Health guidelines

Updated: January 20, 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, face coverings 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:

  • Do you have ANY of the following symptoms?
    • Fever, sudden loss of sense of smell or taste, a cough that is new or that has gotten worse, difficulty breathing or breathlessness
  • Do you have symptoms from any TWO of the following categories?
    *Note that you should answer "No" if you have multiple symptoms in only one of the categories (e.g., vomiting and diarrhea).
    • Category 1. Ear-Nose-Throat symptoms: sore throat
    • Category 2. General symptoms: intense fatigue, substantial loss of appetite, generalized muscle pain not linked to physical exertion
    • Category 3. Gastrointestinal symptoms: vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain
  • 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 or not 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 mask, face covering 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, Face Coverings and PPE

When to wear a mask or face covering

All individuals on our campuses are required to wear a mask or face covering at all times when in any indoor shared space, including but not limited to classrooms, Teaching and Study Hubs, shared offices, labs, hallways, elevators, and bathrooms. In line with new government recommendations, it is recommended that individuals use procedural or surgical (medical) masks wherever possible.

There are a few exceptions to this rule:

  • 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 mask or face covering to teach, provided they remain at least two meters away from others.
    • If the instructor prefers not to remove their mask or face covering, 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.
    • 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.
  • Masks or face coverings can be removed to eat or drink, provided you are seated at a distance of at least two meters from others. You must put the mask or face covering back on as soon as you are finished eating or drinking.
  • If you are alone in a room, such as a closed office with the door shut, you may remove your mask or face covering. You must put the mask or face covering back on if you leave the room or if another person enters the room.
  • You are not required to wear a mask or face covering during physical activity, as long as a distance of at least two meters is maintained from others. Once you are finished the activity, you must put your mask or face covering 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 mask or face covering during their lessons; teachers should wear a mask or face covering whenever possible.
  • In performance situations such as practical examinations and public (webcast) recitals and concerts, performers can remove their mask or face covering during their performance. They must wear a mask or face covering at all times when moving in and out of the performance situation.
  • If you cannot wear a mask or face covering for health reasons.
  • If you are wearing other PPE required for work. For example, individuals working in labs should remove face coverings that pose a safety threat (e.g., close proximity to an open flame).

Please bring your own reusable face coverings to campus.

How to wear a mask or face covering:

  • 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.

Mask use as part of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

While reusable cloth masks or face coverings are appropriate protection for circulating within McGill buildings, they do not qualify as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Your supervisor will advise you if PPE is required for your work or research environment, and the University will provide the equipment. If you are required to wear PPE, you must wear a procedural or surgical mask (i.e., medical masks or ASTM Level 1 masks). 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.

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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