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Health and Safety

Health, Safety and Wellness

This webpage is intended to assist the University of Windsor community in planning for the phased resumption of activities, while mitigating risks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The guidelines provided incorporate recommendations provided by federal, provincial, and local public health authorities, best practices within similar industry groups, the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act, and other applicable legislation.

The resumption of activities at the University of Windsor will follow the phased approach as outlined in the Return to Campus framework, to ensure a safe return to campus. The health and safety of students, faculty, staff, and members of the community is the University’s priority.


University buildings will undergo a Zone and Flow Analysis, to ensure measures are taken to enable appropriate physical distancing and implement health and safety recommendations.  The Zone and Flow Analysis will be coordinated by Facility Services and Health and Safety, in consultation with the applicable Faculty or department representatives, to determine the required measures to be implemented within work areas. The zone and flow analysis process is described below.   

Zone Analysis
Workspaces and assembly areas (zones) will be evaluated for maximum occupancy limits and physical distancing measures.

Consideration will be given to adjustments to the zones, such as:

  • Movement of individual workstations/furniture (desks, lab benches, cubicles, seating) to ensure they are a minimum of 2 metres (6 feet) apart
  • Geometric design (checkerboard pattern of workstations to eliminate face to face interactions, even if 2 metres apart).
  • If movement of workstations/furniture cannot provide appropriate physical distancing, analyze other means such as;
    • using every other workstation,
    • relocation of workstations to other (unoccupied) areas;
    • modification of work schedule (e.g. alternating days in the workspace, sanitization in between use)
    • area closed off for use
  • Barriers to be installed where physical distancing cannot be maintained, such as front-line, transactional, and customer-service areas.

Where movement or modification of workstations/furniture cannot be implemented to maintain physical distancing, Facility Services will work with the Health and Safety office to determine the appropriate measures to be taken.  The procurement of barriers or other zone-related control measures will be coordinated through Facility Services.

Washroom protocols and the maximum occupancy will be posted at the washroom entrance.  Smaller washrooms in which physical distancing cannot be maintained will be considered as single use.  Where possible, paper towels should be used upon exiting the washroom, and a garbage receptacle placed near the door for disposal of paper towels.  Air hand dryers will be taken out of service.

Elevator protocols and maximum capacity will be posted.  If the elevator allows for more than one occupant, floor markings will be placed to indicate the appropriate spacing, as well as on the floor in the waiting area to enter the elevator.  Individuals waiting to enter the elevator must allow the exiting person to pass by before proceeding onto the elevator. 

Staircases will be evaluated for physical distancing requirements and traffic flow patterns.  Staircases that do not allow for bi-directional flow will be designated as one-way traffic (Up or Down) and appropriate signage will be posted.  In the event of an emergency, any exit stairwell may be used to leave the building, regardless of directional signage posted.

As part of the zone and flow analysis, classrooms will be evaluated for physical distancing and maximum occupancy.  Adjustments will be made to seating to consider physical distancing and geometric design.  Floor decals will be placed in the corridor used to enter the classroom.

Other Event / Gathering Spaces
As part of the zone and flow analysis, event spaces will be evaluated for physical distancing and maximum occupancy.  Approved events must follow the provincial guidelines for physical distancing and maximum number of people. 

Common Areas (Meeting Rooms, Kitchenettes, Lunch & Break Rooms)
Common areas will be assessed as part of the zone analysis, to minimize the risk/spread of infection.  Considerations include:

  • space closed for use (eliminate the risk)
  • space modified to promote physical distancing (e.g. seating/furniture removed to maintain 2 m distance, geometric design [checkerboard pattern])
  • maximum capacity limits posted
  • protocols for use of the space are posted (e.g. limit the number of individuals, post the maximum capacity, physical distancing, and cleaning/disinfection procedures for use, including shared equipment such as microwaves, fridges, cutlery, water coolers, etc.). 

Flow Analysis
Campus buildings will be evaluated to assess directional flow and traffic patterns.  Considerations will include:

  • Designated entrances and exits
  • Reduced/limited amount of approved entry points
  • Controlled access (fob) entry points to buildings and work spaces, where possible
  • Traffic flow directions/signage along foot paths, corridors, staircases, and main paths such as entrances and exits
  • Standardized signage is available for use in individual work spaces, common areas, and floor markings to indicate 2 metre spacing for anticipated queues
  • Accessible traffic pathways remain free of obstructions
  • Emergency egress from the work space / building will be evaluated.

