Last updated: October 7, 2021 at 7:10 p.m.

Read Toronto Public Health’s Resources for Post-Secondary Schools (also available below). Also read the COVID-19 Decision Guide for Post-Secondary Institutions.

The Planning Guide for Colleges and Universities identifies issues and critical elements of emergency preparedness that organizations should consider in planning for a pandemic.

Also read a letter to post-secondary institutions on optimizing COVID-19 vaccine coverage in post-secondary institutions and congregate student living settings.

See Toronto Public Health’s COVID-19 vaccine information for post-secondary institutions.

The following are recommended guidelines, with examples, for post-secondary institutions to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Each institution should update their policies and procedures, and review government orders, directives, and by-laws, to assess their ability to deliver planned, in-person education and related services while ensuring that the appropriate infection prevention and control measures are implemented and maintained.

The aim and purpose of this document is to assist institutions, facilities, staff, and individuals with information related to the Ontario Government’s reopening framework as well as Toronto Public Health requirements to reduce the spread of COVID-19. It is important to know that breaches of some of these directions will constitute offences under provincial regulations or other public health legal requirements. While we aim to provide relevant and timely information, no guarantee can be given as to the accuracy or completeness of any information provided. This guidance is not intended to nor does it provide legal advice and should not be relied upon or treated as legal advice. Users seeking legal advice should consult with a qualified legal professional.

COVID-19 is circulating in the community in Toronto. Keep current and comply with provincial orders (e.g. limits on size of gatherings), City of Toronto orders, directives, and bylaws (e.g. maintaining and enforcing physical distancing), and provincial stages of re-opening, including sector-specific guidance at Reopening Ontario.

Updated information about COVID-19 can be found in Toronto Public Health’s COVID-19 Fact Sheet.

Maintain a Healthy Environment

Support and encourage hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette

  • Educate faculty, staff, students and visitors on proper hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette and encourage them to:
    • Wash their hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (70–90% alcohol concentration), provided hands are not visibly soiled. Remind faculty, staff, students, and others to avoid touching their face, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
    • Cover their cough or sneeze into a tissue.
    • Monitor supplies to ensure adequate amounts of liquid soap, paper towel, (air dryer if paper towels are not available), hand sanitizer, tissues and waste receptacles with lined plastic bags.
    • Post hand hygiene signs in clearly visible areas.
    • Provide alcohol-based hand sanitizer (70-90% alcohol concentration) in dispensers near entrances, inside classrooms, at service counters, and near other high touch locations for faculty, staff, student, and visitor use.

Practice physical distancing

  • Post-secondary institutions are subject to the requirements outlined in Reg. 364/20: Rules for Areas at Step 3 and at the Roadmap Exit Step and other applicable legislation.
  • Toronto Public Health recommends physical distancing wherever possible; we acknowledge that this is not a requirement for indoor instructional spaces, however it is the strong recommendation of TPH to enable distancing as much as possible to reduce risk.
  • Physical distancing means keeping a distance of two metres from others.
    • Some steps which can help improve physical distancing and reduce risk for faculty, staff, and students include: Considering the capacity for each space and taking measures to ensure this capacity is not exceeded.  For example, posting signage, removing extra seating, and performing audits.
    • Limit the number of participants in each group attending classes/activities and minimize or limit the mixing of participants between groups.
    • Stagger classes/activity times to promote proper physical distancing.
    • Designate and clearly mark specific, separate entrances and exits, and only permit entry and exit through these doors.
    • Ensure that there are systems in place to manage capacity in indoor spaces (e.g. position an employee at key entrances to control visitor entry and exit. Once the maximum number of people is reached, allow one person in for every person that leaves.)
    • Post signs directing people to stay only within specified area(s) and to refrain from lingering.
    • Encourage the use of stairs, when possible. Where required, elevator use should be limited to maintain a safe distance, and encourage the use of masks if using an elevator.
    • Discourage unnecessary group gatherings on the premises.
    • Avoid activities involving singing, shouting or speaking loudly indoors.
    • Provide visible markings and visual cues by placing markers such as tape, safety cones/pylons or painted lines every two metres.
    • Implement structural barriers and cordon off areas to restrict access to closed areas.
    • Develop and post clear traffic flow signs to minimize unnecessary interactions.

Face masks and coverings

  • The use of face masks and coverings is required in all indoor public spaces, under a City of Toronto bylaw and Reg. 364/20.
  • The City bylaw requires that businesses with indoor spaces that are open to the public must develop a policy on the wearing of masks. Use the Mask By-law Checklist and Sample Policy.
  • Operators must ensure that any person in the indoor area of the business or organization, or in a vehicle that is operating as part of the business or organization, wears a mask or face covering in a manner that covers their nose, mouth and chin while they are in the indoor area.
  • Not all faculty, staff, students, and/or visitors are able to tolerate a mask and may be exempted. For example, masks should not be used by children under age two, and anyone who has trouble breathing.
  • Masks do not replace the need for physical distancing, hand washing, and staying home when sick.
  • Post signs in visible areas on the proper use of masks and how to safely put on and take off a mask.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

  • Consult Occupational Health and Safety staff and develop policies and protocols for the use of PPE for faculty, staff and students (e.g. use of goggles/face shield/gloves), both on campus (e.g. while cleaning) and during off–campus placements.
  • Train faculty, staff and students on the proper use of PPE. Refer to Public Health Ontario resources or Public Services Health and Safety Association.
  • Consider appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) including medical grade masks and eye protection (goggles or face shield) for classrooms or lab settings where physical distancing or separation via a physical barrier is not possible to allow for two-way protection for faculty, staff and students.
  • A face shield does not provide equivalent protection to a mask. A mask should be worn, and then if needed, a face shield or goggles on top of that. See Ministry of Labour guidelines.
  • Faculty or staff must wear a medical grade mask and eye protection (e.g. goggles, face shield) when:
  • Cleaning and disinfecting blood or bodily fluid spills if there is a risk of splashing or droplets.
  • Caring for a sick individual or someone showing symptoms of illness.
  • Gloves are not required for COVID-19 prevention as proper hand washing is sufficient. However,

gloves must be worn when it is anticipated that hands will come into contact with mucous membranes, broken skin, tissue, blood, bodily fluids, secretions, excretions, contaminated equipment or environmental surfaces.

Provide education

Encourage vaccination

  • Encourage faculty, staff, and students to get vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine. Read and share information about the vaccine and where to get vaccinated.
  • Post signs and share COVID-19 vaccine resources, available in multiple languages.
  • Develop policy measures to optimize vaccination coverage rates of faculty, staff and students in post-secondary institution campuses and in congregate student-living settings.
  • On August 30, 2021, the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health (OCMOH) issued instructions for PSE institutions to establish, implement, and ensure compliance with a COVID-19 vaccination policy requiring its employees, staff, contractors, volunteers, and students who attend campus to provide proof of full vaccination against COVID-19.
  • The OCMOH’s instructions also require individuals who do not provide proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 (i.e. individuals with a medical exemption and/or those who decline vaccination):
  • To submit to regular antigen point of care testing for COVID-19 and at an interval to be determined by PSE institutions (must be at minimum of once every seven days); and
  • To provide verification of a negative test result in the manner determined by the PSE institution that enables it to confirm the result at its discretion.
  • As part of their vaccination policies, post-secondary institutions may also choose to require individuals who do not provide proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to provide proof of having completed an educational session, approved by the PSE institution, about the benefits of COVID-19 vaccination prior to declining vaccination for any reason other than a medical reason.
  • For additional resources to assist with improving vaccination rates and developing a vaccination policy, refer to our Vaccine Information for Post-Secondary Institutions webpage
  • Consider providing vaccination opportunities on campus:

Develop/update infection prevention and control (IPAC) policies and procedures

  • Develop and/or update administrative and IPAC policies and procedures to include mitigation measures to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
  • COVID-19-related policies and procedures must address the following topics:
    • Screening
    • Attendance management and reporting, including follow-up with faculty or staff to determine reasons for unplanned absence
    • Cohorting faculty, staff, and students including TAs or temporary instructors
    • Guests/volunteers/visitors in institution setting
    • Transportation of ill students
    • Physical distancing
    • Hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette
    • Mask requirements for faculty, staff, students and visitors
    • Isolation/exclusion of ill faculty, staff, and students
    • Return to work/learn for symptomatic faculty, staff, and students
    • Enhanced environmental cleaning and disinfection
    • Cleaning and disinfection of equipment and other shared materials
    • Food safety practices
    • Use of PPE – Employers must determine when and what PPE is required, and ensure that it is worn by workers
    • Communication plans, including platforms, to communicate with stakeholders
    • Virtual and hybrid delivery models for learning
    • Management of cases and outbreaks of COVID-19, with the guidance of Toronto Public Health (TPH) and the provincial Ministry of Health, including:
      • Management of symptomatic faculty, staff, and students; including testing and those who choose not to be tested.
      • Management of cohorts exposed to a symptomatic/confirmed case of COVID-19.
  • Develop an attendance policy for faculty and staff to ensure they do not attend campus sick. For more information, refer to TPH’s COVID-19 Guidance for Workplaces and Businesses.
  • Consider promoting Health Canada’s COVID Alert app with faculty, staff, students and visitors so they can be notified directly if they have been in close contact with someone who was contagious with COVID-19.
  • Develop policies and other initiatives to increase COVID-19 vaccine confidence and uptake and achieve the highest vaccination rates, particularly amongst those living in congregate settings (e.g. residences).

