Working Remotely

Work Remotely

How to work remotely including working securely, meetings, accessing files and more.

Teach Remotely

Support and tools for delivering classes online.

Research Remotely

Researching remotely throughout the research lifecycle.


If you require any items from your university workspace to more safely or efficiently work from home please contact your manager and supervisor. USask has implemented a working remotely policy.

Campus/Field Activity or Campus Access

Make a request

Staff, faculty and researchers that are able to work remotely should continue doing so until further notice but can make a request for long-term campus/field activity or short-term campus access.

Return to campus safety requirements

You must review the health and safety standards.

All faculty, staff, and students who have been approved for increased campus/field activity are required to follow the Health and Safety Guidelines.

In-person Campus Meetings

We understand there is an ever-increasing desire for colleges/units to participate in in-person meetings (on and/or off-campus) to support and facilitate operational and engagement opportunities.

As we continue to respond to COVID-19, USask has incrementally increased all types of activities within our campus’ and facilities. We understand there is an ever increasing desire for colleges/units to participate in in-person meetings (on and/or off campus) to support and facilitate operational and engagement opportunities.

The Saskatchewan Re-Open plan is in Phase 4 which allows for indoor and outdoor gatherings to a maximum of 30 people, within these guidelines, USask has created a set of parameters in order to support colleges/units to safely organize and facilitate an in-person meeting. Provincial guidelines may change at any time, these parameters may also change to ensure adherence the Saskatchewan Re-Open plan and guidelines.

In-person Meeting Parameters

In order to facilitate safe in-person meetings the college or unit leader is responsible for following, adhering to and monitoring for all of the parameters identified and are responsible for any and all associated costs related to the meeting.

Meetings are for in-depth discussion required between a specific group of staff and/or faculty with a planned agenda and outcomes/goals. One-way presentation or Town Halls are to be conducted virtually.

Requesting process:

  • Submit an In-Person Meeting Request form including rationale as to why the meeting cannot be conducted remotely and planned agenda.
  • A minimum 10 days advance notice must be given to allow for review and assessment and to ensure custodial and facilities resources are available.
  • The location, start and end time for the meeting must be identified along with the expected attendance numbers.
  • Any on-campus location will remain locked and off-limits after the event for up to 48 hours or until proper cleaning can be conducted.
  • Requested meetings must occur during normal business hours – 8 am to 4:30 pm.
  • Normally, meetings should not last more than 2 hours. Half or all day staff meetings/workshops should be avoided.
  • All meeting requests must be flexible, permitting participants to choose to attend in-person or through a virtual platform.

General Parameters

These general parameters are a requirement for all in-person meetings.

  • All participants must complete COVID-19 safety training.
  • All participants must complete a COVID-19 self assessment screening the day of the meeting.
  • Anyone who is sick or has any COVID-19 symptoms cannot attend any meeting either on or off campus.
  • Hand sanitizer and wipes must be available in adequate supply.
  • Disposable masks must be available if an individual needs a replacement.
  • An attendance log must be maintained for 30 days past the date, in order to support contact tracing efforts. Participants must bring their own food or refreshments and all waste must be disposed of immediately in garbage or recycle bins. Alcohol is prohibited.
  • No external personnel to USask are permitted to attend a meeting.
  • No out of province or out of country guests are permitted.
  • Group sizes must meet all provincial guidelines in place at that time, masks must be worn in accordance with the USask mask protocol.
  • All participants must have the option to attend the meeting through a virtual platform instead of in-person.
  • The room or space must be identified as well as the maximum number of people attending.
At this time in-person student-organized events or gatherings will not be approved. These parameters will continue to evolve and may be re-considered in the future when more information is available.

Academics

All course instructors are to be working remotely. Information and support for offering courses and exams remotely will continue to be updated on the remote teaching site and there are staff available to support this work.

Students who do not have access to computers or reliable internet in their off-campus locations are encouraged to connect with their instructors for alternative options. 

Support will be in place to assist you in identifying alternative options. Information will follow on the remote teaching site.

Exams

There will be no in-person exams for courses offered during Spring and Summer 2020 terms.

Student Absences

During this period, students will not need a medical note if they are not participating in class, need to miss an examination, or are requesting an extension. We don’t want our students overwhelming the medical system with requests for notes from doctors at this time.

Delivery Mode

The delivery model combines primarily remote online learning, with extremely limited classroom, laboratory, clinical, and physical instruction only where warranted and where circumstances permit, in consultation with public health and Saskatchewan's Chief Medical Health Officer.

