Remote Work
Toolkit

Information for Staff and Faculty

UPDATED: NOVEMBER 25, 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 staff, faculty and 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.

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 hr@nosm.ca.

New 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 hr@nosm.ca. 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:

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.

In the case of UME Phase 1 Lab and Structured Clinical Skills (SCS) Sessions, NOSM will have part-time students scheduled to be at affected entrances to screen learners and clinical faculty as they enter the buildings.

Campus Access

NOSM continues to ask staff and faculty to refrain from being on campus if work or learning can occur virtually. As a continuation of our Return to Campus Plan, individuals who are required to be on campus for operational or academic needs, will receive authorization from their supervisor. Those approved to be on campus must complete a mandatory COVID-19: Return to Campus Training Module and then sign an attestation confirming they have completed the training.

All NOSM buildings will continue to be closed to the public and swipe-card access is required. Only those who are authorized to be on campus and have completed the mandatory training and attestation will have their access card activated. This process is coordinated and monitored to mitigate potential risks and to ensure NOSM complies with Government directives and policies of our host universities. NOSM will continue with this approach until February 1, 2021, unless otherwise directed by the Government of Ontario or the Dean, President and CEO of NOSM. Every employee, learner or visitor authorized and scheduled to be on campus must also complete the NOSM COVID-19 Screening Tool prior to entering NOSM campus buildings.

What do I do if I have symptoms of, exposure to, or test positive for COVID-19?

The Ontario Ministry of Health (MOH) continues to provide current information on COVID-19. Visit the Ontario Ministry of Health website for COVID-19 Symptoms and Treatment information. If you are experiencing any possible COVID-19 symptoms, do not report to work and follow steps outlined in the following flowcharts.

Staff and faculty, experiencing symptoms are encouraged to take the Ontario Government’s COVID-19 Self Assessment. Instructions on next steps are provided following the completion of the self-assessment. If you are unsure of what to do or need additional information, please email your direct supervisor and cc. hr@nosm.ca.

COVID Alert App

All NOSM learners, faculty and staff are encouraged to download the Government’s COVID exposure notification app – COVID Alert. The app aims to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 by notifying the 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 five minutes and saves the codes on your phone for 14 days. If a user tests positive for COVID-19, they will receive a diagnosis key from a public health official to enter into the app. You will be notified if your phone was near the phone was near the phone of someone who tests positive with a diagnosis key within the last 14 days. You will also be given instructions on next steps in case you were exposed.

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:

Parking

Parking on Campus During COVID-19

COVID-19 Return to Campus – Parking Q&A
Parking Receipt Submission Instructions

While there are a number of individuals who have been authorized to be on campus for essential operational or academic needs, the underlying principle throughout the Return to Campus (RTC) process is to refrain from being on campus if work or learning can occur virtually.

Due to the disruption of on-site activities and the intermittent nature of our RTC, NOSM will provide free parking to those who are required and authorized to be on the Lakehead University and Laurentian University campus during Stage 2 and 3 of the RTC (September to December 2020). In November 2020, NOSM will provide further information on the parking process for the Stage 4 RTC, which begins on January 1, 2021.The campus parking rates and processes vary by campus as they are governed individually by Lakehead University and Laurentian University.  As such, our approach to supporting learners, staff and faculty will differ depending on which campus you attend. The following procedures will apply between September 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020

Lakehead University – Staff and Faculty

The Lakehead University parking passes went on sale Wednesday 19 August 2020 at 9 a.m.

The process to obtain a parking permit is as follows:

  1. The parking payroll deduction form needs to be submitted in an electronic format by emailing parking@lakeheadu.ca and payroll@nosm.ca
  2. To obtain a parking permit go the Lakehead University Parking Service and complete the online application at https://lakeheadu.parkadmin.com/login.
  3. Pick up your parking permit at the Security Office located in the Agora and display on dashboard.

Laurentian University – Staff and Faculty

Laurentian parking passes will automatically renew for NOSM full-time faculty, staff, and those on NOSM contracts for a year or more. NOSM will continue to pay for the monthly fee for parking passes from September 1 to December 31, 2020.  Those who currently have a parking pass will receive the new 2020/2021 pass via interoffice mail.Those who wish to purchase permits for the first time are asked to submit a copy of the Payroll Deduction Authorization Form to Laurentian Security in order to pick up a pass, and then return the form to payroll@nosm.ca for processing by August 28, 2020.

NOSM staff and faculty will be responsible for any parking fines or violations incurred on the University campus if a parking pass is not properly displayed on the dashboard.  If you have any questions please contact NOSM Payroll at payroll@nosm.ca.Please contact hr@nosm.ca for any questions related to this process.

