Saskatchewan Health Authority

View SHA's daily COVID-19 updates.

May

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

April

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 tracking. 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.
  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.

Increased COVID-19 Variants of Concern in Saskatoon

The Saskatchewan Health Authority is alerting the public of an increased risk of COVID-19 variants of concern in Saskatoon and is strongly urging residents to:

  • In public spaces, keep two metres away from others and always wear a mask.
  • Avoid gatherings: all gatherings are risky for COVID-19 transmission and indoor gatherings are especially high risk.
  • Keep to your household bubble. Gatherings between households remain a primary driver of transmission.
  • Avoid unnecessary travel.
  • If you are able to work from home, work from home at this time. If you cannot, ensure that you are following all the guidelines in your workplace. Do not share any food or drink in the workplace, even in break rooms.
  • If you develop any symptoms, stay home and get tested as soon as possible. Testing is an important way to detect the COVID-19 virus and its variants early and stop the spread. Call HealthLine 811 or your physician for a referral for testing or visit your local drive-thru testing site.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Do not touch your eyes, nose, mouth or mask with unwashed hands. When you are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, get one. All vaccines are safe and effective, including against variants. Current vaccine information can be found at saskatchewan.ca/COVID19-vaccine

COVID-19 vaccination eligibility and special leave

COVID-19 vaccine booking eligibility as of 8 am on Friday, April 30 includes all individuals 40 years of age and older and individuals 30 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.

Effective March 18, 2021, 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 vaccine 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.

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, April 30, the university has been informed of 12 total positive COVID-19 cases involving members of the university community including eight in the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM). The positive cases within the WCVM have resulted in the Veterinary Medical Centre (VMC) accepting emergency cases only for its small and large animal clinics until further notice. 

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. 

Saskatoon COVID-19 wastewater testing results now available to public

Saskatoon residents now have access to the results of wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE) testing for SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing COVID-19, thanks to a partnership between USask researchers, the City of Saskatoon and the Saskatchewan Health Authority. Learn more.

Stay home if you are feeling sick 

COVID-19 continues to spread through 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.

Federal budget supports USask’s VIDO with $59.2M

The Government of Canada announced $59.2 million to USask's Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization. The funding supports the development of its vaccine candidates and the expansion of its research facilities, including a National Centre for Pandemic Research. Learn more.

COVID-19 vaccination eligibility and special leave

COVID-19 vaccine booking eligibility includes all individuals 44 years of age and older, individuals 40 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.

Effective March 18, 2021, 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.

Share your vaccine 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.

Symptom management after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine

USask faculty and staff 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.

USask experts answer vaccine questions

As people across the province continue to get vaccinated, many of us have questions around safety, efficacy, and what exactly herd immunity will look like. Please send us your question and we’ll work with experts across campus to answer your question.

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, April 23, the university has been informed of three positive COVID-19 cases involving members of the university community, both on and off-campus. All campus community members confirmed positive are required to self-isolate until cleared by the SHA.

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. 

Virtual Healthcare available for USask employees

USask employees and members of their family have access to Sun Life’s Lumino Health Virtual Careconnecting them directly with local healthcare professionals from the comfort of your own home. 

Sun Life’s Lumino Health Virtual Care, powered by Dialogue, gives you timely access to Saskatchewan-licensed healthcare professionals via a mobile app or the Lumino Health Virtual Care website. By connecting with health-care providers virtually, you can get immediate and convenient access to care while supporting social-distancing efforts and reducing the load on our emergency health-care system. You will be able to chat with a nurse for any questions related to your health or consult a doctor via a secure video if a diagnosis or prescription is required, completely free of charge. Learn more.

Mask required in all USask spaces

Cloth face-coverings or disposable non-medical masks are an effective way to help limit the spread of COVID-19 and must be worn in all USask spaces. Cloth face-covering and non-medical masks can be obtained from multiple sources, including USask Stores or Shop USask.

NEW* Mask protocols for vehicles used for university purposes or operations are considered shared spaces, so please review the university's COVID-19 safety guidelines for more information about vehicle sanitation and appropriate COVID-19 vehicle protocols. 

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.

Mask required in all USask spaces

Cloth face-coverings or disposable non-medical masks are an effective way to help limit the spread of COVID-19 and must be worn in all USask spaces. Cloth face-covering and non-medical masks can be obtained from multiple sources, including USask Stores or Shop USask.