The health and safety of our campus community has been our primary focus throughout this pandemic and will continue to be our top priority as we plan for a limited and very cautious reopening of our campuses. With thoughtfulness, responsiveness and resiliency, we will continue to work with the province to adjust our plans as necessary as we remain focused on delivering our world-class academic programming and research.

All off-campus locations and programs (Prince Albert, Regina and regional colleges) will be following the same directions as the main campus.

USask is planning for a continued hybrid approach to program delivery in which course delivery will be primarily remote online learning with extremely limited in-person instruction.

Research

Safety Permit

Approved applicants will be provided with a “COVID-19 Safety Permit”  that confirms they have been approved to resume or commence activity. 

  • Amendments to your Safety Permit may need to be made. Learn more.

Campus Safety Guidelines

All faculty, staff, and students who have been approved for increased campus/field activity are to follow the Health and Safety Guidelines.

Lab Safety

All laboratory supervisors and workers must review and follow the  Lab enviornment Safety gudelines outlined inincluding the Lab Safety Manual-Pandemic Supplement

COVID-19-related Research

Contact the Biosafety Group at biosafety@usask.ca as soon as possible to get a Biosafety Permit Amendment so that this research can be prioritized and potentially expedited.

Human Specimen Handling

Please see the University’s Research Using Human Specimens During the COVID-19 Pandemic guideline on how human samples should be handled.

If you intend to collect in person data from human participants while research restrictions are in place, please include consult the following documents.

Applications to the Behavioural REB that include in-person data collection will require a safety plan outlining a clear evaluation of all risks that may be associated with research activity in face of the COVID pandemic and how you will minimize the risk of COVID transmission between researcher team members and participants. The guidance document and template below should help you draft your plan.

Applications to the Biomedical REB should consider and include the guidance from the Biomedical Guidance on Consent During COVID-19 document below when describing the consent process.

If you have any questions, please contact:

Human Ethics team
  ethics.office@usask.ca
  306-966-2975.

For clinical trials, screening and enrolment of new participants into studies should be discontinued, with the exception of situations (e.g., oncology) in which enrolment in a trial is needed to provide treatment options.

For ongoing clinical trials with human participants, please ensure sponsors, the Research Ethics Board and Clinical Trial Support Unit are kept informed regarding any changes to research protocols, and ensure our previous guidance related to human-participant research is followed.

As well, if your research must involve physical assessments and use of any equipment, and this can contact cannot be absolutely eliminated, it is paramount to employ stringent disinfection protocols (following the manufacturer’s standards, if available) or to use single-use accessories.

If you intend to submit a time-sensitive ethics application directly relevant to the COVID-19 pandemic, please indicate this in your email, so that we can expedite your application appropriately.

Animal research projects will be supported by the university’s animal care and facilities staff.

However, limitations on procurement of animals may occur and no guarantees can be made on animal availability. Please contact the Animal Order Desk for any questions on animal procurement (animal.orderdesk@usask.ca). Given the uncertainty of the pandemic, we may have reduced the ability to provide all services beyond essential animal husbandry. Your patience is appreciated.

USask has an unwavering commitment to animal welfare. The OVPR has been working to ensure that appropriate standards for animal care will be maintained throughout any disruption. If research staff responsible for animal care are no longer able to perform those duties, this must be communicated immediately to facility staff or the Acting University Veterinarian that alternative arrangements can be made to maintain animal welfare.

If you have any questions or concerns about your animal research, please speak with your facility managers or contact: 

Dr. Kurtis Swekla, 
Acting University Veterinarian
   kurtis.swekla@usask.ca 
  306-966-8081

The granting councils, other funding agencies and our industry partners continue to develop responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and the Office of the VP Research team is working closely with our contacts in those organizations to determine and help shape the impacts for our researchers and students. 

As we learn about changes to funding programs and as we adjust our own programs in response to the pandemic, we will always do our best to keep you informed. As well, our office will continue to work with faculty and staff to prepare for submissions and manage questions about new timelines and expectations. Below are the latest updates.

Canadian Foundation for Innovation

  • CFI JELF - All October 2020 CFI JELF applicants are encouraged to attend the next Proposal Development Meeting on Tuesday, March 31, 2020 at 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm Via WebEx.
    • For more information or to RSVP contact sandra.stone@usask.ca. Material and WebEx directions will be sent in advance of the presentation to all those have RSVP’d.
    • CFI JELF proposal submission deadlines remain unchanged.
  • Award finalization and financial deadlines are extended by 3 months, including for CFI-JELF projects. SRI has been in touch with all grant holders (and their ADR or Centre Director) to develop a plan of action.
  • Annual Project Progress Reports are now due September 30, 2020. SRI has extended the internal deadline to September 15, 2020, to meet this new CFI deadline. Reporting forms will be available April 1, 2020.
  • SRI will continue to provide updates on CFI JELFs.
  • Innovation Fund 2020 is proceeding according to original timelines. Decisions are anticipated in November 2020.  

