Campus Operations and Reopening
As people in Saskatchewan can now again eat in restaurants, shop in stores, and go to fitness facilities and libraries, there is confusion as to why they can’t freely access our campuses as they had done pre-pandemic. We understand the impatience for university life to resume, but, for a number of reasons, USask cannot move as quickly as other organizations or businesses.
On any given day before the pandemic, USask welcomed more than 30,000 people to its main campus in Saskatoon, the population of a city all within a few square kms. Thousands of students attending hundreds of classes, and hallways and paths bustled with people getting to class, to a meeting, or getting a coffee. We have shared residence rooms, shared dining facilities, and shared social and recreational areas. Our campus, like all campuses around the world, was the ideal setting for an outbreak of COVID-19. And we, like all Canadian universities, needed to close our campuses quickly in March to slow the spread.
That remains the case now if we were to simply reopen as we were pre-COVID-19. Even as immense safety and health measures are being put in place to protect those members of the USask community who are currently on campus, and those who plan to be on campus in the fall and winter, our campus, by its nature, could spread COVID-19 quickly.
Adding to this complexity is the inter-connectedness of activities and facilities on our campus. What affects one activity or building has effects on many other activities and buildings—as you start doing more in one area, that has an impact on other areas. Being able to isolate activities and people on our campus is much more difficult than with many businesses and K-12 schools.
Getting this right, is more important than getting it done quickly. Our first priority is to ensure the health and safety of our campus community. This is a complex and multi-layered process, and we know that it will not be business as usual. Being thoughtful, deliberate and diligent will help us get this right, based on guidance from the provincial government and our health-care professionals.
All university buildings are currently closed, with only limited access to staff and faculty with approved access.
Please see the detailed campus status page to see the current status of campus buildings and services (including the University Library and PAC Fit Centre). This website will be updated as the campus begins its gradual reopening.
Staff and faculty that are able to work remotely are required to continue doing so until further notice. Please contact your college or department leadership if you need to come back on to campus to access your office.
There are a number of factors used to determine the restart of research activity on campus. The Pandemic Response and Recovery Team is currently reviewing requests for research to resume and responses will be communicated directly with each applicant in the coming weeks. Usask faculty and staff can submit a request for campus/field activity related to specific research, teaching or learning, or critical campus services.
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.
Face masks will be required for all spaces at the Saskatoon, Regina and Prince Albert campuses until further direction is provided by the university.
USask is following the best public health evidence available to create and maintain healthy work and learning environments. A face mask covering your nose and mouth protects those around you as COVID-19 is spread through breathing, coughs, sneezes, and respiratory secretions. Non-medical masks or cloth face-coverings help limit the dispersion of coughs/sneezes; can reduce the frequency of face touches; and in combination with social distancing and good hand hygiene, have been shown to reduce your risk of illness.
Many times, pre-symptomatic individuals can spread the virus for up to 48 hours before showing symptoms. In addition, up to 25 per cent of people who have the virus show no symptoms, so even if you feel fine, a face mask can still protect those around you in the event you are asymptomatic.
Effective November 5, all faculty, staff, and students—as well as visitors, contractors, and vendors—who are approved to be on USask campuses in Saskatoon, Regina, and Prince Albert will be expected to wear a face mask (non-medical mask or cloth face covering) in all USask spaces.
This includes hallways, lobbies, libraries, classrooms, laboratories, study spaces, elevators, recreation facilities, shared offices, meeting spaces, washrooms, outdoors, and other campus spaces. Students living in residence must wear a face mask in all common and designated areas outside of their private living space.
All university buildings remain closed, with only limited access to faculty, staff and students who are required to be on campus or have approved access.
There are some exceptions to mandatory face masks—children under 2 years of age, those who cannot don or doff a face mask, individuals requiring a medical exception—but in general, it is expected that all university community members, as well as visitors, will follow this requirement.
In general, face masks are not required in private offices, if you are alone, but are mandatory hallways, lobbies, libraries, classrooms, laboratories, study spaces, elevators, recreation facilities, shared offices, meeting spaces, washrooms, outdoors, and other campus spaces. Students living in residence must wear a face mask in all common and designated areas outside of their private living space.
However, if you are in a private office with another individual, face masks are required.
Face masks are required in all USask spaces even if distancing can be maintained. In general face masks should only be removed to eat and drink.
If you have concerns about someone not adhering to the face mask guidelines you can let your supervisor know, or fill out the Hazard Report Form.
No. Face masks are [only] one layer of protection that complements, and is additive to other important practices.
Yes. Physical distancing (optimizing traffic flow with directional arrows) and face masks are both important in preventing the transmission of COVID-19.
Faculty, staff and students who are approved to be on campus can purchase cloth and disposable face masks through the Facilities Store (with a CFOAPAL), Shop USask, or at many non-university retailers.
USask will have a supply of disposable face masks available to any member of the campus community who is required and approved to be on campus and is without a face mask. If you have soiled or forgotten your face mask, you can obtain one at the Health Sciences or Education buildings' check-in sites.
Face mask must:
- allow for easy breathing
- fit securely to the head with ties or ear loops
- maintain their shape after washing and drying
- be comfortable and not require frequent adjustment
- not impair vision or interfere with tasks
- recommended to be made of multiple layers (3) of breathable cotton fabric or linen (ie. not plastic). The Government of Canada recommends 2 layers of tightly-woven fabric and a third (middle) layer of a filter-type fabric such as non-woven polypropylene or a disposable filter
- not be a neck warmer, neck gaiter, bandana, scarf, or other clothing not designed to act as a face mask
- not be shared with others
Learn more about what kind of face masks are needed and proper mask use and care.
You must wear a face mask while preparing your food and moving around the lunch/break area. Once you sit down to eat, you may remove your face mask to eat.
Stagger lunch/break times to allow for proper physical distancing and cleaning. For more information please consult the Lunchroom and Breakroom Use Guidelines.
Face masks with exhalation valves or vents are not recommended. These face masks do not protect others from COVID-19 or limit the spread of the virus. This is because they allow infectious respiratory droplets to spread outside the mask.
Learn more about what kind of face masks are needed and proper mask use and care.
Face shields do not replace face masks. A face shield is used to protect the eyes and face of the person wearing it. Using a face shield without a face mask will not Protect the Pack.
Face masks are required except while engaged in physical exercise. Face masks must be worn in recreational facilities including hallways, washrooms, and other shared areas. Users must carry their face mask with them at all times. For further guidance, please refer to the expectations of each recreational facility.
Student specific FAQs
Student specific FAQs can be found on each relevant student page.
Questions can be sent to:
Stages of reopening are guided by Provincial recommendations and guidelines, but USask may decide to move more conservatively in some areas to ensure the health and safety of students, faculty and staff.
USask is currently in Stage 3 of reopening.