Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing

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COVID-19 Information Updates

Last updated: September 8, 2021

Fall Term 2021

COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements / Revised University Policy on Face Masks  / COVID-19 Vaccination and Practicums

Vaccinations

All members of the University of Toronto community including students, faculty, staff and contractors who come onto our campuses must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 (first dose as of September 13th 2021 and fully vaccinated by October 15th 2021). All members of the U of T community, will be required to upload proof of vaccination via the University of Toronto UCheck program.  

To provide your proof of vaccination, log into UCheck, select the option to complete your vaccination status form, and follow the on-screen instructions. UCheck is accessible via web browsers on computers, tablets, and smartphones.

Once you have completed the vaccination status form, you will be able to continue to the UCheck COVID-19 self-assessment, which is also required every time before you can come to campus. If you receive a Red Status for your UCheck assessment you must stay home and take the steps described on the UCheck site.

Under current health requirements, you will only need to upload your vaccination documents to UCheck once during the 2021-2022 school year. For further information about proof of vaccination and other safety measures, including information related to University-approved exemptions and subsequent rapid screening program please review the University’s COVID-19 Fall Planning Update.

IMPORTANT: U of T Nursing students must upload proof of vaccination in both UCheck and the SYNERGY Platform. 

Recording Vaccination Status for Practicums

For those students who have required practicum components in their educational programs, in addition to other required vaccinations, these nursing students are required to receive full COVID-19 vaccination before entering practicums (as per Directive #6 for Public Hospitals).

Students are required to upload proof of full COVID-19 vaccination into the SYNERGY platform that is used to assess and confirm student readiness for practicums.  Please note that the SYNERGY system and the UCheck system are not connected and do not share information. This health-related information, including COVID-19 vaccination information, is required before a nursing student is confirmed in a practicum at a hospital or other health care placement site. Clinical agency partners require COVID-19 vaccination for all staff, medical personnel, students, and contractors. Student COVID-19 vaccination status will be communicated with clinical agency partners. Therefore, we require proof of vaccination of an approved COVID-19 vaccination series.   

Recording of COVID-19 vaccination status in Synergy is provided free of charge by Synergy with no cost to you.  Students are required to upload proof of each dose of the COVID-19 vaccination.  

Instructions – How to Upload COVID-19 vaccination information in Synergy – [PDF]

Note: do NOT book an ESPC appointment for COVID-19 vaccination updates or you will be charged by Synergy. 

For questions, please contact Elena Luk, Director, Clinical Education, at elena.luk@utoronto.ca.

Mask Policy

One important safety measure instituted at the University of Toronto is the requirement to wear a face mask

According to the University of Toronto’s revised Policy on Face Masks – [PDF] (August 25, 2021), the definition of a face mask is a “medical or non-medical disposable or cloth mask that covers the nose, mouth, and chin without gaping. In order to control the spread of respiratory droplets and aerosol particles, masks should be made of at least two layers of tightly woven fabric and if possible, a middle filter layer.” 

Please review the University of Toronto’s revised Policy on Face Masks for further details.

Clinical Updates

Currently, hospitals are planning to operate at full capacity for clinical care by Fall 2021 and academic programs are similarly planning to restore clinical training and placements to pre-pandemic levels. An earlier guideline on clinical placements has been updated to reflect the harmonized approach to remove unnecessary barriers to clinical placement of learners and uphold the commitment to maintain the pipeline of healthcare professionals during crises such as the pandemic. To continue to restore educational activities, factors such as hospitals’ ability to manage operational pressures imposed by the pandemic are considered. Hospitals will continue to monitor factors that include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Daily COVID-19 cases, outbreaks, hospitalizations, vaccination rates.
  • Government orders (e.g. stay-at-home orders).
  • Volume of healthcare workers permitted in the building for appropriate physical distancing measures to be followed.
  • % of acute and critical care capacity, patient acuity, and overall workforce capacity and supervisor availability.
  • Critical supplies of PPE that includes the current usage rate plus the forecasted additional academic recovery requirements.
  • The hospital’s overall ability to mitigate a resurgence.

In short, hospitals will plan for full capacity of placements and rotations in Fall 2021 and will collaborate with academic institutions to adjust anticipated capacity, while considering the effects of potential future COVID-19 outbreaks as required to maintain safety.