Safety plan

Operators must prepare a safety plan, and the plan must:

  • Describe measures/procedures that have been or will be implemented in the business, place, facility or establishment to reduce spread of COVID.
  • Include measures for screening, physical distancing, masks, cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces and objects, the wearing of personal protective equipment (PPE) and preventing and controlling crowding.
    • Operators of some businesses, places or events must also include information for how their business, place or event will:
      • prevent gatherings and crowds in the business or place or at the event;
      • ensure that physical distancing and wearing of masks, as required, while waiting in line-ups is complied with in the business or place or at the event; and
      • mitigate the risk of any interactive activities, exhibits or games that may be included in the business or place or at the event.
  • Be in writing and made available to any person for review, on request.
  • Be posted in a visible place to come to the attention of those working or attending the location.

Use the COVID-19 Safety Plan Checklist to develop your safety plan.

Train faculty and staff

  • All institution faculty and staff must be aware of the signs and symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Train faculty and staff to ensure they are aware of and can implement COVID-19 related policies and procedures.
  • Train faculty and staff on proper use of PPE. Refer to Public Health Ontario resources or Public Services Health and Safety Association.
  • Encourage faculty and staff to download the COVID Alert app so they can be notified directly if they have been in close contact with someone who was contagious with COVID-19.

Screen faculty, staff, and students for COVID-19 symptoms

  • It is strongly recommended that all faculty, staff, students and visitors complete a COVID-19 symptom screening questionnaire before coming on campus every day, and be advised to stay home if they answer YES to any of the questions.

Note changes to screening tool: Individuals who are fully vaccinated can select “No” for some questions. See screening tool for details.

  • Develop an attendance policy, including criteria for return to work/campus, for faculty, staff, and students, to ensure they do not come to work/campus sick.
  • Refer to Toronto Public Health’s Guidance for Employers on Preventing COVID-19 in the Workplace and Health and Safety Guidance during COVID-19 for Employers of Office Settings, as applicable.
  • Institute a screening process for individuals at each of your buildings (e.g. use a designated area outside the main entrances as screening stations or use online self-assessments that can be completed before travelling to campus). Active screening is required for faculty and staff and preferred, if possible, for students.
  • Post signs in visible areas which clearly explains the screening process and the rules and conditions for entry.
  • Set up a screening station and refer to the Guidance for Employers on Preventing COVID-19 in the Workplace for details on set up.
  • Alternatively, a protective barrier (e.g. plexiglass) can be equipped around the screening station.
  • If physical distancing or a barrier is not possible, staff conducting the screening should wear appropriate personal protective equipment including a medical grade mask and eye protection (goggles or face shield).
  • Make alcohol-based (70-90% alcohol concentration) hand sanitizer available at the screening stations for participants who have answered NO to all questions for use prior to entry into the facility.
  • Post signs at all entrances instructing faculty, staff, students and others not to enter the institution if they are sick.
  • No individuals who answer YES to any of the symptom screening questionnaire questions should be permitted to enter.
    • Direct all individuals who answer YES to any of the screening questions to this webpage to learn what to do next.

Note changes to screening tool: Individuals who are fully vaccinated can select “No” for some questions. See screening tool for details.

  • Daily temperature screening is not required or recommended. Active screening through the questionnaire is more beneficial since not all people contagious with COVID-19 have a fever.

Enhance attendance reporting practices for faculty, staff, students and visitors

  • Ensure contact information is collected for all faculty, staff, students and visitors who use buildings (e.g. through sign in upon entry and sign out upon exit from designated areas of campus, as feasible, or through electronic means for collecting contact and use records).
  • Maintain daily attendance records of all faculty, staff, students, and visitors (including maintenance workers) entering the campus, including comprehensive attendance reporting of sick and well faculty, staff, and students.
    • Records should include: name, contact information, date, time of arrival/departure, reason for visit, rooms/areas visited, completion of screening, etc.
    • Ensure attendance records are available on-site at all times, as they may be required by public health for contact tracing purposes should there be a case of COVID-19 linked to the campus.
    • Consider how you will ensure privacy and confidentiality of personal information, including safely storing and disposing of any records, as well as what and to whom you may need to communicate.
    • Update attendance records when any faculty or staff are absent, including reasons for any unplanned absences, and noting symptoms (e.g. fever, sore throat, cough) to determine if absence is due to illness.
    • Retain records for at least one month and then shred.
  • Monitor attendance records for patterns or trends (e.g. faculty, staff, or students in the same group or cohort absent at the same time or over the course of a few days).
  • Non-essential visitors must not be permitted to enter the campus.

Ill and confirmed COVID-19 positive faculty, staff and students

  • Send faculty, staff, students, and others (e.g. delivery or maintenance personnel) who become ill while on campus home/to dormitory immediately.
    • If they are very ill and require urgent care, call 911.
    • If they do not require urgent care, send them home immediately and direct them to this webpage to learn what to do next, including getting tested. As appropriate, this information should be noted in attendance records.
  • If the ill and/or symptomatic individual cannot go home, immediately separate them from others in a designated room and supervise them until they can go home/to their dormitories.
    • Ensure physical distancing can be maintained in rooms/area.
    • Ask individuals in these rooms to wear masks (if tolerated).
    • Ideally, the designated room should have a handwashing sink. If this is not possible, ensure that alcohol-based (70-90% alcohol concentration) hand sanitizer is readily available in these areas.
    • Provide tissues to the ill individual to help support respiratory etiquette.
    • Ensure these individuals have access to designated washrooms separate from other faculty/staff/students.
    • If possible, open outside doors and windows to increase air circulation in the area.
    • Clean and disinfect (see below for more information) the area after the individual with symptoms has been sent home.
    • Faculty or staff attending to/supervising the ill individual should maintain physical distancing as best as possible and wear appropriate personal protective equipment including a medical grade mask and eye protection (goggles or face shield).
    • Clean and disinfect the area immediately after the individual with symptoms has gone home.

Self-isolation time periods

  • Incubation period: If an individual was a close contact of someone with COVID-19 they must self-isolate for 10 days as that is how long it can take to develop symptoms.
  • Infectious period: If an individual has tested positive for COVID-19 they must self-isolate for 10 days as this is how long someone remains infectious. If they were hospitalized or have a weak immune system, they may need to self-isolate for longer.
  • Faculty/staff/students/visitors who are COVID-19 positive cannot return to the institution until they are cleared by public health (typically 10 days after symptoms started, longer if the person was hospitalized or has a severe immune compromising condition). They must not have a fever (without taking medication) and their symptoms must have been improving for at least 24 hours (48 hours for nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea).
  • For faculty/staff/students/visitors with one or more symptoms of COVID-19, they must self-isolate and get tested. If they do not get tested they should self-isolate for 10 days from the date their symptoms first appeared. If tested, and the test is negative, and if symptoms are improving, they can return to work/campus after 24 hours (48 hours for nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea).
    • If there is an alternative diagnosis from a health care provider, faculty/staff/students/visitors can return to campus once their symptoms have been improving for at least 24 hours (48 hours for nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea).
  • For faculty/staff/students/visitors without symptoms who test positive, they must self-isolate for 10 days from the date of their COVID-19 test.
  • Faculty/staff/students/visitors who have been in close contact with a person with COVID-19 must self-isolate and get tested.
    • Individuals who are not fully vaccinated must self-isolate for at least 10 days from the last day they had close contact with the positive case.
    • Fully vaccinated1 and previously positive2 close contacts may not be required to self-isolate if they:
      • have no symptoms related to COVID-19;
      • are not immunocompromised;
      • are not a resident at a long-term care or retirement home;
      • are not a hospital inpatient; and
      • have not been otherwise instructed to self-isolate for 10 days by TPH.
      • fully vaccinated and previously positive individuals should still monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 and still be tested in accordance with the Provincial Testing Guidance.

[1] Fully vaccinated is defined as having received the second dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine series, or one dose of a one-dose COVID-19 vaccine series more than 14 days ago.

[2] Previously positive is defined as having a positive result ≤ 90 days ago AND being cleared by public health.

