NOSM’s Response to COVID-19
UPDATED: DECEMBER 18, 2020
NOSM is an inclusive community where everyone is treated with respect. We are grateful to each of you for the efforts you are putting in to keep our students safe during this time. We are committed to keeping each of you safe, and respecting your individual needs. Please be kind and compassionate to one another.
Please check this website regular for updates.
Over the Holiday Break
The Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) is closed from Monday, December 21, 2020 to Friday, January 1, 2021, inclusive, with the School resuming normal business on Monday, January 4, 2021.
Travel Over the Holiday Break
If you travel over the Holiday Break, please read NOSM’s Revised Instructions for Travel Within Canada which highlights the following:
- Travelling into other parts of Ontario or out of province, especially during the holidays, is strongly discouraged. Public Health continues to ask people to stay home and to not expand their social circles beyond members of their immediate household. We highly encourage “virtual visits” this holiday season.
- Effective immediately, if travelling to different parts of Ontario or out-of-province, whether it be for personal or education/work purposes, upon your return to NOSM you are required to self-monitoryour health for symptoms of COVID-19 for a period of 14 days. If you develop symptoms during that time you are required to take the COVID-19 self-assessment and follow instructions or call the local public health unit to arrange for guidance (e.g. testing).
- If you must travel to, or through, a high-risk area(e.g. red or gray in Ontario or COVID-19 hot zone in other provinces) for urgent, compassionate or essential reasons (including travelling through airports in high-risk areas), you will be required to:
- Stay home and self-isolate for 14 days after returning from travel.
- Carefully monitor yourself for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days.
- If any symptoms develop, immediately take the COVID-19 self-assessment and follow the instructions following the self-assessment.
- The situation across the province and guidelines from Public Health may change rapidly. As such, should you choose to travel during the holiday season, it is possible that rules could change during your time away which could affect your return to campus. Travel during the holidays means running the risk that you will not be permitted to attend on campus activities that are scheduled to occur within the first 14 days of your return.
- For learners completing community clinical placements, you may be subject to other conditions and protocols that are directed by the health-care organizations or communities in which you are placed. Please confirm any travel restrictions that could affect your return to placement after the holidays.
If you must attend campus over the holiday break, please ensure to follow the established protocols for Return to Campus, which include:
- Obtaining Supervisor approval by email and copy Human Resources (email@example.com)
- Completing the Mandatory Return to Campus Training and Attestation
- Completing the COVID-19 Screening Tool prior to entering NOSM campus buildings
- Wearing a face-covering when on campus
- Following building directional signage
- If office/room cleaning is required, hang the “Please Clean” sign on the outside of your door.
- See these flowcharts for Working on Campus or if you are Suddenly Feeling Unwell While on Campus
Ray Hunt, Chief Operating Officer
Lyne Aubry-Yates, Director of Human Resources
Joe Lipinski, Director of Finance and Facilities
Grace Vita, Director of Planning and Risk
Campus Security is available 24/7/365
Laurentian University: 705-673-6562
Lakehead Universtity: 807-343-8911
Employee and Family Assistance Program
This year has been especially challenging for all of us. If you are having difficulty coping during these times, please do not hesitate to reach out to our Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP). Help is just a phone call away. Our EFAP is available to all employees, students, and residents across NOSM’s wider campus of Northern Ontario. Immediate support is available 24/7/365 at 1-844-880-9142 or online at workhealthlife.com.
Screening Requirements for Campus Access
Due to recent changes in provincial regulations (O. Reg 364/2), NOSM is now required to implement additional screening for all employees, learners and visitors who have been authorized to enter NOSM buildings. Authorization means, obtaining approval from your Supervisor and emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. This is important to ensure adequate personal protective equipment is available to you, and to alert Facilities to coordinate Keyscan access and to enable any extra disinfection protocols that may be required.Under this regulation, NOSM has created a new online screening tool survey that captures the required screening questions. As a result, each employee, learner or visitor authorized and scheduled to be on campus must complete the NOSM COVID-19 Screening Tool prior to entering NOSM campus buildings. This survey tool can be saved on your cell phone home screen:
- Instructions to add a bookmarked Safari website to your home screen on an iPhone.
