January

Since the Dec. 23 and Dec. 30 campus updates on Winter Term, the Pandemic Response and Recovery Team (PRT) has been closely monitoring the spread of the Omicron variant—including modeling data, wastewater results, covid testing positivity in the community, and on- and off-campus cases. The PRT and the President’s Executive Committee have made the decision to extend the current state of operation until February 7. Given the increased transmissibility of Omicron, in combination with the rising case numbers throughout the province, a brief extension of the current precautionary measures will help to ensure reduced on-campus transmission and to return our campus community back to more in-person activity as originally planned.

Until February 7, all classes that are currently being delivered remotely will continue to be in the remote environment, and all classes that are currently being delivered in-person at this time will continue as such. Students with questions about registration, withdrawal, or tuition payment deadlines should visit the Class Registration and Withdrawal Deadline website.

Employees currently working remotely will receive direct communications from their respective people leader with guidance on next steps. Like class delivery, the readiness of a return to work on campus will be assessed prior to February 7.

Given the data available, it is not anticipated that a further extension of precautionary measures will be required beyond February 7. Knowing that we are living through a quickly changing situation in many parts of Canada, we will continue to monitor and adjust our safety protocols as necessary to ensure the health and wellness of our campus and broader communities.

We all must continue to do our part to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and its variants. This includes:

  • being fully vaccinated and expecting all members of the campus community to obtain their vaccination booster shots as soon as eligible;
  • wearing a required 3-ply single-use mask on all USask campuses and in all work locations at all times;
  • staying home if you are feeling sick (even if it isn’t COVID-19) so you do not spread any illness and not coming to campus until you are symptom free for 48hours; and
  • using rapid test kits to test yourself prior to any gatherings in person with others (rapid testing kits can be confirmed here).

Any additional changes will be communicated as soon as determined, including any new requirements or restrictions announced by public health authorities. If you have any questions, please consult the FAQ for more information. 

Regards, and stay safe,

USask Pandemic Response and Recovery Team 

Stay home if you are feeling sick 

As active COVID-19 cases continue to increase across the province with the emergence of the Omicron variant, it is imperative that you stay home if you are feeling sick and do not spread your illness. Even if it is not COVID-19, please stay home and monitor your symptoms. Regardless of your vaccination status, it is mandatory that you should be symptom-free for 48 hours prior to returning to campus/work.

Free rapid antigen test kits are available to the general public free of charge through participating local distribution centres throughout the province. Anyone experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, even if they are mild, should get tested immediately. Keep close tabs on your health to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by closely monitoring your symptoms and completing the self-monitoring checklist

If you are in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 follow the steps outlined for self-reporting confirmed or suspected cases.

More information is available at covid19.usask.ca/about/safety.php. Learn more about the Government of Saskatchewan's Seasonal Influenza (flu) program.

Rapid antigen testing kits available at USask

Rapid antigen testing kits (packs of 5) are available for USask students, staff and faculty. Kits are available on a first-come-first-served basis with a limit of one kit per person, per week. Please be prepared to provide your NSID upon pickup of a kit. Test Kits are available for pickup at Murray Library, the Bookstore in Marquis Hall, the Fit Centre, and the USSU Office during operating hours. More information about accessing rapid antigen testing kits and how to properly complete a test is available at covid19.usask.ca/about/testing-tracking.php.

On campus COVID vaccine clinic 

A COVID-19 vaccination clinic is available for students, faculty and staff on Friday, January 14, and Wednesday, January 19 from 9am to 3:30pm on the Main floor (North Concourse) in Place Riel. Call the Student Wellness Centre at 306-966-5768 to make an appointment and bring your health card to the appointment. 

Students, faculty and staff requiring their first, second or booster vaccinations can make an appointment - everyone is welcome.

N95 masks use on campus

With the highly contagious Omicron variant now rapidly circulating through the community, the best mask protection available is an N95 or equivalent mask/respirator. USask colleges and departments can purchase an inventory of these masks through ppesales.usask.ca to make available to their faculty and staff at no cost. The average person typically will use one N95 mask per day, however, this may vary based on location and type of work being completed. To ensure a safe level of inventory is maintained, USask recommends departments and units purchase N95 masks on a weekly basis. Note that N95/CN95 masks with valves are not approved and are not to be worn on USask campuses.

Reusing N95 masks

A set of four or five N95 masks can be reused each week by rotating their use each day and allowing them to dry for long enough that the virus is no longer viable (>72 hours). Masks should be hung to dry in a low traffic area, or kept in a clean, breathable container like a paper bag between uses. Make sure masks do not touch each other and do not share previously used masks with others. Before each use remember to inspect and perform a user seal check. Masks should be discarded when they are contaminated, damaged or it becomes hard to breathe through them.

Disrupting COVID-19 with potential new treatments

A USask research team has discovered insights into the structure of the virus that causes COVID-19, possibly leading to new treatment options. The virus that causes COVID-19, known as SARS-CoV-2, attaches to cells in the human body via spike proteins. These spikes allow the virus to infect cells, following which the virus replicates itself and spreads throughout the body. The spikes contain molecular structures called disulfides—pairs of sulphur atoms bound together—that may be important for holding the spikes in the correct shape for cell infection to occur. With this knowledge, the research team investigated an important question about the SARS-CoV-2 virus: If the spike disulfides are disrupted, would this allow the virus to lose its ability to cause infection? Read more.

COVID-19 vaccination booster eligibility to residents 18 and over

All Saskatchewan residents ages 18 and over are eligible for booster doses. The interval between the second dose and booster shot has been reduced from five months to three. For more information or to schedule your COVID-19 vaccination booster saskatchewan.ca/covid19-vaccine-booking.

USask recommends all members of the campus community obtain their vaccination booster shots as soon as eligible. Once you have received your booster shot, do not yet update your vaccination status in PAWS at this time. 

Information regarding any USask expectations or requirements for booster shots for members of our campus communities will be announced in early 2022. 

Changes to wellness referrals for COVID-19 positive cases

Due to the rapid escalation in COVID-19 cases and recent reductions to isolation periods as directed by the Saskatchewan Health Authority, the guidelines for when to submit a wellness referral to wellness resources when an employee has tested COVID-19 positive, have changed. Employees testing positive for COVID-19 who are unable to perform the full scope of their work are required to notify their supervisor through the department/unit’s regular sick time processes. For employees who remain symptomatic after their fifth day off work, a wellness referral must be submitted to wellness resources. This is a temporary modification to our standard process and will be subject to future change as circumstances warrant.

Huskies to play without fans this weekend

Due to a current marked increase of COVID-19 cases in Saskatchewan and the rapid spread of the Omicron variant, and the guidance of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, Huskie Athletics has announced that the Jan. 14 and 15 home hockey and volleyball games will be played without spectators in attendance. Affected games include Friday and Saturday's Men's and Women's Volleyball games against Brandon University and Men's (Saturday) and Women's (Friday) hockey games against the University of Regina.

Additionally, due to the large number of athletes from multiple universities and the community expected at the 2022 Sanderson Classic track and field meet, the event has been cancelled outright. More Information.

