The University of Toronto and the Faculty of Arts & Science have indicated that the Fall term will include full academic and community programming; and that our courses will be delivered online and on campus. Victoria University is looking ahead to a phased return to campus. Senior leadership across the University who are leading the return to campus are guided by:
- the Government of Canada's Guidance Document for Post-Secondary Educational Institutions During the COVID-19 Pandemic
- the Government of Ontario’s Framework for Reopening
- the University of Toronto's UTogether2020 Plan
Victoria University in the University of Toronto is a complex environment. We welcome and serve a wide variety of people (age, gender, ability, race, ethnicity / culture) who may have underlying health issues or face barriers to wellness. In addition to providing instruction to students, we house staff and students in our residence buildings; provide food services seven days per week; provide services to faculty, staff, students and the community; house research centres and support academic research more broadly; foster campus and community life; and offer community, academic, social and cultural programming, activities and gatherings.
This web page will provide the Victoria community and friends with current information about relevant decisions and plans as we move forward in the coming weeks and months.
Supporting Victoria University staff and faculty
Victoria University in the University of Toronto is planning for a gradual return to campus for all staff and faculty. Unless directed by the department head, staff are to continue to work off campus whenever possible.
Frequently Asked Questions: Self-Isolation in Victoria University Residences
Over the coming months there may be times when one or more students in residence will have to self-isolate. The following FAQs have been developed to address questions staff and students may have. The University of Toronto (including Environmental Health and Safety [EHS]) and Victoria University are guided by Public Health directives. Procedures may evolve and change.
When must a student self-isolate?
Self-Isolation may be recommended by EHS for various reasons including:
- An asymptomatic student has come into close contact with someone who has symptoms but has not yet been tested or is awaiting test results.
- Public health authorities have directed a student to self-isolate because of a potential exposure.
- A student is experiencing COVID-19-like symptoms (e.g., headache, cough, fever, runny nose, shortness of breath) and have not been tested or is awaiting test results.
- A student has a confirmed case of COVID-19.
Will there be signage indicating the location of a self-isolating student?
Signs will be posted on any residence rooms or washrooms being used for self-isolation.
Where will a student self-isolate?
Self-Isolation plans vary depending on the situation, in accordance with EHS recommendations.
A. A student who has symptoms and has not been tested or is awaiting results, or who has been in close contact of an unconfirmed case.
A student in this situation must self-isolate in a private room with a dedicated washroom. In some circumstances and when recommended by EHS, a student may need to move and self-isolate in a single room with an en-suite washroom. In some cases, a student may be able to self-isolate in their regularly assigned room with a dedicated washroom in proximity.
Any student self-isolating in a room with a nearby washroom must wear a mask and gloves when leaving their room to use the washroom facilities.
B. A student who has been told to self-isolate due to close contact with a confirmed case or has tested positive for COVID-19.
Each case is assessed individually by EHS. In some cases, a student’s regularly assigned room has a dedicated en-suite washroom, and the student can stay in place. In all other cases, the student will be moved to a suitable room on or off campus, as directed by EHS.
What happens if a self-isolating student needs to leave their room?
If at any time a student in self-isolation must leave their private room (for example, to go to a medical appointment) the student must wear a mask and gloves.
Will staff members come into close contact with self-isolating students?
With current self-isolating procedures and precautions, coupled with physical distancing and mandatory mask-wearing for students and staff, there should be no occasion when a staff member comes into close contact with a student, including those in self-isolation.
What should a staff member do if they are worried that they may have been in close contact with a student who is in self-isolation?
In cases where a staff member is unsure or concerned about whether or not they have come into close contact with a student, they should contact their supervisor who will consult with HR.
Each situation is then assessed by EHS who will identify individuals who have been exposed and need to be contacted.
How are students in self-isolation supported?
All students in self-isolation are in communication with staff in the Office of the Dean of Students. The Dean's Office informs EHS of every self-isolating case. EHS provides direction on a case-by-case basis.
All students in self-isolation receive meal delivery.
U of T Health and Wellness will conduct daily symptom and wellbeing checks of students in self-isolation, will monitor their infection status, and will provide them emotional support.
When does a student leave self-isolation?
EHS will inform the Office of the Dean of Students and each individual self-isolating student when the student no longer needs to self-isolate.