Report cases and outbreaks to Toronto Public Health

  • Post-secondary institutions must immediately report laboratory-confirmed (not suspect or probable) cases of COVID-19 to Toronto Public Health.
  • To report laboratory confirmed faculty/staff/student COVID-19 cases who reside in university/college dormitories, email TPHShelters@toronto.ca with following details:
    • Name and address of the institution
    • Name of institutional contact (including phone number and email)
    • Name of Occupational Health & Safety contact, if different (including phone number and email)
    • Residence involved, including number of students/staff residing there and layout
    • Information on ill faculty/staff/student (including name and date of birth)
    • Date symptoms started
    • Last day at institution
    • Contact information for ill faculty/staff/student (including a working phone number and address)
    • Whether the infection is lab confirmed
    • Who reported the case to the institution
    • Any other ill faculty, staff or student reports
  • To report laboratory confirmed faculty/staff/student COVID-19 cases outside of university/college dormitories: Call the TPH Hotline at: 416-338-7600 (8:30 a.m.-8:00 p.m., seven days a week). After hours, call 311.
    • Please remember to include:
      • Name and address of the institution
      • Name of institutional contact
      • Information on ill faculty/staff/student (including a working phone number, current address, and date of birth)
      • Date symptoms started
      • Last day at institution
  • To report all non-COVID-19 communicable diseases: Call the Communicable Disease Notification Unit at 416-392-7411 (8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday) or complete the Reportable Disease Notification Form and fax it to 416-392-0047. After hours, call 311.
  • Confirmed and suspect cases of COVID-19 are reported by health care providers and laboratories to TPH, at which time TPH will perform a risk assessment for all exposures, including those that may have occurred at the institution. Public health will also advise if there are any additional special measures that should be taken.
  • Toronto Public Health will contact individuals who test positive for COVID-19 and may follow up with their contacts as well depending on the setting. Institutions can support case and contact tracing efforts, in particular for individuals who have been on campus during their period of infectiousness.
    • The period of infectiousness starts 48 hours prior to date their symptoms started (or the date they were tested, if they don’t have symptoms) up until their last day on campus.
    • If the individual was not on campus during the period of infectiousness no contact follow up is required.
    • If the individual was on campus during the period of infectiousness, try to determine if they and others in their class were protected (e.g. masked, fully vaccinated) and/or consistently physically distancing.
    • If the others were consistently physically distancing and wearing appropriate PPE (i.e. masks and face shields, as appropriate), they are considered to have a low-risk exposure. The recommendation for low-risk exposure is for individuals to self-monitor for 10 days.
    • If there were any participants in the class that did not consistently follow the precautions AND are not fully vaccinated or were not previously positive ≤ 90 days ago, they would be deemed to have had a high risk exposure and should be recommended to self-isolate for 10 days from the last date of exposure to the positive individual.
  • Unless informed otherwise by TPH, maintain confidentiality of faculty, staff, and student personal health information if you are aware that someone has COVID-19 or is a close contact of a person with COVID-19.
  • If an individual’s symptoms are worsening and they are concerned, they can contact Telehealth at 1-866-797-0000 or call their health care provider.
  • Faculty, staff, or students who have symptoms of COVID-19 and test negative can return to activities if it has been 24 hours since their symptoms started improving (48 hours for nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea), as long as they are not required to self-isolate for other reasons (e.g. recent travel or being a close contact of someone who had COVID-19).
  • There are no tests or clearance letter provided or required for return to campus/activities.
  • For further guidance, refer to the staff screening questionnaire (also applicable to post-secondary institutions).

On-site COVID-19 testing

  • To request access to on-site, community mobile COVID-19 testing (e.g. outbreaks in residences), email your request to Ontario Health Agency Toronto Region at: TRTestingIntake@tc.lhins.on.ca. They may require health information and related details that pertain directly to the organization or agency making the request. The following information should be included in your request:
    • Location for mobile testing
    • Total number of units or areas
    • Number of residents to be tested
    • Number of staff to be tested (if applicable).

Please note that Ontario Health Agency Toronto Region will be prioritizing requests based on an assessment of risk factors such as large cohort or if in a congregate setting.

Rapid antigen testing

  • Rapid antigen testing, also called Point-of-Care (POC) testing, is a test that can be done on-site for asymptomatic individuals. The test is conducted by a health professional or trained individual and results are ready in 15 minutes.
  • If rapid testing is used, it should only be performed as a second screening step for individuals who have passed the health screening questionnaire.
  • Rapid testing should not be used to diagnose COVID-19 for a person who has symptoms or who has been exposed to person with COVID-19.
  • A person with a positive result from a rapid test must seek laboratory-based PCR testing within 24 hours. They must isolate while waiting for their confirmatory test result.
  • Rapid testing does not replace other public health measures such as physical distancing and masking, even if a person tests negative.
  • The Provincial Antigen Screening Program provides free rapid antigen test kits to eligible businesses with >150 employees. For more information read the Ontario News Release. To see if your business is eligible, visit the Provincial Antigen Testing Program website.
  • The City of Toronto has partnered with the Toronto Region Board of Trade to provide free COVID-19 rapid screening kits to small- and medium-sized businesses across Toronto. Eligible businesses can visit bot.com/rapidscreening for more information, to order their initial four-week supply of testing kits and to book a time slot for pick-up.
  • Rapid antigen testing programs for employees are not required by TPH or under the Reopening Ontario Act. There are limited circumstances in which workplaces may be recommended by TPH to participate in rapid antigen testing programs.
  • Per the OCMOH, post-secondary institutions must require individuals who do not provide proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19  to submit to regular antigen point of care testing for COVID-19 and at an interval to be determined by PSE institutions (must be at minimum of once every seven days) and to provide verification of a negative test result.

Maintain heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems

  • Conduct or have the property owner or landlord conduct a regular review of HVAC systems to ensure it is operating properly.
  • Consider consulting an HVAC specialist to determine if the HVAC system is suitable for the type of setting, type of activity, number of occupants, and the length of time the space is occupied.
  • Increase the introduction and circulation of outdoor air by maximizing the outdoor air ratio of the HVAC system settings, or by opening windows and doors, where possible. Avoid recirculating air.
  • Where provided, use the highest efficiency filters that are compatible with the HVAC system.
  • Increase air-exchanges if possible.
  • Keep areas near HVAC inlets and outlets clear.
  • Seating should be arranged away from areas with high airflow (i.e. not in front of air vents).
  • Facilities without HVAC systems should increase ventilation by opening windows and doors. However, do not open windows and doors if doing so poses a safety risk to staff and customers.
  • Rooms where ceiling fans are used should have an upward airflow rotation.
  • If portable fans are used, limit the blowing of air across people and surfaces by positioning them to provide an upward movement of air.
  • Portable air purifiers/cleaners equipped with a HEPA filter could potentially reduce exposure to COVID-19. If used, follow the manufacturer’s directions (and possibly the advice of a service professional) to decide where best to place the device. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on maintenance. Portable air cleaners are not a substitute for proper ventilation and other preventive measures.
  • For more information, review the COVID-19: Transmission, Aerosols and Ventilation fact sheet.

Implement enhanced environmental cleaning and disinfection practices

  • Assign dedicated facility staff to complete environmental cleaning and disinfection duties.
  • Consider frequent cleaning and disinfecting of high-touch surfaces and shared objects (e.g. doorknobs, water fountain knobs, light switches, toilet and faucet handles, electronic devices, tabletops) at least twice a day and when visibly dirty. If the same student is using the chair and desk all day it can be cleaned once daily at the end of the day.
    • Review Public Health Ontario’s Cleaning and Disinfection for Public Settings fact sheet.
    • Refer to Health Canada’s list of hard surface disinfectants and hand sanitizers for use against coronavirus (COVID-19) for approved products.
    • Consider disinfecting shared equipment between use if possible or necessary. Faculty, staff and students should practice hand hygiene before and after equipment uses. The risk associated with transmission with shared objects is low therefore the focus should be on regular hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette to reduce the risk of infection related to shared equipment especially when the cleaning of shared objects is not feasible.
    • Consider cleaning and disinfecting the area used by an individual suspect of having COVID-19. This includes all surfaces within two metres of the ill person. Consider removing all items that cannot be cleaned (paper, books, etc.) and storing them in a sealed container for 24 – 72 hours or longer when someone who is confirmed as having COVID-19 has handled them.
  • Educate facility staff on how to use cleaning agents and disinfectants, and ensure:
    • Required disinfectant contact times are followed (i.e. amount of time that the product will need to remain wet on a surface to achieve disinfection).
    • Use of safety precautions and required PPE.
    • Directions for where and how to securely store cleaning and disinfectant supplies.
  • Clean and disinfect faculty/staff/student washrooms and other areas as necessary throughout the day to maintain sanitation.
  • Provide waste receptacles lined with a plastic bag, and empty as often as necessary.
  • Monitor and clean the parking lot and institution outdoor grounds daily and as necessary (e.g. for discarded gloves, masks, litter).