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 on January 13, the university was informed of 210 positive COVID-19 cases involving members of the university community on and off campus. A complete list of where positive cases have been reported including on campus locations is now available.

Process for reporting confirmed or suspected positive case

Instructions/guidelines for students, employees, faculty/instructors and people leaders for self-reporting confirmed or suspected cases are available and must be followed. If you have a confirmed case of COVID-19, suspect you have COVID-19, or suspect you have been in close contact of a positive or suspect case, immediately notify the university. These simplified instructions allow USask to take the appropriate actions to safeguard our community as well as provide all faculty, staff and students with available resources or support.

Important: Please report all positive cases involving USask students, staff, and faculty regardless of if the person has been at a campus location or not. At this time, Rapid testing and PCR testing are being treated as equivalent for the purposes of tracking and reporting positive cases. Please follow SHA guidelines for requirements of confirmatory testing, if needed.

USask COVID-19 health and safety protocols

The health and safety of our university community is paramount and all members of the USask community share the responsibility to follow all health and safety protocols now in place. Please ensure that you are familiar with the most up-to-date information about USask's health and safety requirements. The COVID-19 vaccination, masking, and health and safety protocols have been updated for the winter term and developed in accordance with the USask Health and Safety policy. The university will pursue all appropriate measures to ensure compliance and accountability.

Campus activities and services

Stay up-to-date on the status of university services at covid19.usask.ca/campus-status.php. Please watch carefully for changes regarding university events and gatherings.

Delayed start for many winter term classes and remote work for faculty and staff

As announced on Dec. 23, the start date for many winter term classes was delayed until Jan. 10 with details around start times and methods of course delivery being provided directly from colleges and schools. USask faculty and staff who can work remotely are encouraged to do so until January 24. The readiness of a return to work on campus will be assessed over the next couple weeks and communicated prior to January 24. For those employees who will be working on campus during the winter term a supply of N95 masks will be available for purchase by units and departments in small quantities through ppesales.usask.ca. For more information about using N95 masks and their availability visit covid19.usask.ca/working-on-campus/ppes.php#OnCampusMaskUse. 

As a measure of additional protection for faculty and staff on campus, USask will have a supply of rapid antigen COVID-19 testing kits available for voluntary use. Please watch for further updates regarding the availability of rapid antigen tests on campus.

COVID-19 vaccination booster eligibility to residents 18 and over

All Saskatchewan residents ages 18 and over are eligible for booster doses. The interval between the second dose and booster shot has been reduced from five months to three. For more information or to schedule your COVID-19 vaccination booster saskatchewan.ca/covid19-vaccine-booking.

Information regarding any USask expectations or requirements for booster shots for members of our campus communities will be announced in early 2022. Given the current state of the pandemic and the emergence of the Omicron variant, it is recommended you get your COVID booster shot as soon as you are eligible.

Stay home if you are feeling sick 

As active COVID-19 cases continue to increase across the province with the emergence of the Omicron variant, it is imperative that you stay home if you are feeling sick and do not spread your illness. Even if it is not COVID-19, please stay home and monitor your symptoms. Regardless of your vaccination status, it is mandatory that you should be symptom-free for 48 hours prior to returning to campus/work. Free rapid antigen test kits are available to the general public free of charge through participating local distribution centres throughout the province. Anyone experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, even if they are mild, should get tested immediately.

Keep close tabs on your health to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by closely monitoring your symptoms and completing the self-monitoring checklist. COVID-19 rapid screening test appointments are available for students through the Student Wellness Centre. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call the Student Wellness Centre at 306-966-5768 or email student.wellness@usask.ca. Appointments are available to those who have;

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

More information is available at covid19.usask.ca/about/safety.php. Learn more about the Government of Saskatchewan's Seasonal Influenza (flu) program.

USask virtual education supports health-care workers during pandemic

In the early days of the pandemic, the College of Medicine’s Division of Continuing Medical Education quickly became a go-to resource for health-care professionals, offering educational webinars about the emerging virus, reaching thousands of people from all over the world. Read more.

Process for reporting confirmed or suspected positive case

Instructions/guidelines for students, employees, faculty/instructors and people leaders for self-reporting confirmed or suspected cases are available and must be followed. If you have a confirmed case of COVID-19, suspect you have COVID-19, or suspect you have been in close contact of a positive or suspect case, immediately notify the university. These simplified instructions allow USask to take the appropriate actions to safeguard our community as well as provide all faculty, staff and students with available resources or support.

Important: Please report all positive cases involving USask students, staff, and faculty regardless of if the person has been at a campus location or not. At this time, Rapid testing and PCR testing are being treated as equivalent for the purposes of tracking and reporting positive cases. Please follow SHA guidelines for requirements of confirmatory testing, if needed.

USask COVID-19 health and safety protocols

The health and safety of our university community is paramount and all members of the USask community share the responsibility to follow all health and safety protocols now in place. Please ensure that you are familiar with the most up-to-date information about USask's health and safety requirements. The COVID-19 vaccination, masking, and health and safety protocols have been updated for the winter term and developed in accordance with the USask Health and Safety policy. The university will pursue all appropriate measures to ensure compliance and accountability.

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. 

During the holiday closure from Dec. 24 to Jan. 3, 62 positive cases were reported to us during that time. Since reopening on Jan. 4 to the end of Jan. 6, the university was informed of 69 positive COVID-19 cases involving members of the university community on and off campus. A complete list of where positive cases have been reported including on campus locations is now available.

On campus mask adherence 

All faculty, staff, students, visitors and contractors are required to wear approved masks in all indoor spaces, outdoor gatherings of more than 20 people on USask campuses in Saskatoon, Regina and Prince Albert. 

Approved masks include single-use 3-ply-nonmedical-and-medical, N95, KN95s and double masking with a cloth mask over single-use 3-ply. Should you encounter individuals on campus not following mask protocols please: 

  • Remind the individual that masking is mandatory
  • Request that they don a 3-ply disposable mask
  • Remove yourself respectfully from the situation. It is not recommended that you engage in debate or conversation as this may result in lengthy engagement with an unmasked person or lead to negative interactions, or
  • Report using one of the following options:

For student issues: report any recurring scenarios or situations with the Report a Hazard tool (can be used confidentially);
For workplace issues: report the incident to the appropriate people leader or use the Report a Hazard tool as a confidential option.

Disposable mask recycling stations are located across the Saskatoon campus with new locations being added. 

Campus activities and services

Stay up-to-date on the status of university services at covid19.usask.ca/campus-status.php. Please watch carefully for changes regarding university events and gatherings.

December

As a reminder, USask has taken the following precautionary measures to ensure the continued health and safety of our campus community, effective January 4, 2022:

  • There will be a delayed start in many classes and programs until January 10. Please see the list of programs below. For classes beginning on January 10, the last day of classes is now April 8. Additional details for programs will come directly from colleges and schools. 
  • For the start of term, many classes and programs will temporarily be delivered remotely, with efforts in place to protect learning outcomes in labs and other experiential elements by using in-person delivery modes where possible.  
  • At this time, we expect the remote class delivery to be in place for two weeks, until January 24. The readiness of a shift back to in-person classes will be assessed in the interim, but the expectation is a return to in-person classes as soon as safe and reasonable to do so.
  • For students, it is imperative that you watch for and follow messages that come directly from your college and your instructors. If you do not see information about your program on the list below, contact the Dean of your college or your graduate supervisor.

