NASA continues to monitor the COVID-19 situation and its impacts on University of Alberta support staff, and will share critical information with members as it becomes available. Below is a roundup of important information and updates, which we will update regularly.
COVID-19 Information for University of Alberta Staff
The university has up-to-date information for the U of A community on its COVID-19 information page.
Following the new provincial regulations announced on November 24, 2020, the university has updated its public health measures on campuses, including:
- Classes & Exams: No change, will carry forward as currently planned unless otherwise indicated by your instructor.
- Work from home: No change to current work locations for staff and faculty; however, wherever possible U of A faculty and staff who have been working on campus are strongly encouraged to work remotely until after the holiday break. This does not apply to individuals in positions that can only be achieved through in-person activity, such as grounds and maintenance. Please check with your supervisor to see if you should make the temporary switch to remote work.
- Masks: No change to current mandatory U of A mask policy; face masks are now also required in all indoor work spaces in the Edmonton and Calgary health regions.
- Social gatherings: Effective immediately, no indoor social gatherings are permitted, and there is also a new limit of 10 people for outdoor gatherings; please note that work and support group meetings are not considered social gatherings, however attendance should be limited while public health measures are strictly followed.
- Sports: Effective Nov. 27, all levels of in-person team sport activities are suspended (professional, semi-professional, junior, collegiate/universities and amateur).
- Fitness: No changes, current restrictions and safety measures remain in place for campus fitness programs.
- Libraries: No changes to current library health and safety measures.
- Venues: Effective Nov. 27, banquet halls, conference centres, trade shows, auditoria and concert venues, non-approved/licensed markets, community centres will be closed to all in-person service for both the public and internal U of A activities.
- Dining: Only individuals from within the same household are permitted to dine together in groups. Groups should be no larger than 6 and individuals cannot move between tables.
- Business: Will be restricted to 25% capacity limits.
New provincial restrictions effective November 13 will impact a number of activities that had been previously planned to take place at the U of A. Most significantly for staff, the U of A's update states:
Based on the provincial recommendation to reduce the number of employees in the workplace at one time, wherever possible U of A faculty and staff who have been working on campus are encouraged to work remotely for the next two weeks. This does not apply to individuals in positions that can only be achieved through in-person activity, such as grounds and maintenance. Please check with your supervisor to see if you should make the temporary switch to remote work.
One-time or occasional visits to campus
Students, faculty or staff members who need to visit campus on a one-time or occasional basis for work are required to seek approval before coming to campus. Approvals are granted by supervisors before attending campus. Visitors who are granted approval must complete the Campus Safety Checklist before they go, and should use Here@UAlberta to check in and out when on campus.
The university has created a new health screening flowchart available to help guide students, instructors, staff, supervisors and their advisors through the COVID-19 assessment and sick protocol process.
Return to Work and Safety on Campus
Most employees are working remotely until at least April 30, 2021. The only exceptions are:
The only exceptions are:
- approved essential services on campuses
- approved research activities that cannot be conducted remotely
- approved in-person teaching exceptions
- approved limited work exceptions on campus (e.g., access to equipment or inadequate work space at home)
Please see the university's Safety Measures General Directives for the specifics and circumstances under which teams can return to campus.
If you have specific questions about your situation, please contact your LRO.
The University of Alberta's directive on personal protective equipment (PPE) states that "masks must be worn by all staff in all indoor common areas or when engaged in activities that risk a violation of the 2m physical distancing requirement. Working within 2m (with a mask) must be kept to the minimum necessary to perform the task." For more information, you can read the full directive on PPE or the university's Wearing Masks on Campus: What You Need to Know blog post.
Financial Support Resources
The COVID-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on the economy. In response, the federal and provincial governments have put in place a number of financial support programs for impacted workers. We strongly encourage you to explore these programs regardless of your financial situation. Below are links to the government assistance programs we are aware of at the time of this communication:
General COVID-19 Information
We encourage you to regularly check the COVID-19 information pages from the University of Alberta, Government of Alberta, and Government of Canada for important updates and information about supports for people impacted by the pandemic.
Remember, to protect yourself and others:
- practice physical distancing and wear a mask in public
- practice good hygiene: wash hands often for at least 20 seconds, use hand sanitizer, cover coughs and sneezes, and avoid touching face
- monitor for symptoms: cough, fever, shortness of breath, runny nose or sore throat
- self-isolate for the legally-required 10 days if you have any symptoms that are not related to a pre-existing illness or medical condition
- take the COVID-19 self-assessment to access testing
NASA Statements and Updates
NASA continues to advocate for continuance of pay and benefits for all university staff during this crisis. Here is the latest Employee Leave and Pay Guidelines (as of March 19, 2020) we have received from university administration. Contact your LRO if you have any questions about your individual situation.
This is a very uncertain and disruptive time, and you may be experiencing heightened anxiety or stress. The University of Alberta has numerous resources available if you, or someone you know, is struggling or needs support:
- Injury & illness information for employees
- Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP)
- On-campus health and wellness resources
- Off-campus resources
NASA continues to advocate to ensure that the response to the COVID-19 emergency does not disproportionately impact university support staff. We are particularly concerned that university administration seems to be committed to proceeding with planned layoffs stemming from the provincial government's February 27 Budget 2020, despite the unprecedented changes to the provincial economy that have occurred since the budget was tabled.
Our priority message to the university right now is that any planned layoffs must be put on hold for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis, and we will continue to deliver that message to university leadership.
Read the media release "Government inflexibility on budget will jeopardize U of A’s COVID‑19 response and long-term prospects, say campus associations" (March 26, 2020)
Read the joint letter against cuts tabled at Board of Governors' meeting (March 26, 2020)
Read the joint letter from campus associations demanding no additional layoffs during COVID-19 emergency (March 23, 2020)
Read NASA's Open Letter to President Turpin and BOG Chair Chisholm (March 17, 2020)
Read the NASA Statement on COVID-19 and the University of Alberta (March 16, 2020)
Read the NASA's Statement on Budget 2020 (March 2, 2020)
A reminder that based on recommendations from public health officials, NASA has made the decision to close its office indefinitely in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. NASA operations will continue as normal, and NASA's office and labour relations staff will be working remotely from home. You will still be able to reach them by phone or email if you are in need of support.