Providing Services to Students and Staff

Classrooms/labs
  • Implement physical distancing as much as possible along with other IPAC measures outlined above.
  • If possible, open outside doors and windows to increase air circulation in the area.
  • If feasible, assign equipment/supplies to each student and mark with their names to reduce the sharing of equipment/supplies, and ensure shared equipment and supplies are cleaned and disinfected between each use.
  • Remind students not to share personal items.
On campus dining/restaurants
  • Keep current and comply with provincial orders and City of Toronto directives and by-laws related to dining/food establishments related to COVID-19.
  • Suspend unnecessary communal dining. If allowing, the communal dining area in cafeterias / dining rooms must be configured so that patrons seated at different tables are separated by:
    • a distance of at least two metres, or
    • plexiglass or some other impermeable barrier.
  • Consider staggering mealtimes, and clean and disinfect surfaces between uses or serve residents individual meals in their rooms. (Note: Customer logs would not be required for cafeterias.)
  • Remove shared food containers/utensils from dining areas (e.g. pitchers of water, salt and pepper shakers).
  • Use pre-packaged items and dispense snacks directly to students.
  • In-house food services that are preparing food for room service should use single-use containers and cutlery.
  • For more information, refer to:
Student placements and co-operative education
  • Limit unnecessary student placements, and movement between facilities/locations.
  • Consider alternative ways to facilitate learning (e.g. virtual) other than in-person attendance
  • Keep records of visits to off-campus facilities (e.g. date and time of visit, facility visited, areas accessed) by students.
Health and physical education / organized sports
  • Keep current and comply with provincial orders, City of Toronto directives and by-laws, as well as Reopening Ontario sector-specific guidance related to indoor and outdoor organized sports.
  • Follow public health advice, including those above, as well as individual sport associations’ recommendations, as appropriate.
  • Offer classes outdoors.
  • Gymnasiums should only be used when physical distancing measures can be followed.
  • The capacity in change rooms should be limited.
  • Activities should be planned that support physical distancing and limit the use of shared equipment.
    • Consider disinfecting shared equipment between cohort use if possible or necessary. Faculty, staff and students should practice hand hygiene before and after participating in physical activity and equipment uses. The risk associated with transmission with shared objects is low therefore the focus should be on regular hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette to reduce the risk of infection related to shared equipment especially when the cleaning of shared objects is not feasible.
  • For more information, refer to:
Modify services and programming
  • Offer in-person programming outdoors whenever possible.
  • Limit capacity under the tent to ensure physical distancing can be maintained.
  • Arrange tables and chairs to promote physical distancing.
  • Require masks or face coverings if physical distancing cannot be maintained.
Music education
  • Refer to the Reopening Ontario regulations for the most up-to-date information on current stage regulations for in-person teaching or instruction involving singing or playing of brass or wind instruments.
  • Ensure as much distance as possible and prioritize the use of large, well-ventilated spaces
  • Ensure instruments are not being shared between individuals.
  • Consider in-person teaching and instruction with lower risk creative performance opportunities (e.g. move instruction outdoors or to larger spaces, restricting the type of instrument in a group setting).
  • Refer to the Ontario Music Educators Association
  • Additional guidance on music education will likely be available as more scientific evidence on safer ways to learn music is available.
Access to other campus amenities (e.g. gyms, lounges, seating areas)
  • Keep current and comply with provincial and City of Toronto COVID-19 emergency orders, directives and by-laws related to specific amenities.
  • Comply with requirements for amenities (e.g. green space, sports fields, recreation centres).
  • If access is provided, ensure that the IPAC measures outlined above (e.g. physical distancing, environmental cleaning and disinfection) are followed, and appropriate signs, barriers, and markings are used.
  • Suspend all non-essential visitors to the facility.
  • Cancel non-essential group activities and outings that require close contact between individuals.
  • Stagger the use of the kitchen (e.g. one person at a time), and clean and disinfect after each use.
  • Create a schedule for residents to use common spaces in shifts, and to maintain physical distancing.
  • Reconfigure common spaces so seating ensures physical distancing.
  • For more information, refer to:
Dormitories/residences
  • Impose restrictions on living arrangements based on physical distancing, as well as for washrooms and common living spaces such as kitchenettes.
  • Ensure masks are worn in common areas of dormitories/residences.
  • Limit student moves into and/or between rooms and residences. If moving is absolutely necessary, put in place precautionary measures and IPAC measures outlined above.
  • Ensure signs (see above) are posted in visible areas throughout dormitories/residences.
  • Only residents and essential staff and visitors should be permitted entry into the dormitories.
  • Avoid residence life activities or events that promote crowding and increase risk of COVID-19 transmission.
  • Set aside designated dormitories/private rooms and secure hotel rooms to isolate and quarantine COVID-19 positive students or students with COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Support students who are quarantined or self-isolating:
  • Ensure policies, procedures, and programming are in place to allow for continued delivery of services and supports (e.g. mental health supports), and/or learning and provide support and re-assurance.
  • Ensure self-isolating students can receive deliveries of essential goods, like medications and groceries/meals, at their unit door so they can avoid non-essential trips outside.
  • Ensure students are treated with respect, fairness and compassion with a focus on dignity and privacy protection.
  • For more information on isolating students in residence who become ill with symptoms of COVID-19, and other strategies to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission refer to:
Faculty/staff/student gatherings
  • Keep current and comply with provincial and City of Toronto emergency orders, directives and bylaws related to specific amenities.
  • Limit/discourage large gatherings/assemblies. Consider virtual or outdoor options instead.
  • Have policies in place to ensure that gatherings are managed in a way that aligns with public health rules and guidance and maintain contact lists of attendees.
  • Install structural barriers and cordon off areas to restrict access to closed areas.
  • Limit group transport (e.g. on buses) and encourage active forms of travel or private transportation when possible. Should transport by bus be necessary, consider establishing safe transportation protocols. For more information, review Transport Canada’s Federal Guidance for School Bus Operations during the COVID-19 Pandemic
  • Assign faculty and staff to dedicated work areas as much as possible and discourage faculty and staff from sharing phones, desks and other tools and equipment. Consider using a virtual staff room.
  • For more information, refer to:
Libraries, study spaces, and other communal spaces
  • Refer to the provincial regulations for the most up-to-date information on current stage regulations.
  • Encourage faculty, staff and students to practice hand hygiene after touching library items.
  • Ensure adherence to public health measures, including those listed above on physical distancing, capacity, and hygiene procedures (e.g. disinfecting high-touch areas like computers, study spaces).
Water fountains and bottle filling stations
  • Water fountains and bottle filling stations can be used provided they are cleaned and disinfected twice per day, or more often, if needed.
  • Fill water bottles rather than drinking directly from the mouthpiece of water fountains.
  • Post signs near water fountains emphasizing public health measures.
International students and staff
  • Consult relevant provincial and/or federal authorities to discuss and plan for safely bringing international students, faculty and staff on campus.
  • Keep current and comply with any additional requirements from the Public Health Agency of Canada for students (e.g. testing).
  • Notify (ahead of time) all travellers returning from outside Canada about the mandatory quarantine or isolation order, and encourage students to review the COVID-19: Travel Advice web page.

Note: Fully vaccinated travellers may be eligible for exemptions if they meet specific conditions. Please visit COVID-19 vaccinated travellers entering Canada for more information.

  • Ensure students have a suitable quarantine plan aligned with the Ministry of Colleges and Universities guidance.
  • Provide information to students who were vaccinated outside of Canada regarding how to connect with TPH to document their out of province or non-Ontario stock vaccine dose(s). The survey will prompt individuals to attach an image of their out of province vaccine receipt.
  • If possible, ensure private transportation for all international students and staff from the airport, and house them in designated hotel rooms and/or dormitories, with a separate bathroom for each student, for the 14 day quarantine period. During this period, arrange for daily check-ins as well as the provision of all meals and other necessities. In addition, ensure that health care is available / provided (e.g. with coverage through the institution’s health insurance plan for foreign students).
    • If it is not feasible to privately transport, house and quarantine all international students, then:
      • For students staying off-campus, instruct them to arrange for their own private transportation (i.e. not public transportation), and to not come to the campus until they have completed their 14 day period of self-isolation.
      • For students staying in dormitories, if they are unable to make alternative arrangements to self-isolate off-campus, instruct them to arrange for their own private transportation (i.e. not public transportation), and ensure they are self-isolating in designated dorms/rooms upon arrival.
    • Ensure students have the appropriate information and supports (e.g. mental health supports, health care resources, virtual student engagement opportunities).
    • Ensure policies and protocols to address possible discrimination and stigma associated with COVID19.
    • To request access to on-site community mobile COVID-19 testing, see section above.
Campus clubs and non-profits
  • Limit non-essential on-site clubs, organizations, and services as much as possible. Consider alternative ways to facilitate services other than in-person attendance.
Communities with special needs
  • Consider and plan for faculty, staff and students with special needs (e.g. accessible COVID-19 information and resources for members of the deaf and hard of hearing community, or the low vision, visually impaired and blind community).
Mental health and well-being
  • Implement a tiered approach for mental health supports that will capture all faculty, staff and students and target intensive help to those who have been most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Promote resources to support the needs of faculty, staff, students and their families.
Workplace health and safety

More Information

  • For more information, visit our website at toronto.ca/COVID19 or call us at 416-338-7600.
  • To get the latest updates on the status of COVID-19 in our city from a trusted source, we encourage post-secondary schools that have Facebook, Instagram or Twitter to follow Toronto Public Health (TPH) and to like, share, or retweet TPH messages on your school pages.

