no longer be required for the following activities:

  • Operations, including contractors and projects hiring contractors
  • In-person meetings
  • Research activity, including service technician/equipment maintenance visits
  • Office access
  • Video recording
  • Retrieval of items
  • Teaching and learning 

The Campus Access Request application forms will still be required for:

  • Large events (more than 150 people) 
  • Activities involving non-USask personnel working, visiting, or attending campus

Fit Centre reopening July 15 to USask employees

USask Rec is excited to welcome back USask employees on July 15, 2021.

This includes weight room access and fitness classes at the Physical Activity Complex. 

At this time, we continue to allow students to secure one-hour time slots, up to three days in advance, to ensure we are able to offer a safe and hygienic space to exercise within the limited capacity. As employees begin using USask Rec along with students, and will continue to re-evaluate our capacity numbers weekly with the potential to open more exercise opportunities.

Membership fees will be assessed accordingly. USask Rec staff will work to ensure that memberships held prior to March 16, 2020 will be adjusted in an appropriate manner. If you have questions about your membership, please contact usaskrec@usask.ca.

Enter to win a full-year USask Rec membership! All USask employees who purchase a membership before September 1, 2021, are automatically entered to win a full-year USask Rec membership.

For more information and to review the new protocols for the Fit Centre, please click here.

Changed and removed COVID-19 protocols and processes

As of July 19, the PRT has made the decision to change or remove a number of processes and procedures put in place during the pandemic. As the university continues to gradually reopen, below are upcoming changes. All changes below are in effect on July 19.

The following research labs protocols and procedures have been removed:

  • Laboratory Safety Manual – COVID-19 Pandemic Supplement
  • Lab Cleaning and Disinfection COVID-19 Guidance
  • Lab Notice Signage

 Requirements for the following academic protocols and procedures have been changed:

  • Classroom Disinfection – COVID-19 Guidance
  • Classroom and Academic Lab Operation Manual 

Additionally, the following general campus community protocols and procedures have been removed:

  • Self-Monitoring Checklist/PAWS Pre-screening Log: however, this is a good practice and the continued use of the Daily Health Screening is encouraged although the tool for documentation of the screening will no longer be required
  • Work Location Journal
  • USask Cleaning Log/Cleaning and Disinfectant Log
  • Health Declaration for COVID-19 – For Contractors and Externals
  • COVID-19 Guidelines: Lunchroom and Break Room Use
  • COVID-19 Guidelines: Vehicle Use and Vehicle Shared Use
  • Health Declaration for COVID-19 – For Contractors and Externals

Student #USaskVax week four winners!

The week four winners of the student #USaskvax campaign were selected! Check out the winning submissions and learn how you can participate to win great prizes each week by sharing your vax story!

Share your Vax pics, posts and stories!

As we continue to plan for the fall term, we need your help in encouraging and supporting fellow members of our USask community to “Protect the Pack” and get vaccinated. What does getting a vaccine mean to you? Why is it important to you and USask? Whether you’ve just received your first shot, or are waiting for your second shot, we want to hear from you. Tag your vaccination posts with #protectthepack or #usaskvax, or send us your comments, pics, and videos to covid19@usask.ca 

Stay home if you are feeling sick 

COVID-19 continues to be present in our communities and has likely impacted many of us, our friends, and our families. To continue to reduce the risk of further spread, students, faculty and staff who are on campus are reminded to stay home if they are feeling ill or if someone within their household is suspected or has tested positive for COVID-19. Keep close tabs on your health to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by closely monitoring your symptoms and completing the self-monitoring checklist.

  • Have been symptom-free for at least 48hrs;
  • Have not been in contact with a confirmed positive COVID-19 case; and
  • Have followed all Public Health directions, including completion of self-isolation as directed by Public Health (usually minimum 10-14 days).

More information including an online self-assessment tool is available at covid19.usask.ca/about/safety.php

All Saskatchewan residents 12+ are eligible for their second dose

All Saskatchewan residents 12 years of age and older are eligible to book their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine 28 days after receiving their first dose. Online appointments for COVID-19 vaccinations can be made at StickItToCOVID.ca.

Campus beginning to open, with increased in-person services available

While many university buildings remain closed with access only provided to approved staff, faculty, and grad students, campus access requirements will be eased beginning July 19. While you no longer have to request access to campus through the PRT, you are still encouraged to speak with your direct supervisor prior to accessing campus. In the coming weeks, colleges and units are submitting return to campus plans and more details will be available then.

The current status of many university services including those offering virtual or in-person services is available at covid19.usask.ca/campus-status.php.

June

All Saskatchewan residents 12+ are eligible for their second dose

All Saskatchewan residents 12 years of age and older are eligible to book their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine 28 days after receiving their first dose. Online appointments for COVID-19 vaccinations can be made at StickItToCOVID.ca.

USask sticks it to COVID!

Mirela Violeta David
Assistant Professor
Modern Chinese History | Women and Gender Studies 
Keith A. Willoughby
Dean & Professor of Management Science Edwards School of Business
Anna Thompson
University Library

"I was fortunate to be able to get the second shot of the Pfizer vaccine at the University of Saskatchewan clinic for students, staff and faculty. I wanted to get fully vaccinated to protect my family, myself as well as students. I hope students and members of the community will also get fully vaccinated so we can beat covid and get back to a normal life. Thanks to the University of Saskatchewan for organizing this clinic, and to the staff for efficiently running it and for  giving us a chance to make an appointment on campus."

"Received my 2nd vaccine dose on Monday evening at Prairieland Park!

As one who has enjoyed a career teaching about the elegance of serpentine waiting lines, I was delighted with the efficiency of the Prairieland process."

"Even when you are working from home, it is a great feeling when you are fully vaccinated. Getting the vaccine means I will soon get to hug family members and one step closer to returning to campus.

