Health guidelines

Information on this page is in effect currently (Summer 2021)
For information the Fall 2021 semester, visit the
Return to Campus Fall 2021 page

Current as of June 23, 2021

All McGill students, employees and all visitors to campus must follow the 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 | Masks and PPE | If someone develops COVID-19 symptoms on campus | In case of an emergency | Sponsoring a visitor

When to stay home: screening questions

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

  • Are you experiencing ANY of the following symptoms?
    • 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
  • Are you experiencing at least TWO (2) of the following symptoms?
    • Stomach ache
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Diarrhea
    • Major fatigue
    • Significant loss of appetite
    • Generalized muscle pain (not related to physical exertion)
    • Headaches
  • Have you been out of the country in the last 2 weeks? Travellers who have come to Canada are required to self-isolate for 14 days.
  • Have you been in contact with someone who has COVID-19?
    * 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.

Employees, including student employees, must fill out the Daily Self-Assessment Form in the Personal tab on Minerva before coming to campus, to ensure they meet the conditions above to prevent the spread of the virus.

Stay home and seek medical advice if you can’t tell whether you have COVID-19 symptoms or just a cold or flu. 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

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. Hand sanitizer stations are at the entrance of all campus buildings. We suggest that you also carry hand sanitizer with you.

Practice good cough etiquette:

  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand.
  • Dispose of any tissues you have used as soon as possible in a waste basket and wash your hands afterwards.

Wear a procedural mask or personal protective equipment (PPE)

Keep your distance:

  • Avoid direct contact with individuals.
  • Maintain a physical distance of 2 metres unless physical barriers such as Plexiglas are present.
  • There is one exception to the 2-metre rule: Students in exam rooms must maintain 1.5 metres in distance, according to government guidelines.

Masks and PPE

When to wear a procedural mask

Currently, procedural masks are required for anyone entering or circulating indoors in shared spaces at McGill, including but not limited to classrooms, Teaching and Study Hubs, shared offices, labs, hallways, elevators, and bathrooms.

For Fall 2021, we will follow the government regulations in place, which have not yet been announced

As of June 28, Montreal has moved into the green alert zone, allowing some exceptions to safely remove your mask while indoors on campus: 


  • Students have the option of removing their masks if they are seated at least two metres apart in a classroom. 
  • To help with intelligibility and in order to ensure universal access for all, including hearing impaired students, where necessary instructors are permitted to remove their procedural mask to teach, provided they remain at least two meters away from others.  
  • If the instructor prefers not to remove their procedural mask, and upon request from the Office for Students with Disabilities (OSD), the University will provide a transparent mask for the instructor to ensure that students who rely on lip reading can follow the course. Requests for clear masks can be sent to McGill’s Accessibility Advisor.  
  • Usage of built-in microphone and amplification systems by the instructor is strongly encouraged where possible, in order to increase intelligibility and reduce aerosol production. 

Offices and Closed Spaces: 

  • Staff can remove their masks if they are seated (not moving) at least two metres away from other people. 
  • Staff who are alone in a closed space such as an office can remove their masks even if they move around the room, but must put on a mask as soon as someone enters the room.  
  • If you are working in a room with barriers installed (ex. plexiglass) you may remove your mask. 

Fitness Activities: 

  • You are not required to wear a procedural mask during physical activity, as long as a distance of at least two -metres can be maintained. Once you are finished the activity, you must put your procedural mask back on. Find out what physical activities are currently allowed on campus on our Operational Status page. 


  • Woodwind and brass players and singers are exempted from wearing a procedural mask during their lessons; teachers should wear a procedural mask whenever possible. 

  • In performance situations such as practical examinations and public (webcast) recitals and concerts, performers can remove their procedural mask during their performance. They must wear a procedural mask at all times when moving in and out of the performance situation.


  • If you cannot wear a procedural mask for health reasons. 
  • If you are wearing other PPE required for work. For example, individuals working in labs should remove procedural masks that pose a safety threat (e.g., close proximity to an open flame). 

The University will provide procedural masks to all students, faculty and staff coming to our campuses. Individuals who would prefer to bring their own procedural masks will be permitted to do so. If desired, procedural masks can be layered underneath a cloth mask (forming a “double mask”). However, a procedural mask should not be layered underneath a second procedural mask, or over or under an N95. Anyone not wearing a procedural mask upon arrival at a building will be required to put one on before entering.

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
  • Continue to follow other safety measures
  • Watch our videos to learn about the proper use of these masks.

Procedural mask distribution

It is important to note that buildings are currently "card access only" and therefore doors are locked - individuals must knock or follow signage instructions if they do not have card access to the building. If you encounter issues acquiring masks at the mask distribution points listed, please call 514-398- 3731 for assistance.

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

Procedural Masks are also available at:

  • All Study Hubs (for study hub users)
  • Residences (front desks, for residents and residence staff)


Mask use as part of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Your supervisor will advise you if PPE is required for your work or research environment. If so, the University will provide the required equipment--including the appropriate mask, if needed. You need to wear PPE if:

  • you cannot maintain two metres of physical distancing during your work and if other measures such as a preventive barrier are not in place; and/or
  • you normally wear PPE for your work or research activities.

Please note that, regardless of what type of mask you may use as PPE in your work environment, you will be required to wear a procedural mask when entering the building.

If someone develops COVID-19 symptoms on campus

If someone starts having symptoms while on campus:

  • Isolate them in a closed room
  • Give them a procedural (or surgical) mask to wear. If that isn’t available ask them to cover their mouth and nose with their own mask or cloth.
  • 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 the 2-metre distance in stairwells may be difficult.
  • Once you exit the building, make sure that you stand at least 2 metres 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.

Sponsoring a visitor

Until November 23, when additional government restrictions are in place, only necessary visitors are allowed on campus. View the directives for Sponsors and Visitors here. Due to the current situation, visitors are not allowed at McGill Residences.

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