Fire Safety / Emergency Evacuation
Consideration will be given to fire safety and emergency evacuation during the Zone and Flow Analysis:

  • Fire doors / separations should not be propped open, unless they automatically release and close upon a fire alarm
  • Emergency exits and means of egress must remain clear and free of obstructions
  • Emergency equipment (fire extinguishers, fire detection, pull stations) must remain clearly visible and not obstructed by signage or barriers.

In the event of a fire alarm:

  • Proceed to the nearest exit, maintaining physical distancing of 2 metres from others, if possible
  • Wear a non-medical mask or face covering to exit the building, if readily available
  • Use any stairwell to exit the building, regardless of directional signage posted
  • Once outside, move to a safe area away from the building and maintain physical distancing from others, where possible.

Prior to the resumption of activities, the Dean/AVP/Executive Director or designate/delegate (Supervisor as defined in the Occupational Health and Safety Act) will be responsible for assessing potential COVID-19 hazards in the workplace, in consultation with Health and Safety, and implementing control measures to eliminate or reduce the identified risks.  A reference checklist is available to assist with the identification and assessment of potential COVID-19 hazards within a specific work area, and the control measures required to reduce those hazards following the Hierarchy of Controls model (COVID-19 Hazard Assessment and Control Measures).

Once potential hazards and control measures have been assessed, Supervisors are responsible for developing a Return to Campus plan for their unit, in consultation with Health and Safety.  The plan will follow the health and safety guidelines in this document and the phased return to the workplace as outlined in the Return to Campus framework.  Tools have been created to assist with the development of Return to Campus plans, including the Health and Safety Checklist for Return to Campus Plans and COVID-19 SOP Template. Each plan will be submitted to the appropriate Vice-President for approval. Return to Campus plans must be frequently reviewed and updated as required, to reflect any changes to health and safety procedures, control measures, or recommendations adopted.

The University of Windsor is committed to ensuring the health and safety of the Campus Community. Part of executing an effective Return to Campus plan is performing Zone and Flow analysis throughout all campus facilities and buildings and installing signage to inform staff, students, faculty, contractors and visitors of the required public health practices in place to keep everyone safe and healthy.

Prior to the gradual resumption of campus activities, the Health & Safety department along with Facility Services will determine and be responsible for sign and floor decal installation in all appropriate locations including entrances, hallways, staircases, elevators, washrooms and public spaces.

The signage list below provides self-serve options and printable pdfs. Larger laminated versions, decals, missing or damaged signage replacement or inquiries can be submitted to Facilities here:

To download all signs, click here.

Sign   Print Size Recommended Usage Responsibility for Posting
A sign is displayed advising visitors to stop before entering a building and perform a COVID-19 self assessment. Building Entrance for General Public Letter, self-serve Public Access Building Doors Facilities

Department Managers

A sign is displayed advising people to wash their hands often to protect against COVID-19. Handwashing Letter, self-serve Hand washing facilities with sinks including washrooms, lunchrooms, etc. Facilities — where Zone and Flow Analysis has been completed
A sign is displayed advising people limit the number of riders on an elevator to one at a time. Elevator Use Letter, self-serve

Laminated from Print Shop

Outside elevator doors, every floor Facilities where Zone and Flow Analysis have been completed
A sign is displayed advising people of washroom safety practices. Washroom Safety Practices Letter, self-serve

Laminated from Print Shop

Exterior of main door to washroom facilities Facilities

Department Managers

A sign is displayed advising which direction they should travel when traversing stairs or hallways. Directional Signs Coming Soon Hallway to provide guidance on flow of traffic Facilities where Zone and Flow Analysis have been completed
A sign is displayed advising the proper use of non-medical face masks. Face Masks Letter, self-serve

Where needed


A sign is displayed advising people how to prevent colds and the flu. Cold & Flu Prevention Letter, self-serve

Where needed


A sign is displayed advising people to stop before entering a building to perform a COVID-19 self assessment. Social distancing Letter, self-serve

Laminated from Print Shop

Where needed


A sign is displayed advising how to safely remove disposable gloves. Safe Removal of Latex Gloves Letter, self-serve Laminated from Print Shop

Where needed


The University’s Facility Services Operations group has established a COVID-19 Custodial Services Action Plan to implement cleaning protocols as recommended by health authorities.

High-Contact Touch Points
The University has adjusted its cleaning protocols to focus on the cleaning and disinfecting of high contact touch points, including: door handles, elevator buttons, hand rails, washroom faucets, water fountains, garbage receptacles, etc.  These common high-touch contact points will be cleaned a minimum of twice daily by Facility Services, Custodial staff.