It is important because leading by example builds trust and helps support those that are vulnerable stay safe until they can be vaccinated – Protect the Pack."

Share your Vax pics, posts and stories!

As we continue to plan for the fall term, we need your help in encouraging and supporting fellow members of our USask community to “Protect the Pack” and get vaccinated. What does getting a vaccine mean to you? Why is it important to you and USask? Whether you’ve just received your first shot, or are waiting for your second shot, we want to hear from you. Tag your vaccination posts with #protectthepack or #usaskvax, or send us your comments, pics, and videos to covid19@usask.ca 

USask’s VIDO announces positive Phase 1 results for COVAC-2

The Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO) announced positive interim results from their Phase 1 clinical trial for COVAC-2, VIDO’s COVID-19 subunit vaccine candidate. The interim data from the study led by the Canadian Centre for Vaccinology (CCfV) demonstrates COVAC-2 is safe and well tolerated. Read more. 

Reminder: Extended July 1 long weekend

To show appreciation to faculty and staff for your commitment and dedication throughout the pandemic, the university is providing an extended July 1 long weekend and will be closed on Friday, July 2. This additional day off is also in lieu of our annual employee appreciation picnic, which we are unable to gather for in-person due to COVID-19 restrictions. 

University buildings remain closed, with some in-person services available

Most university buildings remain closed with access only provided to approved staff, faculty, and grad students, and to students taking an in-person class. The current status of many university services including those offering virtual or in-person services is available at covid19.usask.ca/campus-status.php.

Requests to gain access to university buildings must be submitted through the online Campus Access Request Form.

On campus vaccination clinic

A COVID-19 vaccination clinic will be set up on campus on Wednesday, June 23 and Thursday, 24. Located on the main floor of Place Riel on the USask Saskatoon campus the clinic is offering the Pfizer vaccine with the priority to immunize USask students and USask employees. The first dose of the vaccine is available to all students, staff and faculty, and the second dose is available to those over the age of 40 or anyone who received their first dose of the vaccine on or before May 1.

Vaccines are available by appointment only — walk-ins will not be accepted. Students and employees who are eligible can schedule an appointment by calling the Student Wellness Centre at 306-966-5768.

Appointments at other COVID-19 vaccination clinics located across the province can be scheduled through the provincial government's online booking system.

Extended Canada Day long weekend

To show appreciation to faculty and staff for your commitment and dedication throughout the pandemic, the university is providing an extended Canada Day long weekend and will be closed on Friday, July 2. This additional day off is also in lieu of our annual employee appreciation picnic, which we are unable to gather for in-person due to COVID-19 restrictions. 

Please take this extended time off to rest and recharge. As indicated in the recent employee pandemic engagement and wellness surveys, faculty and staff are feeling the additional burden and increased demands brought on by the pandemic.  

Safely improving the fit of your disposable mask

If you find that your single-use mask fits poorly, double-masking can be a valuable tool in ensuring your mask fits snugly against your face. Double-masking includes a single-use mask as the first layer against the face and a cloth mask overtop as the outside layer. Double-masking, as described by the Centre for Disease Control, is not required when on campus and two disposable masks should never be used at the same time.

A reminder that disposable mask recycling stations have been set up across campus to minimize the environmental impact of using 3-ply single-use masks, keeping them out of the landfill. More information about the new 3-ply single-use masks guidelines is available on the USask COVID-19 website.

USask sticks it to COVID!

SIMONNE HOROWITZ
PROFESSOR
COLLEGE OF ARTS AND SCIENCE
MARK BOLAND
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR
PHYSICS AND ENGINEERING PHYSICS
KATE LANGRELL
COPYRIGHT COORDINATOR
UNIVERSITY LIBRARY

"I’m a Prof in the history department who specializes in the history of medicine and history has shown us over and over again that rigorously tested vaccines like we have for Covid 19 are one of the way out of the pandemic. Everyone who can get their vaccine should!"

"Good luck motivating The Pack!"

"Getting my first shot felt like a huge step toward being able to travel safely and see my family again. My parents and brother live in Manitoba, and this is the longest I’ve ever gone without seeing them. It was important to all of us not to travel, in order to keep each other and others safe, but I can’t wait to see them again once we’re all vaccinated and can travel responsibly!"

Share your Vax pics, posts and stories!

As we continue to plan for the fall term, we need your help in encouraging and supporting fellow members of our USask community to feel confident, “Protect the Pack” and get vaccinated. Vaccinations will play a critical role in allowing many of us to get back to campus this fall as the more of us who are vaccinated, the safer campus will be. What does getting a vaccine mean to you? Why is it important to you and USask? Whether you’ve just received your first shot, or are waiting for your second shot, we want to hear from you. Tag your vaccination posts with #protectthepack or #usaskvax, or send us your comments, pics, and videos to covid19@usask.ca 

USask’s Merlis Belsher Place COVID-19 field hospital to be decommissioned

The decommissioning process of the potential pandemic field hospital at USask's Merlis Belsher Place is expected to begin August 1. Learn more.

Confirmed COVID-19 cases

USask will provide ongoing updates on confirmed positive COVID-19 case numbers associated with the campus community, based on information provided to the university. Due to privacy considerations, only top-line case numbers will be announced on a weekly basis in this update. For the seven-day period ending Friday, June 18, the university has been informed of two positive COVID-19 cases involving members of the university community. 

To ensure the safety of the campus community, an area-specific response and cleaning plan will be completed by the Crisis Operations Team prior to re-opening (if individuals with a positive case had been on campus recently), and the SHA will complete the contact tracing process to identify and directly notify all individuals who may have been exposed to COVID-19. Anyone not contacted directly by SHA is not considered a close contact, and should simply continue to self-monitor for symptoms. 

