All MUN staff returning to campus Feb. 1

·2 min read

Memorial University is sending its staff back to campuses at the beginning of February.

"Memorial's campuses are safe," reads a media release issued on behalf of Mark Abrahams, academic vice-president, and Kent Decker, administration and finance vice-president.

"The university has followed all public health guidelines and implemented measures to ensure the return to campus is a positive experience."

It was in November when MUN announced a phased-in return to campus for its employees that started Nov. 23.

At that time, some non-academic staff returned for a minimum of two days a week.

MUN says the current risk of COVID-19 in the province is low and points to the vaccine program underway.

"The short spike in cases in November did not continue and has since decreased.… The health and safety of the campus community continues to lead decision-making," says the statement.

As of Monday afternoon, Newfoundland and Labrador had six active cases of COVID-19. If cases increase or community spread becomes an issue, the university could revert back to staff working remotely.

Tuesday's announcement relates only to staff returning, not students.

Only limited exceptions

The expanded return applies to all staff, but there are a few exceptions, according to the university, based on density requirements, medical accommodations, work-from-home pilot programs and business continuity planning for essential functions and services.

The vast majority of employees who are heading back to campus should get in touch with their supervisor to figure out their next steps, says MUN.

For example, there may be a staggered approach so not everyone is walking back into the buildings on Feb. 1.

"The university has followed all public health guidelines and implemented measures to ensure the return to campus is a positive experience.… Empathy during this transition is crucial," reads Tuesday's statement.

MUN's COVID-19 website has been updated with new information for staff returning.

Parking, food and tunnels

The St. John's campus will have some food options in the University Centre, but it will be limited. Grenfell Campus does not.

The Marine Institute's cafeteria is operating 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Colleen Connors/CBC
Colleen Connors/CBC

Parking permits for the St. John's campus and Signal Hill campus were previously waived for the rest of the winter semester.

Grenfell Campus and Marine Institute will issue permits, but there will be no charge, says MUN. However, meter and pay-per-use parking lots are still being enforced.

All buildings, tunnels and pedways will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays.

Offices should be open and accessible to students, says MUN, but virtual meetings are still preferred.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador