June 23, 2020

Planning ramps up for return to campus in the fall of 2020 

Message to the campus community
UCalgary campus
UCalgary campus

The University of Calgary’s phased return to campus strategy is moving forward on several fronts to support expanded operations in teaching, learning, and research for the fall of 2020. Our steering and working groups have been working hard to develop policies and protocols to ensure the safe return to campus of students, faculty and staff who need to be on campus as we ramp up operations. 

This week, senior leaders and managers in each area on all our campuses will begin using those new policies and protocols to work on their return to campus planning. Their work takes into account the preparedness of buildings and workspaces to accommodate social distancing, additional signage and extra sanitization; who needs to be on campus for the fall and how those priorities are determined; clear guidance on how to operate in labs and common spaces in responsible ways, taking everyone’s health and safety into account; and which courses will be offered in-person, remotely, or a blend of the two approaches. 

As has already been announced, the University of Calgary campuses this summer are seeing the return of researchers whose work falls under the Critical or Expanded Research Designations, along with summer campers and staff. As co-ordinated planning for the fall is finalized, many members of the campus community will be affected. Please familiarize yourself with resources described here, and plans being developed by the leaders of your faculty or unit as they are shared with your team members in the weeks ahead. We are making the following documents available now so you can get a sense of what return to campus will look like:

The information for managers and leaders is also available as automated forms in a SharePoint workflow, along with FAQs for the workflow. Following are the highlights of these documents.

Getting buildings prepared 

Our facilities teams are working hard to prepare the buildings for those who are or will be coming to campus for summer camps and under Critical and Extended Research Designation, and ultimately for the fall term. These buildings will be made ready in the following priority order:

  • Research-intensive buildings
  • Summer camp locations
  • Academic spaces for the fall term
  • Administration spaces

Opening of buildings will not happen until adequate controls and signage are in place. We are targeting  mid-July as the timeframe for all buildings to be ready.

Who returns to campus 

Employees are encouraged to continue working from home, until they are asked by their managers/supervisors to return. The criteria used by leaders to determine who on their teams can come back to campus will take into account factors such as access required for use of tools and equipment; work involving secure data and confidential information; onsite attendance required for delivering services to students, faculty, staff, and the public. The university will continue to accommodate employees’ personal circumstances — where possible. 

Number of people in the workplace at the same time 

For those employees who return to campus physically on some basis, only a partial amount of staff in each faculty/unit can return at any given time. Number of staff will be limited by the physical space constraints. Staggered or rotating visits to the campus will be introduced to reduce the number of employees present at any one time. For example, some employees may be present on Monday/Wednesday/Friday and work from home on Tuesday/Thursday, while other employees follow the opposite schedule. 

Those returning will be required to follow a plan for physical distancing, keeping interpersonal interactions to a minimum, taking steps to ensure personal hygiene, and not coming to campus sick.

Please submit any general questions or feedback about UCalgary’s response to the pandemic to covid19comms@ucalgary.ca. Your questions and suggestions will help guide our planning and communications as we transition through the summer and fall. Follow the COVID-19 Response page for the latest information that affects the entire campus community.


UCalgary resources on COVID-19

For the most up-to-date information about the University of Calgary's response to the spread of COVID-19, visit the UCalgary COVID-19 Response website.