Updated guidance for international travel 

As Federal, Provincial, and local Public Health authorities ease restrictions relating to COVID-19, USask related travel restrictions will continue to follow the guidance of these authorities. In addition, all proposed travel must be supported by a Travel Request that is approved by the traveller’s supervisor before any travel arrangements are made. More information about USask's inter-provincial and international travel policies and guidlines is avaialble at covid19.usask.ca/info/travellers.php.

University buildings remain closed, with some in-person services available

Most university buildings remain closed with access only provided to approved staff, faculty, and grad students, and to students taking an in-person class. The current status of many university services including those offering virtual or in-person services is available at covid19.usask.ca/campus-status.php.

Requests to gain access to university buildings must be submitted through the online Campus Access Request Form.

COVID-19 second dose vaccination eligibility and special leave

As of 8 am on Thursday, June 10 all individuals 55+ or anyone who received their first dose before April 7 are eligible for their second dose of COVID-19 vaccine. By June 24, every eligible Saskatchewan resident will be able to receive their second vaccine shot, depending on the length of time that has passed since their first shot. Appointments for the first or second dose can be booked online at saskatchewan.ca/COVID19.

A reminder that the Government of Saskatchewan amended The Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, 2020, to incorporate a Special Vaccination Leave. This new provision allows for paid time off from work for employees to be vaccinated for COVID-19. The new section 6-22.1, Special Vaccination Leave, establishes that during the pandemic:

  • Workers are entitled to three consecutive hours leave during work hours to receive a COVID-19 vaccination; or
  • Workers are entitled to a period longer than three consecutive hours, if in the opinion of the employer, the circumstances warrant a longer break from work; and
  • Workers do not lose any pay or other benefits while receiving a COVID-19 vaccination.

Employees are to request time off through established request/approval practices (e.g. requesting time off for a medical appointment), and people leaders are to approve the requested time off (standard of three consecutive hours with the option for a longer period if deemed to be warranted) without loss of pay and without applying any paid entitlements (like sick leave, vacation leave, previously banked OT/additional time, etc.). Should employees’ requests for time off present operational challenges for the college/department/unit, please contact your HR SBA to determine if alternate solutions might exist.

You may develop symptoms after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. It is important to determine whether the symptoms are side effects from the vaccine or symptoms of COVID-19 infection.

The most common symptoms experienced after vaccination include redness at the injection site, fatigue, headache, muscle aches, joint pains and fever. Respiratory symptoms and loss of sense of smell are NOT common side effects of the vaccine. If symptoms begin PRIOR to vaccination, please follow the usual COVID-19 screening and guidance.

To help with tracking symptoms an easy-to-follow flowchart is available that indicates potential vaccine side effects and the appropriate actions to take. More information is also available at covid19.usask.ca.

Share your Vax pics, posts and stories!

As we continue to plan for the fall term, we need your help in encouraging and supporting fellow members of our USask community to feel confident, “Protect the Pack” and get vaccinated. Vaccinations will play a critical role in allowing many of us to get back to campus this fall as the more of us who are vaccinated, the safer campus will be. What does getting a vaccine mean to you? Why is it important to you and USask? Whether you’ve just received your first shot, or are waiting for your second shot, we want to hear from you. Tag your vaccination posts with #protectthepack or #usaskvax, or send us your comments, pics, and videos to covid19@usask.ca 

Smartphone survey to collect Saskatchewan residents’ perception of COVID-19

Thanks in part to a new study launched by USask researchers Saskatchewan residents can give input about COVID-19 public health measures by using their smartphones to respond to a series of five-minute surveys. Learn more.

Confirmed COVID-19 cases

USask will provide ongoing updates on confirmed positive COVID-19 case numbers associated with the campus community, based on information provided to the university. Due to privacy considerations, only top-line case numbers will be announced on a weekly basis in this update. For the seven-day period ending Friday, June 11, the university has been informed of one positive COVID-19 case involving members of the university community. 

To ensure the safety of the campus community, an area-specific response and cleaning plan will be completed by the Crisis Operations Team prior to re-opening (if individuals with a positive case had been on campus recently), and the SHA will complete the contact tracing process to identify and directly notify all individuals who may have been exposed to COVID-19. Anyone not contacted directly by SHA is not considered a close contact, and should simply continue to self-monitor for symptoms. 

Disposable mask recycling stations available on campus

Disposable mask recycling stations have been set up across campus to minimize the environmental impact of using 3-ply single-use masks, keeping them out of the landfill. As a result of previous outbreaks on campus and the rising number of new COVID-19 variants of concern (VoC) cases in the province, single-use 3-ply masks will be mandatory on campus, effective immediately and through this summer. During this time, the masks will be provided by the university as an enhanced health and safety measure, replacing the use of reusable cloth masks in indoor spaces and outdoor spaces when two or more people are together and cannot maintain a minimum of two meters of physical distance. A properly fitted 3-ply mask provides increased filtration and an additional layer of protection to reduce the transmission of COVID-19.

More information about the new 3-ply single-use masks guidelines is available on the USask COVID-19 website.

University buildings remain closed, with some in-person services available

Most university buildings remain closed with access only provided to approved staff, faculty, and grad students, and to students taking an in-person class. The current status of many university services including those offering virtual or in-person services is available at covid19.usask.ca/campus-status.php.

Requests to gain access to university buildings must be submitted through the online Campus Access Request Form.

Disposable mask recycling stations available on campus

Disposable mask recycling stations have been set up across campus to minimize the environmental impact of using 3-ply single-use masks, keeping them out of the landfill. As a result of previous outbreaks on campus and the rising number of new COVID-19 variants of concern (VoC) cases in the province, single-use 3-ply masks will be mandatory on campus, effective immediately and through this summer. During this time, the masks will be provided by the university as an enhanced health and safety measure, replacing the use of reusable cloth masks in indoor spaces and outdoor spaces when two or more people are together and cannot maintain a minimum of two meters of physical distance. A properly fitted 3-ply mask provides increased filtration and an additional layer of protection to reduce the transmission of COVID-19.