Colleges/schools with a term start date of January 10, 2022

  • Agriculture and Bioresources 
  • Arts and Science 
  • Education (with exceptions for field placements) 
  • Edwards School of Business (except for the MBA program)
  • Engineering 
  • Johnson Shoyoma Graduate School of Public Policy
  • Kinesiology 
  • Pharmacy and Nutrition (except for Year 4 students)
  • Public Health

College/schools with the original term start dates

  • Dentistry (January 4)
  • Edwards School of Business MBA program (January 5)
  • Environment and Sustainability (January 5) 
  • Law (January 5)
  • Medicine (MD Program; January 4)
  • Nursing (January 4/5)
  • Pharmacy and Nutrition (Year 4; January 4)
  • Rehabilitation Sciences (January 4) 
  • Veterinary Medicine (January 4)

Students with questions about registration, withdrawal, or tuition payment deadlines should visit the Class Registration and Withdrawal Deadline website.

The following is a summary of other measures in place for the winter term: 

  • Anyone attending in-person learning or working at a USask location for the winter term is required to be fully vaccinated prior to the January start of term. Submitting rapid test results (or any other COVID test result) in place of full vaccination will no longer be an option for campus access, effective January 4.
  • Starting January 4, if you are not fully vaccinated or choose not to upload your vaccination status to PAWS, you cannot access USask campuses, workplaces, and facilities for any reason, including the PAC, Huskie games, libraries, dining facilities, and any building, office, and classroom. 
  • This full vaccination requirement also extends to all vendors and contractors on our campuses and work locations.
  • With the growing evidence of increased and enhanced protection for individuals and the health-care system, we recommend all members of the campus community obtain their vaccination booster shots as soon as eligible. Once you have received your booster shot, do not yet update your vaccination status in PAWS at this time. Information about campus expectations for booster shots will be shared in mid-January, as well as information on how to update your vaccination status in PAWS.
  • Opening dates and hours for university services may change for the start of the Winter term. Please follow these links for the most up to date information: LibraryPhysical Activity Complex (PAC), Campus Food ServicesStudent Residences, and the USask Bookstore
  • Student supports and services will all be available beginning January 4, primarily in a virtual format, for the first weeks of January. The Student Wellness Centre will be open with many health staff seeing students in-person and others conducting virtual appointments. Information regarding student supports and services will be continually updated and is available on USask’s COVID-19 site.
  • USask is requesting all employees who can work remotely to do so until January 24. Specific communications will come from your respective people leaders. Like class delivery, the readiness of a return to work on campus will be assessed prior to January 24.
  • Wearing a 3-ply single-use mask will be required on all USask campuses and in all work locations at all times. Cloth masks are not approved unless they are positioned over a 3-ply single-use mask.
  • As a measure of additional protection for yourself and others, everyone is encouraged to obtain the rapid test kits that have been made available by the province and test yourself prior to any gatherings in person with others. Availability of rapid testing kits can be confirmed here.
  • It is important to ensure that individuals who have any symptoms that may be due to CoVID-19, not come to campus until CoVID-19 has been ruled out by testing, or until the symptoms have resolved.   

Any additional changes will be communicated as soon as determined, including any new requirements or restrictions announced by public health. If you have any questions, please consult the FAQ for more information. 

On behalf of the PRT, have a safe and restful New Year’s!

Regards,
USask Pandemic Response and Recovery Team 

As communicated in the December 21 Campus update, the Pandemic Response and Recovery Team (PRT) is closely monitoring the spread of the omicron variant as we consider its potential impact on USask campuses and operations for the upcoming Winter term. This is a rapidly changing situation, with Canada now experiencing record increases in daily COVID-19 cases, and cases similarly increasing here in Saskatchewan.

As a precautionary measure to ensure the continued health and safety of our campus community, USask is making the following changes to class delivery and operations, effective January 4, 2022:

  • There will be a delayed start in many classes and programs until January 10. Details around start times for programs will come directly from colleges and schools.
  • For the January 10 start of term, many classes and programs will temporarily be delivered remotely, wherever possible, protecting learning outcomes and the need to progress degree completion.
  • We expect the remote class delivery to be in place for two weeks, until January 24. The readiness of a shift back to in-person classes will be assessed during that time, but the expectation is a return to in-person classes as soon as safe and reasonable to do so.
  • Full details of which elements of programs will shift to remote delivery, and which will stay in-person will be provided directly to students and faculty as soon as possible.
  • All employees who can work remotely will do so until January 24. Specific communications will come from your respective people leaders. Like class delivery, the readiness of a return to work on campus will be assessed prior to January 24.

Additional details will be provided prior to December 31, including any additional changes determined by public health and the province. PRT will continue to monitor the situation throughout the holiday break and will provide an update to all students, faculty, and staff in the week between Christmas and New Year.

During the extended break, we encourage all members of the campus community to obtain their vaccination booster shots. Once you have received your booster shot, do not update your vaccination status in PAWS at this time. Information about campus expectations for booster shots will be shared in January, as will information on how to update your vaccination status in PAWS.

We hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable holiday season, and we look forward to providing further updates to our USask campuses next week.

As we approach the holiday break, the Pandemic Response and Recovery Team (PRT) is providing a recap of pandemic expectations for the USask’s winter term, starting January 4. The high vaccination rates of our students, faculty, and staff, the mandatory vaccination requirement for the winter term, and our continued adherence to masking and other safety measures have allowed our planned transition to increased on-campus activities in winter.

Please know the PRT is closely monitoring the spread of the omicron variant of COVID-19 across Canada and Saskatchewan to better understand its potential impact on USask campuses and operations, and we will continue to monitor through the holiday break.

At this time, based on the most recent information and data available, we are currently maintaining our plans for increased on-campus activities, beginning in January, with a larger number of classes delivered face-to-face in the winter term.

However, the omicron variant is emerging as a significant challenge in other parts of the country and if our situation worsens here in Saskatchewan as we approach the new year, or during the winter term, we will quickly pivot to changes in class delivery to ensure the safety of all students, faculty, and staff. The experience we have gained through different phases of the pandemic will allow us to make changes in class delivery where necessary, while protecting the integrity of learning outcomes and prioritizing program requirements. We expect that any changes in class delivery will be temporary, and we will revert to in-person delivery as soon as deemed safe and reasonable to do so.

We are reminding the university community, as first announced in October, that anyone attending in-person learning or working at a USask location for the winter term will be required to provide proof of full vaccination prior to the January start of term. Submitting rapid test results (or any other COVID test result) in place of full vaccination will no longer be an option for campus access, effective January 4, 2022.

At this time, being considered “fully vaccinated” means receiving the last required dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days prior to the start of the term. For those who are already considered fully vaccinated and have submitted their vaccination status through PAWS, there is no further action required at this time.