Benefit Coverage

Canada Life (Great-West Life) coverage for Out-of-country medical emergency, travel assistance and disability coverage remain without change. Claims related to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) will be assessed based on the plan coverage like any other claim.

To find out what your plan covers, check your benefits booklet or visit GroupNet for plan members.

Canada Life Phone Number Updates

If you are travelling and need help during a medical emergency, Canada Life has simplified their emergency assistance phone numbers.If you’re travelling and need help during a medical emergency, contact our Travel Assistance provider using the new simplified phone numbers below. Service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

Canada or U.S.: 1-855-222-4051

Cuba: 1-204-946-2946*

All other locations:1-204-946-2577*

*Submit long-distance charges to Canada Life for reimbursement. If you use a TTY machine, call 1-800-990-6654.To download your updated benefits card with the new phone numbers, sign in to GroupNet for plan members or the GroupNet mobile app.For general questions about your out-of-country coverage or claims, contact 1-800-957-9777. If you have any further questions or concerns, please contact Laurie Twilley, Human Resources Coordinator (Payroll, Pension & Benefits) at 705-662-7138, or ltwilley@nosm.ca

Ordering Supplies for Home Use

While you are working from home, we recognize that you may require small amounts of office supplies to replenish items that have been depleted during this time. NOSM will provide you with financial support to purchase office supplies. The attached document provides a list of the standard items typically provided in the business centres at NOSM. NOSM will also reimburse you for the purchases of ink toner that is being used on your personal printer at home.If you need to order any of the supplies listed in the attached document for use at home, please follow these steps:

  1. Search for products from an online supplier (Grand & Toy, Staples, Amazon etc.)
  2. Get total cost for order by putting items in ‘shopping cart’
  3. Save an electronic copy of the cart and forward to your supervisor for approval (cc. accountspayable@nosm.ca)
  4. Once approval is received from your supervisor, proceed with the purchase and save all documentation electronically (order, proof of payment etc.)
  5. Submit all documentation along with a cheque requisition to Finance for reimbursement using the online expense reimbursement process

If you hold a NOSM purchase card, orders can be paid for using the card and follow the regular process for purchase card reconciliation.Please note: Only standard office supplies per the attached list or personal printer toner will be reimbursed. Office equipment or furniture is not a reimbursable expense.If you have any questions or require additional information, please email accountspayable@nosm.ca.

Technology for Working Remotely

The Information Technology Unit has developed several tips and resources to assist you in setting up web meetings, using Cisco Jabber for telephone calls, and how to log into our servers.To accommodate social distancing, the IT Unit will schedule equipment pick up (as needed) at various times of the day. Please refer to the following process:

  1. Complete a Helpdesk ticket submission form here to request equipment required offsite.
  2. IT will arrange a pickup time with the faculty or staff member for the following day.
  3. The assigned IT staff member will pack up the equipment, load it onto a cart, and prepare for pick up at the main entrance of the building (e.g. HSERC, MSE, ATAC, BSC, MSW).
  4. The IT staff member will meet the faculty or staff member in the lobby of the building at the scheduled pick-up time. (Please note that the IT staff member will be wearing gloves and a face covering. We ask that you also take protective measures against COVID-19 by following the advice provided by the World Health Organization).
  5. The IT staff member will wheel the cart out to the faculty or staff member’s vehicle. Each is expected to practice social distancing. The faculty or staff member will pack the equipment into their car, and return the cart to the lobby.
  6. The IT staff member will disinfect the cart for next pick-up.
  7. Once the equipment is at home, the faculty or staff member will call the IT Helpdesk to walk through set up/hook up.
  8. Please note that it will take two business days to facilitate equipment transfers. For additional IT support, please contact helpdesk@nosm.ca

Phone
Sudbury: 705-662-7120
Thunder Bay: 807-766-7500
Toll-Free in Canada: 1-800-461-8777 (then press 1, then 7)

For employees who live in the outlying areas of Sudbury and Thunder Bay, where internet access may be limited, please ask your supervisor to contact Steve Kelly, Director of IT, who can explore temporary Wi-Fi interventions for you.

Mental Health Resources

How are you doing?
Ongoing isolation and separation from family, friends and colleagues, along with the many uncertainties of COVID-19, affects our mental health and well-being. WE ALL FEEL IT. Our anxiety may manifest in many ways affecting us all differently. Everyone has their own coping mechanisms and outlets to help them “ride the storm.” It is for this reason that NOSM is committed to a culture of flexibility, understanding and support. “We are all in this together” are more than words… it is our mission now and we must continue to be there for one another. Each of us has much more going on in our personal lives, which affects how we work and interact with others. We need to recognize everyone’s unique situation and show compassion and empathy for each other.

