Road to Recovery Update #4 - June 2 - Your questions answered: An FAQ for return to work

FAQ - as of June 1, 2020

This FAQ communication tool is designed to provide ongoing updates to our research community as we proceed through this recovery process. Once posted, the FAQ updates will be routinely circulated to our faculty, staff and learners so that everyone is working with the latest information as the situation evolves.

In addition, you are invited to submit questions, so that responses can be shared broadly when applicable.

What health and safety measures have been employed to ensure everyone’s safety?

Western Occupational Health & Safety have prepared a comprehensive web page, which contains important information for anyone seeking to return to campus. Faculty, staff and students are strongly encouraged to familiarize themselves with all of the principals, protocols and best practices provided on this page.

What protocols is Western Research deploying to help guide the School’s return to research?

Western Research recommends several protocols designed to help each faculty govern the safe opening and operating of their research labs. These guidelines are detailed online.

What determines 20 per cent occupancy?

Schulich Medicine & Dentistry, working in partnership with Facilities Management, has developed a maximum occupancy level per building using a blend of fire code exit standards, permitted card accesses and the number of people that can be safely accommodated within the given floorspace while still respecting physical distancing guidelines.

The maximum number of people that can be in each of the School’s on-campus facilities is found in the table below.

Facility Occupancy Maximum 20% Occupancy
Medical Sciences Building 750 150
Dental Sciences Building 750 150
Robarts Research Institute 650 130
Kresge Building 100 20
Molecular Biology Lab 150 30
Public Health and Family Medicine 155 31
Health Sciences Addition 150 30
Clinical Skills Building 80 16
Siebens-Drake Research Institute 200 40

Therefore, by applying the 20 per cent occupancy limit to the above maximum, the School has calculated that each facility can safely accommodate the following maximum number of people at any given time beginning June 9. This occupancy allowance will be updated commensurate with Western’s phased Return To Campus.

Departments will need to manage and monitor their rotating lab schedules to ensure the permitted occupancy levels are not exceeded. The Dean’s Office will monitor the overall occupancy levels in each building based on the completed schedules to ensure compliance with the permitted occupancy levels.

What Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is required and will be provided?

The Dean has mandated that, at minimum, all faculty, staff, and learners working inside one of Schulich Medicine & Dentistry’s on-campus facilities must wear a mask at all times. In addition, all labs must have hand sanitizer available for use by attendees.

Western Central Stores has acquired a sufficient supply of PPE to support the entire University, and established a designated procurement process to support the sourcing and distribution of appropriate PPE to each faculty. Schulich Medicine & Dentistry has designated Ronnine Elston in the School’s Finance Department to serve as the Designated Procurer for the School. Department Chairs, Managers and Group Leaders are encouraged use the PPE Order Form to compile, aggregate and submit to the Designated Procurer the required amount of PPE to support their labs and attendees. Each department will be charged back for all PPE purchases.

Is parking available?

Western is continuing to permit card-free access to its on-campus parking lots through June 30, after which the University will assess the situation on a month-to-month basis.

What about transit?

The London Transit Commission (LTC) continues to operate its transit service fare-free throughout the city, including on campus. However, schedules are continually in flex and riders are encouraged to check with the LTC for the latest bus route and travel times.

What about cycling?

Cycling is encouraged as a safe, healthy and low-risk means of transportation. Schulich Medicine & Dentistry will ensure that bike racks are accessible around its facilities.

What if I have a question or concern about any aspect of the recovery process? For example, what if someone is not following the prescribed public health and/or University guidelines?

Schulich Medicine & Dentistry has established a central, confidential email address to receive questions, comments or concerns. The address will be monitored throughout the day and questions will be directed to the appropriate person in the Dean’s Office or relevant department to address the matter. In addition, questions deemed of interest to everyone will be added to this FAQ.

What screening procedures are in place?

Western Occupational Health & Safety has developed a screening tool accessible to each employee through MyHR.