NEW* Mask protocols for vehicles used for university purposes or operations are considered shared spaces, so please review the university's COVID-19 safety guidelines for more information about vehicle sanitation and appropriate COVID-19 vehicle protocols. 

Increased COVID-19 Variants of Concern in Saskatoon

The Saskatchewan Health Authority is alerting the public of an increased risk of COVID-19 variants of concern in Saskatoon and is strongly urging residents to:

  • In public spaces, keep two metres away from others and always wear a mask.
  • Avoid gatherings: all gatherings are risky for COVID-19 transmission and indoor gatherings are especially high risk.
  • Keep to your household bubble. Gatherings between households remain a primary driver of transmission.
  • Avoid unnecessary travel.
  • If you are able to work from home, work from home at this time. If you cannot, ensure that you are following all the guidelines in your workplace. Do not share any food or drink in the workplace, even in break rooms.
  • If you develop any symptoms, stay home and get tested as soon as possible. Testing is an important way to detect the COVID-19 virus and its variants early and stop the spread. Call HealthLine 811 or your physician for a referral for testing or visit your local drive-thru testing site.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Do not touch your eyes, nose, mouth or mask with unwashed hands. When you are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, get one. All vaccines are safe and effective, including against variants. Current vaccine information can be found at saskatchewan.ca/COVID19-vaccine

Share your vaccine 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.

USask professor answers AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine FAQs

Many people have questions about the changing guidelines for the use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine. Here are some answers from infectious disease specialist Dr. Alexander Wong. Learn more.

Mental Health Checkup

How is your mental health? When was the last time you had a mental health check-up? Our Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) is not just for when issues or a crisis arises in life. Using EFAP in times of good mental health, as a check-up, and to learn about coping and resiliency tools and resources, can provide you with a strong foundation to know when to apply and use these skills when life gets stressful and hectic, and before crisis mode.

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, April 16, the university has been informed of 11 positive COVID-19 cases involving members of the university community, both on and off-campus including five confirmed cases at Canadian Light Source. All campus community members confirmed positive are required to self-isolate until cleared by the SHA.

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. 

Special Leave for COVID-19 Vaccination

Effective March 18, 2021, 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.

Requesting access to university buildings

Faculty and staff that require access to university buildings to retrieve items, capture videos for lectures or conduct research activities can submit a request through the online Campus Access Request Form. More information about campus access requests and the required safety protocols for being on campus is available at covid19.usask.ca/working-on-campus/index.php.

In-person appointments available at the USask Student Wellness Centre 

Students can schedule virtual and in-person appointments at the Student Wellness Centre by contacting student.wellness@usask.ca or 306-966-5678. The Student Wellness Centre is available to provide assistance and receive copies of all COVID-19 test results. Students can view the lab results at MySaskHealthRecord.

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.

Protecting the pack

Over the past year so many members of our campus community have stepped up to protect one another during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, each of us has another opportunity: get vaccinated and protect the pack. We are getting closer to being back on the campus, and that reality becomes significantly safer once those who can get vaccinated do so.

All approved COVID-19 vaccines are, like the many other vaccines you’ve received over your life, safe, proven, and effective ways to stop the spread of viruses like COVID-19.

The age eligibility for COVID-19 vaccinations is dropping rapidly in the province. As the Government of Saskatchewan continues to progress through Phase 2 of the vaccination schedule, watch for your age group to become eligible, and for details on how and where to get vaccinated.

When you get your vaccine, you’re not just protecting yourself, you’re protecting our pack.

Special Leave for COVID-19 Vaccination

Effective March 18, 2021, 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.

Nearly 150 USask pharmacy students to help with COVID-19 vaccine roll-out

Student volunteers from USask's College of Pharmacy and Nutrition have signed up in droves to help deliver COVID-19 vaccines during Phase 2 of the provincial immunization plan. Learn more.

Health Canada issues advisory for disposable masks with graphene

Last Friday Health Canada issued a notice advising Canadians not to use disposable face masks that contain graphene. Manufacturers, distributors and sellers of the masks containing graphene have been directed to stop selling the recalled and people are advised to check the packaging of their disposable masks to ensure the product does not contain graphene or biomass graphene prior to using them. More information is available on the Government of Canada recalls and safety alerts 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, April 9, the university has been informed of nine positive COVID-19 cases involving members of the university community, both on and off-campus including six confirmed cases at Canadian Light Source. All campus community members confirmed positive are required to self-isolate until cleared by the SHA.

