General health guidelines

Current as of September 22, 2021

Everyone coming to campus must follow these guidelines on this page to ensure the health and safety of our community and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

You are responsible for taking the initiative to keep yourself and others safe.

Please also read the health guidelines related to your role at McGill:

On this page: When to stay home | Preventing transmission | Cleaning and Disinfecting | Masks and PPE | If someone develops COVID-19 symptoms on campus | In case of an emergency

When to stay home: screening questions

Do not come to campus if you answer "yes" to any of the following questions:

  1. Are you experiencing ANY of the following symptoms? Yes/No
    • Fever (oral temperature 38.1°C [100.6°F] or higher)
    • Sudden loss of sense of smell (anosmia) without nasal congestion, with or without loss of taste
    • Recent cough or worsening of a chronic cough
    • Shortness of breath
    • Trouble breathing
    • Sore throat
  2. Are you experiencing at least TWO (2) of the following symptoms? Yes/No
    • Stomach ache
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Diarrhea
    • Major fatigue
    • Significant loss of appetite
    • Generalized muscle pain (not related to physical exertion)
    • Headaches
  3. Are you required by government directives or public health officials to self-isolate (i.e. you are not allowed to come to campus)? Yes/No
  4. Are you in contact with someone who has COVID-19? Yes/No
    * This question does not apply if you have been in contact with a COVID positive patient in your capacity as a healthcare worker wearing appropriate PPE.
  5. Do you live with a symptomatic individual awaiting a test result for COVID-19?

Employees, including student employees, must answer these questions in the Daily Self-Assessment Form in the Personal tab on Minerva before coming to campus.

Unsure if you have COVID-19 symptoms or just a cold or flu? Stay home and seek medical advice. It is better to lose a few days of class, work or experiments than to cause others to fall sick.

Wondering what to do if you have COVID-19 symptoms or a positive diagnosis? Use this handy tool.

Preventing transmission

Wear a procedural mask or personal protective equipment (PPE)

Follow distancing rules:

  • In classrooms and teaching labs: no distancing is required for Fall 2021 classes but students must wear a procedural mask even if they are seated two metres or more apart.
  • In all other indoor spaces*, maintain a distance of one metre, wearing a procedural mask.
  • *Exceptions:
    • If physical barriers such as Plexiglas are present, one-metre distancing does not need to be maintained.
    • Two-metre distancing is required when you can’t wear a mask (or is difficult to wear a mask):
      • When singing or playing woodwind or brass instruments
      • In fitness centres.
      • When eating or drinking

Keep your hands clean:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds including palms, backs of each hand, between fingers, thumbs and under nails. Rinse and dry hands well.
  • If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, found at the entrance of all campus buildings.

Practice good cough etiquette:

  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand, then wash your hands.

Cleaning and disinfecting

The cleaning frequency for teaching spaces and cleaning high-touch surfaces have been increased by building services. Faculty and staff are also requested to wipe down high touch surfaces (e.g., keyboard on a podium) before and after their use. Departments can request additional supplies if needed.

Masks and PPE

Procedural masks are required in all indoor spaces at McGill, with some exceptions (see below).

For students: must wear procedural masks in classrooms and teaching labs at all times.

For staff: procedural masks are strongly encouraged, even when seated and maintaining two-metre distancing. Staff may continue to remove their mask if alone in a room with a door closed, or if separated by a physical barrier from others.

NOTE: For students who are also McGill employees, they must follow the directives of the role they are engaging in at the moment.

Students employed as instructors may remove masks while teaching and maintaining at least two metres of distance – but masks are still recommended. When these students are not teaching, masks must be worn at all times.

NOTE: PhD students may remove procedural masks during their oral defence as long as they follow all other health and safety protocols including maintaining at least two metres of distancing.

You do not need to wear a mask if you are:

  • Eating or drinking at least two metres away from others (NOTE: Eating and drinking in classrooms and teaching labs is prohibited, with the exception of a quick drink of water, if necessary.)
  • Teaching and remain at least two metres away from others – but masks are still strongly encouraged. Please see the Instructors page for more details.
  • Unable to wear a mask for health reasons
  • Teaching a courses that is scheduled to be offered outdoors (e.g., field courses). Masks are not required as long as a minimum of one-metre distancing can be maintained
  • Outdoors and maintaining a minimum of one-metre distancing
  • Engaged in physical activity and maintain two-metre distancing
  • Working with an open flame
  • Wearing other personal protective equipment (PPE) required for work (you still need to wear a procedural mask when moving through the building)
  • Singing or playing a woodwind or brass instrument during a lesson, in a practical examination or in performance
    •  Instructors teaching singing, woodwind or brass should wear a mask whenever possible;
    •  Students should wear a mask before and after the performance (e.g. while moving on or off stage)

Obtaining a Mask

The University will provide procedural masks to all students, faculty and staff coming to our campuses.