Work Spaces
Staff and faculty are responsible to clean their own equipment including workstations, keyboards, phones, office equipment, lab equipment, and other shared equipment.  Protocols must be implemented by Supervisors for the cleaning of tools, equipment, and vehicles between users. Supervisors can purchase cleaning and disinfecting products through Facility Services at or ext. 2850.  Cleaning products must be stored and labelled properly, with Safety Data Sheets readily available to users.

Hand Sanitizer
Hand sanitizer is available in wall-mounted dispensers throughout University buildings, in common areas such as main entrances and exits, elevator areas, etc. These dispensers are maintained by Facility Services.  Supervisors are responsible to provide hand sanitizer to front-line reception/service areas, or areas where handwashing facilities are not readily available, for hand hygiene between service interactions.  Supervisors can purchase hand sanitizer by contacting Facility Services at or ext. 2850. 

Building HVAC Systems
The University’s Facility Services Operations group has established a COVID-19 HVAC Safety Plan to implement ventilation recommendations by governing agencies and public health authorities. 

Cleaning protocols upon a confirmed COVID-19 case at the University

In the event of a confirmed COVID-19 case within a University building or space:

  • Facility Services will close and secure the area to be cleaned and disinfected.  Signage will be posted to indicate the area is closed for cleaning.
  • The area will be cleaned and disinfected in accordance with public health guidelines/procedures.

The University has established a variety of information resources regarding COVID-19:

  • Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) 
    The University of Windsor provides employees with access to Morneau Shepell, an outside counselling service, to provide professional counselling and information services to staff and their eligible immediate family members.

In addition to the above, employees will be provided with Faculty or department-specific information, training, and opportunities to bring forward concerns and issues of noncompliance to COVID-related protocols or measures to their Supervisor (e.g. scheduled safety talks, meetings, etc.).

Supervisors must ensure that external visitors, parties or contractors directly engaged by their unit are aware of the University’s guidelines, and their requirement to comply with their sector-specific COVID-19 procedures upon the resumption of activities. Contractors working on campus construction projects will follow the procedure outlined in the Facilities Services document “Facility Projects, Renovation and Construction Protocol During COVID-19 Pandemic”.

Clothing or equipment such as non-medical masks and face coverings are intended to reduce the spread of infection in the community, therefore, the University refers to these as Community Protective Equipment (CPE).  The use of CPE is another measure that can be used to help protect the University community.  The use of CPE does not eliminate the need for physical distancing practices, hand hygiene, or proper respiratory etiquette. 

Using the Hierarchy of Controls model as listed above, engineering and administrative control measures for COVID-19 must be first considered before using CPE or Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).  Health care providers on campus will follow the appropriate practices as directed by the Ontario Ministry of Health for Healthcare Settings. 

Workers are to follow University CPE/PPE requirements as necessary, including the information and instruction provided on proper use, storage, care, and disposal.  Public health authorities recommend that medical masks (surgical, medical procedure face masks and respirators like N95 masks) are to be reserved for use by health care workers and first responders.   

For more information on the use of masks, please visit:

The procurement of University-issued CPE and PPE will be coordinated centrally and made available through the Chemical Control Centre.  The University will provide workers with CPE and PPE as required.  Health and Safety can be contacted for guidance on appropriate PPE requirements.

Upon approval to return to campus or resume University activities, individuals are to adhere to the following guidelines:

1. Prior to going to campus each day, individuals must complete a self-assessment for symptoms of COVID-19 (Ontario screening self-assessment at: Any individuals who do not successfully pass the assessment are to follow the instructions provided from health authorities:

  • Stay home and self-isolate;
  • Contact their physician, Telehealth, or local health authority for further direction; and
  • Not return to campus until they are cleared by the applicable health authorities.

Employees and Supervisors shall follow the established screening protocols, and report illness or isolation per the steps outlined in the Human Resources document Employee Guide to Reporting Illness or Infection, and Employee PrivacyEmployees requesting accommodation due to individual risk factors must speak with their Supervisor and/or Human Resources.

All students (except those in the JD and Dual JD programs, who should follow the Faculty of Law protocols) are asked to report any illness through UWinsite Student. During the COVID-19 Academic Emergency period, students will not need to submit a medical note to indicate illness of any kind.  Students participating in off-campus or workplace settings will be guided by faculty or workplace requirements regarding screening/illness reporting

2. Individuals are encouraged to utilize the testing which is now widely available, if concerned about COVID-19 symptoms or exposure, and follow the instructions provided by health authorities.