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. 

Virtual Health Care available for USask employees

Starting this week, USask employees and members of their family have access to Sun Life’s Lumino Health Virtual Careconnecting them directly with local health-care professionals from the comfort of your own home. 

Sun Life’s Lumino Health Virtual Care, powered by Dialogue, gives you timely access to Saskatchewan-licensed healthcare professionals via a mobile app or the Lumino Health Virtual Care website. By connecting with health-care providers virtually, you can get immediate and convenient access to care while supporting social-distancing efforts and reducing the load on our emergency health-care system. You will be able to chat with a nurse for any questions related to your health or consult a doctor via a secure video if a diagnosis or prescription is required, completely free of charge. Learn more.

USask Safety Recognition Award

Nominations are now open for the University of Saskatchewan (USask) Safety Recognition Award. The award recognizes the outstanding performance of a USask employee for fostering and promoting health, safety, and environmental issues in the workplace. Areas of achievement may include reduction of accidents/incidents, demonstration of leadership in safety, development of safety-conscious policies and procedures, active promotion of safety in the workplace and more. Nomination deadline is April 16, 2021.

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.

Easter holiday safety reminder 

With the upcoming Easter holiday approaching, it's important that all members of the university community are familiar with the current provincial health measures that remain in place until Monday, April 12.

Protecting the health and safety of our campus community requires each and every one of us to continue to follow the rules and guidelines that are in place, particularly related to travel into Regina and areas in Southern Saskatchewan along with attendance at social gatherings. We need to collectively support the restrictions and rules, including limiting social interactions, physical distancing, wearing masks, hand washing, and limiting travel outside of the province. 

The health and safety of our campus is a shared responsibility. Together we can continue to Protect the Pack, while enjoying a safe and relaxing break.

Personal travel
Before traveling outside of Saskatchewan, all members of the university community are strongly encouraged to evaluate all associated risks, which include becoming ill, possible federal quarantine restrictions at your expense upon return from international travel, or forfeiting travellers cancellation or medical coverage while away.

For students in programs where the completion of requirements is sequenced and time-sensitive – travelling within or outside of the province during the Easter holiday may increase your risk of illness, which could jeopardize the timeliness of your completion.

An official global travel advisory is in effect. The Government of Canada is recommending Canadians avoid all non-essential travel outside of Canada until further notice.

Special Leave for COVID-19 Vaccination

Effective March 18, 2021, 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.

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, April 1, the university has been informed of three positive COVID-19 cases involving members of the university community, both on and off-campus. All campus community members confirmed positive are required to self-isolate until cleared by the SHA.

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 researchers help lead $9-million COVID Variant Rapid-Response Network

Researchers from USask and the U of R are joining forces with scientists across the nation to undertake surveillance, sequencing, tracing and research-driven action on the COVID-19 virus variants that have been identified in Canada. Learn more.

Expanded IT and furniture purchasing eligibility for remote workstations

The university recognizes there may be situations when USask employees require additional resources to continue to work remotely. To ensure employees have access to the items they need, the university has temporarily modified the list of eligible IT equipment and office furniture that can be purchased for home use. Employees should make all reasonable efforts to address remote workspace needs using current provisions, including:

  • One-time access requests to retrieve office furniture (chairs or ergonomic support items), equipment, or technology.  
  • Use of appropriate technology to support communications (Teams, telephone services).  
  • Purchase necessary IT equipment and office furniture through approved procurement channels using appropriate funding sources.  Eligible IT equipment and office furniture items have been temporarily amended to better support our current remote work environment. Purchase of items under the amended guidelines are temporarily considered eligible expenditures to maximize support for your remote work environment. 
  • Purchased IT equipment and office furniture are considered university assets and will need to be tracked using the Declaration of Property Used Off Campus form
  • Purchased IT equipment and office furniture that are not on the approved lists are not to be returned for use on campus. It is the responsibility of the college/department/unit in which these particular products are purchased to manage this inventory of university assets. That is, college/department/units must ensure these assets are used only in home office/remote workspaces, are collected and repurposed to subsequent employees’/users’ home office/remote workspaces after initial employees/users exit the university should the assets be reusable, and/or are to return the assets to campus for disposal at the end of their useful life.

If you had previously submitted an item that was rejected for reimbursement, but is now deemed eligible, you can resubmit the item for reimbursement. Contact ConnectionPoint for assistance.  