Updates and responses to common questions can be found at on the CFI JELF webpage. We will continue to update you as new information and directions arise.  Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at any time: 

Canada Research Chairs

The Secretariat has indicated that they will consider on a case-by-case basis requests to extend the two-year timeline for CRC searches and nominations. SRI has been in contact (and made arrangements) with two current CRC searches that may need to request accommodations. We are also monitoring the progress of all active searches and will address extension needs for these recruitments if needed. 

Questions and concerns may be directed to doreen.canillas@usask.ca.

New Frontiers in Research Fund – Transformation Stream

  • The LOI deadline is extended to July 15, 2020.
  • SRI is working with PIs on their strategy and timelines for completion.

Undergraduate Research Assistantships

NSERC USRAs

NSERC has indicated that the program is still going forward. NSERC will honour the full value of the award ($4500) and encourages universities to do the same. Working remotely, working a shortened term, deferring to fall, or other flexible options may be considered. There will be communication from the College of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies to finalize modified summer plans with faculty and students.

Office of the Vice-President Research USRAs

These are awarded to faculty members via a college process. SRI is working directly with colleges and faculty to enable opportunities for students to work in a safe and fully-mentored environment. Faculty are asked to provide details on the arrangements prior to award approval. Please contact merle.massie@usask.ca with any questions.

SCPOR USRAs

SRI is working directly with SCPOR and faculty on options for safe and mentored assistantships.  Given that these are patient-oriented projects, individual assistantships will only proceed if they meet new of standards of social distancing and/or for care of vulnerable populations

IMII Indigenous Research assistantships

RI is working with host organizations to enable safe and mentored assistantships. We are encouraging flexible solutions.

SURE

SRI is leading a new initiative Student Undergraduate Research Experience to connect undergraduate research assistants across the university.  This initiative will move on-line with technology-enabled environments for 2020.

Summer Entrepreneurs (Innovation Enterprise)

IE is working with the industry partners and innovation ecosystem mentors involved in the program to design a modified program for summer 2020, focusing on the use of technology to facilitate program delivery. Please contact alix.hayden@usask.ca, 306-966-5638 with questions.

Research Junction Development Grant

The deadline for the Research Junction Development Grant has been moved to October 2, 2020. 

This change recognizes that efforts to match city employees and university researchers around research interests has been delayed by recent events.  Partnership development will again be available next week and ongoing for faculty and City staff.

Contact research.junction@usask.ca for assistance finding a research partner.

Faculty Awards and Recognition

Contact research.awards@usask.ca for more information.

Mitacs

NSERC Discovery Grant Results and Appeals Process

  • The release of results from the 2020 Discovery Grants competition is proceeding as planned. Results are still expected to be posted on the Research Portal by mid-April.
  • The deadline to submit an appeal has been extended to June 30, 2020.

Tri-Agencies - General Information

  • For NSERC and SSHRC, academic institutions can immediately approve extension requests up to 12 months for Agency grants with an end date between February 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021 inclusively. This applies to all grants, even if they have received a previous extension of any length for any reason. This will have no impact for applications awarded in the fall 2020 competitions. The intent behind this is to allow grant holders to continue spending grant funds, and institutions to delay the processing of residual grants.
  • CIHR is consulting on how best to meet the needs of researchers at this time and has not yet announced its intentions.
  • Please regularly check the COVID-19 updates on the CIHRNSERC and SSHRC websites.

Other Funding Programs

  • Genome Canada has provided an update with regards to current research project expectations and current competition deadlines.
  • CIHR SPOR Units Phase II (SCPOR 2.0) application deadline has been extended to July 21, 2020.
  • The NSERC CREATE LOI application deadline has been extended to June 1, 2020.
  • AIMday Plant Proteins has been postponed to late fall 2020. Further updates will be provided over the coming months. Please contact alix.hayden@usask.ca, 306-966-5638 with questions.

Stories on How We Are Serving Canada in the COVID-19 Crisis

Universities Canada, government agencies, and media are seeking stories on ways that university colleges and research centres are helping their communities combat COVID-19. If you or your research team have examples of the above to share, please forward a couple of sentences to research.communications@usask.ca

Feeling Sick or Time Away from Work

If you have any concerns about your health or possible exposure to COVID-19 call the Healthline at 811.

