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.
The Government of Alberta has introduced stronger public health restrictions which will impact how and where we carry out our work, teaching, learning, and research from May 6 to May 26.
The pressure facing the provincial health care system is cause for action, and while we know that these new measures are not easy to adapt to, as a university community that seeks to serve the public good, collectively we always step-up to do what’s needed in a crisis.
Based on additional guidance shared with us by the province, the following actions will be in place from tomorrow (May 6) to Wednesday, May 26:
- All work that can be conducted remotely must be conducted remotely.
- Exceptional in-person research, work, and classes can continue according to the new public health restrictions; however, if your course, research or work can be temporarily paused or conducted remotely for the next three weeks, this must be done.
- As needed, U of A employees impacted by the temporary movement of K-12 to an online environment should discuss flexible work options with their supervisors and HR representatives.
Return to Work and Safety on Campus
The Government of Alberta has encouraged all post-secondary institutions to prepare for a full return to on-campus learning in fall 2021. University of Alberta planning is already well underway to safely transition to in-person activities where possible in September.
You can get updates about return-to-campus plans on the university's website.
Most employees continue to work remotely. 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.