If you have any questions, visit the Working Remotely channel in PAWS or contact your HR SBA.

COVID-19 Variants of Concern in Saskatchewan 

USask continues to closely monitor the reports of the increasing Variants of Concern activity that has been identified in Regina, Moose Jaw and other parts of southern Saskatchewan.

Changes to teaching and learning delivery in Regina were made to align with recent public health directives from the Saskatchewan Health Authority. Much of the academic program delivery for our students in Regina was already happening in a remote manner but where necessary, in-person delivery has now transitioned to remote delivery at this time. Many of our students in Regina are involved in clinical placements and we are monitoring to ensure safety in those environments. Students are being guided by careful and on-going communication from their colleges.

Adherence to current pandemic precautions and practices are very effective strategies to prevent the spread and acquisition of COVID-19, including the new Variants of Concern. This is important for students, faculty and staff in Regina, as well as throughout the province. The same types of preventive strategies are effective in preventing the spread of the Variants of Concern as the COVID-19 virus. More information is available in the Saskatchewan Health Authority's COVID-19 Variants of Concern Q&A. 

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.

March

COVID-19 Variants of Concern in Saskatchewan 

USask continues to closely monitor the reports of the increasing Variants of Concern activity that has been identified in Saskatchewan, including the recent outbreak in Regina.

Changes to teaching and learning delivery in Regina are being made to align with recent public health directives from the Saskatchewan Health Authority. Much of the academic program delivery for our students in Regina was already happening in a remote manner but where necessary, in-person delivery is now transitioning to remote delivery at this time. Many of our students in Regina are involved in clinical placements and we are monitoring to ensure safety in those environments. Students are being guided by careful and on-going communication from their colleges.

Adherence to current pandemic precautions and practices are very effective strategies to prevent the spread and acquisition of COVID-19, including the new Variants of Concern. This is important for students, faculty and staff in Regina, as well as throughout the province. The same types of preventive strategies are effective in preventing the spread of the Variants of Concern as the COVID-19 virus. More information is available in the Saskatchewan Health Authority's COVID-19 Variants of Concern Q&A. 

Protecting the pack

Over the past year so many members of our campus community have stepped up to protect one another during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, each of us has another opportunity: get vaccinated and protect the pack. We are getting closer to being back on the campus, and that becomes reality once those who can get vaccinated do so.

All approved COVID-19 vaccines are, like the many other vaccines you’ve received over your life, safe, proven, and effective ways to stop the spread of viruses like COVID-19.

As the Government of Saskatchewan continues to roll out Phase 2 of the vaccination schedule, watch for your age group to become eligible, and for details on how to get vaccinated.

When you get your vaccine, you’re not just protecting yourself, you’re protecting our pack.

Easter holiday safety reminder 

With the upcoming Easter holiday approaching, it's important that all members of the university community are familiar with the current provincial health measures that remain in place until Monday, April 5.

Protecting the health and safety of our campus community requires each and every one of us to continue to follow the rules and guidelines that are in place, particularly related to travel outside of the province and attendance at social gatherings. We need to collectively support the restrictions and rules, including limiting social interactions, physical distancing, wearing masks, hand washing, and limiting travel outside of the province. 

The health and safety of our campus is a shared responsibility. Together we can continue to Protect the Pack, while enjoying a safe and relaxing break.

Personal travel
Before traveling outside of Saskatchewan, all members of the university community are strongly encouraged to evaluate all associated risks, which include becoming ill, possible federal quarantine restrictions at your expense upon return from international travel, or forfeiting travellers cancellation or medical coverage while away.

For students in programs where the completion of requirements is sequenced and time-sensitive – travelling within or outside of the province during the Easter holiday may increase your risk of illness, which could jeopardize the timeliness of your completion.

An official global travel advisory is in effect. The Government of Canada is recommending Canadians avoid all non-essential travel outside of Canada until further notice.

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, March 25, the university has been informed of two positive COVID-19 cases involving members of the university community, both on and off-campus. All campus community members confirmed positive are required to self-isolate until cleared by the SHA.

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. 