Starting January 4, if you are not fully vaccinated or choose not to upload your vaccination status, you cannot access USask campuses, workplaces, and facilities for any reason, including the PAC, Huskie games, libraries, dining facilities, and any building, office, and classroom. This requirement also extends to all vendors and contractors on our campuses and work locations.

USask is consulting with Public Health and other experts on possible requirements for booster vaccinations in 2022. Once determined, information about campus expectations for booster shots will be shared early in the new year, likely by mid-January. In the meantime, due to waning protection from original vaccinations and the expected pervasiveness of the omicron variant, we strongly recommend that all members of the campus community age 18 and above obtain a booster shot as soon as available.

We understand that some individuals are not able to be fully vaccinated for medical or other grounds that are protected in the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code. The university will continue to consider accommodation requests for these individuals in accordance with the requirements of the Code. Only those with an approved USask accommodation will be allowed on campus and in workplaces without being fully vaccinated. Previously approved accommodations from the fall term will remain in effect through the winter term. If you plan to apply for a vaccination accommodation for January, you have now missed the deadline. You may still make an application but be advised that there will be delays due to the time required to review your request and we can no longer ensure your approval to be on campus for January 4.

With the spread of the omicron variant, members of the USask community are encouraged to avoid personal non-essential travel over the holidays, especially to areas with higher rates of COVID-19 infection. Government travel recommendations, requirements, and restrictions continue to be fluid. USask community members who must make an essential trip outside of Canada should check the current travel restrictions and entry/exit requirements of Canada and the country being visited. Consult the Government of Canada website for details. Faculty, staff, and students traveling on university business including work or study must follow university policy. The Government’s declaration to avoid non-essential travel means that special consideration is now required to seek approval for travelling outside Canada.

All USask COVID-19 safety measures are necessary for the continued health and safety of our campus community. We have greatly appreciated the care and courtesy you have shown in the shared effort to “Protect the Pack” through the pandemic and thank you in advance for your continued care and cooperation. We also cannot stress enough the importance of remaining vigilant in health practices, testing yourself regularly, staying home when experiencing any symptoms, and obtaining your vaccine booster shot as soon as possible to ensure continued protection for yourself and others.

Over the holiday break, we will advise the campus community immediately of any changes to our current plans via email, PAWS, and social media.  If you have any questions, please consult our FAQ for more information.

 

On behalf of the PRT, have a safe holiday season!

 

Regards,

USask Pandemic Response and Recovery Team

Saskatchewan expanding COVID-19 vaccination booster eligibility to residents 18 and over

The Government of Saskatchewan has expanded its eligibility for booster doses for ages 18 and up starting on Monday, December 20. The government is also reducing the interval between the second dose and booster shot from five months to three.

For more information or to schedule your COVID-19 vaccination booster saskatchewan.ca/covid19-vaccine-booking.

Information regarding any USask expectations or requirements for booster shots for members of our campus communities will be announced in early 2022. Given the current state of the pandemic and the emergence of the Omicron variant, it is recommended you get your COVID booster shot as soon as you are eligible.

Federal Government advising against non-essential international travel

Due to the emergence of the Omicron variant in many countries around the world, The Public Health Agency of Canada is advising all travellers, regardless of their vaccination status to avoid non-essential international travel. Employees should contact ConnectionPoint prior to making university-related travel arrangements to ensure proper supervisor approvals are in place and the booking process for USask-funded travel is being followed. Students are advised to consult the International Student and Study Abroad Centre if they are planning international travel for study purposes. 

Take care of your health and wellness heading into the holidays

As exams begin and preparations for the holidays are in full swing, remember to take the time to look after your health and wellbeing. Online resources are available at wellness.usask.ca/covid-19.php to help guide you through these times.

For students

If you need to talk to a counsellor, doctor, dietitian, mental health nurse and/or nurse practitioner, get in touch with the Student Wellness Centre. Staff can meet with you by phone or online. In addition, you can now book in-person fee-for-service massage, physio and chiro appointments. 

If you need urgent mental health assistance, reach out to Student Affairs and Outreach

University holiday hours

University buildings on campus will be closed from Dec. 24 to Jan. 4. All USask library locations will be closed from December 24 and will be reopening on Jan. 4, 2021. Ask Us is unavailable at this time.

The PAC and Fit Centre will be closed starting on Dec. 24  and reopening Jan. 4. Please visit rec.usask.ca for details on programming and holiday hours

Some services are still available for international students through the International Student and Study Abroad Centre.

Contact the Veterinary Medical Centre at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine for holiday hours.

Protective services can be contacted at 306-966-5555 if in need of assistance. Call 9-1-1 in an emergency.

USask COVID-19 health and safety protocols

The health and safety of our university community is paramount and all members of the USask community share the responsibility to follow all health and safety protocols now in place. Please ensure that you are familiar with the most up-to-date information about USask's health and safety requirements. The COVID-19 vaccination, masking, and health and safety protocols have been updated for the winter term and developed in accordance with the USask Health and Safety policy. The university will pursue all appropriate measures to ensure compliance and accountability.

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 on December 16, the university was informed of two positive COVID-19 cases involving members of the university community on and off campus. A complete list of where positive cases have been reported including on campus locations is now available.

On campus mask adherence 

All faculty, staff, students, visitors and contractors are required to wear approved masks in all indoor spaces, outdoor gatherings of more than 20 people on USask campuses in Saskatoon, Regina and Prince Albert. 

Approved masks include single-use 3-ply-nonmedical-and-medical, N95, KN95s and double masking with a cloth mask over single-use 3-ply. Should you encounter individuals on campus not following mask protocols please: 

  • Remind the individual that masking is mandatory
  • Request that they don a 3-ply disposable mask
  • Remove yourself respectfully from the situation. It is not recommended that you engage in debate or conversation as this may result in lengthy engagement with an unmasked person or lead to negative interactions, or
  • Report using one of the following options:

For student issues: report any recurring scenarios or situations with the Report a Hazard tool (can be used confidentially);
For workplace issues: report the incident to the appropriate people leader or use the Report a Hazard tool as a confidential option.

Disposable mask recycling stations are located across the Saskatoon campus with new locations being added.  

Make sure your vaccination status is up-to-date in PAWS

Your requirements to access campus or vaccination status may have changed since completing the process in the fall. Please be sure to keep your status up-to-date through the Vaccine Status channel in PAWS to reflect your current situation. This can include requirements to access USask campuses and workspaces versus learning/working remotely or becoming fully vaccinated

Process for reporting confirmed or suspected positive case

Instructions/guidelines for students, employees, faculty/instructors and people leaders for self-reporting confirmed or suspected cases are available and must be followed. If you have a confirmed case of COVID-19 or if you suspect you have COVID-19 as well if you have come in close contact of a positive or suspect case immediately notify the university. These simplified instructions allow USask to take the appropriate actions to safeguard our community as well as provide all faculty, staff and students with available resources or support.