As a condition of entry into one of Schulich Medicine & Dentistry facilities, faculty, staff and learners are required to complete the screening survey each day before accessing the building, and provide regular updates to their profile as their health conditions change.

If a participant or student answers “yes” to any question, they will not be allowed into the building and will be directed to Telehealth, Western Student Health and Wellness or the Middlesex-London Health Unit for additional guidance.

Any participant or student with a positive screening test may report back in two weeks after symptoms have ceased to undergo another screening.

Additional screening measures may be introduced as the occupancy levels increase and such changes in process will be communicated to all attendees prior to its introduction.

What can we expect in the way of cleaning?

With the exception of regular waste removal, lab cleaning pre- and post-use will be the responsibility of the research team. Western’s Facilities Management, per their Cleaning Protocol for COVID-19, will address common areas, hallways and touch points. However, Facilities Management has neither the resources nor the expertise to provide the care to the School’s entire lab infrastructure. Moreover, researchers know best the state of their respective lab and are most qualified to ensure each team member can work safely and effectively. Cleaning supplies will be ordered through School’s designated purchasing process and researchers are encouraged to have appropriate supplies on-hand at all times.

What is the protocol for common areas, washrooms and hallways?

Common areas will remain closed until the effectiveness of our return to research plan can be assessed. Faculty, staff and learners are encouraged to enter the facility, make their way to their respective lab and engage in their research plan within their approved schedule and minimal contact to others. Western’s Occupational Health and Safety team have prepared signage recommending the safe use of washrooms, shared spaces and elevators. These signs are posted throughout our facilities and in designated areas where clustering may occur. Once again, attendees are encouraged to use a blend of care, common sense and mutual respect throughout their time in one of our facilities.

Are visitors allowed in the facilities?

No one but approved personnel with appropriate card access is permitted in any of Schulich Medicine & Dentistry’s on-campus facilities until further notice. The Dean’s Office will consider and approve exceptions to this rule on a case-by-case basis. To date, exceptions have been approved for: the Stroke Prevention & Atherosclerosis Research Centre (SPARC) at Siebens-Drake Research Institute and the urgent care program offered to patients at the School’s dental clinic.

What is the process to handle deliveries?

As we begin our road to recovery, the perimeter of all faculty buildings will remain locked (with card access for approved persons only) until the University determines that these restrictions may be eased. This includes delivery personnel, who will be directed to the Dental Sciences Building or Robarts loading dock. Recipients are encouraged to make arrangements for the pickup/delivery of parcels using one of these docks.

What movement will be permitted between facilities?

All hallway corridors with Schulich Medicine & Dentistry’s network of facilities will remain open, with the exception of the link to University hospital, which will remain closed until further notice. Attendees are strongly encouraged to practise safe physical distancing while inside a facility in accordance with Ontario public health guidelines. If an attendee exits a facility, they must re-enter through the designated entries.

Additional tips include:

  • Walk on the right side of the hallway or stairwell.
  • Walk single file at least 2m apart.
  • Avoid passing others walking in the same direction.
  • Approach intersections slowly and ensure it is safe to proceed before doing so.
  • Do not block the hallway for others by stopping and speaking to a colleague.
  • Consider ducking into an alcove if the hallway you are in is particularly narrow and someone is approaching from the opposite direction.
  • Wear a mask while working/walking inside a Schulich Medicine & Dentistry facility.

What about use of the skywalk between the Dental Sciences and Siebens-Drake buildings?

The skywalk between the Dental Sciences Building and the Siebens-Drake Research Institute (SDRI) will remain open and accessible until construction begins in earnest on the BioMedical Research Facility. At that point, the skywalk will be closed for safety reasons, likely beginning in mid-July. Access to SDRI when the bridge is closed will be by Ex 5 only. Exiting from the building can occur through Ex 1, Ex 3B, Ex 4, as well as Ex 5 for persons with disabilities or carts.