Expanded IT and furniture purchasing eligibility for remote workstations

The university recognizes there may be situations when USask employees require additional resources to continue to work remotely. To ensure employees have access to the items they need, the university has temporarily modified the list of eligible IT equipment and office furniture that can be purchased for home use. Employees should make all reasonable efforts to address remote workspace needs using current provisions, including:

  • One-time access requests to retrieve office furniture (chairs or ergonomic support items), equipment, or technology.  
  • Use of appropriate technology to support communications (Teams, telephone services).  
  • Purchase necessary IT equipment and office furniture through approved procurement channels using appropriate funding sources.  Eligible IT equipment and office furniture items have been temporarily amended to better support our current remote work environment. Purchase of items under the amended guidelines are temporarily considered eligible expenditures to maximize support for your remote work environment. 
  • Purchased IT equipment and office furniture are considered university assets and will need to be tracked using the Declaration of Property Used Off Campus form
  • Purchased IT equipment and office furniture that are not on the approved lists are not to be returned for use on campus. It is the responsibility of the college/department/unit in which these particular products are purchased to manage this inventory of university assets. That is, college/department/units must ensure these assets are used only in home office/remote workspaces, are collected and repurposed to subsequent employees’/users’ home office/remote workspaces after initial employees/users exit the university should the assets be reusable, and/or are to return the assets to campus for disposal at the end of their useful life.

If you have any questions, visit the Working Remotely channel in PAWS or contact your HR SBA.

How to request on-campus and field research activities or amend an existing permit

If you need to be on campus for research purposes or you need to do field research, you can submit a request using the online request form (the title of the form refers only to campus, but you can use this form for both campus access and fieldwork). All research team members need to complete the online COVID-19 Health and Safety Training and follow the health and safety requirements for accessing campus. If you are planning to undertake field research, please see the updated fieldwork guidelines.

If you need to amend a safety permit you have already received (e.g., to add additional workers or adjust the end date), you can use this online amendment form.

COVID-19 Variants of Concern in Saskatchewan 

Recently, new strains of the virus that causes COVID-19 have been identified in Saskatchewan. Some of these new strains are called variants of concern (VOC) because they spread more easily between people. While the new COVID-19 VOC seems to spread more easily, they are believed to spread in the same way as the usual virus: droplets and aerosols from speaking, shouting or singing, and transmission on hands and shared surfaces. The difference is that they are transmitted faster and more easily. The same types of preventive strategies are effective and are critical steps to preventing the spread of the virus. More information is available in the Saskatchewan Health Authority's COVID-19 Variants of Concern Q&A. 

Self-Service contactless pickup and bookable library spaces

Self-Service Contactless Pickup at the Library is available for everyone with a valid University Library account. Self-Service Contactless Pickup can be arranged for borrowing physical items in our collection. Items from any University Library location can be requested for scanning or for pick up. More information about requesting, picking up, or returning items is available at library.usask.ca.

Individual study seats, Learning Commons computers, and individual study rooms are available on Murray Library ground floor for in-person student use. The spaces are available in five-hour blocks Monday to Friday, 10am – 8pm. Seats must be pre-booked.

Printing, from a Learning Commons computer or from a personal device, is not currently available.

For more information or to book a space, visit libcal.usask.ca.

Participate in the USask pandemic engagement survey

USask faculty and staff will begin receiving invitations to voluntarily participate in the third USask Pandemic Engagement Pulse survey.  

Please watch your inbox as the invitations 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. These short pulse surveys are sent to USask employees on a regular basis to ensure the university is capturing current trends through employee feedback. The survey will only take a few minutes to complete and provides the opportunity for you to assess the university’s response to the pandemic and openly share your experiences. A breakdown of the survey results from the previous two surveys is available at usask.ca/facultystaff/employee-pandemic-survey-2020.php.  

Supporting older adults: USask researcher virtually connecting at-risk isolated seniors during pandemic

Watching her grandfather suffer through the effects of dementia changed everything for Dr. Megan O’Connell (PhD). O’Connell was an undergraduate student in the early 1990s at USask, when she witnessed first-hand how devastating the syndrome can be. Read more.

No Confirmed COVID-19 cases

For the seven-day period ending Thursday, March 18, there have been no reported cases of COVID-19  involving members of the university community, both on and off-campus. Please continue to keep close tabs on your health to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by closely monitoring your symptoms and completing the self-monitoring checklist.

University Staff Excellence Award

This past year has been like no other and with your help, the university was able to overcome adversity and uncertainty and come out stronger than ever. 

To acknowledge this, this year’s University Staff Excellence Award criteria has been expanded to recognize those who have made exceptional contributions through the unexpected challenges of the pandemic, enabling the university to succeed in these extraordinary times.