Other Resources


Download this information as a PDF (also available in French).

This is a checklist of recommended guidelines, with examples, to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in post-secondary institutions. It is a companion document to the Toronto Public Health (TPH) COVID-19 Guidance for Post-Secondary Institutions and institutions should review that document for more detailed information on how to keep institutions safe. Updated information about COVID-19 can be found in Toronto Public Health’s COVID-19 Fact Sheet.

The aim and purpose of this document is to assist institutions, facilities, staff, and individuals with information related to the Ontario Government’s reopening framework as well as Toronto Public Health requirements to reduce the spread of COVID-19. It is important to know that breaches of some of these directions will constitute offences under provincial regulations or other public health legal requirements. While we aim to provide relevant and timely information, no guarantee can be given as to the accuracy or completeness of any information provided. This guidance is not intended to nor does it provide legal advice and should not be relied upon or treated as legal advice. Users seeking legal advice should consult with a qualified legal professional.

Maintain a Healthy Environment

A. Support and encourage hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette

  • Educate faculty, staff, students and visitors on proper hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette:
  • Wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (70-90% alcohol concentration), provided hands are not visibly soiled. Remind faculty, staff, students and others to avoid touching their face, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze into a tissue.
  • Monitor supplies to ensure adequate amounts of liquid soap, paper towel, (air dryer if paper towels are not available), hand sanitizer, tissues and waste receptacles with lined plastic bags.
  • Post hand hygiene signs in clearly visible areas.
  • Provide alcohol-based hand sanitizer (70-90% alcohol concentration) in dispensers near entrances, inside classrooms, at service counters, and near other high touch locations for faculty, staff, student and visitor use.

B. Practice physical distancing

  • Ensure physical distancing wherever possible to reduce risk:
  • Consider the capacity for each space and take measures to ensure this capacity is not exceeded (e.g. posting signage, removing extra seating, and performing audits).
  • Limit the number of participants in each group attending classes/activities and minimize or limit the mixing of participants between groups.
  • Stagger classes/activity times to promote proper physical distancing.
  • Designate and clearly mark specific, separate entrances and exits, and only permit entry and exit through these doors.
  • Ensure that there are systems in place to manage capacity in indoor spaces (e.g. position an employee at key entrances to control visitor entry and exit. Once the maximum number of people is reached, allow one person in for every person that leaves.)
  • Post signs directing people to stay within specified area(s) and to refrain from lingering.
  • Encourage the use of stairs, when possible. Where required, elevator use should be limited to maintain a safe distance, and encourage the use of masks if using an elevator.
  • Discourage unnecessary group gatherings on the premises.
  • Avoid activities involving singing, shouting or speaking loudly indoors.
  • Provide visible markings and visual cues by placing markers such as tape, safety cones/pylons or painted lines every two metres.
  • Implement structural barriers and cordon off areas to restrict access to closed areas.
  • Develop and post clear traffic flow signs to minimize unnecessary interactions.

C. Face masks and coverings

D. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

  • Consult Occupational Health and Safety staff and develop policies and protocols for the use of PPE for faculty, staff and students (e.g. use of goggles/face shield/gloves) both on campus (e.g. while cleaning) and during off–campus placements.
  • Train faculty, staff and students on the proper use of PPE. Refer to Public Health Ontario resources or Public Services Health and Safety Association.
  • Wear, as appropriate, personal protective equipment (PPE) including medical grade masks and eye protection (goggles or face shield) for classrooms or lab settings where physical distancing or separation via a physical barrier is not possible to allow for two-way protection for faculty, staff and students. See Ministry of Labour guidelines
  • Ensure staff are wearing a medical grade mask and eye protection (e.g. goggles, face shield) when:
  • Cleaning and disinfecting blood or bodily fluid spills if there is a risk of splashing or droplets.
  • Caring for a sick individual or someone showing symptoms of illness.

E. Provide education

F. Encourage Vaccination

  • Encourage faculty, staff, and students to get vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine. Read and share information about the vaccine and where to get vaccinated.
  • Develop policy measures to optimize vaccination coverage rates of faculty, staff and students in post-secondary institution campuses and in congregate student-living settings.
  • Establish, implement, and ensure compliance with a vaccination policy requiring employees, staff, contractors, volunteers, and students who attend campus to provide proof of full vaccination against COVID-19.
  • Require individuals who do not provide proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to submit to regular antigen point of care testing for COVID-19 and to provide verification of a negative test result.
  • Post signs and share COVID-19 vaccine resources, available in multiple languages.

G. Develop/update infection prevention and control (IPAC) policies and procedures

  • Develop and/or update administrative and IPAC policies and procedures to include mitigation measures to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
  • Ensure COVID-19-related policies and procedures address the following topics:
    • Screening
    • Attendance management and reporting, including follow-up with faculty or staff to determine reasons for unplanned absence
    • Cohorting faculty, staff, and students, including TAs or temporary instructors
    • Guests/volunteers/visitors in institution setting
    • Transportation of ill students
    • Physical distancing
    • Hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette
    • Mask requirements for faculty, staff, students and visitors
    • Isolation/exclusion of ill faculty, staff, and students
    • Return to work/learn for symptomatic faculty, staff, and students
    • Enhanced environmental cleaning and disinfection
    • Cleaning and disinfection of equipment and other shared materials
    • Food safety practices
    • Use of PPE – Employers must determine when and what PPE is required, and ensure that it is worn by workers
    • Communication plans, including platforms, to communicate with stakeholders
    • Virtual and hybrid delivery models for learning
    • Management of cases and outbreaks of COVID-19, with the guidance of Toronto Public Health (TPH) and the provincial Ministry of Health, including:
      • Management of symptomatic faculty, staff, and students; including testing and those who choose not to be tested.
      • Management of cohorts exposed to a symptomatic/confirmed case of COVID-19.
  • Develop an attendance policy for faculty and staff to ensure they do not attend campus sick. For more information, refer to TPHs COVID-19 Guidance for Workplaces and Businesses.
  • Consider promoting Health Canada’s COVID Alert app with faculty, staff, students and visitors.
  • Develop policies and other initiatives to increase COVID-19 vaccine confidence and uptake and achieve the highest vaccination rates, particularly amongst those living in congregate settings (e.g. residences).

H. Safety Plan

Operators must prepare a safety plan, and the plan must:

  • Describe measures/procedures that have been or will be implemented in the business, place, facility or establishment to reduce spread of COVID-19.
  • Include measures for screening, physical distancing, masks, cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces and objects, the wearing of personal protective equipment (PPE) and preventing and controlling crowds.
  • Be in writing and made available to any person for review, on request.
  • Be posted in a visible place to come to the attention of those working or attending the location.
  • Use the COVID-19 Safety Plan Checklist to develop your safety plan.

I. Train faculty and staff

  • Ensure that all institution faculty and staff are aware of the signs and symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Train faculty and staff to ensure they are aware of and can implement COVID-19 related policies and procedures.
  • Train faculty and staff on proper use of PPE. Refer to Public Health Ontario resources or Public Services Health and Safety Association.
  • Encourage faculty and staff to download the COVID Alert app so they can be notified directly if they have been in close contact with someone who was contagious with COVID-19.

J. Screen faculty, staff and students for COVID-19 symptoms

  • Have all faculty, staff, students and visitors complete a COVID-19 screening questionnaire (strongly recommended) every day before attending the institution, and stay home if they answer YES to any of the questions.
  • Develop an attendance policy, including criteria for return to work/campus, for faculty, staff and students, to ensure they do not come to work/campus sick.
  • Refer to Toronto Public Health’s Guidance for Employers on Preventing COVID-19 in the Workplace and Health and Safety Guidance during COVID-19 for Employers of Office Settings, as applicable.
  • Set up a screening station and refer to the Guidance for Employers on Preventing COVID-19 in the Workplace for details on set up. Post signs in visible areas which clearly explains the screening process and the rules and conditions for entry.
  • Ensure that the screening station allows for a minimum of two metres distance between staff conducting the screening and the individual being screened.
  • Alternatively, ensure that a protective barrier (e.g. plexigass) can be equipped around the screening station.
  • Ensure that staff conducting the screening are wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) including a medical grade mask and eye protection (goggles or face shield) if physical distancing or a barrier is not possible.
  • Make alcohol-based (70-90% alcohol concentration) hand sanitizer available at the screening stations for participants who have answered NO to all questions for use prior to entry into the facility.
  • Post signs at all entrances instructing students, parents, staff and others not to enter the institution if they are sick.
  • Do not permit individuals who answer YES to any of the symptom screening questionnaire questions to enter.
  • Ensure all individuals who answer YES to any of the screening questions are directed to this webpage to learn what to do next.

