COVID Guidelines for Faculty & Staff

Updated: Jan. 21, 2022

SFU will be returning to full campus activities and in-person teaching starting on Monday January 24, 2022.

Masks are mandatory in all indoor spaces with an occupancy greater than one, including research, teaching and administrative areas.

The Faculty of Science has transitioned to SFU's Communicable Disease Plan. Please review this plan and ensure you are following it.

Note: it is important that you understand the ventilation status of your space. Check the HVAC review to determine if your space is compliant. Spaces that have not been reviewed or are non-compliant will continue to have occupancy restrictions. If you have a non-compliant space you will be notified of required restrictions.

If you have questions contact Danielle Audas at

For Spring Instructors

Your departmental office will have many resources available that you may need for spring including:

  • Disposable face masks to bring to lecture for students who have forgotten their mask or require a replacement
  • N95 masks and plastic visors for instructors to wear (if they choose) while lecturing, as an extra layer of protection
  • Microphones are available for sign-out through your department that can be used to record audio during lectures

Frequently Asked Questions

What exemptions are there to the mask mandate?


Masks are mandatory in all indoor areas and teaching spaces. Masks are not required in single-occupancy rooms, or when actively eating while distanced from other people.

Instructors actively lecturing can remove their mask, provided they are at least 2m away from students.

Staff and faculty who are unable to wear a mask for medical reasons should contact SFU’s Wellness and Recovery Office to register for an exemption.

Non-medical masks must be worn in all indoor common areas and learning spaces on SFU campuses, including classrooms unless someone has an approved exemption. We anticipate very few exceptions. Instructors need to follow the guidance of the exemption. Students who cannot wear a mask should be encouraged to practice physical distancing where feasible.

Student requiring mask exemptions in the classroom due to medical or psychological conditions can contact the Centre for Accessible Learning (CAL) at for assistance. Students requesting mask exemptions on other protected grounds, such as religion, should contact the Office of Student Support, Rights and Responsibilities (OSSRR) at


Where will the BC Vaccine Card be required on campus and in the wider community?

  • convocation and convocation related events
  • restaurants that offer table service
  • indoor ticketed concerts, theatre, dance, symphony, sporting events, and movie theatres
  • indoor non-essential events (e.g., clubs, social events, conferences)
  • indoor gyms, exercise facilities/studios, recreational facilities
  • indoor organized group exercise or recreational classes and activities
  • indoor varsity events
  • Proof of vaccination is also required for students living in Residence & Housing.

Note: this may be expanded to include other areas as guidelines from the Ministry/PHO are released or revised.

Can I have meetings in my office?

In-person meetings in personal offices are allowable, with masks and if they are of short duration – thus, faculty and advisors will be able to hold office hours in their offices again. Single-occupancy offices should not be shared.


Should I plan for in-person meetings this spring?


Meetings can proceed in person, with the following safety measures:

  • Masks are mandatory for all participants
  • Using the room at previous full occupancy is not recommended – everyone should have extra space
  • No food/refreshments be served


Can we organize in-person seminars?


In-person seminars can resume after Jan. 24, 2022. There should be no food or refreshments served.



What do we need to do for social events?

Social events are covered under an updated Provincial Health Order and compliance is mandatory. To summarize the important points:

Outdoor events (can be covered by a tent, but if it has even one wall it’s considered indoors)

  • Occupancy limit – 50% of seated capacity or 5000 people, whichever is greater
  • Access to the event must be controlled
  • Seating is available for each participant
  • If food is served, hand sanitizer is within reach of the station and signs are posted reminding participants to sanitize their hands before touching food or drink items
  • The organizer is responsible for monitoring the number of people present
  • The BC Vaccine Card is not required
  • Requires a Safe Work Plan to be approved by the Dean's office (contact for copy)


Indoor events

  • Organized indoor events are not currently permitted

Please contact Danielle Audas ( to assist with planning for these events.


What do I do if a student comes to lecture/lab without a mask?

If a student does not have an approved exemption and refuses to properly wear a mask it is recommended that instructors attempt a non-confrontational approach with a non-compliant student (e.g., a private conversation with the student). If a student continues to refuse to wear a mask instructors have the right to ask the student to leave the classroom or to leave the classroom themselves.

  • If the student remains non-compliant despite attempts at resolution, and there is an imminent risk to the health and safety of the classroom, the instructor can contact Campus Public Safety at 778.782.4500.
  • The instructor may also file a formal complaint to the Office of Student Support, Rights, and Responsibilities per S10.05 (Student Conduct Policy).

What accommodations/concessions will be recommended if a student is sick?


Students who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 (or are feeling ill) should not come to campus. They should complete the BC Covid-19 Health Assessment Tool ( and follow the guidance and recommendations for testing and self-isolation. Students should prioritize recovering from any illness. As a result, course material (lectures, labs, tutorials – both in-person and online) may be missed from time to time.

Instructors are encouraged to consider an alternative plan in advance to accommodate those students who will need to miss class occasionally.

If students are unable to complete assignments, labs, exams or other graded course components, please refer to the Academic Concessions section below.

The Center for Educational Excellence provides resources for recording/streaming lectures. More information is available at: .

There are several options available to instructors to provide lecture/tutorial materials outside of in-person delivery. Please consider options that will work for your course and adopt them where possible to provide accommodation to students.

Live Streaming Audio and/or Video

This option involves setting up a computer with an online conferencing software (eg: Zoom) and asking students off campus to tune in live during the lecture time. Not all lecture theatres have the AV capabilities for live streaming.