Deadline for nominations is March 19, 2021. Nominate a co-worker today.

How to request on-campus and field research activities or amend an existing permit

If you need to be on campus for research purposes or you need to do field research, you can submit a request using the online request form (the title of the form refers only to campus, but you can use this form for both campus access and fieldwork). All research team members need to complete the online COVID-19 Health and Safety Training and follow the health and safety requirements for accessing campus. If you are planning to undertake field research, please see the updated fieldwork guidelines.

If you need to amend a safety permit you have already received (e.g., to add additional workers or adjust the end date), you can use this online amendment form.

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 one-year anniversary acknowledgement

It was not clear in March 2020 how we would fare during the uncertain time ahead. Effective response strategies had to be developed swiftly where none existed before. But these strategies would have made little difference were they not informed and implemented by every office, department, college and centre in the university over an unpredictable and lengthy period of time. 

The lives of students, staff and faculty members have been disrupted as they have never been before. Transitioning to learning and working from home has been a stressful and complicated adjustment for everyone. Days spent in isolation from fellow students and colleagues for such a long period have affected people’s mental health. Friends and family members have fallen ill from COVID-19; tragically, some have died from it. All around us, signs of the pandemic’s toll have been apparent and have been experienced by every member of our university community, including our 160,000 alumni around the world. To respect this, the Canadian flag flies at half-mast on our campus today.

Read the full message here.

USask’s Merlis Belsher Place to house mass immunization clinic

The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) is establishing a new mass immunization clinic in USask’s state-of-the-art Merlis Belsher Place facility. The immunization clinic will operate by appointment only for Phase One priority populations, with the facility remaining closed to the general public at this time. As vaccine supply increases over the coming months and mass immunization clinics begin, the SHA hopes to ramp up to immunizing as many as 6,000 individuals per day in Saskatoon, seven days a week, including up to 1,400 per day at the Merlis Belsher Place site. Read more.

No Confirmed COVID-19 cases

For the seven-day period ending Thursday, March 11, there have been no reported cases of COVID-19  involving members of the university community, both on and off-campus. Please continue to keep close tabs on your health to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by closely monitoring your symptoms and completing the self-monitoring checklist.

How to request on-campus and field research activities or amend an existing permit

If you need to be on campus for research purposes or you need to do field research, you can submit a request using the online request form (the title of the form refers only to campus, but you can use this form for both campus access and fieldwork). All research team members need to complete the online COVID-19 Health and Safety Training and follow the health and safety requirements for accessing campus. If you are planning to undertake field research, please see the updated fieldwork guidelines.

If you need to amend a safety permit you have already received (e.g., to add additional workers or adjust the end date), you can use this online amendment form.

In-person appointments available at the USask Student Wellness Centre 

Students can schedule virtual and in-person appointments at the Student Wellness Centre by contacting student.wellness@usask.ca or 306-966-5678. The Student Wellness Centre is available to provide assistance and receive copies of all COVID-19 test results. Students can view the lab results at MySaskHealthRecord.

University Staff Excellence Award

This past year has been like no other and with your help, the university was able to overcome adversity and uncertainty and come out stronger than ever. 

To acknowledge this, this year’s University Staff Excellence Award criteria has been expanded to recognize those who have made exceptional contributions through the unexpected challenges of the pandemic, enabling the university to succeed in these extraordinary times.

Deadline for nominations is March 19, 2021. Nominate a co-worker today.

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 tracking. 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.
  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.

COVID-19 Update from President Peter Stoicheff

President Peter Stoicheff on the university’s pandemic response and recovery and planning for Fall 2021 program delivery is available below.

Please continue to follow all guidelines and take all precautions to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.

USask unites: How I helped with COVID contact-tracing

First-year USask medical student Morgan Schatz was one of nearly 50 medical students who assisted the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) with contact tracing efforts in Dec. 2020. Read more about her experience helping to reduce contract tracing backlog over the holiday break. 

Graduate student study space

Graduate students looking for places to safely do their work on campus can apply for access to study spaces that are available in the Education Building. In order to access these rooms, graduate students must have their supervising faculty members fill out a form authorizing them access to the booking system in 25Live.

Once submitted, Space Booking will email the students with further information on how to book the space. Students are able to book three four-hour shifts per week and are required to wipe down their space at the beginning and end of each of their timeslots. 