- Instructions for adding a Chrome bookmark to your Android home screen.
Direction provided at the end of the screening survey must be followed. If you do not pass the screening, you will not be permitted to enter the workplace and will be required to self-isolate and follow instructions of the Public Health Unit.
Revised Instructions for Travel Within Canada
To all NOSM staff, full-time faculty, and learners,
Please review the following the learn more about the Revised Instructions for Travel Within Canada.
Minimizing COVID-19 Risk on Campus
- Remote work is the most effective way to minimize risk and should continue wherever possible.
- Where remote work is not possible, physical distancing strategies and other controls will be followed as a second priority. This may include, but not limited to signage, planning your workspace, full PPE such as gowns, gloves, eye coverings or installing barriers such as Plexiglas.
- In support of the Greater City of Sudbury and the City of Thunder Bay, NOSM has implemented a Face Mask protocol that includes mandatory use of masks/face coverings in enclosed spaces where public encounters/exposure to others occurs.
- As per the city by-laws, the following individuals are exempt from the mask or face covering requirement:
- children under two years of age;
- persons with an underlying medical condition which inhibits their ability to wear a Mask or Face Covering (medical note not required);
- persons who are unable to place or remove a Mask or Face Covering without assistance; and
- persons who are reasonably accommodated by not wearing a Mask or Face Covering in accordance with the Ontario Human Rights Code
- Additionally, masks are not required if you are behind a physical barrier or a personal/individual office.
- You may also temporarily remove a mask or face covering where necessary for the purpose of receiving services, or while actively engaging in an athletic or fitness activity.
- Staff, Faculty & Learners to each receive two cloth face coverings (these will be distributed upon your return to campus)
- NOSM also has disposable masks available if needed (contact NOSM Facilities at email@example.com)
- Individuals can also contact their Supervisor if other PPE is required
- You also may wear personally acquired face coverings that adhere to CDC and other public health standards
- Details regarding face mask/covering use and care will be provided in the mandatory training package
- COVID-19 can be spread from infected individuals who have few or no symptoms and are unaware that they may be infected.
- A non-medical mask or face covering helps to protect others from your infectious droplets.
- It may also prevent other people’s droplets from landing in your mouth or nose.
- While custodial crews at both Laurentian University and Lakehead University will enhanced cleaning of offices and workspaces, classrooms and public spaces, you should take additional care to wipe down commonly used surfaces after use.
- Clearing your desk and table surfaces in personal offices and workstations will aid in cleaning and allow for custodial staff to maximize cleaning surface areas.
- Using a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol is also effective after contacting commonly used surfaces.
- NOSM will provide additional products (based on availability) for personal use.
- All NOSM learners, faculty and staff are encouraged to download the Government’s new COVID exposure notification app –“COVID Alert”, just launched in Ontario last Friday (other provinces to follow)
- The app aims to help mitigate the spread of the coronavirus by notifying a user when they have been in close contact with another user who tested positive for the virus.
- It is not a contact-tracing app —as it does not track personal data.
- In order to trace someone’s exposure, the app uses Bluetooth to exchange random codes with nearby app users every 5 minutes and saves the codes on your phone for 14 days
- If a user tests positive for the coronavirus, they will receive a diagnosis key from a public health official to enter into the app.
- You will get a notification if your phone was near a phone was near the phone with a diagnosis key within the last 14 days
- You will also be given instructions on next steps (if you were exposed)
Positive Case on Campus Protocol
- The following “two-step” process, on the next 2 pages, is to be followed when a member of the NOSM community reports that they:
- have tested positive for COVID-19,
- are experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19, and/or
- have had close contact with someone that has tested positive (or close contact with someone who knowingly has symptoms and is being tested for possible COVID19).
Step 1 –Who do I report to if I am unwell?
- Staff and Full-time Faculty are to report to their Supervisor (Division Head for Human and Medical Sciences) via email or telephone.
