COVID Guidelines for Faculty & Staff

Updated Sept 3, 2021

Masks are mandatory in all indoor spaces with an occupancy greater than one.

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 Fall F2F Instructors

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

  • Disposable face masks to bring to lecture for students who have forgotten their mask or require a replacement
  • Plastic visors for instructors to wear (if they choose) while lecturing, as an extra layer of protection ( Note: this is not a replacement for a mask when not actively lecturing)
  • 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?

  • on-campus student housing
  • restaurants, pubs, bars, and nightclubs
  • movie theatres, indoor ticketed concerts, theatre, dance, symphony, and sporting events
  • gyms, pools, recreational facilities, athletics programs 
  • organized indoor events (e.g., clubs, parties) with greater than 50 participants
  • discretionary organized indoor group recreational classes and activities, SFU teams’ athletics
  • campus cafeterias are exempt from the BC Vaccine Card but are required to operate using their communicable disease control plans including a requirement to wear masks when not seated


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?

Because single-occupancy offices have still not had their HVAC assessed, it is not recommended to have any meetings in these spaces.

Should I plan for in-person meetings this fall?


The Faculty of Science is recommending that only essential meetings be held in-person and to continue to have most meetings via Zoom.

If necessary, the following safety measures are required in Science meeting spaces:

  • Masks are mandatory for all participants
  • Using the room at previous full occupancy is not recommended – everyone should have extra space
  • Serving food/refreshments requires a Safe Work Plan (contact for a copy)

Advisors should plan for most advising to remain over Zoom and book larger occupancy meeting rooms for in-person advising hours if necessary.


Can we organize in-person seminars?

External visitors are now permitted on campus, including seminar speakers. In-person seminars can proceed cautiously, with the following extra safety measures:

  •   Rooms booked should allow for extra space for all participants (email Schedules to book large lecture theatres)

  •   Masks are mandatory

  •   Food and refreshments cannot be served, unless with an approved Safe Work Plan (contact for a copy)

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 filed with MECS (contact for copy)


Indoor events

  • Occupancy limit – 50% of seated capacity or 50 people, whichever is greater
  • Access to the event must be controlled
  • Each participant has to be assigned a seat
  • Seats should be evenly distributed throughout the space
  • Participants stay in the seat to which they are assigned, and do not move from seat to seat
  • Participants remain seated unless going to the food station or to the washroom
  • Participants should not congregate
  • 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
  • If the event has more than 50 participants, the organizer must check the BC Vaccine Card for everyone attending (using the BC Vaccine Card verifier app)
  • Requires a Safe Work Plan to be filed with MECS (contact for copy)

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?

Public Health declares exposures and outbreaks, conducts contact tracing, and directs communication. Only Public Health can confirm who is a close contact. If you think you might have been in contact with a “case” but you were not contacted by Public Health this means there is no elevated risk of exposure to you. If you are contacted by Public Health, they may ask you to self-isolate or self-monitor.

COVID-19 testing is common and individuals are being tested for COVID-19 for even mild cold symptoms (such as sneezing and a sore throat). Everyone awaiting a COVID-19 test result is told to isolate. To respect privacy, please do not share information about anyone being tested for COVID-19 without their consent. This also reduces unnecessary anxiety amongst your colleagues.

When someone tests positive for COVID-19, they are contacted by Public Health who initiate contact tracing and reach out to SFU’s case management group if they require our assistance in reaching individuals.

SFU has had processes in place to support Public Health in contact tracing for well over a year. Contact tracing is just one of the many precautions that keep us safe. People who are symptomatic are expected to take the online BC COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool and follow the instructions. People are expected to wear masks in all indoor common areas and learning spaces, and our community is predominately vaccinated. All of these measures decrease the risk of transmission.