Microphones will be available to borrow from your departmental office.

Recording Audio/Video

This option involves recording the lecture (audio and/or video) and making it available to students for asynchronous viewing/listening. Lecture audio can be recorded via microphone, either along with video or on its own.

Microphones will be available to borrow from your departmental office.

Providing Comprehensive Lecture or Lab Notes

An alternative to offering remote/video lectures is to provide comprehensive notes or readings that cover all the information from the missed lecture.

Additional Alternatives

Instructors who have different alternatives for providing materials to students who are unable to attend in person are encouraged to pursue them. Some additional examples include:

·         Requesting a volunteer note-taker to provide lecture notes to students unable to attend in person.

·         Facilitating online discussion about lecture and tutorial materials.

·         Provide recordings from previous course offerings.


Everyone should stay home when sick including students.

Instructors are encouraged, where reasonable, to provide make-up options to students who miss deadlines or in-person assessments. If students miss a graded component (assignment, project, exam, lab etc), they are directed to request an academic concession through their instructor. Students may want to fill out the Academic Concession Self-Declaration Form.

In preparation for this process, please consider the following:

·         What concessions are you willing to offer? Please consider options for any graded component in the course including assignments, labs, quizzes, midterms, exams, projects etc.

o   Example: a concession could be a make-up date for a missed midterm or lab.

o   Example: a concession could be redistributing the grade points from a missed assignment to the remaining assignments.

o   Example: for a course with multiple quizzes or assignments a concession could be dropping the lowest mark in an assignment group. Thus students can miss one quiz/assignment for any reason with no penalty.

·         What documentation (self-declaration, COVID-19 test results, doctor’s notes etc.) will you require for a concession? Different documentation can be requested for different graded components.

o   Example: a self-declaration of illness is recommended for a missed assignment, lab or quiz while a doctor’s note may be required for missing the final exam.

All instructors are encouraged to plan to communicate to students what sort of concessions and what documentation will be required for your specific class during the first week of the course.


It is expected that Instructors, teaching in-person, who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 (or other communicable disease or illness) do not come to campus and remain home. Everyone is required to self-assess for symptoms daily. Getting better should be the top priority for all Instructors (in-person and remote) and Instructors are encouraged to not teach if they feel ill. They should contact their Department Chair if unable to teach due to illness.

If an instructor falls ill, there are a few options available with regard to their class(es).

Cancel the Lecture/Lab

Getting better should always be the top priority and if the Instructor does not feel up to teaching and and there is not a plan in place for an alternative instructor, then the lecture/lab should be cancelled.

Alternative Instructor/TA

Consider asking another faculty member or a course TA to teach the lecture or lab instead.

For classes that can only be taught in-person, such as labs, it is recommended that the Dept Chair identify a faculty member to be the alternative instructor for each of these classes at the beginning of the semester.

The TSSU Collective Agreement limits a TA to only deliver one single lecture for a course. Asking a TA to instruct should be considered only once during the semester.

Remote/Recorded Lecture

If the Instructor feels comfortable to teach, the lecture can be conducted online or be pre-recorded and sent to the class.

Lecture Notes

If there are lecture notes or readings that can replace the lecture then those could be given as an alternative.

What if a student tells me they have tested positive for COVID-19?

The SFU primary contact with Public Health is the Director, Health and Counselling Services (HCS) or their designate. If Public Health asks for help with contact tracing or other assistance, the HCS Director assembles a small case management group that supports Public Health efforts. Supervisors and instructors can support these efforts by notifying the case management group of confirmed cases by sending an email to The e-mail should NOT include any identifying information (name of the affected individual, student ID or employee ID, date of birth, MSP number, etc.). Public Health will notify us if there is any risk to the SFU Community. An instructor or supervisor is not to make decisions regarding closures, cancellations, or notifications without input from the case management group.

What is the protocol if there are COVID-19 cases on campus?

Our community is large, and individuals participate in many activities across many geographic areas. There will be COVID-19 cases on our campuses during the pandemic. Our plans anticipate this and we are prepared for this.

If a student, faculty or staff member is confirmed positive with COVID-19, that does not mean they contracted it while at SFU or that others at SFU have been exposed or are at risk. SFU works closely with our Public Health partners, who manage pandemic response.  

As COVID-19 becomes common in our communities, Public Health has changed its pandemic response, shifting to an approach of self-management and outbreak response. This is because case management and contact tracing is better for diseases with longer incubation periods and limited community spread, such as measles or earlier variants of COVID-19.

Public Health will continue to work closely with SFU to manage possible outbreaks. Individual cases not related to a local outbreak will be self-managed. This means individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 will be  responsible for notifying close contacts, unless informed otherwise by Public Health.

A close contact is generally someone who has been near a person with COVID-19 for at least 15 minutes when health and safety measures (e.g. masks, distancing, physical barriers) were not in place or were insufficient.

For the majority of the SFU community, individuals will be responsible for notifying their close contacts, using the criteria listed on the BC CDC website, which are as follows:

  • People you live or share a room with.
  • People you had intimate contact with.
  • People who may have been exposed to saliva or other bodily fluids, such as people with whom you shared items like a drink, personal hygiene item, cigarette/vape, lipstick, or eating utensils, as well as people who may have been coughed or sneezed on.

Based on the above criteria, the majority of in-person classroom and learning settings are not considered close-contact environments.

If departments are seeing an increase in case numbers in their units, they may notify the case management team by sending an email to