COVID-19 Updates

Information for the UCVM Community

UCVM Updates

This webpage is for information specific to UCVM.

UCVM's emergency response group continues its planning efforts to deal with this fluid situation. We will keep the entire UCVM community updated as we learn more.

COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

During the rapidly changing COVID-19 situation, please refer to the UCalgary COVID-19 Response Page for current campus-wide institutional updates.


Updates from the Dean of UCVM

Dear colleagues, trainees, and students,

Before we head into the weekend, I have a few short updates to share with you.

I want to thank you for your excellent and collaborative work to get UCVM ready for the next academic session. The virtual White Coat ceremony for UCVM 2024 is scheduled for August 31. The recruitments of new faculty and staff, as well as the Director of the Simpson Centre, are all underway. 

We will continue to live in the uncertainty created by COVID-19 for the foreseeable future. There likely will be additional demands placed upon us as the next school year gets underway in about three weeks. Let us continue to support each other with kindness and patience.

UCVM students, staff and faculty have written to Leadership Council to undertake discussions for concrete actions on combating racism and other forms of discrimination at UCVM. The LC will be taking this, as well as the topic of mental health and wellness, at its first meeting later this month.

Campus non-medical mask protocol

  • As previously announced in the UCalgary COVID update on July 29, UCalgary students, faculty and staff must wear non-medical masks in indoor public spaces at all Calgary campuses.  Masks must be worn in all UCalgary indoor public areas such as hallways, washrooms, and elevators. Masks aren’t necessary in personal office spaces unless they are in a public-facing area. In classrooms or study spaces, students can remove masks once seated, and as long as they maintain a two-metre distance from others.
  • Reusable masks will be supplied to all students, faculty, and staff who must be on campus for study or work. The DVM Program Office will arrange for student mask distribution and more communication on this will be provided before in-person classes start. Some departments and work units have already made their own arrangements to distribute masks to their faculty and staff. If you have not been issued a mask and need to work on campus, please contact Nicole O’Brien, nobrien@ucalgary.ca.

Working on campus

  • Faculty and staff should continue working from home, with the exception of those whose work requires them to be on campus.  In order to limit the number of people in the workplace at the same time, the expectation to work from home will continue for the foreseeable future.
  • If you need to be on campus, please fill in the calendar that Nicole O’Brien sent out last week. We must be able to account for everyone who is present on campus in order to limit numbers and to facilitate contract tracing if necessary.  If you are having difficulty accessing this calendar, please let Nicole know and she can send again or email her the times you plan to be on campus and she can add it to the calendar.

Parking on campus

While nothing has changed since the last update, I would like to ensure everyone is clear about where to park when working on campus.

  • Parking in University of Calgary lots (including TRW parkade and Spy Hill): As of August 1, fees for parking in UCalgary lots have been reinstated. If you hold a permit for a UCalgary lot and are returning to work on campus, you have the option to reactivate your permit and pay the monthly fee or pay the daily rate for parking by using the pay stations. Permit fees for those who continue to work from home will be waived until you return to campus.
  • Parking in Alberta Health Services lots (including Lot 6): For faculty and staff who park in AHS lots, parking fees remain suspended. We anticipate an update from AHS in the near future and will share that information when it becomes available. While on campus, please park in your assigned lot.

Baljit

Baljit Singh, FCAHS, BVSc&AH, PhD
3M National Teaching Fellow
Dean and Professor
Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
University of Calgary           
Calgary, AB T2N 4Z6
Canada
T: 1.403.210.3961
E: baljit.singh1@ucalgary.ca
vet.ucalgary.ca

For archived updates from the Dean, click here

DVM Program

Yes, the MMIs have been postponed. More information will follow in the coming days.

After thoughtful consideration, we are shutting down all fourth-year clinical rotations immediately. This decision was reached in order to ensure the health and safety of our students and DVLC partners, and in consultation with teachers.

Dr. Rob McCorkell’s office will be in contact with students to communicate the learning plans for the remainder of the term. Students should know that this will not impact the requirements set by Council on Education, the accrediting body.

UCVM classes are suspended for Monday, March 16, and students have been notified. When classes resume on March 17, and until the end of the semester, all instruction will be delivered online. Faculty have received job-aids from the DVM Program Office and will be sent more information and links to helpful materials in the coming days, including how to deliver online exams.

DVM students have been advised to monitor D2L for updates.

Graduate Studies

Face-to-face graduate student classes are suspended. Course instructors are required to use Zoom or similar online technologies for teaching and assessing graduate classes. All planned Field of Study and thesis defenses should be conducted remotely. Presence of graduate students on campus to conduct their research and learning should be discussed between supervisor and student.   

All public seminar requirements will be waived (prior to candidacy and thesis defenses). For thesis defences only, students will be offered an opportunity to give a brief (15 minute) presentation to the exam committee, summarizing the thesis in addition to the two-hour examination time. 

ALL incoming international graduate students (including visiting international graduate students) with May 1 program start dates are being notified by the Faculty of Graduate Studies that they are subject to a mandatory deferral to July 1st. 

Travel plans of current graduate students should be discussed with UofC Risk Management (riskmgmt@ucalgary.ca). International students should follow the guidance of their home countries. 