Masks are available at the following locations:

Downtown campus

  • Bronfman Building: Monday-Friday, 07h00 to 19h00
  • Burnside Hall: Monday-Friday, 7h00 to 18h00 / weekends 7h00 to 17h00
  • Currie Gymnasium: Monday-Friday, 7h00-19h00 / weekends 7h00 to 17h00
  • 168 Education Building: Monday-Friday, 7h00-19h00
  • Frank Dawson Adams Building (campus “bridge” entrance): Monday-Friday, 7h00 to 20h00
  • Leacock Building: Monday-Friday, 07h00 to 19h00
  • Life Sciences Complex (West entrance): Monday-Saturday, 07h00 to 19h00
  • Lyman Duff Medical Building (University entrance): Monday-Friday, 7h00 to 18h00
  • McConnell Engineering Building (campus entrance): Monday-Friday, 7h00 to 21h00 / weekends 8h00 to 19h00
  • McGill Genome Centre: Monday-Friday, 7h00 to 19h00 / weekends 8h00 to 18h00
  • McIntyre Medical Building (Main and Pine entrances): Monday-Friday, 7h00-18h00 / weekends 8h30-18h00
  • Otto Maass Chemistry Building: Every day, 07h00 to 19h00
  • Rutherford Physics Building: Monday-Friday, 07h00 to 19h00
  • Stewart Biology Building (courtyard entrance): Every day, 07h00 to 19h00
  • Strathcona Anatomy and Dentistry Building: Monday-Friday, 07h00 to 19h00
  • Strathcona Music Building: Every day, 07h00 to 19h00
  • New Chancellor Day Hall: Monday-Friday, 7h00 to 18h00
  • Wong Building: Monday-Friday, 7h00 to 19h00 / weekends 6h00-18h00
  • 680 Sherbrooke: Monday-Friday, 07h00 to 19h00

After-hours (19h00 to 07h00) masks can be picked up at McGill’s Security Offices (Burnside Hall for downtown campus).

Macdonald campus

  • Macdonald Stewart / Raymond Complex / Barton Building (Barton North and South entrances)
  • Parasitology Building (Main entrance)

Every day, 07h00 to 21h00

After-hours (19h00 to 07h00) masks can be picked up at McGill’s Security Offices (Laird Hall for Macdonald campus).

Campus Outaouais

  • Main entrance (525 Boul. de l’Hôpital)

Monday to Friday, 07h30 to 21h00

Weekends, 07h30 to 16h00


  • Front desks, for residents and residence staff.

You can bring your own procedural masks if desired. If you encounter issues acquiring masks at the mask distribution points listed, please call 514-398- 3731 for assistance.

How to Wear a Mask

  • Ensure your mask fully covers your mouth and nose
  • Wash your hands before and after removing the mask or face covering.
  • Remove it by the ear straps and avoid touching the front.
  • Replace the mask or face covering if it becomes damp or soiled

You can layer a procedure mask underneath a cloth mask (forming a “double mask”). However, you should not layer a procedural mask underneath a second procedural mask, or over or under an N95.

Requests for mask exemptions on campus

Requests for mask exemptions (including in classrooms and/or research laboratories) will only be considered based on documented health conditions, as outlined by the Government of Quebec. The health and safety of the campus community will be considered when deciding on feasible accommodations.

Any students who would like to request a mask exemption must contact the disabilities.students [at] (subject: Mask%20exemption%20request) (Office for Students with Disabilities), and provide third-party documentation from a licensed health care provider attesting to a diagnosis and the barriers you are facing.

Any Faculty or Staff who would like to request a mask exemption must contact [at] (Human Resources) and provide third-party documentation from a licensed Medical Doctor (MD) attesting to a diagnosis and the barriers you are facing.

Those with an approved exemption will receive a letter from McGill clearly identifying their status. They must carry this letter with them at all times when on campus.

If someone starts having symptoms while on campus:

  • Isolate them in a closed room
  • Ensure they are wearing a procedural mask.
  • Have the person with symptoms call 1-877-644-4545 (Info-Santé) for instructions.
  • Have the person with symptoms call McGill Security (514-398-3000) to report.

In case of an emergency

In case of a fire evacuation:

  • Don a mask or face covering if possible as maintaining distancing in stairwells may be difficult.
  • Once you exit the building, make sure that you stand at least one metre away from others

In the case of other emergencies, Security Services remains available 24/7.

Downtown Campus: 514 398 3000
Mac Campus: 514 398 7777

Emergency evacuation procedures

Watch this video to review the procedures you should follow during an emergency evacuation. With fewer people around, your vigilance and your support of others are more important than ever, as there may not be evacuation teams present.

The advice contained on this page is based on federal and provincial public health directives as well as recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO), and will be updated regularly. The advice is guided by the following principles:

  • Health and safety of community members is the priority.
  • Ramp-up of on-campus activities will be carried out while respecting the constraints of public health authorities and in accordance with government directives.
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