More information about the new 3-ply single-use masks guidelines is available on the USask COVID-19 website.

College of Medicine Advancement Team Stick it COVID

Share your Vax pics, posts and stories!

As we continue to plan for the fall term, we need your help in encouraging and supporting fellow members of our USask community to feel confident, “Protect the Pack” and get vaccinated. Vaccinations will play a critical role in allowing many of us to get back to campus this fall as the more of us who are vaccinated, the safer campus will be. What does getting a vaccine mean to you? Why is it important to you and USask? Whether you’ve just received your first shot, or are waiting for your second shot, we want to hear from you. Tag your vaccination posts with #protectthepack or #usaskvax, or send us your comments, pics, and videos to covid19@usask.ca 

Third employee pandemic engagement survey results

A summary of the results of the university’s third employee pandemic engagement survey is now available on the faculty and staff website. These short-pulse surveys have occurred throughout the past year as a way of collecting feedback from our faculty and staff about the university’s response to the pandemic and how employees are managing remote teaching and working arrangements.

Starting next week all employees will receive invitations for the next employee pandemic engagement survey. The email invites will come from McLean and Company, who are administering the survey on behalf of the university to ensure that your data and responses are kept confidential. As we begin to transition to increased on campus activity in the fall, this survey is a great opportunity for you to share your concerns or express your ideas towards a safe return to campus. 

Confirmed COVID-19 cases

USask will provide ongoing updates on confirmed positive COVID-19 case numbers associated with the campus community, based on information provided to the university. Due to privacy considerations, only top-line case numbers will be announced on a weekly basis in this update. For the seven-day period ending Thursday, June 3, the university has been informed of five positive COVID-19 cases involving members of the university community. 

To ensure the safety of the campus community, an area-specific response and cleaning plan will be completed by the Crisis Operations Team prior to re-opening (if individuals with a positive case had been on campus recently), and the SHA will complete the contact tracing process to identify and directly notify all individuals who may have been exposed to COVID-19. Anyone not contacted directly by SHA is not considered a close contact, and should simply continue to self-monitor for symptoms. 

Health Canada COVID Alert App

Saskatchewan residents are encouraged to download to their smartphone the Health Canada COVID Alert app. The national COVID Alert app uses Bluetooth technology to detect when users are near each other. If a user tests positive for COVID-19, they can choose to let other users know about potential exposure risk without sharing any personal information.

University buildings remain closed, with some in-person services available

Most university buildings remain closed with access only provided to approved staff, faculty, and grad students, and to students taking an in-person class. The current status of many university services including those offering virtual or in-person services is available at covid19.usask.ca/campus-status.php.

Requests to gain access to university buildings must be submitted through the online Campus Access Request Form.

May

USask Safe Return Transition Plan

USask’s Pandemic Response and Recovery Team (PRT) has developed a staged transition plan designed to provide guidance in safely increasing on-campus activity and assist those responsible for planning a transitional return in the fall. The Safe Return Transition Plan supports the increased on-campus activities specified in Stage 4 of the university’s Recovery Framework while aligning with Public Health regulations and the province’s Re-Open Saskatchewan Plan.

Faculty and staff should continue to visit covid19.usask.ca throughout the spring and summer for USask pandemic status updates, program delivery information, return to campus information, and additional details about changes in campus operations.


RYAN BANOW
EDUCATIONAL DEVELOPMENT SPECIALIST
GWENNA MOSS CENTRE FOR TEACHING AND LEARNING
MARTIN GAAL
LECTURER
DEPARTMENT OF POLITICAL SCIENCES
COLLEGE OF ARTS AND SCIENCES
 
 
GLORIA GINGERA
COMMUNICATIONS ASSISTANT
PLANT SCIENCES

"Getting a vaccine was a huge relief for me. My family had just emerged from 24 stressful days in isolation due to a positive COVID test. This shot was a step to ensuring that we never have to do that again and a contribution to protecting others in our community!"

"Come on USask Community!

Show everyone that we support science as a way out of this Pandemic!"

"So happy to have received our first dose. Can’t wait to get back to something a little more normal."

Share your Vax pics, posts and stories!

As we continue to plan for the fall term, we need your help in encouraging and supporting fellow members of our USask community to feel confident, “Protect the Pack” and get vaccinated. Vaccinations will play a critical role in allowing many of us to get back to campus this fall as the more of us who are vaccinated, the safer campus will be. What does getting a vaccine mean to you? Why is it important to you and USask? Whether you’ve just received yours or are waiting for your age group to become eligible, we want to hear from you. Tag your vaccination posts with #protectthepack or #usaskvax, or send us your comments, pics, and videos to covid19@usask.ca 

Updated mask use requirements on campus

As a result of previous outbreaks on campus and the rising number of new COVID-19 variants of concern (VoC) cases in the province, single-use 3-ply masks will be mandatory on campus, effective immediately and through this summer. During this time, the masks will be provided by the university as an enhanced health and safety measure, replacing the use of reusable cloth masks in indoor spaces and outdoor spaces when two or more people are together and cannot maintain a minimum of two meters of physical distance. A properly fitted 3-ply mask provides increased filtration and an additional layer of protection to reduce the transmission of COVID-19.

More information about the new 3-ply single-use masks guidelines is available on the USask COVID-19 website.

Confirmed COVID-19 cases

USask will provide ongoing updates on confirmed positive COVID-19 case numbers associated with the campus community, based on information provided to the university. Due to privacy considerations, only top-line case numbers will be announced on a weekly basis in this update.

For the seven-day period ending Friday, May 28, the university has been informed of two positive COVID-19 cases involving members of the university community. 

To ensure the safety of the campus community, an area-specific response and cleaning plan will be completed by the Crisis Operations Team prior to re-opening (if individuals with a positive case had been on campus recently), and the SHA will complete the contact tracing process to identify and directly notify all individuals who may have been exposed to COVID-19. Anyone not contacted directly by SHA is not considered a close contact, and should simply continue to self-monitor for symptoms. 