Campus activities and services

Stay up-to-date on the status of university services at covid19.usask.ca/campus-status.php. Many services will continue to be delivered in both in-person and remote throughout the fall term. Events planned for groups of more than 150 people are required to submit a Request Approval for Large Events and Gatherings form

Take care of your health and wellness heading into the holidays

As exams begin and preparations for the holidays are in full swing, remember to take the time to look after your health and wellbeing. Online resources are available at wellness.usask.ca/covid-19.php to help guide you through these times.

For students

If you need to talk to a counsellor, doctor, dietitian, mental health nurse and/or nurse practitioner, get in touch with the Student Wellness Centre. Staff can meet with you by phone or online. In addition, you can now book in-person fee-for-service massage, physio and chiro appointments. 

If you need urgent mental health assistance, reach out to Student Affairs and Outreach

USask COVID-19 health and safety protocols

The health and safety of our university community is paramount and all members of the USask community share the responsibility to follow all health and safety protocols now in place. Please ensure that you are familiar with the most up-to-date information about USask's health and safety requirements. The COVID-19 vaccination, masking, and health and safety protocols have been updated for the winter term and developed in accordance with the USask Health and Safety policy. The university will pursue all appropriate measures to ensure compliance and accountability.

Supporting mental health in northern Saskatchewan communities during COVID-19

In Saskatchewan’s northern communities, COVID-19 has exacerbated the gaps in health care, including mental health. This became even more apparent during the pandemic with overall levels of stress increasing. Mental health is a critical piece of individual health, and medical professionals are making an effort to focus additional attention and support in this area. Psychiatrist Dr. Sara Dungavell (MD), an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry, regularly flies from Saskatoon to see patients in the northern communities of La Loche, La Ronge and area as well as within the Athabasca Health Authority, including Stony Rapids, Black Lake and Fond du Lac. Read more.

Saskatchewan expanding COVID-19 vaccination booster eligibility to residents 50 plus

The Government of Saskatchewan has expanded its eligibility for booster doses to those 50 and older, 18 and older in the north or living in First Nations communities and all health-care workers. The government is also moving the interval between doses from six months to five. Here's who is eligible for their third dose effective immediately:

  • Individuals aged 50 years and older.
  • Individuals 18 years and older living in the far north and those living on First Nation communities.
  • All health-care workers.
  • Individuals born in 2009 or earlier with underlying health conditions that are clinically extremely vulnerable, including those with diabetes.

For more information or to schedule your COVID-19 vaccination booster saskatchewan.ca/covid19-vaccine-booking.

Information regarding any USask expectations or requirements for booster shots for members of our campus communities will be announced in early 2022.

USask fall term COVID-19 rapid testing program

For participants in the university’s rapid testing program, the last day to pick up test kits from one of the on campus locations is Friday, December 17. All locations will be closed the week of December 20-24 and over the holiday break.

Starting January 4, 2022, the rapid testing program will no longer be an option for USask community to access campus, and all on-campus faculty, staff, and students must be fully vaccinated or have an approved accommodation in place (3x/week testing will be a requirement of accommodation for most). Please review USask’s COVID-19 website for further information about vaccination measures for Winter Term and details about the accommodation process.

Updated guidelines for on campus fundraising bake sales

Student groups planning bake sale fundraising events have a new set of guidelines to help protect the health and safety of everyone involved. Organizers are encouraged to follow the recommendations including sanitization, mask-wearing and categories of food items that are preferrable to sell. More information can be found in the Eating on Campus section at covid19.usask.ca/about/safety.php.

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 on December 9, the university was informed of one positive COVID-19 case involving members of the university community on and off campus. A complete list of where positive cases have been reported including on campus locations is now available.

On campus mask adherence 

All faculty, staff, students, visitors and contractors are required to wear approved masks in all indoor spaces, outdoor gatherings of more than 20 people on USask campuses in Saskatoon, Regina and Prince Albert. 

Approved masks include single-use 3-ply-nonmedical-and-medical, N95, KN95s and double masking with a cloth mask over single-use 3-ply. Should you encounter individuals on campus not following mask protocols please: 

  • Remind the individual that masking is mandatory
  • Request that they don a 3-ply disposable mask
  • Remove yourself respectfully from the situation. It is not recommended that you engage in debate or conversation as this may result in lengthy engagement with an unmasked person or lead to negative interactions, or
  • Report using one of the following options:

For student issues: report any recurring scenarios or situations with the Report a Hazard tool (can be used confidentially);
For workplace issues: report the incident to the appropriate people leader or use the Report a Hazard tool as a confidential option.

Disposable mask recycling stations are located across the Saskatoon campus with new locations being added.  

Make sure your vaccination status is up-to-date in PAWS

Your requirements to access campus or vaccination status may have changed since completing the process in the fall. Please be sure to keep your status up-to-date through the Vaccine Status channel in PAWS to reflect your current situation. This can include requirements to access USask campuses and workspaces versus learning/working remotely or becoming fully vaccinated

Process for reporting confirmed or suspected positive case

Instructions/guidelines for students, employees, faculty/instructors and people leaders for self-reporting confirmed or suspected cases are available and must be followed. If you have a confirmed case of COVID-19 or if you suspect you have COVID-19 as well if you have come in close contact of a positive or suspect case immediately notify the university. These simplified instructions allow USask to take the appropriate actions to safeguard our community as well as provide all faculty, staff and students with available resources or support.

Campus activities and services

Stay up-to-date on the status of university services at covid19.usask.ca/campus-status.php. Many services will continue to be delivered in both in-person and remote throughout the fall term. Events planned for groups of more than 150 people are required to submit a Request Approval for Large Events and Gatherings form

USask COVID-19 health and safety protocols

The health and safety of our university community is paramount and all members of the USask community share the responsibility to follow all health and safety protocols now in place. Please ensure that you are familiar with the most up-to-date information about USask's health and safety requirements. The COVID-19 vaccination, masking, and health and safety protocols have been updated for the winter term and developed in accordance with the USask Health and Safety policy. The university will pursue all appropriate measures to ensure compliance and accountability.

New Canadian border measures to protect against Omicron variant

The Canadian government recently announced additional border measures to reduce the risk of importation and transmission of COVID-19 and its variants in Canada related to international travel. The expanding list of countries with entry prohibitions originally announced on November 26, 2021, now includes Egypt, Nigeria and Malawi. Please review the Government of Canada COVID-19 travel, testing and borders website for the latest travel updates and advisories. Employees should contact ConnectionPoint prior to making university-related travel arrangements, and students are advised to consult the International Student and Study Abroad Centre if they are planning international travel for study purposes. 

USask biomedical researcher investigating what makes COVID-19 variants more infectious

USask biomedical scientist Dr. Anil Kumar (PhD) is leading a research team in investigating how COVID-19 variants function and interact with a host’s cells. Kumar recently received a $100,000 grant from the Canadian institutes of Health Research (CIHR) for his project, Functional analyses of pathogenicity determinants of emerging SARS-Coronavirus-2 variants. With predominantly four main variants currently circulating around the world—Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta—and new variant of concern Omicron spreading quickly, Kumar and his team are studying specific mutations in the genome of the variants. These mutations cause the variants to be more contagious and infectious. Read more.