3.Individuals on campus are expected to follow the health and safety recommendations and directives provided by local and provincial health authorities, including:

  • Proper hand hygiene: Wash hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water >20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Proper respiratory etiquette: Cover coughs and sneezes with elbow or sleeve.  Discard of tissues immediately and wash hands afterwards.  Avoid touching face, eyes, nose, mouth.
  • Practice physical distancing by maintaining 2 metres (6 feet) away from others, whenever possible.
  • Wear a non-medical mask or face covering when physical distancing cannot be maintained, or as required by the University and/or local public health officials.
  • Limit gatherings per local health authority directives.
  • Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces frequently.

4. It is expected that all individuals on campus are to follow the health and safety directives provided by the University, including:

  • Posted signage and protocols
  • Screening protocols
  • Illness and absence reporting
  • Participating in safety training, as required
  • Directional signage and floor markings
  • Restricted / closed spaces or work areas
  • Procedures and protocols, including the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Community Protective Equipment (CPE) as required
  • Required use of Community Protective Equipment (non-medical mask or face covering) when entering or exiting campus buildings, and in common spaces where physical distancing may be difficult, such as entrances and exits, stairwells, hallways, lounges, washrooms and elevators.
  • Employees reporting hazards and concerns to their Supervisor
  • Employees requesting accommodation due to individual risk factors must speak with their Supervisor and/or Human Resources.

5. Supervisors are required to maintain accurate records of all employees who are working on campus.  University employees are responsible to maintain a 14-day record of their work days, work locations, and any possible close contacts.  Close contact is defined as:

  • Being less than 2 metres apart; and
  • Not wearing Community or Personal Protective Equipment (CPE/PPE); and
  • Longer than 15 minutes.

These records will be important to provide information for contact tracing, if required by WECHU and/or the University.

Supervisors are responsible to conduct regular assessments and inspections of their work areas and the work being performed, to evaluate the effectiveness of COVID-19 control measures and adjusted work processes (reference COVID-19 Hazard Assessment and Control Measures for examples of evaluation methods).  Upon review of the completed assessments and inspections, additional adjustments or measures are to be implemented as necessary.  It is recommended that these evaluations are documented.

Supervisors are responsible to continue to monitor the workspace for potential hazards, and take action to address any concerns brought forward by employees.

COVID-19: Employee Guide to Reporting Illness, Infection and Testing and Employee Privacy

COVID-19: Supervisor’s Guide to Reporting Employee Illness, Infection and Testing and Employee Privacy

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and the University’s move to an essential services model, we all have altered the way we live and work to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and to protect our community’s health and safety. While adapting to new ways of working both on campus and remotely at home, many of us have also experienced increased pressures in our family and personal lives. We appreciate your continued dedication and efforts and sincerely thank you.

We recognize that during these times of change, it is not uncommon to feel additional stress, anxiety and pressure. For those working remotely, the boundary between home and work may blur, making it challenging to disconnect and unplug from work. Because of the added stressors related to the pandemic, we strongly recommend that whether you are working remotely or on campus, you try to incorporate the 5 mental health promoting practices outlined below to help reduce burnout and enhance work-life balance.

Set boundaries for when your workday ends As the lines between work and home blur, it becomes easier to extend our workdays into evenings and weekends. Set boundaries when planning your workday and scheduling meetings. Protect these boundaries unless you are dealing with an urgent matter. 
Book meetings in 50-minute increments or less This practice will allow you to build some breaks into your calendar. Taking short breaks to stretch your legs, get some fresh air, etc. can keep you energized and focused during the rest of the day. This practice can also make you feel less stressed on those days filled with back to back meetings.   
Don't send emails in the evenings or weekend unless it's urgent Sending e-mails after work hours can generate a sense of pressure to respond even if that is not the sender’s intentions. Even though after a busy day of meetings we may be inclined to send e-mails after hours to “catch-up”, we should limit those to urgent matters only. 
Schedule a weekly meeting-free day or half day Scheduling a weekly meeting-free day or half day in your calendar will allow for some focused time to accomplish tasks and move key projects forward. Scheduling this day or half day on a Friday may help you finish the week feeling less overwhelmed. Protect these meeting-free times unless you need to schedule/accommodate an urgent meeting. 
Take vacation time Vacation time provides an opportunity to rest and re-charge. While we recognize that during these times travel options and other activities may be limited, we strongly encourage everyone to schedule vacation time as you ordinarily would. Vacation time can help relieve stress, reduce the incidence of burnout and boost your mental capacity. It is critical for work-life balance. Make sure to disconnect and unplug from work during your vacation time. 

Incorporating these mental health promoting practices at work may be challenging for many of us, but it is important that we all do what we can to achieve a balance between the demands of work, family and personal life.

As a reminder, we continue to have supports available through Morneau-Shepell (EFAP provider) to help address any stressors that may be impacting your/your family’s wellbeing. I encourage you to visit the Human Resources website for contact details.