Health Canada COVID Alert App

Saskatchewan residents are encouraged to download to their smartphone the Health Canada COVID Alert app. The national COVID Alert app uses Bluetooth technology to detect when users are near each other. If a user tests positive for COVID-19, they can choose to let other users know about potential exposure risk without sharing any personal information.

Stay home if you are feeling sick 

COVID-19 continues to be present in our communities and has likely impacted many of us, our friends, and our families. To continue to reduce the risk of further spread, students, faculty and staff who are approved to be on campus are reminded to stay home if they are feeling ill or if someone within their household is suspected or has tested positive for COVID-19. Keep close tabs on your health to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by closely monitoring your symptoms and completing the self-monitoring checklist.

  • Have been symptom-free for at least 48hrs;
  • Have not been in contact with a confirmed positive COVID-19 case; and
  • Have followed all Public Health directions, including completion of self-isolation as directed by Public Health (usually minimum 10-14 days).

More information including an online self-assessment tool is available at covid19.usask.ca/about/safety.php

University buildings remain closed, with some in-person services available

Most university buildings remain closed with access only provided to approved staff, faculty, and grad students, and to students taking an in-person class. The current status of many university services including those offering virtual or in-person services is available at covid19.usask.ca/campus-status.php.

Requests to gain access to university buildings must be submitted through the online Campus Access Request Form.

Updated mask use requirements on campus

As a result of recent outbreaks on campus and the rising number of new COVID-19 variants of concern (VoC) cases in the province single-use 3-ply masks will be provided by the university as an enhanced health and safety measure replacing the use of reusable cloth masks in indoor spaces and outdoor spaces when two or more people are together and cannot maintain a minimum of two meters of physical distance. A properly fitted 3-ply mask provides increased filtration and an additional layer of protection to reduce the transmission of COVID-19.

This change is an enhanced health and safety measure to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and is expected to be in place until Aug. 31, 2021, when it will be re-evaluated.  

USask colleges and units will make masks available to all their faculty, staff and students at no charge. Instructors will have masks available to students in class if necessary. The provision of masks for students is for spring and summer only.

USask wants to ensure that the implementation of this additional safety measure is as environmentally sustainable as possible. Specific recycling locations will be set up on campus to minimize the environmental impact of using 3-ply single-use masks, keeping them out of the landfill.

More information about the new 3-ply single-use masks guidelines is available on the USask COVID-19 website.

USask Safe Return Transition Plan

USask’s Pandemic Response and Recovery Team (PRT) has developed a staged transition plan designed to provide guidance in safely increasing on-campus activity and assist those responsible for planning a transitional return in the fall. The Safe Return Transition Plan supports the increased on-campus activities specified in Stage 4 of the university’s Recovery Framework while aligning with Public Health regulations and the province’s Re-Open Saskatchewan Plan.

Significant work remains within academic units and administrative units that support the teaching, learning and research missions to detail full implementation plans and complete details for the members of our university community who are returning to campus this fall. Faculty, staff, and students should continue to visit covid19.usask.ca throughout the spring and summer for USask pandemic status updates, program delivery information, return to campus information, and additional details about campus changes operations.

USask statement on vaccines for Fall 2021

As the university continues to develop plans for the Fall 2021 term it is the expectation that all students, staff, and faculty take every precaution available to protect the health and safety of all members of our campuses and the communities we live in, including being vaccinated before coming onto our campuses in the fall.  Vaccination is an essential tool in ensuring our safe return to campus. Based on numbers reported by the province, indications are that most of the campus community will be vaccinated by the fall term. USask strongly urges everyone to get vaccinated when eligible and receive all required booster shots, when necessary. Read the entire statement.


VICKY PAROHL
MANAGER, ACCREDITATION & STRATEGIC INITIATIVESEDWARDS SCHOOL OF BUSINESS 
TROY LINSLEY
DIRECTOR, FACILITIES

SERVICES, FINANCE AND RESOURCES
 
SHIRLEY ZHOU
INTERNATIONAL OFFICE
OFFICE OF VICE PRESIDENT RESEARCH 

"I was so excited to get my vaccine and to know we're one step closer to being back together on campus!"

"I was very happy to get my vaccine.  I am very grateful to our team in Facilities in their ongoing support of campus in response to COVID-19. Their tireless efforts truly help the University the World Needs!"

"Getting vaccinated means better protection of myself and the others particularly the ones who can’t be vaccinated. As a USask alumnus and staff, I’m so grateful that I got vaccinated at a university facility by a USask trained nurse. Sore arm but immunized body!"


Share your Vax pics, posts and stories!

As we continue to plan for the fall term, we need your help in encouraging and supporting fellow members of our USask community to feel confident, “Protect the Pack” and get vaccinated. Vaccinations will play a critical role in allowing many of us to get back to campus this fall as the more of us who are vaccinated, the safer campus will be. What does getting a vaccine mean to you? Why is it important to you and USask? Whether you’ve just received yours or are waiting for your age group to become eligible, we want to hear from you. Tag your vaccination posts with #protectthepack or #usaskvax, or send us your comments, pics, and videos to covid19@usask.ca 

Saskatchewan Blue Cross invests $150K to help establish USask’s VIDO as Canada’s Centre for Pandemic Research

The Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO) at USask is one step closer to establishing its Centre for Pandemic Research, thanks to a $150,000 donation from Saskatchewan Blue Cross. Learn more.

Confirmed COVID-19 cases

USask will provide ongoing updates on confirmed positive COVID-19 case numbers associated with the campus community, based on information provided to the university. Due to privacy considerations, only top-line case numbers will be announced on a weekly basis in this update.

For the seven-day period ending Friday, May 21, the university has been informed of one positive COVID-19 case involving members of the university community. 