K. Enhance attendance reporting practices for faculty, staff, students and visitors

  • Ensure contact information is collected for all faculty, staff, students and visitors who use buildings (e.g. through sign in upon entry and sign out upon exit from designated areas of campus, as feasible, or through electronic means for collecting contact and use records).
    • Maintain daily attendance records of all faculty, staff, students, and visitors (including maintenance workers) entering the campus, including comprehensive attendance reporting of sick and well faculty, staff and students. Records should include: name, contact information, date, time of arrival/departure, reason for visit, rooms/areas visited, completion of screening, etc.
    • Ensure attendance records are available on-site at all times as they may be required by public health for contact tracing purposes should there be a case of COVID-19 linked to the campus.
    • Ensure privacy and confidentiality of personal information, including safely storing and disposing of any records, as well as what and to whom you may need to communicate.
    • Update attendance records when any faculty or staff are absent, including reasons for any unplanned absences, and noting symptoms (e.g. fever, sore throat, cough) to determine if absence is due to illness.
    • Retain records for at least one month and then shred.
  • Monitor attendance records for patterns or trends (e.g. faculty, staff and students in the same group or cohort absent at the same time or over the course of a few days).
  • Do not permit non-essential visitors to enter the campus.

L. Ill and confirmed COVID-19 positive faculty, staff and students

  • Send faculty, staff, students and others (e.g. delivery or maintenance personnel) who become ill while on campus home/to dormitory immediately.
  • Call 911 if they are very ill and require urgent care.
  • Send them home immediately, if they do not require urgent care, and direct them to this webpage to learn what to do next, including getting tested. Note this information in attendance records.
  • Immediately separate ill or confirmed COVID-19 positive individuals from others in a designated room if they cannot go home, and supervise them until they can go home/to their dormitories.
  • Ensure physical distancing can be maintained in rooms/area.
  • Ask individuals in these rooms to wear masks (if tolerated)
  • Ensure, if possible, that the designated room has a handwashing sink. If this is not possible, ensure that alcohol-based (70-90% alcohol concentration) hand sanitizer is readily available in these areas.
  • Provide tissues to the ill individual to help support respiratory etiquette.
  • Ensure these individuals have access to designated washrooms separate from other faculty/staff/students.
  • Open outside doors and windows to increase air circulation in the area.
  • Frequently clean and disinfect (see below for more information) the area after the individual with symptoms has been sent home.
  • Ensure faculty or staff attending to/supervising the ill student maintain physical distancing as best as possible and wear appropriate personal protective equipment including a medical grade mask and eye protection (goggles or face shield).
  • Clean and disinfect the area immediately after the individual with symptoms has gone home.

M. Self-isolation time periods

  • Incubation period: Direct individuals who are close contacts of someone with COVID-19 to self-isolate for 10 days as that is how long it can take to develop symptoms.
  • Infectious period: Direct individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 to self-isolate for 10 days as this is how long they will be infectious. Individuals who were hospitalized or have a weak immune system may need to self-isolate for longer.
  • Do not allow faculty/staff/students/visitors who are COVID-19 positive to return to the institution until they are cleared by public health (typically 10 days after symptoms started, longer if the person was hospitalized or has a severe immune compromising condition). They must not have a fever (without taking medication) and their symptoms must have been improving for at least 24 hours (48 hours for nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea).
  • Direct faculty/staff/students/visitors with one or more symptoms of COVID-19 to self-isolate and get tested. If they do not get tested, direct them to self-isolate for 10 days from the date their symptoms first appeared. If tested, and the test is negative, and if symptoms are improving, then they can return to work/campus after 24 hours (48 hours for nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea).
    • If there is an alternative diagnosis from a health care provider, faculty/staff/students/visitors can return to campus once their symptoms have been improving for at least 24 hours (48 hours for nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea).
  • Direct faculty/staff/students/visitors without symptoms who test positive to self-isolate for 10 days from the date of their COVID-19 test.
  • Direct faculty/staff/students/visitors in close contact with a person with COVID-19 to self-isolate for 10 days from their last exposure date.
    • Individuals who are not fully vaccinated must self-isolate for at least 10 days from the last day they had close contact with the positive case.
    • Fully vaccinated1 and previously positive2 close contacts may not be required to self-isolate if they:
      • have no symptoms related to COVID-19;
      • are not immunocompromised;
      • are not a resident at a long-term care or retirement home;
      • are not a hospital inpatient; and
      • have not been otherwise instructed to self-isolate for 10 days by TPH
      • fully vaccinated and previously positive individuals should still monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 and still be tested in accordance with the Provincial Testing Guidance

[1] Fully vaccinated is defined as having received the second dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine series, or one dose of a one-dose COVID-19 vaccine series more than 14 days ago.

[2] Previously positive is defined as having a positive result ≤ 90 days ago AND being cleared from infection.

N. Report cases and outbreaks to Toronto Public Health

  • Immediately report laboratory-confirmed (not suspect or probable) cases of COVID-19 to Toronto Public Health.
  • Email the following details to TPHShelters@toronto.ca to report laboratory confirmed faculty/staff/student COVID-19 cases who reside in university/college dormitories:
    • Name and address of the institution
    • Name of institutional contact (including phone number and email)
    • Name of Occupational Health & Safety contact, if different (including phone number and email)
    • Residence involved, including number of students/staff residing there and layout
    • Information on ill faculty/staff/student (including name and date of birth)
    • Date symptoms started
    • Last day at institution
    • Contact information for ill faculty/staff/student (including a working phone number and address)
    • Whether the infection is lab confirmed
    • Who reported the case to the school
    • Any other ill faculty, staff or student reports
  • Call the TPH Hotline at: 416-338-7600 (8:30 a.m.-8:00 p.m., seven days a week) or, after hours call 311, to report laboratory confirmed faculty/staff/student COVID-19 cases outside of university/college dormitories:.

Please remember to include:

  • Name and address of the institution
  • Name of institutional contact
  • Information on ill faculty/staff/student (including a working phone number, current address, and date of birth)
  • Date symptoms started
  • Last day at institution
  • Report all non-COVID-19 communicable diseases. Call the Communicable Disease Notification Unit at 416-392-7411 (8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday) or complete the Reportable Disease Notification Form and fax it to 416-392-0047. After hours, call 311.
  • Contact tracing:
  • Support cases in notifying household and non-household contacts, particularly for cases who have been on campus during their period of infectiousness (period of infectiousness starts 48 hours prior to date of symptom onset [or test collection date, if no symptoms] up until their last day on campus).
  • Do not require contact follow up if the case was not on campus, during the period of infectiousness.
  • Determine if the case and others in the class were protected (e.g. masked, fully vaccinated) and/or consistently physically distancing if the case was on campus during the period of infectiousness.
    • Direct individuals with LOW RISK exposure (i.e. other participants who were consistently physically distancing and wearing appropriate PPE) to self-monitor for 10 days.
    • Direct individuals with HIGH RISK exposure (i.e. participants in the class that did not consistently follow the precautions and are not fully vaccinated or were not previously positive ≤ 90 days ago) to self-isolate for 10 days from the last date of exposure with the positive individual.
  • Maintain confidentiality of faculty, staff, and student personal health information, unless informed otherwise by TPH, if you are aware that someone has COVID-19 or is a close contact of a person with COVID-19.
  • Have faculty/staff/students contact Telehealth at 1-866-797-0000 or call their health care provider if their symptoms are worsening and they are concerned.
  • Allow faculty, staff and students who have symptoms of COVID-19 and test negative to return to activities if it has been 24 hours since their symptoms started improving (48 hours for nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea), as long as they are not required to self-isolate for other reasons (e.g. recent travel or being a close contact of someone who had COVID-19).
  • Do not require tests or clearance letters to return to campus/activities.

O. On-site COVID-19 testing

  • Request access to on-site community mobile COVID-19 testing by emailing your request to Ontario Health Agency Toronto Region at: TRTestingIntake@tc.lhins.on.ca. They may require health information and related details that pertain directly to the organization or agency making the request. The following information should be included in your request:
  • Location for mobile testing
  • Total number of units or areas
  • Number of residents to be tested
  • Number of staff to be tested (if applicable).

P. Rapid antigen testing

  • Use rapid antigen testing only as a second screening step for individuals who have passed the health screening questionnaire.
  • Do not use rapid testing to diagnose COVID-19 for a person who has symptoms or who has been exposed to person with COVID-19.
  • Direct a person with a positive result from a rapid test to seek laboratory-based PCR testing within 24 hours. They must isolate while waiting for their confirmatory test result.
  • Require individuals who do not provide proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19:
    • to submit to regular antigen point of care testing for COVID-19; and
    • to provide verification of a negative test result

Q. Maintain heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems

  • Conduct or have the property owner or landlord conduct a regular review of HVAC systems to ensure it is operating properly.
  • Consider consulting an HVAC specialist to determine if the HVAC system is suitable for the type of setting, type of activity, number of occupants, and the length of time the space is occupied.
  • Increase the introduction and circulation of outdoor air by maximizing the outdoor air ratio of the HVAC system settings, or by opening windows and doors, where possible. Avoid recirculating air.
  • Where provided, use the highest efficiency filters that are compatible with the HVAC system.
  • Increase air-exchanges if possible.
  • Keep areas near HVAC inlets and outlets clear.
  • Arrange seating away from areas with high airflow (i.e. not in front of air vents).
  • Increase ventilation by opening windows and doors for facilities without HVAC systems. However, do not open windows and doors if doing so poses a safety risk to staff and customers.
  • Ensure an upward airflow rotation for rooms where ceiling fans are used.
  • If portable fans are used, limit the blowing of air across people and surfaces by positioning them to provide an upward movement of air.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s directions (and possibly the advice of a service professional) if using portable air purifiers/cleaners equipped with a HEPA filter to decide where best to place the device. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on maintenance. Portable air cleaners are not a substitute for proper ventilation and other preventive measures.
  • For more information, review the COVID-19: Transmission, Aerosols and Ventilation fact sheet.

