Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing

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Winter 2021 FAQ for Students

Last updated: February 19, 2021

Wearing non-medical masks or face coverings is required in all indoor University spaces, whether restricted-access or open to the public. Faculty, students, and staff must continue to complete the UCheck self-assessment on a computer, tablet, or smartphone prior to visiting campus. Alternative, there is an offline paper-based log to complete and to report your risk: https://www.utoronto.ca/utogether/ucheck

The entire University community is focused on maintaining a healthy environment on our campuses. We will update this page regularly with important updates for Bloomberg Nursing students, faculty, staff and preceptors.

Bloomberg Nursing remains committed first and foremost to the health and safety of our entire community during the COVID-19 pandemic. To that end, we are following the advice of public health authorities as we focus on three guiding principles:

  1. Promoting health and safety
  2. Advancing academic excellence
  3. Meeting the needs of our community

We know students have many questions about what your studies and practicums will look like in the coming winter months. We invite you to read through the FAQ. This page will be continually updated as more information is available. If your questions are not answered below, please email ask.nursing@utoronto.ca

Graduate students: Visit the School of Graduate Studies website for graduate-student resources and information.

Covid-19 Vaccinations

February 19, 2021 update from Ontario Government

Due to the unexpected reductions in supply and delayed shipments of the Covid19 vaccine, Ontario has experienced delays in its plan for vaccination rollout. So far, Ontario has reached a target to offer a first dose of the vaccine to residents of all long-term care homes and has now administered over 167,000 doses to long-term care and retirement home residents.

Once the completion of first-dose vaccination offers to all staff, essential caregivers and remaining residents of long-term care, high-risk retirement homes and First Nations elder care homes, and adults in Indigenous communities has taken place, first-dose vaccinations will be made available, pending supply, to the remainder of Phase One populations, which includes health care workers identified as the high priority level in the Ministry of Health’s guidance on Health Care Worker Prioritization (PDF). This also includes students and trainees. 

More updates will be provided as they become available. 

Winter 2021 placement info? Visit:

Winter 2021 Placement FAQs: Graduate Students

Winter 2021 Placement FAQs: Undergraduate Students


Winter 2021

On November 20th, President Gertler sent a special message to all members of the University of Toronto community announcing changes to the start of the winter term for some undergraduate programs. 

All Bloomberg Nursing classes for the Winter Term 2021 will commence the week of January 4, 2021. This is to ensure students can finish the academic year in a timely manner. Information regarding class schedules, including online classes, simulation labs, clinical practica, etc. for all programs for the Winter term, will be provided by relevant Program Directors and faculty.

As a reminder, the University of Toronto is closed for the holidays from December 23, 2020 to January 1, 2021. The University re-opens on January 4, 2021.

Graduate students can visit the School of Graduate Studies website for graduate-student resources and information.

Please visit our Online Learning Resources page for tips and strategies to help you with your online learning experience.

Winter 2021 Placements

We are working with the Toronto Academic Health Science Network (TAHSN) and our other placement partners on plans to maintain clinical practicums in the Winter term. There is a possibility that placements may be restricted, disrupted, or paused for a period of time, should clinical services be reduced or halted as a result of a resurgence of COVID-19. There may be alterations made to the scheduling or delivery format of clinical placements in the Winter term.

See placement FAQ for undergraduate students and graduate students for additional information.

Winter 2021 Sim Lab

The Faculty currently plans to hold Sim Lab sessions in Winter. All students who have scheduled Sim Lab sessions as a component of their course should familiarize themselves with the Sim Lab-specific guidance provided by the Faculty, in advance of attendance.

Ucheck

Before each visit to campus, you must complete the UCheck self-assessment on a computer, tablet, or smartphone. UCheck is now mandatory, and your individual responses are kept private and will not be received by the University. It is not a contact tracing or exposure app.

Alternatively, if you choose not to use UCheck, you can access an offline or paper-based log to complete your self-assessment and document your risk status here.