To ensure the safety of the campus community, an area-specific response and cleaning plan will be completed by the Crisis Operations Team prior to re-opening (if individuals with a positive case had been on campus recently), and the SHA will complete the contact tracing process to identify and directly notify all individuals who may have been exposed to COVID-19. Anyone not contacted directly by SHA is not considered a close contact, and should simply continue to self-monitor for symptoms. 

USask pharmacist welcomes questions on vaccine response

While vaccines remain a safe and effective way to stop the spread of viruses like COVID-19, some of those who have been vaccinated are wondering about potential side effects. Read more.

Four Reasons To Use Lumino Health Virtual Care

Your access to Lumino Health Virtual Care provides you and your family with many benefits to keep you all happy and healthy. If you have not already done so, please take a moment to activate your account now.

  1. Convenience: You can consult health care professionals when it is convenient for you — from the comfort of your couch or a chat at work — Lumino Health Virtual Care is there whenever and wherever you need it.
  2. Time Saved: Reduce unnecessary and time-consuming trips to the hospital or clinic, eliminate time spent on travel and in the waiting room and avoid having to take time off work.
  3. Easy Access: You have on-demand access to a full team of healthcare professionals at your fingertips, via your phone, video or text.
  4. Peace of Mind: Consult with Lumino Health’s Care Team as often as you wish, and receive professional medical advice based on your situation. There is no question too small for Lumino Health. More information.

COVID-19 safety protocols for being on campus 

The health and safety requirements for all members of the university community who are approved to be on campus are detailed below and must be followed. The health and safety guidelines include COVID-19 testing and reporting procedures for reporting to the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) and contact tracing. If you are approved to be on campus, please ensure you are following the COVID-19 health and safety protocols that include:

  1. Monitoring your symptoms and completing the daily pre-screening log in PAWS. Versions of the  Self-monitoring checklist and  Work Location Journal are available to download if you are unable to complete the daily online form.
  2. Completing the COVID-19 Health and Safety Training is available to all USask personnel and is required for all employees working on campus. The online safety training expires after one year and employees are required to complete the training again in order to continue access the campus.
  3. Utilizing the Laboratory Safety Manual COVID-19 Pandemic Supplement is intended to provide updates to fundamental health and safety practices for approved researchers during the Covid-19 Pandemic and phased reopening.
  4. Following the guidelines for Personal Protective Equipment are available on covid19.usask.ca.

University buildings remain closed, with some in-person services available

Most university buildings remain closed with access only provided to approved staff, faculty, and grad students, and to students taking an in-person class. The current status of many university services including those offering virtual or in-person services is available at covid19.usask.ca/campus-status.php.

Requests to gain access to university buildings must be submitted through the online Campus Access Request Form.

USask Spring Convocation

Due to the ongoing pandemic, the 2021 Spring Convocation will not be held in person. Instead, virtual graduation celebrations will be live-streamed from May 31 to June 4, and beginning mid-June, spring graduates will receive their degrees, diplomas and certificates by mail. For more information, visit the graduation web page.

Don’t wait it out: USask health professional easing the concerns of the vaccine-hesitant

Vaccines are a safe and effective way to stop the spread of viruses like COVID-19. But while many have either been vaccinated or are getting prepared to do so, there are those who may be hesitant about doing their part and getting immunized. Read more.


DENEH’CHO THOMPSON
DEPARTMENT OF DRAMA AND
MEIKA TAYLOR 
OFFICE OF THE VICE-PROVOST, INDIGENOUS ENGAGEMENT
LUCY VUONG
INSTITUTIONAL PLANNING AND ASSESSMENT 
TINA ELLIOTT
SCHOOL OF ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY
"Deneh’Cho Thompson and Meika Taylor both received Pfizer vaccines this week at the Saskatoon Tribal Council Indigenous immunization clinic from a USask alum!"  "Getting the vaccine was my way to not only protect the community and those around me but to also show my gratitude to the frontline workers and health care professionals working tirelessly on our behalf." "The first day I was eligible to get a vaccine was also my father’s 65th birthday. I used my wait time to have a birthday chat over the phone with my dad as we both drank coffee and took in the beautiful morning sunshine. My vaccination has brought me one step closer to giving him a long-overdue hug."

Share your story!

As we continue to plan for the fall term, we need your help in encouraging and supporting fellow members of our USask community to feel confident, “Protect the Pack” and get vaccinated. Vaccinations will play a critical role in allowing many of us to get back to campus this fall as the more of us who are vaccinated, the safer campus will be. What does getting a vaccine mean to you? Why is it important to you and USask? Whether you’ve just received yours or are waiting for your age group to become eligible, we want to hear from you. Tag your vaccination posts with #protectthepack or #usaskvax, or send us your comments, pics, and videos to covid19@usask.ca 

Confirmed COVID-19 cases

USask will provide ongoing updates on confirmed positive COVID-19 case numbers associated with the campus community, based on information provided to the university. Due to privacy considerations, only top-line case numbers will be announced on a weekly basis in this update.

For the seven-day period ending Thursday, May 13, the university has been informed of one total positive COVID-19 cases involving members of the university community. 

To ensure the safety of the campus community, an area-specific response and cleaning plan will be completed by the Crisis Operations Team prior to re-opening (if individuals with a positive case had been on campus recently), and the SHA will complete the contact tracing process to identify and directly notify all individuals who may have been exposed to COVID-19. Anyone not contacted directly by SHA is not considered a close contact, and should simply continue to self-monitor for symptoms. 

COVID-19 safety training expires after one year

Online COVID-19 Health and Safety Training is a mandatory requirement for everyone who is authorized for activity on campus. USask faculty and staff who previously completed it are required to retake the online course after one year in order to continue accessing campus. 

The training program takes 30 minutes to complete and includes safety guidelines, such as instruction on how to correctly wear personal protective equipment. COVID-19 Health and Safety Training is open to the entire USask community, including those who are not returning to campus.