R. Implement enhanced environmental cleaning and disinfection practices

  • Assign dedicated facility staff to complete environmental cleaning and disinfection duties.
  • Consider frequent cleaning and disinfecting of high-touch surfaces and shared objects (e.g. doorknobs, water fountain knobs, light switches, toilet and faucet handles, electronic devices, tabletops) at least twice a day and when visibly dirty. If the same student is using the chair and desk all day it can be cleaned once daily at the end of the day.
  • Review Public Health Ontario’s Cleaning and Disinfection for Public Settings fact sheet.
  • Refer to Health Canada’s list of hard surface disinfectants and hand sanitizers for use against coronavirus (COVID-19) for approved products.
  • Consider disinfecting shared equipment between use if possible or necessary. Faculty, staff and students should practice hand hygiene before and after equipment uses. The risk associated with transmission with shared objects is low therefore the focus should be on regular hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette to reduce the risk of infection related to shared equipment especially when the cleaning of shared objects is not feasible.
  • Consider cleaning and disinfecting the area used by an individual suspect of having COVID-19. This includes all surfaces within two metres of the ill person. Consider removing all items that cannot be cleaned (paper, books, etc.) and storing them in a sealed container for 24 – 72 hours or longer when someone who is confirmed as having COVID-19 has handled them.
  • Educate facility staff on how to use cleaning agents and disinfectants, and ensure:
  • Required disinfectant contact times are followed (i.e. amount of time that the product will need to remain wet on a surface to achieve disinfection).
  • Use of safety precautions and required PPE.
  • Directions for where and how to securely store cleaning and disinfectant supplies.
  • Clean and disinfect faculty/staff/student washrooms and other areas as necessary throughout the day to maintain sanitation.
  • Provide waste receptacles lined with a plastic bag, and empty as often as necessary.
  • Monitor and clean the parking lot and institution outdoor grounds daily and as necessary (e.g. for discarded gloves, masks, litter).

Providing Services to Students and Staff

A. Classrooms/labs

  • Implement physical distancing as much as possible and other IPAC measures outlined above.
  • Open outside doors and windows, if possible, to increase air circulation in the area.
  • Assign equipment/supplies to each student, as feasible, and mark with their names to reduce the sharing of equipment/supplies.
  • Ensure shared equipment and supplies are cleaned and disinfected between each use.
  • Remind students not to share personal items.

B. On campus dining/restaurants

  • Keep current and comply with provincial orders and City of Toronto directives and by-laws related to dining/food establishments related to COVID-19.
  • Configure communal dining area in cafeterias/dining rooms so that patrons seated at different tables are separated by:
  • a distance of at least two metres, or
  • plexiglass or some other impermeable barrier
  • Consider staggering mealtimes, and clean and disinfect surfaces between uses or serve residents individual meals in their rooms.
  • Remove shared food containers/utensils from dining areas (e.g. pitchers of water, salt and pepper shakers).
  • Use pre-packaged items and dispense snacks directly to students.
  • In-house food services that are preparing food for room service should use single-use containers and cutlery.
  • For more information, refer to:

C. Student placements and co-operative education

  • Limit unnecessary student placements, and movement between facilities/locations.
  • Consider alternative ways to facilitate learning (e.g. virtual) other than in-person attendance,
  • Keep records of visits to off-campus facilities (e.g. date and time of visit, facility visited, areas accessed) by students.

D. Health and physical education / organized sports

  • Keep current and comply with provincial orders, City of Toronto directives and by-laws, as well as Reopening Ontario sector-specific guidance related to indoor and outdoor organized sports.
  • Follow public health advice, including those above, as well as individual sport associations’ recommendations, as appropriate.
  • Offer classes outdoors.
  • Use gymnasiums only when physical distancing measures can be followed.
  • Limit the capacity in change rooms.
  • Plan activities that support physical distancing and limit the use of shared equipment.
  • Consider disinfecting shared equipment between cohort use if possible or necessary. Faculty, staff and students should practice hand hygiene before and after participating in physical activity and equipment uses. The risk associated with transmission with shared objects is low therefore the focus should be on regular hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette to reduce the risk of infection related to shared equipment especially when the cleaning of shared objects is not feasible.
  • Remind faculty, staff and students to practice hand hygiene before and after participating in physical activity and equipment uses.

E. Modify services and programming

  • Offer in-person programming outdoors whenever possible
  • If using a tent, ensure at least two full sides are open to the outdoors and are not substantially locked by any walls or other impermeable physical barriers.
  • Limit capacity under the tent to ensure physical distancing can be maintained.
  • Arrange tables and chairs to promote physical distancing.
  • Require masks or face coverings if physical distancing cannot be maintained.

F. Music education

  • Refer to the Reopening Ontario regulations for the most up-to-date information on current stage regulations for in-person teaching or instruction involving singing or playing of brass or wind instruments.
  • Ensure as much distance as possible and prioritize the use of large, well-ventilated spaces.
  • Ensure instruments are not being shared between individuals.
  • Consider in-person teaching and instruction with lower risk creative performance opportunities (e.g. moving instruction outdoors or to larger spaces, restricting the type of instrument in a group setting).
  • Refer to the Ontario Music Educators Association

G. Access to other campus amenities (e.g. gyms, lounges, seating areas)

  • Keep current and comply with provincial and City of Toronto COVID-19 emergency orders, directives and by-laws related to specific amenities.
  • Comply with requirements for amenities (e.g. green space, sports fields, recreation centres).
  • Ensure that the IPAC measures outlined above (e.g. physical distancing, environmental cleaning and disinfection) are followed, and appropriate signs, barriers, and markings are used if access to campus amenities is provided,
  • Suspend all non-essential visitors to the facility.
  • Cancel non-essential group activities and outings that require close contact between individuals.
  • Stagger the use of the kitchen (e.g. one person at a time), and clean and disinfect after each use.
  • Create a schedule for residents to use common spaces in shifts, and to maintain physical distancing.
  • Reconfigure common spaces so seating ensures physical distancing.

H. Dormitories/residences

  • Impose restrictions on living arrangements based on physical distancing, as well as for washrooms and common living spaces such as kitchenettes.
  • Ensure masks are worn in common areas of dormitories/residences.
  • Limit student moves into and/or between rooms and residences. If moving is absolutely necessary, put in place precautionary measures and IPAC measures outlined above.
  • Ensure signs (see above) are posted in visible areas throughout dormitories/residences.
  • Only permit entry into the dormitories to residents and essential staff and visitors.
  • Avoid residence life activities or events that promote crowding and increase risk of COVID-19 transmission.
  • Set aside designated dormitories/private rooms and secure hotel rooms to isolate and quarantine COVID-19 positive students or students with COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Support students who are quarantined or self-isolating:
  • Ensure policies, procedures, and programming are in place to allow for continued delivery of services and supports (e.g. mental health supports), and/or learning and provide support and re-assurance.
  • Ensure self-isolating students can receive deliveries of essential goods, like medications and groceries/meals, at their unit door so they can avoid non-essential trips outside.
  • Ensure students are treated with respect, fairness and compassion with a focus on dignity and privacy protection.
  • Refer to the following additional information on isolating students in residence who become ill with symptoms of COVID-19, and other strategies to reduce the risk of COVID-10 transmission:

I. Faculty/staff/student gatherings

  • Keep current and comply with provincial and City of Toronto emergency orders, directives and bylaws related to specific amenities.
  • Limit/discourage large gatherings/assemblies. Consider virtual or outdoor options instead.
  • Have policies in place to ensure that gatherings are managed in a way that aligns with public health rules and guidance and maintain contact lists of attendees.
  • Install structural barriers and cordon off areas to restrict access to closed areas.
  • Limit group transport (e.g. on buses) and encourage active forms of travel or private transportation when possible. Should transport by bus be necessary, consider establishing safe transportation protocols. For more information, review Transport Canada’s Federal Guidance for School Bus Operations during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
  • Assign faculty and staff to dedicated work areas as much as possible and discourage faculty and staff from sharing phones, desks and other tools and equipment. Consider using a virtual staff room.

J. Libraries, study spaces, and other communal spaces

  • Refer to the provincial regulations for the most up-to-date information on current restrictions.
  • Encourage faculty, staff and students to practice hand hygiene after touching library items.
  • Ensure adherence to public health measures, including those listed above on physical distancing, capacity, and hygiene procedures (e.g. disinfecting high-touch areas like computers, study spaces).

