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Message from the University regarding the coronavirus

In January 2020, a novel (new) coronavirus (2019-nCoV) was identified as the cause of an outbreak of pneumonia originating in Wuhan.

Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health advises that the risk to Ontarians is still considered low as of now. The situation is rapidly evolving and the University is taking its guidance from public health agencies at the local, provincial and federal levels, who are closely monitoring the outbreak, conducting surveillance and appropriate laboratory testing, and providing public health and infection control guidance.

Human Resources & Equity has received many inquiries around how the coronavirus may impact our workforce and work arrangements, and we are currently working to provide resources and support to the community.

There have been reports of discriminatory behaviours towards some members of our community. Behaviours and comments that perpetuate stereotypes are harmful and should not be tolerated or condoned. Assessment of risk should be based on travel and exposure history and not on race or ethnicity. We encourage members to reinforce messaging of the University’s commitment to human rights and our values of diversity, inclusion, respect and civility.

We will continue to keep our community informed of new developments through the University of Toronto coronavirus web pages at utoronto.ca and urge those seeking information to consult trusted sources such as Ontario.ca/coronavirus.

Should faculty, staff, and librarians with flu-like symptoms attend work?

As is usual practice for all illnesses, those who are sick should stay at home.

Staff must report any illness-related absences as soon as possible to their manager or supervisor per normal practice. Faculty should advise the appropriate contact within their department/faculty if they have an illness that will impact their teaching or service obligations. Librarians should report any illness-related absence to their supervisor.

We ask that business officers and human resources professionals track these absences in our HRIS as they are reported so that the institution can appropriately monitor the impact of any illnesses on our workforce.

The leaders of our health science faculties and OISE are aware of the steps needed to protect our students, faculty, and staff should it become necessary. Faculty and staff in a health science setting should follow the directions of the administration of the facility.

Symptoms of the coronavirus include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Should you experience these symptoms and have recently travelled internationally to an affected region, avoid contact with others, report your absence to your manager or supervisor, and contact your health care provider. Please call your health care provider in advance to notify them you will be attending their office.

Those who have questions or concerns, who have travelled internationally to an affected region, and do not have symptoms, should call Telehealth Ontario: Toll-free 1-866-797-0000 (TTY: 1-866-797-0007).

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