If you are a student living in residence, check your status daily.

For all other students, faculty, staff, and librarians, you must use UCheck every time you plan to be on campus.

Sim Lab sessions may be disrupted, restricted or cease depending on the guidance from the University of Toronto and Public Health Ontario.


All Students

What will my studies in the Winter term look like?

We are working closely with public health authorities to determine when and how to facilitate a safe return to classrooms as soon as possible. All courses, both graduate and undergraduate, in the Faculty will be delivered through remote instruction apart from any scheduled sim-lab instruction and scheduled clinical practicums. But no matter what approach is taken, be assured that our world-class faculty will continue to work with students, offering the high quality of teaching and mentorship that Bloomberg Nursing is known for.

Visiting Campus Safely: Ucheck

Provincial regulation and public health guidance now require that post-secondary institutions implement COVID-19 health screening via a self-assessment for anyone coming to campus. In order to comply with these directives, a self-assessment is now required for all members of
our community, including students, each day they visit any of the three U of T campuses or any other property owned or operated by U of T.

There are two ways that individuals can complete the required self-assessment and generate a risk status: by using UCheck, or by completing an offline or paper-based log each time you come to campus.

UCheck is the easiest and most secure way to complete the required self-assessment and generate a COVID-19 risk status prior to coming to campus. Your risk status (e.g., “red” or “green”) is securely shared with the University, but individual responses to the UCheck self-assessment questionnaire are not accessible by the institution. More details on how to use UCheck, including how we are keeping this data private, are available at utoronto.ca/utogether/ucheck

In the event that you are unable to access the UCheck online self-assessment prior to coming to campus, please complete UCheck as soon as you are able to, once on campus. Alternatively, if you choose not to use UCheck, you can access an offline or paper-based log to complete your self-assessment and document your risk status here

If you are a student living in residence, check your status daily.

For all other students faculty, staff, and librarians, you must use UCheck every time you plan to be on campus.

Will there be any on-campus learning taking place?

We’re working closely with public health authorities to determine when and how to facilitate a safe return to campus, classrooms and research spaces. On-campus activities — such as learning in the Simulation Laboratory — have been modified to keep students, faculty and staff safe.

What can I expect in my Sim Lab experience in Winter 2021

The priority of the Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing is the health and safety of our community while providing excellent learning experiences for our students. At all times we follow the guidance and advice of the University of Toronto and Public Health Ontario. Below you will find advice on what you need to do if learning in the Sim Lab is a part of your academic program. It’s a long list, designed to be helpful, but if you have any questions or concerns please reach out to your sim lab faculty.

Please note that as well as your responsibilities to clean your sim lab work station, there will be increased cleaning of high touch surfaces twice daily and laboratory assistants will also be cleaning Sim Lab stations etc. between classes.

  1. All students must complete the COVID Curriculum prior to their first Sim Lab experience.
  2. Do not attend your scheduled Sim Lab, or the University, if you feel unwell. If you have any of the symptoms of COVID-19 (e.g., fever, cough, difficulty breathing, etc.) you should stay home, not work, and self-isolate. Please follow this Ontario Ministry of Health self-assessment tool. A number of dedicated assessment centres have been established across the Greater Toronto Region to facilitate assessment and testing. Information on locations is available on local public health websites, including Toronto and Peel Region.

If you live in other regions you can find your local health unit here.

3. If you are advised by a public health authority that you have tested positive for COVID-19, please contact your course instructor to let them know that you are unwell and may not be able to fully participate in course activities. As well, please complete the University of Toronto Absence Declaration System notification to advise that you are ill – no physician or primary health care provider notes are required as verification.  Please also contact ehs.occhealth@utoronto.ca immediately. Follow Public Health Ontario advice on self-isolating.