Employees who are approved to access campus are also required to complete the COVID-19 daily self-monitoring assessment tool Accessible in PAWS, the self-monitoring assessment tool is an essential requirement to provide information to the Saskatchewan Health Authority in the event of a confirmed positive case on campus.

More information about the Health and Safety requirements for working on campus at covid19.usask.ca.  

COVID-19 vaccination eligibility and special leave

COVID-19 vaccine booking eligibility as of 8 am on Friday, May 14 includes all individuals 23 years of age and older and remains 18 years of age and older living in the Northern Saskatchewan Administration District. More information about locations and scheduling a time to get the COVID-19 immunization is available at saskhealthauthority.ca.

The Government of Saskatchewan amended The Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, 2020, to incorporate a Special Vaccination Leave. This new provision allows for paid time off from work for employees to be vaccinated for COVID-19. The new section 6-22.1, Special Vaccination Leave, establishes that during the pandemic:

  • Workers are entitled to three consecutive hours leave during work hours to receive a COVID-19 vaccination; or
  • Workers are entitled to a period longer than three consecutive hours, if in the opinion of the employer, the circumstances warrant a longer break from work; and
  • Workers do not lose any pay or other benefits while receiving a COVID-19 vaccination.

Employees are to request time off through established request/approval practices (e.g. requesting time off for a medical appointment), and people leaders are to approve the requested time off (standard of three consecutive hours with the option for a longer period if deemed to be warranted) without loss of pay and without applying any paid entitlements (like sick leave, vacation leave, previously banked OT/additional time, etc.). Should employees’ requests for time off present operational challenges for the college/department/unit, please contact your HR SBA to determine if alternate solutions might exist.

You may develop symptoms after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. It is important to determine whether the symptoms are side effects from the vaccine or symptoms of COVID-19 infection.

The most common symptoms experienced after vaccination include redness at the injection site, fatigue, headache, muscle aches, joint pains and fever. Respiratory symptoms and loss of sense of smell are NOT common side effects of the vaccine. If symptoms begin PRIOR to vaccination, please follow the usual COVID-19 screening and guidance.

To help with tracking symptoms an easy-to-follow flowchart is available that indicates potential vaccine side effects and the appropriate actions to take. More information is also available at covid19.usask.ca.

University buildings remain closed, with some in-person services available

Most university buildings remain closed with access only provided to approved staff, faculty, and grad students, and to students taking an in-person class. The current status of many university services including those offering virtual or in-person services is available at covid19.usask.ca/campus-status.php.

Requests to gain access to university buildings must be submitted through the online Campus Access Request Form.

Fall planning update

On Wednesday, President Peter Stoicheff provided an update to the university community on the planning for Fall 2021 program delivery. Indicating the Fall Term will be considered "transitional" as the university continues to offer some courses remotely with a full transition out of pandemic operations anticipated in January 2022. Read the entire announcement.

Province releases re-opening roadmap

Earlier this week, the Government of Saskatchewan released the Re-Opening Roadmap - a three-step plan to gradually lift the current public health restrictions as the province reaches significant vaccination levels. Step One outlined in the roadmap will come into effect once three weeks have passed since 70% of people age 40 and above received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Read the complete Re-Opening Roadmap.

Your vaccine stories

DR. JAKE PUSHIE
RESEARCH SCIENTIST, SASKATCHEWAN CEREBROVASCULAR CENTRE DEPARTMENT OF SURGERY, COLLEGE OF MEDICINE
DR. SCOTTY BUTCHER
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, SCHOOL OF REHABILITATION SCIENCE
CHANDRA LEPOUDRE
STUDENT SUPPORT COORDINATOR
COLLEGE OF KINESIOLOGY
“My excitement was infectious as I went on with the nurse about how great this experience was, how I appreciated the work she was doing, and how I was beyond excited to be getting vaccinated.”

“I just got my dose of the Force just in time for May the Fourth!”

“Waited three hours yesterday (happily) in the Saskatoon drive-thru to get my first shot. I couldn’t be more elated! I sure miss the campus!”

Share your story!

As we continue to plan for the fall term, we need your help in encouraging and supporting fellow members of our USask community to feel confident, “Protect the Pack” and get vaccinated. Vaccinations will play a critical role in allowing many of us to get back to campus this fall as the more of us who are vaccinated, the safer campus will be. What does getting a vaccine mean to you? Why is it important to you and USask? Whether you’ve just received yours or are waiting for your age group to become eligible, we want to hear from you. Share your comments, pics, and videos. Email us at covid19@usask.ca for more information on you can get involved in this important story.

Education key to vaccine acceleration

As someone who has dedicated his professional life to fighting life-threatening diseases, Dr. Volker Gerdts (DVM, PhD) knows the biggest impediment to getting back to normal are those who are hesitant or refuse to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Read more.

Confirmed COVID-19 cases

USask will provide ongoing updates on confirmed positive COVID-19 case numbers associated with the campus community, based on information provided to the university. Due to privacy considerations, only top-line case numbers will be announced on a weekly basis in this update.

For the seven-day period ending Thursday, May 6, the university has been informed of six total positive COVID-19 cases involving members of the university community. 

To ensure the safety of the campus community, an area-specific response and cleaning plan will be completed by the Crisis Operations Team prior to re-opening (if individuals with a positive case had been on campus recently), and the SHA will complete the contact tracing process to identify and directly notify all individuals who may have been exposed to COVID-19. Anyone not contacted directly by SHA is not considered a close contact, and should simply continue to self-monitor for symptoms. 

COVID-19 vaccination eligibility and special leave

COVID-19 vaccine booking eligibility as of 8 am on Thursday, May 6 includes all individuals 35 years of age and older and remains 18 years of age and older living in the Northern Saskatchewan Administration District. More information about locations and scheduling a time to get the COVID-19 immunization is available at saskhealthauthority.ca.