Food and drink On Campus

There are a variety of areas where students, faculty and staff may choose to eat indoors including: lunchrooms, breakrooms, lounges, common areas, outside and/or other designated eating areas. If possible, please avoid eating in shared office spaces where occupants are less than six feet apart.

Masks may only be removed when you are actively consuming food or drink, not socializing (e.g. holding a coffee while talking is not active drinking). Distancing and masking practices must be followed in all indoor spaces. If you would like to socialize while eating or drinking, we encourage you to eat outside. More information is available about Eating on Campus at covid19.usask.ca.

Food and Bake Sales

Bake Sales and other types of food sales, hosted by a student organization or other fundraising groups, are not permitted due to current COVID-19 health and safety protocols. Decisions for when such sales can resume will be reviewed by June 2022.

USask COVID-19 rapid testing program

USask faculty, staff and students who completed the Vaccine Status process in the fall and indicated they are not vaccinated, partially vaccinated, or chose not to disclose their vaccination status are required to participate in the rapid testing and self-monitoring program until the end of the fall term to be able to access USask campuses for any purpose.

If you are required to participate in this program, you must submit two tests each week regardless of the number of times you access USask campuses. Individuals that are not compliant with the requirements of the program will be notified, and consequences will occur.

More information about the program including locations for picking up test kits and administering the tests is available at covid19.usask.ca/about/testing-tracking.php.

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 on December 2, the university was informed of three positive COVID-19 cases involving members of the university community on and off campus. A complete list of where positive cases have been reported including on campus locations is now available.

Process for reporting confirmed or suspected positive case

Instructions/guidelines for students, employees, faculty/instructors and people leaders for self-reporting confirmed or suspected cases are available and must be followed. If you have a confirmed case of COVID-19 or if you suspect you have COVID-19 as well if you have come in close contact of a positive or suspect case immediately notify the university. These simplified instructions allow USask to take the appropriate actions to safeguard our community as well as provide all faculty, staff and students with available resources or support.

Make sure your vaccination status is up-to-date in PAWS

Your requirements to access campus or vaccination status may have changed since completing the process in the fall. Please be sure to keep your status up-to-date through the Vaccine Status channel in PAWS to reflect your current situation. This can include requirements to access USask campuses and workspaces versus learning/working remotely or becoming fully vaccinated

Stay home if you are feeling sick 

As we enter flu season and continue the valiant battle against  COVID-19 it is imperative that you stay home if you are feeling sick and do not spread your illness. Even if it is not COVID-19, please stay home and monitor your symptoms. Regardless of your vaccination status, it is mandatory that you should be symptom-free for 48 hours prior to returning to campus/work. Anyone experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, even if they are mild, should get tested immediately.

Keep close tabs on your health to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by closely monitoring your symptoms and completing the self-monitoring checklist. COVID-19 rapid screening test appointments are available for students through the Student Wellness Centre. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call the Student Wellness Centre at 306-966-5768 or email student.wellness@usask.ca. Appointments are available to those who have;

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

More information is available at covid19.usask.ca/about/safety.php. Learn more about the Government of Saskatchewan's Seasonal Influenza (flu) program.

Campus activities and services

Stay up-to-date on the status of university services at covid19.usask.ca/campus-status.php. Many services will continue to be delivered in both in-person and remote throughout the fall term. Events planned for groups of more than 150 people are required to submit a Request Approval for Large Events and Gatherings form

November

Winter term reminder of COVID-19 safety measures

USask looks forward to a significant increase in on-campus activities in January. This means that the number of classes delivered face-to-face in the winter term will return to a more typical state and requirements for staff to work remotely will be lifted.

As announced in October, anyone attending in-person learning or working at a USask location for the winter term will be required to provide proof of full vaccination prior to the January start of term. Submitting rapid test results (or any other COVID test result) will no longer be an option for campus access, effective January 4, 2022. Read more.

Provincial public health orders extended to January 31, 2022

On November 25, the province announced the current public health orders that were put in place on October 19, 2021 will remain in place until January 31, 2022. These public health orders include requiring either proof of COVID-19 vaccination or negative test to access identified businesses, along with mandatory isolation, and face-covering in all indoor spaces.

USask COVID-19 rapid testing program

USask faculty, staff and students who completed the Vaccine Status process in the fall and indicated they are not vaccinated, partially vaccinated, or chose not to disclose their vaccination status are required to participate in the rapid testing and self-monitoring program until the end of the fall term to be able to access USask campuses for any purpose.

If you are required to participate in this program, you must submit two tests each week regardless of the number of times you access USask campuses. Individuals that are not compliant with the requirements of the program will be notified, and consequences will occur.

More information about the program including locations for picking up test kits and administering the tests is available at covid19.usask.ca/about/testing-tracking.php.

Saskatoon hospital foundations offer support to USask’s VIDO

Three of Saskatoon’s hospital foundations have partnered to donate $230,000 in support of Canada’s Centre for Pandemic Research at USask's Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO). 

The foundations’ CEOs — Arla Gustafson of the Royal University Hospital Foundation, Brynn Boback-Lane of the Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital Foundation, and Steve Shannon of the Saskatoon City Hospital Foundation — said the donation is meant to honour the hard work of front-line doctors, nurses, medical, support staff and research initiatives across the hospitals and Saskatchewan. Learn more.

Travel Information

Whether it's travelling for personal or university business, knowing the travel guidelines that are in place for international and travel within Canada is important. Prior to making travel arrangements carefully review USask’s travel requirements for the latest travel advisories and information on how you can book travel through the university’s approved travel providers.

If you have any questions about your USask-related travel or would like help with booking or reimbursement, please reach out and let ConnectionPoint help with all your travel needs.

Make sure your vaccination status is up-to-date in PAWS

Your requirements to access campus or vaccination status may have changed since completing the process in the fall. Please be sure to keep your status up-to-date through the Vaccine Status channel in PAWS to reflect your current situation. This can include requirements to access USask campuses and workspaces versus learning/working remotely or becoming fully vaccinated

Process for reporting confirmed or suspected positive case

Instructions/guidelines for students, employees, faculty/instructors and people leaders for self-reporting confirmed or suspected cases are available and must be followed. If you have a confirmed case of COVID-19 or if you suspect you have COVID-19 as well if you have come in close contact of a positive or suspect case immediately notify the university. These simplified instructions allow USask to take the appropriate actions to safeguard our community as well as provide all faculty, staff and students with available resources or support.

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 on November 25, the university was informed of one positive COVID-19 cases involving members of the university community on and off campus. A complete list of where positive cases have been reported including on campus locations is now available.

On campus mask adherence 

All faculty, staff, students, visitors and contractors are required to wear approved masks in all indoor spaces, outdoor gatherings of more than 20 people on USask campuses in Saskatoon, Regina and Prince Albert. 