For comprehensive information and guidance to help graduate students during this outbreak, please visit the Faculty of Graduate Studies web page.


Research

On March 21, the University of Calgary issued a directive for faculty, staff, postdocs, and graduate students to work from home. Our research operations will now go into a state of controlled hibernation.

Accordingly, all research teams and units must do their utmost to follow this directive to work remotely. However, it is possible for allowances to be made for critical research, scholarship and creative activities to continue on site.

Researchers are being asked to assess what are critical and non-critical research projects and research infrastructure. The situation with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the operation of the University of Calgary remains fluid, and our response evolves on a day-to-day basis. Please visit research.ucalgary.ca/covid-19 for guidance specific to researchers and updates.

Specific to UCVM:

  • If you believe you have critical research activities and research infrastructure which cannot be shut down and must continue, you HAVE to use the form (available here) and send it to Dr. Hermann Schaetzl (cc: Nicole Stubley and Brenda Moore) and your department head for review.  Dr. Schaetzl will then send it to the VPR/AVPR for their assessment.
  • Until a decision is made on your request, please reduce all activities to the minimum.
  • File only for what is absolutely essential/critical to go ahead, and also reduce this to the absolute minimum. Non-critical research must be discontinued.

Diagnostic Services Unit (DSU)

Dear Valued Clients,

The Diagnostic Services Unit (DSU) will begin a staggered reopening on May 20, 2020.  In the first phase, relaunched services will include necropsies and examination of tissues from field/in-clinic necropsies.  Biopsy and cytology services will not be available in the first phase.  We will contact you when these other services become available.

During this time, you may experience slightly longer than normal turnaround times on cases.

For the safety of all involved, we ask everyone to respect the signage and physical distancing measures put in place when dropping off samples to the lab. In addition, we ask that best practices are used when shipping samples to the lab including disinfection of the outer surface of specimen containers.

We appreciate your patience and understanding during these unprecedented times.  If you have questions, please contact us by phone at 403-220-2806 or by email at dsu@ucalgary.ca

Wishing you and your families health and safety.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Davies, DVM, MVSc, DACVP
Director, Diagnostic Services Unit


Working from Home

There are some excellent resources available to help make the transition to working from home easier and ensure you are able to do your job efficiently.


Travel

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, all UCalgary students and non-academic staff in Europe are required to come back to Calgary. Academic staff are strongly encouraged to return.

UCalgary has suspended all university-related travel outside of Canada for undergraduate students, graduate students, and non-academic staff until further notice.

Academic staff and post-doctoral scholars are strongly encouraged to avoid international travel as well. 

As of March 12, UCalgary has suspended travel to France, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Italy, South Korea, Singapore, and Iran until September 2020.

As per Alberta Health Services, all individuals currently outside of Canada should self-isolate on their return for 14 days, independent of the country they were visiting.

The following are guidelines from Human Resources regarding employees who have travelled outside Canada recently, or are about to return.

  1. Employee has traveled to one of the seven countries listed above since December 2019.

    The employee should follow advice from Alberta Health Services, self-isolate, and inform their manager or Department Head and Staff Wellness.

  2. Employee is self-isolating (following AHS guidelines) and does not have any symptoms.

    We expect employees to work at home for the duration of the self-isolation. Employees will continue to receive pay and benefits without interruption.

  3. Employee with no symptoms is self isolating, but their job cannot be performed at home

    Employees who are self isolating (following AHS guidelines) but do not have any symptoms and their jobs cannot be performed at home (for example, a caretaking job) - these employees will continue to receive pay and benefits without interruption during a period of self-isolation at home.

  4. Employees that are sick/unwell.

    Employees should follow the advice from Alberta Health Servicesself-isolate, and inform their manager or Department Head and Staff Wellness.These absences will be treated as a sick leave and these will continue to receive pay and benefits in accordance with the sick leave provisions.

  5. If someone else at the employee’s home is unwell.

    Employees should follow advice from Alberta Health Services, self-isolate, and inform their manager or Department Head.

    For individuals self-isolating and who do not have any symptoms, we expect they will work at home for the duration of the self-isolation. These employees will continue to receive pay and benefits without interruption.


Events

All planned, in-person university events on our campuses are cancelled immediately. Until further notice, the scheduling of future campus events is on hold.

For events that will be cancelled, below is recommended language you can use:

EVENT CANCELLED – [NAME OF EVENT]

Given the recent escalation in COVID-19 (coronavirus) cases, the University of Calgary has adopted a framework based on Public Health Agency of Canada guidelines to determine whether previously scheduled events should proceed as planned. Upon review of the specifics of this event, it has been determined that this event will be [cancelled/postponed until X].

We apologize for any inconvenience [and will look to reschedule this event at a future date]. [REFUND INFORMATION IF APPLICABLE].

This cancellation was not done due to a specific risk, but rather because of the weighting of risk factors around COVID-19 such as event size, nature, audience composition and travel considerations. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact [EMAIL], and we wish you the best of health.

Mental Health

Yes. The University of Calgary has many resources to help students, faculty and staff during this difficult time.

Please click this link for information.