4. You will be provided with your Sim Lab schedule. Please come to the Sim Lab dressed in casual clothing, with minimal jewelry, and no artificial nails. You must arrive no earlier than 5 minutes in advance of your scheduled session, and you must leave the Health Sciences Building immediately following your session. Students should not remain in the Health Sciences Building following completion of their Sim Lab session. The Student Lounge on the 3rd Floor will not be accessible.  

5. The University of Toronto requires non-medical masks or face coverings to be worn indoors in University common-use spaces on its property, including, for example, in classrooms.

Please follow the guidance and signage posted throughout the building, including use of washrooms.

6. On entering the Health Sciences Building through the designated ENTER ONLY door for your scheduled Sim Lab session, sanitize your hands upon entering the building and then follow the floor markings to Room 124. A maximum of 17 people are allowed in Room 124 at any time.

7.With your own mask or face-covering in place, sanitize your hands on entering Room 124 and move to one of the physically distanced chairs positioned in the room. Place your coat, and any belongings you may have on the chair. Sanitize your hands with the sanitizer provided. Remove your own mask or face-covering and dispose of it or store it safely with your belongings (separately in a paper bag is recommended). Sanitize your hands. Put on the provided medical mask and the face shield provided. Sanitize your hands again. Move to the Sim Lab when instructed. You may take your own learning aids such as cell phones for app access, textbooks and ipads, pens and paper into the Sim Lab. You may not share pens, paper or other items within the Sim Lab. Phones and ipads must be disinfected frequently according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

8. On entering the Sim Lab through the designated entry door you will be directed to your station. Sanitize your hands and the equipment with the disinfectant wipes provided. On completion of your tasks at your station, using the disinfectant wipes provided, wipe down any equipment you have touched.

Faculty and TAs will direct you to your next station. Follow the floor markings.

9. On completion of your Sim Lab session exit through the designated exit door and return to Room 124. Sanitize your hands on entering the room. Remove your medical mask and face shield. Sanitize your hands and put on your own mask or face-covering. You may choose to keep on the medical mask provided instead. Sanitize your hands and your face shield.  You will keep this face shield for your use during Sim Lab sessions.  

10. Leave Room 124 with all of your personal belongings and immediately exit the Health Sciences Building through the designated EXIT ONLY door following the floor markings and signage.

What are the technical requirements for my Winter courses?

While the University as a whole and the Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing make every effort to minimize the technology needed to participate in online courses there are some basic technical requirements to note.

The Vice Provost recommends having the following system requirements in order to participate in online and remote learning (https://www.viceprovoststudents.utoronto.ca/covid-19/tech-requirements-online-learning/).  In addition, where possible, the Faculty of Nursing has some additional recommendations. See below:

Minimum System Requirements

Requirement Windows-based PC Apple Mac/macOS-based PC
Operating System Windows 10 macOS X
Web Browser Firefox or Google Chrome Firefox or Google Chrome
Processor Intel Core i5 based model Intel Core i5 based model
RAM/Memory 4 GB 4 GB
Storage 5 GB of available space 5 GB of available space
Screen Resolution 1024 x 768 1024 x 768
Connectivity Ethernet or WiFi; available USB port(s) to accommodate recommended accessories Ethernet or WiFi; available USB port(s) to accommodate recommended accessories

To participate in live sessions or exam proctoring you should also have a Webcam and Microphone either built into your laptop or connectable by external usb.

Additional Nursing Recommendations

Where possible, in addition to the above requirements, we would recommend your webcam support a resolution of 720p or above and you have access to a high-speed internet connection with a minimum connectivity of 10-25 Mbps download and 5 – 10 Mbps upload.

You can check your internet speed at https://www.speedtest.net/

Some of the software you may use does not support Chromebooks or iPads which is why Windows 10 or OSX devices are recommended.

Some additional free software to consider installing of familiarizing yourself with would be Adobe Reader (for reading PDF documents) and the recording functionality of your smartphone or other camera you use.