Approved masks include single-use 3-ply-nonmedical-and-medical, N95, KN95s and double masking with a cloth mask over single-use 3-ply. Should you encounter individuals on campus not following mask protocols please: 

  • Remind the individual that masking is mandatory
  • Request that they don a 3-ply disposable mask
  • Remove yourself respectfully from the situation. It is not recommended that you engage in debate or conversation as this may result in lengthy engagement with an unmasked person or lead to negative interactions, or
  • Report using one of the following options:

For student issues: report any recurring scenarios or situations with the Report a Hazard tool (can be used confidentially);
For workplace issues: report the incident to the appropriate people leader or use the Report a Hazard tool as a confidential option.

Disposable mask recycling stations are located across the Saskatoon campus with new locations being added. 

Stay home if you are feeling sick 

As we enter flu season and continue the valiant battle against  COVID-19 it is imperative that you stay home if you are feeling sick and do not spread your illness. Even if it is not COVID-19, please stay home and monitor your symptoms. Regardless of your vaccination status, it is mandatory that you should be symptom-free for 48 hours prior to returning to campus/work. Anyone experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, even if they are mild, should get tested immediately.

Keep close tabs on your health to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by closely monitoring your symptoms and completing the self-monitoring checklist. COVID-19 rapid screening test appointments are available for students through the Student Wellness Centre. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call the Student Wellness Centre at 306-966-5768 or email student.wellness@usask.ca. Appointments are available to those who have;

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

More information is available at covid19.usask.ca/about/safety.php. Learn more about the Government of Saskatchewan's Seasonal Influenza (flu) program.

Campus activities and services

Stay up-to-date on the status of university services at covid19.usask.ca/campus-status.php. Many services will continue to be delivered in both in-person and remote throughout the fall term. Events planned for groups of more than 150 people are required to submit a Request Approval for Large Events and Gatherings form

Winter term reminder of COVID-19 safety measures

USask looks forward to a significant increase in on-campus activities in January. This means that the number of classes delivered face-to-face in the Winter term will return to a more typical state and requirements for staff to work remotely will be lifted.

As announced in October, anyone attending in-person learning or working at a USask location for the Winter term will be required to provide proof of full vaccination prior to the January start of term. Submitting rapid test results (or any other COVID test result) will no longer be an option for campus access, effective January 4, 2022. Read more.

I’m an infectious disease doctor. Yes, I’m vaccinating our 5-year-old against COVID-19. Here is why you should too.

With Health Canada approving the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for kids aged 5-11, Dr. Alexander Wong, Associate Professor and Infectious Disease Physician from USask’s College of Medicine, provides parents with information on the COVID-19 vaccination and discusses why he’s choosing to vaccinate his five-year-old son against COVID-19. Learn more.

Make sure your vaccination status is up-to-date in PAWS

Your requirements to access campus or vaccination status may have changed since completing the process in the fall. Please be sure to keep your status up-to-date through the Vaccine Status channel in PAWS to reflect your current situation. This can include requirements to access USask campuses and workspaces versus learning/working remotely or becoming fully vaccinated

Who is avoiding the COVID-19 vaccine in Saskatchewan? New USask research could help to target the holdouts

USask researchers have been studying why Saskatchewanians have been refusing or hesitating to get vaccinated for COVID-19. According to published statistics, Saskatchewan has the lowest COVID-19 vaccination rate and currently the highest COVID-19 death rate of Canada’s provinces. In research recently published in the journal PLOS ONE, the researchers found characteristics including lower education level and financial instability were associated with an increased likelihood of vaccine refusal and hesitancy. Read more.

Process for reporting confirmed or suspected positive case

Instructions/guidelines for students, employees, faculty/instructors and people leaders for self-reporting confirmed or suspected cases are available and must be followed. If you have a confirmed case of COVID-19 or if you suspect you have COVID-19 as well if you have come in close contact of a positive or suspect case immediately notify the university. These simplified instructions allow USask to take the appropriate actions to safeguard our community as well as provide all faculty, staff and students with available resources or support.

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 fourteen-day period between November 4 and 18, the university was informed of nine positive COVID-19 cases involving members of the university community on and off campus. A complete list of where positive cases have been reported including on campus locations is now available.

On campus mask adherence 

All faculty, staff, students, visitors and contractors are required to wear approved masks in all indoor spaces, outdoor gatherings of more than 20 people on USask campuses in Saskatoon, Regina and Prince Albert. 

Approved masks include single-use 3-ply-nonmedical-and-medical, N95, KN95s and double masking with a cloth mask over single-use 3-ply. Should you encounter individuals on campus not following mask protocols please: 

  • Remind the individual that masking is mandatory
  • Request that they don a 3-ply disposable mask
  • Remove yourself respectfully from the situation. It is not recommended that you engage in debate or conversation as this may result in lengthy engagement with an unmasked person or lead to negative interactions, or
  • Report using one of the following options:

For student issues: report any recurring scenarios or situations with the Report a Hazard tool (can be used confidentially);
For workplace issues: report the incident to the appropriate people leader or use the Report a Hazard tool as a confidential option.

Disposable mask recycling stations are located across the Saskatoon campus with new locations being added. 

Take care of your health and wellness

A pandemic is a very stressful event for individuals and communities. It’s normal to feel some stress and anxiety. It’s also very common for people to display great resiliency during times of crisis.

We should remember that this is absolutely the time to lean on each other. Even if we can’t be close physically, we need to stay close emotionally. So, while you’re staying in, stay in touch with each other, and reach out if you need support. Online resources are available at wellness.usask.ca/covid-19.php to help guide you through these challenging times.

For Students

If you need to talk to a counsellor, doctor, dietitian, mental health nurse and/or nurse practitioner, get in touch with the Student Wellness Centre. Staff can meet with you by phone or online. In addition, you can now book in-person fee-for-service massage, physio and chiro appointments. 

If you need urgent mental health assistance, reach out to Student Affairs and Outreach

Stay home if you are feeling sick 

As we enter flu season and continue the valiant battle against  COVID-19 it is imperative that you stay home if you are feeling sick and do not spread your illness. Even if it is not COVID-19, please stay home and monitor your symptoms. Regardless of your vaccination status, it is mandatory that you should be symptom-free for 48 hours prior to returning to campus/work. Anyone experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, even if they are mild, should get tested immediately.

Keep close tabs on your health to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by closely monitoring your symptoms and completing the self-monitoring checklist. COVID-19 rapid screening test appointments are available for students through the Student Wellness Centre. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call the Student Wellness Centre at 306-966-5768 or email student.wellness@usask.ca. Appointments are available to those who have;

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

More information is available at covid19.usask.ca/about/safety.php. Learn more about the Government of Saskatchewan's Seasonal Influenza (flu) program.

Weekly updates on wastewater COVID-19 early indicators study

USask researchers are providing weekly updates on Saskatoon’s wastewater surveillance data for SARS-CoV-2 virus particles (the virus that causes COVID-19). Updates are made available Monday afternoons and include data for Prince Albert and North Battleford. View the most recent data here

Campus activities and services

Stay up-to-date on the status of university services at covid19.usask.ca/campus-status.php. Many services will continue to be delivered in both in-person and remote throughout the fall term. Events planned for groups of more than 150 people are required to submit a Request Approval for Large Events and Gatherings form

USask looks forward to a significant increase in on-campus activities in January. This means that the number of classes delivered face-to-face in the Winter term will return to a more typical state and that we will see larger classes to be held in-person as well.