- Learners are to email the Learner Affairs Office at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Clinical Stipendiary Faculty are to email Program Schedulers at email@example.com(Lakehead campus) or firstname.lastname@example.org(Laurentian campus).
Please see the following flow charts, which if followed, will ensure appropriate rapid response to minimize the possibility of virus transmission while protecting the privacy, to the fullest extent reasonably possible, of individuals who have contracted the virus:
Northern Ontario Isolation Requirements
Return to Campus Planning Framework
Guiding Principles and Key Elements
NOSM’s Return to Campus Planning Framework will recognize and be supportive of staff, faculty and learner needs and circumstances with a strong focus on everyone’s health, safety and security. In preparing a “whole school” plan, our approach will be one that is flexible and reasonable and will accommodate the personal needs of employees who may not feel safe working with a larger number of people or will have ongoing family issues (e.g. childcare) that require working from home. In other cases, some employees may need to work on campus due to distraction issues (bandwidth, etc.) at home that affect their productivity.
Employees have be given the choice of continuing to work from home or return to campus (or a mix of both). In some cases, operational needs will require some employees to be on campus. Depending on staff availability, this may require a reconfiguration of duties and work assignments to ensure activities continue uninterrupted both on and off campus.
As a general rule of thumb, if an activity can continue to be performed safely and efficiently off-site (i.e. from home), then we will not be rushing people back to campus.
Prior to returning, employees will be asked to view a training presentation that outlines information you need to know about returning to campus.
From a personal health, safety and wellness perspective, ongoing requirements for physical distancing will result in reduced availability of space for employees and learners. Occupancy and space assignments will need to be established to ensure safety of employees to ensure physical distancing. This may require scheduling of employees (rotations or staggered work hours) and requiring a mix of working at home or on-site.
Prior to returning to campus, PPE (masks, gloves, hand sanitizer) will be made available for all learners, faculty, staff and clients and enhanced janitorial cleaning will be required to minimize virus transmission.
Features of the Planning Framework
The Planning Framework document provides guidance to Units/Portfolios in planning and decision making for re-opening NOSM during COVID-19. The framework includes a plan development/approval process that identifies key dates and milestones that need to be met in order to have a “whole school” plan in place before the end of June 2020.
Each portfolio will designate a Return to Campus (RTC) Planning Lead who will be responsible for developing/coordinating individual unit plans within their portfolio.
The Dean (with ERT support) is accountable to the NOSM Board of Directors in developing and executing a RTC Plan All individual Unit/Portfolio Plans and the final “whole school” Plan must be approved by the Dean (or delegate) before a plan can be executed or communicated. Where situations require urgent/immediate action (outside of the RTC Planning Process), ERT will work with the affected Units to support their particular circumstance.
In the meantime, if you have any questions or comments on the RTC planning process, please email email@example.com.
Travel and On-Campus Events
Travel between campuses will not be permitted until January 2021 and all events should be planned virtually in order to support NOSM’s goal in reducing the number of people on campus to help slow the potential transmission of the virus and protect vulnerable populations. Under exceptional circumstances, if an on-campus event is deemed essential, that requires learners or employees to travel between campuses, all travel must be approved by the Associate Dean or Chief Operating Officer.
For additional information and guidance, please see the following:
COVID-19 Information Resources
Who to Contact for Concerns/Inquiries
- Contact your Learner Affairs Officer and/or Program Supervisor
- For working environment/sick leave, contact your direct supervisor cc. to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
- For facility issues (e.g. PPE supplies, building access, etc.), contact your direct supervisor and cc. firstname.lastname@example.org
- For general concerns, contact email@example.com, cc. Lyne Aubry-Yates at firstname.lastname@example.org and Dena Livaditis at email@example.com
EMERGENCY (after hours) CONTACTS:
- Ray Hunt: 705-923-4443 firstname.lastname@example.org
- Lyne Aubry-Yates: 705-280-7023 email@example.com
- Joe Lipinski: 807-621-9454 firstname.lastname@example.org
- Grace Vita: 807-252-7455 email@example.com
Patty Fink, Director, Research and Health Sciences Library
Media and Communications
firstname.lastname@example.org for any media queries.