We also recommend having two web browsers installed with Firefox and Chrome being the most widely supported options.

These requirements are relatively low in terms of modern computing standards and as much as possible we do our best to accommodate these requirements with equipment you already own and internet services you already have access to.

Please follow up with it.nursing@utoronto.ca if you have any questions related to these requirements.

What about clinical placements in the Winter?

We are working with the Toronto Academic Health Science Network (TAHSN) and our other placement partners on plans to maintain clinical practicums in the Winter term. There is a possibility that placements may be restricted, disrupted, or paused for a period of time, should clinical services be reduced or halted as a result of a resurgence of COVID-19. There may be alterations made to the scheduling or delivery format of clinical placements in the Winter term.

Effective this January Winter term 2021, all Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing Undergraduate BScN students within clinical practicums will be able to provide care not only to persons under investigation for COVID-19, but also for patients diagnosed with COVID-19. 

The rationale for the lifting of restrictions that had been placed upon our Undergraduate nursing students caring for COVID+ patients relates to how the knowledge about COVID-19 transmission, assessment, and treatment has grown over these last few months, as has the current adequate supply of PPE for student use.

Furthermore, as the pandemic continues to evolve, COVID+ patients are being admitted for care in a much wider variety of clinical units and potentially in almost all clinical units across area hospitals. As a note, students are still not to be involved in participating in or observing aerosolized procedures with COVID-19 patients.

Your Clinical Instructor will communicate with you in clinical settings where there are COVID+ patients to determine your readiness to provide care for COVID+ patients in that circumstance and will assess the unit’s ability to provide PPE and other support (e.g., availability to assist as needed) for your clinical experience. Please discuss strategies and concerns with your Clinical Instructor and/or course teacher so that they can assist you in receiving the clinical education experience you need to meet your course / program requirements.

COVID Curriculum - Clinical Placement Required Course

If you had clinical placements in the Fall you will have already completed the COVID Curriculum as a mandatory requirement prior to placement. We advise that you review again all relevant modules, in the COVID curriculum prior to your Winter placement. The Faculty strongly advises that you refresh your knowledge of donning and doffing of PPE at a minimum.

If you did not have a clinical placement in the Fall and will be having your first clinical placements in the Winter term you must  complete the COVID curriculum;  a short course in Quercus. This course includes 7 core modules that address a variety of interdisciplinary topics, as well as an additional module developed specifically for nursing students. The COVID Curriculum contains a mix of videos, eLearning modules, fact sheets and other written information. You may already be familiar with some of this content, however, this is meant to be a refresher to ensure that you are well prepared and can practice safely.

Completion of the COVID Curriculum is mandatory prior to entering the clinical environment. Students will be enrolled in the course at least a week in advance of beginning their placements. It will take approximately 2-3 hours to complete all of the required learning. Please note that in addition to this training, you will also receive site-specific education to further enhance your knowledge.

What about insurance for placements re: COVID-19

The University’s general liability insurance remains in place and there is no exclusion for liability arising out of communicable disease. The workplace insurance coverage for unpaid placement continues for Bloomberg Nursing students during the COVID-19 pandemic and covers both students working remotely and in person.

What is the University's mask policy?

To further help limit the spread of COVID-19, the University of Toronto is implementing a temporary measure that calls for non-medical masks or face coverings to be worn inside buildings that are normally publicly accessible. This includes hallways, lobbies, elevators and other common use facilities.

Exemptions are provided for people with underlying medical conditions that inhibit their ability to wear masks and individuals in areas that are not intended for public use. Masks may also be removed when taking part in athletic or fitness activities and in situations where wearing a mask impedes delivery and receiving of services.

PHD Students

What about research opportunities in the Winter?

For some students, access to research opportunities may continue to be restricted or impeded in the Winter term. If this occurs, our research coordinator and your supervisor will be able to provide you with an alternative plan of study such as moving some research opportunities online or postponing research endeavours.

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