The Government of Saskatchewan amended The Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, 2020, to incorporate a Special Vaccination Leave. This new provision allows for paid time off from work for employees to be vaccinated for COVID-19. The new section 6-22.1, Special Vaccination Leave, establishes that during the pandemic:

  • Workers are entitled to three consecutive hours leave during work hours to receive a COVID-19 vaccination; or
  • Workers are entitled to a period longer than three consecutive hours, if in the opinion of the employer, the circumstances warrant a longer break from work; and
  • Workers do not lose any pay or other benefits while receiving a COVID-19 vaccination.

Employees are to request time off through established request/approval practices (e.g. requesting time off for a medical appointment), and people leaders are to approve the requested time off (standard of three consecutive hours with the option for a longer period if deemed to be warranted) without loss of pay and without applying any paid entitlements (like sick leave, vacation leave, previously banked OT/additional time, etc.). Should employees’ requests for time off present operational challenges for the college/department/unit, please contact your HR SBA to determine if alternate solutions might exist.

You may develop symptoms after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. It is important to determine whether the symptoms are side effects from the vaccine or symptoms of COVID-19 infection.

The most common symptoms experienced after vaccination include redness at the injection site, fatigue, headache, muscle aches, joint pains and fever. Respiratory symptoms and loss of sense of smell are NOT common side effects of the vaccine. If symptoms begin PRIOR to vaccination, please follow the usual COVID-19 screening and guidance.

To help with tracking symptoms an easy-to-follow flowchart is available that indicates potential vaccine side effects and the appropriate actions to take. More information is also available at covid19.usask.ca.

University buildings remain closed, with some in-person services available

Most university buildings remain closed with access only provided to approved staff, faculty, and grad students, and to students taking an in-person class. The current status of many university services including those offering virtual or in-person services is available at covid19.usask.ca/campus-status.php.

Requests to gain access to university buildings must be submitted through the online Campus Access Request Form.

In early March I expressed optimism and confidence about a significant increase to in-person, on campus programming for the September Fall 2021 Term. Although COVID-19 case counts are currently high in Saskatchewan, we remain confident that, with the rapid deployment of vaccines and the support of the Ministry of Health and the Chief Medical Health Officer, our continued planning for a more open Fall Term can proceed. 

While we are preparing to have many programs, classes and labs return to in-person delivery in September, and much more than we had in this past term, the Fall Term should be considered “transitional” as we will continue to offer some classes remotely. We will likely not complete our full transition out of pandemic operations until at least January 2022, at the beginning of Winter Term. 

On Friday May 7, students will begin to see the details for course offerings through the registration system and are encouraged to check throughout May for any changes ahead of the opening of registration windows in June. Students should carefully read the course registration details paying particular attention to the “attributes”, which will provide details on whether the course is in-person or remote.  

Alongside the increase of in-person teaching and research activity, there will be an increase in available services on our physical campuses. Student Residences will be more fully opened to safely accommodate the increase in students on campus. So, too, will food service outlets that are operated by USask, like Marquis Culinary Centre. Additional in-person student services will be phased back in to offer needed face-to-face contact for those on campus. Again, all of these in-person services will be following strict health and safety measures to protect the health and wellness of our university community. 

We’ve learned a great deal over the past year, including how to quickly move to a completely remote learning and working environment. The transition back to in-person activities won’t be as quick, but we will ensure that those members of our community who are returning to learn and work on our campuses will have the necessary protections to keep them safe. We will continue to follow the directions given by Public Health and the Chief Medical Officer. USask’s Pandemic Response and Recovery Team has worked closely with government and other partners in the Saskatchewan post-secondary sector to develop and implement plans so we can deliver our programming in the safest ways possible. Based on the unpredictable nature of the pandemic, we will also need to remain flexible and diligent. An updated Framework for Return plan will be provided to the campus community in the next couple of weeks. 

It is expected that administrative staff who directly support teaching, learning, and research, and associated student services, will return to campus this fall if their on-campus presence is necessary. As such, other administrative staff currently working from home will continue to work remotely for the time being to reduce the number of people on campus, facilitating the safety of students, faculty, and staff who will be returning. In the coming months, unit leaders will make decisions about who is able to return to campus, and when. If you are an employee, please speak with your supervisor about your unit-specific plans; Human Resources will be sharing information about the return-to-work plan in the near future. 

While we are closer to the end of the pandemic than the beginning, we are not through with COVID-19 yet, nor it with us. Current case counts remain high, the spring and summer terms will be primarily remote, and the campus remains closed to all unless approved.  

It is the expectation of the university that everyone in the USask community will do everything possible to protect themselves and each other now, and in the Fall, fulfilling your public responsibilities by following all public health orders and occupational health and safety guidelines.  

It is important to stress that the surest step you can take to prevent COVID-19 and keep the campus safe is through vaccination. The university strongly urges all staff and students get their COVID-19 vaccinations as soon as they are eligible and ask that you encourage your friends and family members to do the same. In case you have questions about getting vaccinated, be sure to have a look at the information we are regularly updating on the vaccination website

For all USask students, faculty, and staff, I know there is growing excitement - and some apprehension - as we move towards the Fall Term. September will present a significant step towards the campus life and in-person experiences we remember. There is more planning to do, and additional details about how the fall will look will be announced over the coming weeks. And while it will still be different than fall semesters of the past, I know our campus community will work together to ensure the health and safety of everyone and continue to “protect the pack” as we work toward a full return in winter. 

 

Peter Stoicheff
President and Vice-chancellor
University of Saskatchewan

Past Updates

View USask's past updates related to COVID-19.

Questions?

Questions can be sent to:

 Email: covid19@usask.ca

Stages of reopening are guided by Provincial recommendations and guidelines, but USask may decide to move more conservatively in some areas to ensure the health and safety of students, faculty and staff.

USask is currently in Stage 4A of reopening.