Frequently Asked Questions: Disclosure of Health Status or Information at Victoria University in the University of Toronto
The following FAQ (frequently asked questions) have been developed to address questions staff and students may have about the disclosure of health information and/or health status on the Victoria University campus. The University of Toronto and Victoria University are guided by Public Health directives. Procedures may evolve and change.
Will staff be informed if a student in one of Victoria’s residence buildings is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or tests positive for COVID-19?
All disclosures of COVID-19 symptoms, testing results and other personal health information will only be made on a voluntary basis and will be treated as confidential. Disclosures cannot be circulated or shared by staff except when necessary.
The University must respect the privacy of students who are being tested or who have tested positive for COVID-19.
The Environmental Health and Safety Office at the University of Toronto (EHS), in consultation with Toronto Public Health, and with the help of the Office of the Dean of Students, will perform all necessary investigations and provide direction in case management to the Victoria leadership, as deemed appropriate.
If EHS determines that there is a risk to the community, they will work with Victoria leadership to inform the Victoria community, as necessary.
Will staff be informed if someone on the Victoria campus has tested positive for COVID-19?
All disclosures of COVID-19 symptoms, testing results and other personal health information will only be made on a voluntary basis and will be treated as confidential.
In consultation with Toronto Public Health, EHS performs all necessary investigations and provides direction to the Victoria leadership, as deemed appropriate. Any cases reported on campus are registered centrally at the University of Toronto and included in the U of T case totals.
Will Victoria or the University of Toronto inform the Victoria community if an individual with a positive COVID-19 case was on campus?
If Victoria is notified that an individual on the Victoria campus has tested positive for COVID-19, we will notify EHS. If EHS determines that there is a risk to the community, they will work with Victoria leadership to inform the Victoria community, as appropriate.
What will happen if a student or staff member discloses that they have tested positive for COVID-19?
All details of disclosures of COVID-19 symptoms, testing results and other personal health information will be treated as strictly confidential.
Victoria works closely with the University of Toronto’s Environmental Health & Safety office (EHS). The EHS office, in turn, works with local public health officials on case management, conducts contact tracing and speaks directly with individuals who have been exposed to either a suspected or a confirmed case.
Whether an individual reports a confirmed case or tells us they have COVID-19 related symptoms without a confirmation Victoria University will be guided by EHS regarding notifications, disinfection plans and contact tracing. These notifications are provided out of an abundance of caution and do not signal elevated risk or require any further action by individuals, other than those who are contacted directly by EHS.
Mandatory Mask Use on Campus
Distribution University Non-Medical Masks
On July 7, Victoria made it mandatory for all individuals to wear a non-medical mask or face coverings who are in a public space in one of Victoria’s campus buildings. To support this measure, Victoria University has partnered with the University of Toronto to offer two U of T branded non-medical face masks to each student, Faculty and staff member.
Face masks will soon arrive on our campus for distribution to staff, who will receive two reusable, non-medical masks. It is the staff member’s choice whether to use the U of T branded non-medical mask or another non-medical mask or facial covering while on campus. Employees must arrive wearing their own non-medical mask prior to receiving a university mask. Information about the use and care of your U of T non-medical mask can be found here.
- Each unit head has already confirmed their list of team members and the total masks for their units.
- We expect the non-medical masks to be received on campus during the week of August 10, 2020.
- The facilities team will bundle the masks for each team across campus.
- As of Monday, August 17, each unit head or his or her designate can retrieve their team’s mask bundle from the front desk in Margaret Addison Hall.
- It will be the responsibility of each unit head or designate to distribute the U of T masks to their entire team.
Return to Work Unit Plans
The Victoria University Reopening Committee (VURC) has asked each senior administrative management (SAM) team member to complete the University of Toronto return to work assessment. Based on the direction from public health authorities, the VURC will evaluate each plan and decide when and how each unit can return to campus.
Safety precautions on campus
To help ensure a safe environment where everyone can feel comfortable returning to campus, the following procedures are being implemented:
- Physical distancing procedures for classrooms (which will be re-arranged), shared offices, libraries, research centres and other spaces.
- Signage that encourages and instructs everyone to practice physical distancing and proper hand hygiene.
- Signs indicating maximum occupancy in rooms and elevators.
- Frequent cleaning and disinfecting in high traffic areas in keeping with guidelines from Public Health Ontario.
- New sanitizer dispensers will be installed across campus.
