COVID-19 update on masking, continued in-person classes
A message from Diane Hiebert-Murphy, provost and vice-president (academic) and Naomi Andrew, vice-president (administration):
With the summer months upon us, we acknowledge there have been questions around upcoming COVID-19 health and safety measures at UM for Fall Term, beginning September 7. As communicated in March, classes and events on our campuses have returned to being held in-person and will continue to be in-person going forward.
As always, we continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation, apply health and safety protocols that ensure the wellness of our community, and will inform our community if our approach changes.
With recent celebrations like Spring Convocation and Pride, it’s been fantastic to see the UM community come together in-person again. Keeping this thriving network of students, faculty and staff safe continues to be our top priority and we can all do our part to make this possible.
Here’s a reminder of existing protocols which will continue to be in place until further notice, as well as some updates:
COVID-19 continues to circulate in Manitoba, and we are beginning to see discussions in a number of provinces about preparations for possible additional surges in fall. As a result, we have decided that the existing masking mandate will continue in September – KN95 masks are highly recommended, but 3-ply medical masks (minimum ASTM Grade 2) will also be acceptable. Regardless of mask type, please ensure your mask is fitted properly to maintain maximum effectiveness.
Both types of masks are available at UM. Mask distribution sites will once again be available on campus, with locations to be shared closer to the start of Fall Term. Masks are not required outdoors.
We have made two adjustments to the masking protocol beginning in Fall Term. First, instructors may choose to remove their mask when actively teaching, provided a 2m distance can be maintained from students. Second, staff may remove their mask when seated at a cubicle-type workspace, provided there is a physical barrier to adjacent workers (e.g., cubicle partition) or a minimum of 2m separation from others.
We will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation, and adjust our protocols as required.
Vaccination encouraged, proof of vaccination no longer requiredAs of May 4, UM no longer requires staff, students or visitors coming to our campus to have proof of vaccination. All students will be free to register for in-person courses.
We encourage everyone to be up-to-date with their COVID-19 vaccinations, including a first and second booster as you are eligible. This can protect you by decreasing severe outcomes and chances of hospitalization, and will help to protect our UM community.
All adults (age 18+) can receive their primary vaccination series (two doses) as well as a booster shot (third dose) of a COVID-19 vaccine at any location that offers the COVID-19 vaccine. At least a four-month timeframe between second and third doses is recommended. Some higher-risk groups are eligible to receive a second booster (fourth dose). Those age 12-17 are eligible to receive a third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Visit the Province of Manitoba website for eligibility criteria and information on how to book a vaccine. University Health Service is offering both Pfizer and Moderna boosters. Call 204-474-8411 to book an appointment.
Stay home when you’re sick
Beyond masking and up-to-date vaccination, staying home when you are ill is one of the simplest and best means of protecting the UM Community. If you are not feeling well, stay at home or immediately go home. Please contact your instructor or supervisor to make arrangements for your absence.
We’re thankful to everyone on our campuses for working together over the last two years to follow our health and safety protocols. Your continued efforts ensure that we’re looking out for each other and creating a safe, healthy work and learning environment. For up-to-date information on UM’s COVID-19 response and protocols, please visit the COVID-19 website.