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Winter on campus.

Essential services and access to UMSU University Centre and other buildings

During the university closure for COVID-19 pandemic

March 26, 2020 — 

On Friday, March 20, 2020 at 4:30 PM, President David Barnard issued a message in regards to the University of Manitoba closing effective 11:59 PM, Monday, March 23, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Please continue to follow updates on our UM COVID-19 website.

The message stated that all University buildings will be closed, with only limited access to employees deemed as essential* to on-site work for the immediate future. All employees, unless told otherwise by their Manager/Dean, are to work from home. The expectation is that researchers will continue as much research as possible remotely, but only limited, VPRI-approved research will continue in University research facilities, including off-campus research sites. 

*Please see the end of story for the list of essential services.

This closure followed Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister’s declaration on March 20 of a state of emergency for 30 days, and adheres to the Prime Minister’s stern warning to Canadians on Monday of this week to “Go home and stay home.”

We’re all in this together, and everything we do can help others as well — including our staff that are working hard to keep on-site essential services going during this COVID-19 pandemic.

The University thanks you for your patience and cooperation during this time as we work together to keep our campuses, and our staff, faculty and students, safe. Let’s do our part to help our essential services staff stay safe, too.

Current state

The University is now closed and buildings are locked down. Our academic mission is now being upheld through online rather than in-person courses. In keeping with this shift, all units should take necessary measures to ensure that only those activities essential to the continuation of University operations and unable to be performed remotely are taking place on campus.

Please note that Security Services and Operations and Maintenance cannot respond to requests for building access.

We need your help to maintain these essential on-site services* by respecting the following instructions:

1) Because the University is now closed and buildings are locked down, and the UM is operating with basic essential services, please do not return to retrieve personal items. In the case of exceptional circumstances in which materials currently on campus must be retrieved or specific tasks must be completed in order to support the continuation of University operations, individuals will need contact their Dean, Department Head or Manager to request permission and to provide access, as Security Services cannot respond to these types of requests. Please respect social distancing at all times. Time spent on campus should be kept to the minimum necessary to retrieve materials and/or complete essential tasks.

2) Deans, Directors, Unit or Department Heads or Supervisors in all University buildings with designated particular employees on site to ensure the ongoing operation of the University are responsible for those employees. Please refer to the Mar. 26 e-memo from the Vice-President Administration, Lynn Zapshala-Kelln.

3) Only persons seeking access to the University Pharmacy will be permitted to use the controlled entry point at the 100 Level (east entrance) of UMSU University Centre. As an essential service, the Pharmacy in UMSU University Centre will remain open. Note that due to the recent fire at UMSU University Centre, there may be some contractor-controlled activity at that entry point, but those activities should not interfere with Pharmacy access.

Please remember that only essential* services should be maintained on site at this time. 

See UM’s COVID-19 updates webpage for more information, and also see information on business and other closures in University Centre and overall campuses.


* Definition of Essential Services that require access to our campuses during the closure:

  • Risk Management & Security Services
  • Physical Plant (Operations & Maintenance) employees required to maintain critical infrastructure, including basic caretaking and mail services
  • Food services staff who are required to support residences
  • Required Residences Support staff
  • Enrollment Services: Admissions
  • IST staff essential to the continued operation of network services and critical systems
  • Executive & Senior management staff as designated by the University’s Emergency Response Plan (ERP) and Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) as required under the ERP.  This would include members of the Crisis Management Team (CMT), Emergency Response Team (ERT) and the Crisis Communications Team (CCT). SMEs also includes members of the COVID-19 Advisory Committee, the COVID-19 Academic Sub-Committee and the COVID19-Health and Safety Sub-committee


Please continue to follow updates on our UM COVID-19 website.


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