- Protective measures such as Plexiglass barriers and sneeze guards will be installed in high traffic areas where maintaining physical distancing is not possible.
Non-medical fabric mouth and nose covers will be available to faculty and staff who are required to be on campus, to be used when physical distancing is not possible. The Public Health Agency of Canada has advised that when worn properly, a person wearing a non-medical mouth and nose coverings can reduce the spread of their own respiratory droplets.
As of July 7, the wearing of non-medical mouth and nose coverings is mandatory where maintaining two-metre physical distancing is not possible or predictable and in campus buildings which are public. These spaces include, but are not limited to, academic buildings including classrooms, administrative buildings, meeting rooms, common areas in all residences, washrooms, corridors and elevators.
Throughout Victoria University’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the University has remained focused on the health and safety of students, faculty and staff. This commitment remains our guiding tenet as the University prepares to enact a carefully planned return to campus. Below outline plans and decisions related to access to campus buildings and grounds, cleaning and sanitization and technology infrastructure.
Victoria Mailroom Operations Resume
Victoria University Policy on Non-Medical Masks or Face Coverings
Victoria University Policy on Non-Medical Masks or Face Coverings
Victoria University in the University of Toronto has approved the Policy on Non-Medical Masks or Face Coverings, effective August 20, 2020. This temporary Policy requires non-medical masks or face coverings to be worn indoors in common-use spaces including classrooms and common areas in residence on Victoria University property.
This Policy is consistent with the approach outlined in City of Toronto By-Law 541-2020 and will remain in effect as long as Ontario public health authorities recommend that mask-wearing is necessary in indoor public spaces. It is subject to change and extension at the discretion of the President of Victoria University or designated authorities as public health guidance and understanding about COVID-19 evolve.
Additional information and details about the application of the Policy, exceptions, and medical accommodations are available in the Victoria University Guideline on Non‐Medical Masks, which is posted on Victoria’s COVID-19 webpage. This information may be updated periodically as our response to COVID-19 evolves.
Your health and safety remain our top priority. There are positive health impacts of using a non-medical mask or face covering to slow the rate of COVID-19 community transmission. This Policy is one of the many steps Victoria University and the University of Toronto are taking to support our community efforts to address the pandemic.
For additional information, please contact either the Human Resources Office (for faculty and staff) or the Office of the Dean of Students (for students).
Approved by the President of Victoria University, August 20, 2020
Victoria University Guideline on Non‐Medical Masks
August 20, 2020
Victoria University is committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for its faculty, librarians, staff, students, volunteers, visitors, and other community members. As part of this commitment, the President approved Victoria University’s Policy on Non-Medical Masks or Face Coverings requiring non‐medical masks or face coverings to be worn indoors in University common‐use spaces on its property, including, for example, in classrooms or common areas in residences.
This Guideline is being issued under the Policy to offer further guidance and information to the University community regarding the masks requirement. This Guideline remains in effect as long as the Policy is in effect, and is subject to change and to extension at the discretion of the University administration as public health guidance and understanding about COVID‐19 evolve.
Wearing non‐medical masks or face coverings is required in all common‐use indoor University spaces (including University‐owned and leased spaces), including classrooms and residences, whether restricted‐access or open to the public. Examples of common‐use spaces include lobbies, elevators, hallways and corridors, stairwells, washrooms, service desks, cafeterias and lunchrooms, common areas in residences or study lounges, meeting rooms, classrooms, research and teaching labs, shared or open‐space offices, and other locations used in common, such as libraries. In leased spaces, occupants may also be subject to the policies and guidelines of the building owner or manager.
Non‐medical masks or face coverings are not required:
- When an individual is required to wear personal protective equipment in lieu of a non-medical mask or face covering, as determined by public health directives
- When wearing a non‐medical mask or face covering would create a risk to the individual related to their work, as determined by the University’s workplace safety guidelines
- While taking part in organized University community activities that interfere with mask-wearing (e.g., athletic or fitness activities, playing a musical instrument) in accordance with public health guidelines
- When eating or drinking
- Where protective barriers are in place
- In learning and teaching environments, if and when the instructor(s) recommends that non‐medical masks or face coverings are not required on the basis that wearing them would materially impair the effectiveness of the learning activity, and where the learning activity can be carried out safely.