How to request on-campus and field research activities or amend an existing permit

If you need to be on campus for research purposes or you need to do field research, you can submit a request using the online request form (the title of the form refers only to campus, but you can use this form for both campus access and fieldwork). All research team members need to complete the online COVID-19 Health and Safety Training and follow the health and safety requirements for accessing campus. If you are planning to undertake field research, please see the updated fieldwork guidelines.

If you need to amend a safety permit you have already received (e.g., to add additional workers or adjust the end date), you can use this online amendment form.

Virtual Health Care available for USask employees

Starting this week, USask employees and members of their family have access to Sun Life’s Lumino Health Virtual Careconnecting them directly with local health-care professionals from the comfort of your own home. 

Sun Life’s Lumino Health Virtual Care, gives you timely access to Saskatchewan-licensed healthcare professionals via a mobile app or the Lumino Health Virtual Care website. By connecting with health-care providers virtually, you can get immediate and convenient access to care while supporting social-distancing efforts and reducing the load on our emergency health-care system. You will be able to chat with a nurse for any questions related to your health or consult a doctor via a secure video if a diagnosis or prescription is required, completely free of charge. 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 Thursday, March 2, the university has been informed of three positive COVID-19 cases involving members of the university community, both on and off-campus. All campus community members confirmed positive are required to self-isolate until cleared by the SHA.

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. 

University Staff Excellence Award

This past year has been like no other and with your help, the university was able to overcome adversity and uncertainty and come out stronger than ever. 

To acknowledge this, this year’s University Staff Excellence Award criteria has been expanded to recognize those who have made exceptional contributions through the unexpected challenges of the pandemic, enabling the university to succeed in these extraordinary times.

Deadline for nominations is March 19, 2021. Nominate a co-worker today.

Added security to protect your USask accounts

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) helps to make sure you can continue to learn, teach and work remotely without interruption and provides an extra layer of security to protect your personal information and USask accounts. Enabling MFA on your account takes only a few minutes and the added security ensures no one else can access your account even if your login credentials are lost, stolen, or compromised.

Faculty and staff are encouraged to complete USask's online IT security training modules. The IT security training provides valuable information to help you identify online risks, become more aware of common types of cyberattacks and better equip you to report threats. Learn more at itsecurity.usask.ca/training/it-security-training.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.

Optimism is building that the world is emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic. More vaccines are being approved, manufactured and distributed, and people in Saskatchewan are now being vaccinated in increasing numbers. USask’s VIDO lab has a vaccine candidate in human trials, and Merlis Belsher Place is being readied as a mass immunization clinic. A recovered post-pandemic world is now in sight. With this growing optimism, our focus at USask has turned to planning for the Fall term.

As we announced in January, the Spring and Summer terms (May through August) will remain primarily remote, but I am confident we will see a significant increase to in-person, on-campus instruction for Fall 2021. Due to current uncertainties around vaccine roll-out in this province and beyond, we cannot at this stage say exactly what the proportion of face-to-face versus remote program delivery will be in the Fall term. However, the increasing number of vaccinations, combined with continued health and safety measures in the province such as mask wearing, physical distancing, and restrictions on the size of gatherings, will enable a graduated return to our campuses beginning in September for many students, faculty, and staff. We anticipate having more of our student residences open by the fall and many of our other university services and facilities operating to the fullest extent possible.

The Pandemic Response and Recovery Team will work closely with university colleagues and provincial health officials to ensure this return -- and the safety of the USask community. Program delivery details and other aspects of opening our campuses for Fall 2021 will be announced in May -- well in advance of the Fall registration period -- once the vaccine roll-out timeline is clearer. And while there is much planning and logistical work to be done, I am confident that the Fall term will begin our transition back to a completely operational university campus, with full face-to-face program delivery likely at the start of 2022. At the same time, we will work to meet the needs, where possible, of students unable to join us on campus with continued remote learning options. Similar analysis is underway to determine the options available for staff returning to work on campus or continuing with remote working arrangements.

My deepest thanks to everyone for their continued patience and responsiveness during these challenging times. A year into the COVID-19 crisis, we are closer to the end of this pandemic, but we haven’t finished with it, or it with us, quite yet. Continued flexibility may be required of all of us, as COVID-19 has proven to be unpredictable and a planning challenge. Let us all work together to do everything we can to accelerate the end of the pandemic, including continuing to follow all provincial COVID-19 guidelines and getting vaccinated when able to do so. This will ensure we are collectively headed in the direction of being back together again before too long.

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 3 of reopening.