Research

Principles

  • Abide by Policy of Site Where Student/Postdoc is Located – All graduate students are expected to comply with the local health and safety policies of the institution(s) where they are conducting studies or research. This applies to all students associated with the University of Toronto, including those on short research visits as required for collaborative work and graduate student rotations. Graduate students who attend the University of Toronto campus must follow UCheck protocols (see below).
  • Existing Processes Will Be Leveraged – Where possible, the University of Toronto and its partners aim to incorporate the tracking of COVID-19 vaccination status into existing processes that monitor similar information. Where partnership agreements exist, processes must be compliant with those agreements.
  • Be Prepared – Please be aware that during the period of time students and postdocs are awaiting approved vaccine dosages, they will generally not be permitted to attend at the Hospital and potentially other third-party sites. Also, there will likely be scenarios where students will be required to demonstrate proof of vaccination more than once. We ask for their patience and readiness to do so in order to continue to provide the safest environments possible.

Hospitals

Graduate students and postdoctoral fellows are expected to provide proof of vaccination or proof of exemption to the institution outlined beside their category below.  Please note that hospitals generally reserve the right to determine whether they can accommodate any students that are not vaccinated but have received an exemption from their academic institution.  Any exemptions accepted by affiliated hospitals will generally require regular serological testing conducted by the applicable site.

Summary of Approaches Across Categories of Students and Postdoctoral Fellows:

Categories of students Approach to Tracking Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination or Medical Exemption
Clinical Learners
(graduate and undergraduate)
  • As per current practice, the University may request information related to eligibility for clinical placements, and will coordinate with its hospital partners to confirm learners meet all requirements for placement.
  • Clinical learners’ COVID-19 vaccination validation will be managed via UCheck unless the clinical/research site requires independent validation.
  • Divisions/Faculties will be responsible for holding lists of their students in clinical placements and corresponding with partner hospitals as needed.
  • Divisions/Faculties will be responsible for corresponding with the University’s office of Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) to validate the vaccination status of students on their list. For information, contact ehs.occhealth@utoronto.ca.

Graduate Research Students

Postdoctoral Fellows

International Visiting Graduate Students (IVGS) 

  • Generally, the local institution where student is onboarded is responsible for collecting relevant information to confirm compliance with local policy (e.g. in many cases required vaccinations may be requested and will be verified by the local organization’s Occupational Health and Safety office).

Other Third-Party Sites

Vaccination validation protocols for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows at other third-party sites are expected to follow the principles outlined above. Generally, the local institution where the student/postdoc is located is responsible for collecting relevant information to confirm compliance with local policy.

However, where a partnership agreement between the University and the local institution is in effect, the approach must be compliant with this agreement. If you have questions about the terms of a partnership agreement, please contact the placement coordinator. 

A set of FAQs for students and postdoctoral fellows on this topic is available on the SGS website here.

Travel restrictions

All international travel continues to be highly discouraged for safety reasons. In addition, travel to other provinces is also highly discouraged. With the situation being so fluid, it is extremely unwise to make travel plans for vacation, even outside of the province at this time. The public health guidelines are in a constant state of flux and quarantine rules could change pertaining to inter-provincial travel at any time.

The Government of Canada has recently instituted several new measures aimed at controlling the spread of COVID-19 and protecting the health and safety of all Canadians. In addition, the Chief Medical Officer for Ontario strongly advises against travel to/from other provinces as per below:

• Only travel out of the province if it is essential
• Self-isolate for 14 days when arriving in or returning to Ontario

Looking for Fall 2021 placement info? View our FAQ’s for undergraduate and graduate students below.

Fall 2021 Placement FAQ: Graduate Students

Fall 2021 Placement FAQ: Undergraduate Students

For all the latest University-wide information, please see the University of Toronto UTogether Information Page.

The University of Toronto Mental Health Resource an online portal is open and available for students.

Health and Wellness is open and providing health services to students virtually. 

ECHO Coping with COVID is designed for Healthcare Providers (including Nursing students) responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants are invited to join ECHO sessions virtually through multi-point videoconference technology to share and learn about ways to build resilience and overall wellness through didactic lectures and case-based discussions.

 

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