If you are feeling unwell and/or showing signs of illness, you should not come to work. Even if your illness and symptoms are not consistent to that of the COVID-19 virus, please stay home and monitor your symptoms. Sick employees should not be required to work from home.

You can use sick time or you may be eligible for a short-term disability leave. If you are absent from work for 5 days or longer please review the medical leave processes.

Self-isolation is an effective precautionary measure to protect those around you – your family, friends, colleagues – from contracting COVID-19. It means taking simple, common-sense steps to avoid close contact with other people as much as possible, like you would with the seasonal flu virus. 

Steps to Take

  • In line with provincial and federal travel guidelines, faculty, staff and students returning from any international travel (including the U.S.A.) should not come to campus for 14 calendar days after their return from travel. 
  • Stay home and report if sick or if notified that you may have possibly been in contact with someone with a COVID-19 diagnosis.
  • If you are sick, it is imperative that you stay home and do not spread your illness. Even if it is not COVID-19, please stay home and monitor your symptoms. 
  • If you attended an event within the past 14 days and received notification that you may have been in contact with a fellow traveller or attendee who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 by laboratory testing, please self-isolate for 14 days and monitor yourself daily for symptoms (fever, cough and difficulty breathing).  

Gov't of SK Self Isolation    Gov't of SK Self Monitoring

If you have been exposed, are experiencing symptoms or have been diagnosed with COVID-19 by laboratory testing, and will require a medical leave due to illness proceed with the following steps. Please do not come to campus and self-isolate.

Steps to Take

  1. Notify your manager of your situation.
  2. Complete a Wellness Referral to initiate the medical leave process and provide the following information in the comments box:
    • Known exposure to COVID-19 (person, place, etc.)
    • Confirmation if you have contacted health authorities or plan to do so
    • Confirmation if you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, difficulty breathing)
    • Contact information by which you can be reached during this time
  3. The Wellness Referral will be sent to arc Health, the university’s third-party disability and medical accommodation provider.
    • No medical forms or note will need to be completed at the onset of illness/isolation, however, arc Health will do a telephone interview with you per standard process. Updates will be sent to your manager/supervisor accordingly.
  4. You will be covered for income loss and time away under the appropriate sick time and disability plan.
  5. If you do not have disability benefits you can apply for EI Sickness Benefits. Please submit a Leave of Absence Application for Health Reasons and send to connectionpoint@usask.ca once complete, marked URGENT – COVID 19

We recognize that some people with health concerns and chronic illnesses may be concerned about the potential impact COVID-19 virus. If you have been advised to work-from-home by your doctor please do the following:

Steps to Take

  1. Talk to your manager advising them of your situation and explore a work-from-home accommodation. If you are able to work remotely no further steps are required.
  2. If your position cannot be done remotely you may qualify to access disability/sick leave benefits under the disability plan under which you are covered. Submit a Wellness Referral to initiate the medical leave process. The referral will be sent to arc Health, the University’s third-party disability and medical accommodation service provider.

Based on the latest science on COVID-19, the time from exposure to developing symptoms can take up to 14 days. If you have not developed symptoms over this time, the risk of having COVID-19 is low and you can return to work.

Note: If you have a confirmed case please talk to your doctor to confirm you are well to return to work. However, if you have had another exposure during the initial 14-day period (for example, from a family member that becomes ill) the self-isolation must extend for 14 days from the last exposure.

Support

The outbreak of COVID-19 may be stressful for people. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. If you need help, use the university's employee and family assistance program.

Also, be considerate to people around you. The World Health Organization has put out a Mental Health and Psychosocial Considerations During COVID-19 Outbreak factsheet.

Questions?

Teaching

Help with instruction using remote technologies
Email: gmctl-support@usask.ca
Phone:
 306-966-2231.

Support in designing alternate final assessments
Email: deu.support@usask.ca
Email: gmctl-support@usask.ca 

Assistance with technology that is not working
Request IT Support Services
Phone: 306-966-2222

Research

Please do not hesitate to reach out to any of your OVPR contacts for assistance.

Should you have any urgent research-related questions on which you are uncertain whom to contact, please do not hesitate to reach out to:

Dr. Dion Martens
Director of Research Excellence and Innovation
Email: dion.martens@usask.ca
Phone: 306-966-1318

Laura Zink
Director, Research Acceleration and Strategic Initiatives
Email: laura.zink@usask.ca
Phone: 306-966-1778


General

Email covid19@usask.ca for information about USask programs, operations and plans.