K. Water fountains and bottle filling stations

  • Use water fountains and bottle filling stations only if they are cleaned and disinfected twice per day, or more often, if needed.
  • Remind/encourage faculty, staff and students to fill water bottles rather than drinking directly from the mouthpiece of water fountains.
  • Post signs near water fountains emphasizing public health measures.

L. International students and staff

  • Consult relevant provincial and/or federal authorities to discuss and plan for safely bringing international students faculty and staff on campus.
  • Keep current and comply with any additional requirements from the Public Health Agency of Canada for students (e.g. testing).
  • Notify (ahead of time) all travellers returning from outside Canada about the about the mandatory quarantine or isolation order, and encourage students to review the COVID-19: Travel Advice web page.
  • Ensure students have a suitable quarantine plan aligned with the Ministry of Colleges and Universities guidance.
  • Provide information to students who were vaccinated outside of Canada regarding how to connect with TPH to document their out of province or non-Ontario stock vaccine dose(s). The survey will prompt individuals to attach an image of their out of province vaccine receipt.
  • Ensure private transportation for all international students and staff, if possible, from the airport, and house them in designated hotel rooms and/or dormitories, with a separate bathroom for each student, for the 14 day quarantine period.
  • Arrange for daily check-ins as well as the provision of all meals and other necessities during the quarantine In addition, ensure that health care is available/provided (e.g. with coverage through the institution’s health insurance plan for foreign students).
  • If it is not feasible to privately transport, house and quarantine all international students, then:
    • Instruct all students staying off-campus to arrange for their own private transportation (i.e. not use public transportation), and to not come to the campus until they have completed their 14 day period of self-isolation.
    • Instruct students staying in dormitories who are unable to make alternative arrangements to self-isolate off-campus, to arrange for their own private transportation (i.e. not public transportation), and ensure they are self-isolating in designated dorms/rooms upon arrival.
  • Ensure students have the appropriate information and supports (e.g. mental health supports, health care resources, virtual student engagement opportunities).
  • Ensure policies and protocols are in place to address possible discrimination and stigma associated with COVID-19.

M. Campus clubs and non-profits

  • Limit non-essential on-site clubs, organizations, and services as much as possible. Consider alternative ways to facilitate services other than in-person attendance.

N. Communities with special needs

  • Consider and plan for faculty, staff and students with special needs (e.g. accessible COVID-19 information and resources for members of the deaf and hard of hearing community, or the low vision, visually impaired and blind community).

O. Mental health and well-being

  • Implement a tiered approach for mental health supports that will capture all faculty, staff and students and target intensive help to those who have been most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Promote resources to support the needs of faculty, staff, students and their families.

P. Workplace health and safety

More Information

  • For more information, visit our website at toronto.ca/COVID19 or call us at 416-338-7600.
  • To get the latest updates on the status of COVID-19 in our city from a trusted source, we encourage post-secondary schools that have Facebook, Instagram or Twitter to follow Toronto Public Health (TPH) and to like, share, or retweet TPH messages on your school pages.

Other Resources


Download this information as a PDF (also available in French).

For general COVID-19 inquiries:

To report laboratory confirmed faculty/student/staff COVID-19 cases who reside in university/college dormitories, email the following details to:

  • To report laboratory confirmed student/staff COVID-19 cases who reside in university/college dormitories, email the following details to: TPHShelters@toronto.ca

Please remember to include:

  • Name of institution & address
  • Name of institutional contact (including phone number & email)
  • Name of Occupational Health & Safety contact, if different (including phone number & email)
  • Residence involved, including number of students/staff residing there and layout
  • Information on ill faculty/staff/student (including name and date of birth)
  • Date symptoms started
  • Last day at institution
  • Contact information for ill faculty/staff/student (including a working phone number & address)
  • Whether the infection is lab confirmed
  • Who reported the case to the school
  • Any other faculty, staff or student reports

To report laboratory confirmed student/staff COVID-19 cases outside of university/college dormitories:

  • Call the TPH Hotline at: 416-338-7600 (8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week)
  • After Hours, call 311.

Please remember to include:

  • Name of institution & address
  • Name of institutional contact
  • Information on ill faculty/staff/student (including a working phone number, current address, and date of birth)
  • Date symptoms started
  • Last day at institution

To report all non-COVID-19 communicable diseases:

  • Call the Communicable Disease Notification Unit: 416-392-7411 (8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday)
  • Or complete the Reportable Disease Notification Form and fax it to 416-392-0047.

Download this information as a PDF.

For general COVID-19 inquiries:

To report confirmed student or staff COVID-19 cases, please submit the following information to:

  • Call the TPH Hotline at: 416-338-7600 (8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week)
  • After Hours, call 311.

Please remember to include:

  • Name of Institution
  • Institution contact info
  • Contact info and date of birth for ill faculty/staff/student
  • Date symptoms started
  • Last day at institution

To report all non-COVID-19 communicable diseases:

  • Call the Communicable Disease Notification Unit: 416-392-7411 (8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday)
  • Or complete the Reportable Disease Notification Form and fax it to 416-392-0047.
  • After Hours, call 311.

Download this information as a PDF.

 

Below are links to resources that may be helpful for school administrators and students in post-secondary schools. Please check the links often, as the information is updated on a regular basis.

Resource Type & Source Resource Link Target Audience
TPH COVID-19 Contact List for Schools:
Toronto Public Health TPH COVID-19 Contact List for Post-secondary Institutions Post-secondary school staff and admin
Toronto Public Health COVID-19 Contact List for Toronto-based Private Career Colleges Post-secondary school staff and admin
COVID-19 Guidance Documents:
Toronto Public Health COVID-19 Guidance for Post-Secondary Institutions Post-secondary school staff and admin
Toronto Public Health COVID-19 Post-Secondary Institution Prevention Checklist Post-secondary school staff and admin
Toronto Public Health Toronto Public Health Pandemic Plan: A Planning Guide for Colleges and Universities Post-secondary school staff and admin
Government of Canada Guidance for Post-secondary Institutions during the COVID-19 Pandemic Post-secondary school staff and admin
Fact Sheets/Information Sheets/Apps:
Toronto Public Health COVID-19 Fact Sheet Post-secondary school staff, students and admin
Toronto Public Health COVID-19 Decision Guide for Post-Secondary Institutions Post-secondary school staff and admin
Public Health Ontario Cleaning and Disinfection for Public Settings Fact Sheet Post-secondary school staff, students and admin
Public Health Ontario You were tested for COVID-19: What you should know Post-secondary school staff, students and admin
Government of Canada COVID Alert app Post-secondary school staff, students and admin
COVID-19 Vaccine Resources
Toronto Public Health COVID-19 Vaccine Resources (available in multiple languages) Post-secondary school staff, students and admin
Toronto Public Health COVID-19 Vaccines (webpage) Post-secondary school staff, students and admin
Toronto Public Health Vaccine Information for Post-Secondary Institutions (webpage) Post-secondary school staff and admin
Toronto Public Health Vaccine Information for Employers (webpage) Post-secondary school staff and admin
Screening Poster/Questionnaire:
Toronto Public Health Workplace Screening Questionnaire  Post-secondary school staff, students and admin
Face Coverings/Masks:
City of Toronto Dos and don’ts of wearing a mask Post-secondary school staff, students and admin
City of Toronto Proper use of a cloth face mask (video) Post-secondary school staff, students and admin
City of Toronto (video) 5 Things to remember about face masks and coverings Post-secondary school staff, students and admin
Toronto Public Health How to safely wear a cloth mask or face covering Post-secondary school staff, students and admin
Posters/Infographics:
City of Toronto Physical Distancing Post-secondary school staff and admin
City of Toronto Protect Yourself Post-secondary school staff and admin
City of Toronto Cover your Cough Post-secondary school staff and admin
City of Toronto Water Filling Station Post-secondary school staff and admin
Toronto Public Health Wash your Hands Post-secondary school staff and admin
Toronto Public Health Hand Washing Poster Post-secondary school staff and admin
Toronto Public Health Hand Sanitizing Poster Post-secondary school staff and admin
Toronto Public Health Cover Your Cough Poster Post-secondary school staff and admin
Toronto Public Health Symptoms of COVID-19 Post-secondary school staff and admin
Toronto Public Health How the Virus can Spread Post-secondary school staff and admin
Mental Health:
City of Toronto Self Care Tips for Managing Stress and Anxiety Post-secondary students, staff and admin
City of Toronto COVID-19 Mental Health Support Post-secondary students, staff and admin
Toronto Public Health COVID-19 Mental Health Resources Post-secondary students, staff and admin
Toronto Public Health COVID-19 Mental Health-General Coping and Specific Stressors Post-secondary students, staff and admin
Toronto Public Health Taking Care of Your Mental Health and Well-Being infographic Post-secondary students, staff and admin
Government of Ontario Mental Health, Wellness and Addictions Support Post-secondary students, staff and admin

Download this information as a PDF.