We are reminding the university community, as announced in October, that anyone attending in-person learning or working at a USask location for the Winter term will be required to provide proof of full vaccination prior to the January start of term. Submitting rapid test results (or any other COVID test result) will no longer be an option for campus access, effective January 4, 2022.

Being considered “fully vaccinated” means receiving the last required dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days prior to the start of the term.

For those who are already fully vaccinated and have submitted their vaccination status through PAWS, there is no further action required at this time. The university is consulting with Public Health on requirements for possible vaccine booster shots, and more information will be shared with the USask community when it is available.

For any students, faculty, and staff currently working or studying remotely who have not indicated that they are fully vaccinated in PAWS, you will be required to meet these vaccination requirements prior to any planned return to campus, including uploading an updated vaccination status and proof of vaccination. In order to facilitate a smooth transition back to campus, you will soon receive messages providing you with instructions and timelines.

Starting January 4, if you are not fully vaccinated or choose not to upload your vaccination status, you cannot access USask facilities for any reason, including the PAC, Huskie games, libraries, dining facilities, and any building, office, and classroom on our campuses. This requirement also extends to all vendors and contractors on our campuses and work locations.

We understand that some individuals are not able to be fully vaccinated for valid medical reasons, or on grounds that are protected in the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code. The university will continue to consider accommodation requests for these individuals in accordance with the requirements of the Code. Only those with an approved accommodation will be allowed on campus without being fully vaccinated. Previously approved accommodations from the Fall term will remain in effect through the Winter term. If you plan to apply for a vaccination accommodation, you must do so now to ensure that your return in January is not delayed due to the time required to review your application.

With the Winter term transition to significantly increased in-person teaching and research activities, all remaining staff requirements to work remotely will be lifted. Remote and hybrid work arrangements will still be available based on the operational needs of the respective unit or department. More January information for staff will be provided in the coming weeks. Through the Winter term, the university will continue to review current and post-pandemic learning, research, and work environments to determine how hybrid and remote work will best fit USask on an ongoing basis. 

Full vaccination for the entire USask community is the clearest and the most effective path to beating COVID-19 and its variants. The high vaccination rates of our students, faculty, and staff, the mandatory vaccination requirement for the Winter term, and our continued adherence to masking are allowing the university to move to significantly increased on-campus activities in January. These safety measures are necessary for the continued health and safety of our campus community.

Please consult our FAQ for more information. If you have any questions not covered in the FAQ, please email covid19@usask.ca.

Regards, 

USask Pandemic Response and Recovery Team (PRT)

Winter term vaccination requirements

Effective January 4, 2022, anyone accessing USask campuses and workplaces will need to show proof of receiving at least two doses of WHO-approved COVID-19 vaccines. Submitting rapid test results (or any other COVID test result) will no longer be an option for campus access as of January 4 for those who are not vaccinated or choose not to disclose their vaccination status unless an approved accommodation exists.

Read President Stoicheff's full winter term announcement.

Safety reminder for fall reading week

Reading week is an important time in our academic calendar as members of the university community have the opportunity to recharge and prepare for the end of the fall term. As we approach next week's break, please continue to apply the same level of adherence to the COVID-19 health and safety protocols that have supported a successful increase in campus activities this fall. These include keeping gatherings small and consistent, maintaining physical distancing when possible and continuing to frequently wash your hands. The health and safety of our campus is a shared responsibility, and together we can continue to Protect the Pack.

CEPI awards USask’s VIDO $6M for vaccine development

The Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO) at USask has received approximately $6 million from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI). This is CEPI’s first ever award to a Canadian university. The award is part of CEPI’s $200-million program to advance the development of vaccines that provide broad protection against COVID-19 variants and other coronaviruses. Read more.

Saskatoon parent/guardian survey for 5-11-year-old children

The Saskatchewan Health Authority is beginning to plan for roll out of COVID vaccinations for 5-11-year old children in mid-November and the Saskatoon team would like to gather the perspectives of parents and caregivers to help inform planning. The voluntary survey is open from Nov. 2 -12 and the responses will help shape planning to ensure access, as well as identify what information is needed to support a successful roll out of the program. Take the survey.

Process for reporting confirmed or suspected positive case

Instructions/guidelines for students, employees, faculty/instructors and people leaders for self-reporting confirmed or suspected cases are available and must be followed. If you have a confirmed case of COVID-19 or if you suspect you have COVID-19 as well if you have come in close contact of a positive or suspect case immediately notify the university. These simplified instructions allow USask to take the appropriate actions to safeguard our community as well as provide all faculty, staff and students with available resources or support.

Take care of your health and wellness

A pandemic is a very stressful event for individuals and communities. It’s normal to feel some stress and anxiety. It’s also very common for people to display great resiliency during times of crisis.

We should remember that this is absolutely the time to lean on each other. Even if we can’t be close physically, we need to stay close emotionally. So, while you’re staying in, stay in touch with each other, and reach out if you need support. Online resources are available at wellness.usask.ca/covid-19.php to help guide you through these challenging times.

For Students

If you need to talk to a counsellor, doctor, dietitian, mental health nurse and/or nurse practitioner, get in touch with the Student Wellness Centre. Staff can meet with you by phone or online. In addition, you can now book in-person fee-for-service massage, physio and chiro appointments. 

If you need urgent mental health assistance, reach out to Student Affairs and Outreach

Travel Information

Direct Travel, the university preferred travel provider, has updated their resources hub to help travellers navigate travelling during the COVID-19 pandemic. The site includes:

  • up-to-date information on vaccination and entry requirements
  • links to approved testing locations
  • information for the Arrive CAN app

If you have any questions about your USask-related travel or would like help with booking or reimbursement, please reach out and let ConnectionPoint help with all your travel needs.

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, November 4, the university was informed of eight positive COVID-19 cases involving members of the university community on and off campus. A complete list of where positive cases have been reported including on campus locations is now available.

Stay home if you are feeling sick 

As we enter flu season and continue the valiant battle against  COVID-19 it is imperative that you stay home if you are feeling sick and do not spread your illness. Even if it is not COVID-19, please stay home and monitor your symptoms. Regardless of your vaccination status, it is mandatory that you should be symptom-free for 48 hours prior to returning to campus/work. Anyone experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, even if they are mild, should get tested immediately.

Keep close tabs on your health to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by closely monitoring your symptoms and completing the self-monitoring checklist. COVID-19 rapid screening test appointments are available for students through the Student Wellness Centre. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call the Student Wellness Centre at 306-966-5768 or email student.wellness@usask.ca

  • 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 is available at covid19.usask.ca/about/safety.php. Learn more about the Government of Saskatchewan's Seasonal Influenza (flu) program.

Campus activities and services

Stay up-to-date on the status of university services at covid19.usask.ca/campus-status.php. Many services will continue to be delivered in both in-person and remote throughout the fall term. Events planned for groups of more than 150 people are required to submit a Request Approval for Large Events and Gatherings form

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 4B of reopening.