- If instructors recommend that masks are not required, they must ensure that the learning activities are carried out safely and in accordance with public health and University guidance, following the procedures outlined in the Teaching Re‐Entry Planning section of the University of Toronto’s COVID‐19 Leadership Toolkit.
- In administrative, office and industrial environments (e.g. server rooms, control rooms, mechanical rooms), when the physical layout allows individuals to maintain a consistent two‐meter physical distance, for example, in private offices.
- Inside meeting rooms, lunchrooms, and lounges when the physical layout allows individuals to maintain a consistent two‐meter physical distance.
Individuals may be exempt from this Guideline in the following situations:
- If they require accommodation (e.g., for reasons of disability, religion, or other) under Ontario’s Human Rights Code
- Children under the age of two
- If they have a medical condition including a physical condition, mental health condition, or other health concern that makes it difficult to wear a mask or face covering, including a medical condition that makes it difficult to breathe, or to put on and remove a mask or face covering without assistance, or someone who is unconscious or incapacitated
- Where the ability to see the mouth is beneficial for communication, if they are persons with hearing loss and/or deafness or if they are the person communicating with a person with hearing loss and/or deafness
Members of the community should not ask colleagues, students, or others at the University for supporting documentation or other proof regarding exemptions or accommodations under the Policy or this Guideline. In specific circumstances where individual health and safety is at risk, an individual who is unable to wear a non‐medical mask or face covering due to one of the reasons above, or some other similar reason, may be asked by a manager or academic administrator to provide supporting documentation to the University through the appropriate office on a confidential basis. For example, employees, including faculty members, may be asked to provide documentation to Victoria University’s Human Resources Office in some circumstances, or students in some situations may be asked to register with the University of Toronto’s Accessibility Services. In all cases, such inquiries should be for the purpose of maintaining health and safety for the community, or for assisting with tailoring accommodation to their specific needs in a manner that maintains health and safety.
Education and Enforcement
The University will focus on educating members of the community about the Policy and this Guideline, including the benefits of non‐medical masks or face coverings with regard to community transmission of COVID‐19, as well as the importance of accommodation and personal privacy regarding medical or other conditions.
Enforcement measures will focus primarily on an educational approach and will depend on the individual’s relationship with the University, the nature of an incident, the place in which it occurred, and the impact on others in that place.
Cleaning and sanitization
- The frequency of cleaning high touch points and residences will be increased.
- Upgrade to sanitization equipment and cleaning protocols.
- Numerous sanitization stations have been purchased and placed on campus in high traffic areas.
- Public water fountains on campus will be disabled. Where possible, bottle filling stations will be left in operation.
- Electric hand dryers in washrooms that are equipped with them have been disconnected and paper towels have been made available for use.
Physical spaces and physical distancing
To encourage physical distancing and decrease the overall density on campus, the following measures have been enacted:
- New classroom and room capacities determined and posted in accordance with public health guidelines.
- Directional signage will be posted at all facilities to identify physical distancing requirements.
- Capacities in classrooms reduced and signage denoting maximum capacity will be posted.
- Wherever possible, furniture layout changes will be altered and seats will be taken out of use to assist community members in physical distancing.
- Public elevator capacities will be reduced and signage denoting maximum capacity will be posted.
- Physical barriers (e.g. plexiglass screens) installed at all public service counters.
- Ventilation systems at all Victoria campus locations have been turned on at full capacity to change over the air in all buildings.
- Filters in air handling units have been upgraded to meet new standards laid out by health authorities.
Modified food services have resumed on campus to meet the needs of both residence students and the on-campus Victoria community. Food service is currently take-out only in both Burwash Hall and Ned's Cafe. Catering services are not currently offered.
Burwash Hall is restricted to Vic students with meal plans and food services staff.
- High table is cancelled until further notice.
- The Private Dining Room is currently closed
- Directional signage has been installed to promote physical distancing.
Ned’s Café in the Goldring Student Centre is closed.
Students at Victoria University
Students at Emmanuel College and Victoria College in the University of Toronto have separate plans for the Fall academic term.
Students at Victoria College
Students at Victoria College are part of the Faculty of Arts & Science (FAS). Student in Victoria's residences are past of FAS and the Faculty of Music. For more information about the supports and plans for Vic students, visit the Victoria College website.
Students at Emmanuel College
Visit the Emmanuel College website for more information about student life, community and support at Emmanuel College.