Unfortunately, COVID-19 will be with us for many more months and we must strive to stay positive and healthy. To combat any feeling of desperation when they arise, it is important to take time to remind ourselves that we have much to be thankful for with a focus on the good things and less on the negative.  We are relatively safe in Northern Ontario; the fall colours are spectacular; we have work that is meaningful; and, have the opportunity to travel within our Northern Ontario bubble.

If you find you are having difficulty coping, reach out to others. Chances are they too may be feeling the same. You also have access to professional assistance and resources 24/7 from our EAP (Morneau-Shepell).

Adjusting to Working from Home: Coping with Working in Isolation

It is important to take some time to acknowledge and reflect on the psychological resilience of NOSM Staff and Full-Time Faculty and to celebrate the tremendous work that continues daily in our “new normal”. Thank you for all of your contributions and commitment to NOSM.It has not been easy to adjust to working in an environment of uncertainty. As such, we have been tasked with setting new work standards and developing flexible attitudes required to cope in this crisis.  Some of you are struggling with feelings of guilt at not being able to manage full-time work. Whether you are home alone, educating small children, caring for family members, or having to attend WebEx meetings while noise and disruption is occurring in the background, it has affected how you feel and act.Constant exposure to negative media related to COVID-19 fuels further feelings of fear and worry. These all manifest in a way that adversely affects your energy and impairs your ability to focus. You are not alone in feeling this way.For anyone who may be struggling, please know that support is available to you. We ask that you focus on your family and your personal health, as a priority, and for work, to focus on tasks, not the hours. To move us forward (and to ease our pressures), expectations of productivity, working hours and work standards, need to be reassessed in a COVID-19 environment.Consider the following for establishing a more personal and flexible work schedule:

  • If you are sending emails later in the evening or weekends, use the google email function of timing the emails for the next business day. Staff who receive emails in the off-hours may feel pressure to respond or it may trigger feelings of anxiety that could affect their sleep. Remember we are not all on the same work schedule.
  • Consider staggering your work day (earlier or later start), or compressing your work week if you are able, especially if you need to tend to or accommodate family needs during the day. The most important part of building your work schedule is to ensure that you communicate with your team and your Supervisor about when you are not available to meet or respond to issues.
  • Do not worry if children, your spouse, or if your pet jumps into a video conference, this is natural and to be expected. Please introduce your family to the rest of the team.
  • Rethink the number of meetings you may be having with staff or colleagues. Are they necessary? Is there another way to get the tasks done?  One of the most common complaints received during the first four weeks of our campus closure has been a sharp increase in the number of WebEx meetings. While many of these meetings were necessary to organize and plan new ways of delivering our education, operationalizing our new work and teaching environment, some meetings may be due to a sudden need for people to feel more connected (a replacement for naturally seeing people at work).
  • You should not feel guilty if you do not respond to an email in a timely manner. Our society has established an “unwritten” rule that we respond to emails immediately…that everything is “urgent”. The new reality is that you are not always attached to your computer or phone – that you may be out for a walk with the kids or taking a family member to a medical appointment or may have a need to take a nap if you feel tired, etc. During COVID-19, these are all natural and acceptable behaviours. Nobody will fault you for your inability to respond immediately.

By communicating needs with others, we can continue to support each other now and into the future as we re-integrate back to normal operations. We understand that even though some may be ready to return, others may not be able due to continued disruption of services or family needs.As for now, you will have good days and bad days. Please let others know how you feel.We want each of you to know that we are grateful for what you do and extend our sincere thanks for all of your efforts as we support both learners and health-care professionals in Northern Ontario during COVID-19.

NOSM Health Sciences Library Health and Wellness Guide

Other Mental Health Resources

A Note About Inclusivity

NOSM is an inclusive community where everyone is welcome and treated with respect.

Be respectful and kind to one another and avoid speculating or stereotyping. Accurate information and wisdom should be guiding our actions in times of public health emergencies. Sharing inaccurate information or making prejudicial assumptions may hurt individual people and hinder appropriate processes. Remember we have zero tolerance for racist comments and actions. We encourage all to speak up to support learners, staff and faculty who encounter racism at any time.

If you believe that you, or someone you know, is being subjected to harassment, stereotyping or prejudicial assumptions, please contact the Office of Human Resources, at 705-662-7270.

Concerns/Inquiries

For working environment/sick leave, contact your direct supervisor cc. hr@nosm.ca
For facility issues (e.g. PPE supplies, building access, etc.), contact your direct supervisor and cc. facilities@nosm.ca
For general concerns, contact hr@nosm.ca

The scenario is rapidly evolving. All attempts are being made to provide as current information as possible.