Reopening Message to the CIRHR community

September 14, 2021 by CIRHR Communications

Dear CIRHR Community,

Welcome back to the start of the 2021-22 academic year.

I am writing to confirm that we are excited to reopen the Centre building at 121 St. George Street starting week of September 13, 2021 to faculty, staff, and PhD students.

Our building is still closed to the public. MIRHR and undergrad students will have building access starting October 4, 2021. Until then, meetings with faculty members should be arranged virtually or outside of the Centre.

Safety Plan Summary

Below is a summary of our current health & safety plan, which we will continue to review and modify as appropriate. Please reach out to me if you have any questions. 

  • The Centre’s new operational hours are Monday to Thursday 10am-6pm and Friday 10am-5pm
  • Everyone must access the building using their individual fob key at the front entrance for contact tracing purposes.
  • Posters and signage have been posted in common areas as a reminder of current COVID-19 social distancing requirements.
  • Daily (Monday to Friday) disinfecting of public spaces (kitchen, washrooms, and seminar room and library space)
  • Twice a day disinfection (Monday to Friday) of high touch points (door handles, washroom fixtures)
  • Disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer are available in all high traffic environments (shared office spaces, classrooms, library, etc.) to enable community members to disinfect their hands and high-touch surfaces before and after use.
  • Campus Safety will increase patrol of each floor to ensure the safety of the CIRHR community. If work is required after regular hours, notify the director and contact campus police at 416-978-2323 if regular check-ins and other assistance needed.


Faculty, staff, and PhD students are welcome to use their offices/workstations. Staff will continue to work from home with the exception of critical on-site in-person tasks to support student services et al.

For single offices, you can remove your mask once inside your office.

Visitors to your office should stop at the threshold of the office, adhering to maximum occupancy scheduling and physical distancing (at least 2 metres). Our building is still closed to the public and MIRHR and undergrad students will have building access starting October 4, 2021. Until then, meetings should be arranged virtually or outside of the Centre.

Shared offices should only have 1 person per shift for gradual return.

Non-medical masks / face coverings will be required when moving around the offices, common areas and washrooms, and where physical distancing is a challenge for outdoor meetings and events.

You should open the window in the office for better air flow; please remember to close the window before the end of day.

Basement Common Areas

Room 20 (student lounge) & 17 (basement study room) will not be available until Public Health physical distancing requirements are relaxed.

The kitchen area is accessible to those allowed in the building (fridge, filtered water, microwave etc.,) but there is limited capacity should you wish to eat downstairs. Please follow the marked signage if in the kitchen.

Seminar Room 205

In the Seminar room 205 (now the Chris Schenck Memorial Seminar Room), two industrial-strength air purifiers have been installed and the room is included in the University COVID-19 HVAC classroom assessment at 6 air changes per hour.

For instructional activities, there are no capacity limits in this room (i.e., 25 occupants including the instructor). If there is an exemption for lecturers to remove their mask, the first row of seats is closed to ensure 6 feet of physical distancing.

For non-instructional activities, the maximum occupancy capacity of Room 205 is 8 persons physically distanced.

Library Access

In October, the library will welcome MIRHR students into the building. The library’s “Oval Room”— which has also been fitted with an industrial strength air purifier—is available to be booked by faculty, staff, and PhD students for one-on-one consultation when their own spaces cannot accommodate 2-meter distancing. Usage of the space will be managed by library staff. When not booked, MIRHR students may use the space for silent studying.

The health and safety of our team is our highest priority. We fully utilized the resources and support provided by the University to prepare for a safe return to the onsite workplace, and we continue to access these resources and supports as we expand our onsite operations to meet changing regulatory requirements and student needs.

U-Check Screening

We continue to follow the direction of government and public health authorities to help keep our community healthy. Due to provincial regulations and public health guidelines, COVID-19 health screening is now required for all members of our community, including faculty members, librarians, staff, and students, each day they visit any one of the three U of T campuses or any other property owned or operated by U of T.

There are two ways you can complete the required health screening and generate a risk status each time you come to U of T: by using an online system called UCheck to conduct a self-assessment, or by completing a paper-based or offline assessment log. UCheck is available on your phone, computer, or tablet. More details on how to use UCheck, including how we are keeping your health screening private, are available at

If you would prefer to complete an offline or paper-based assessment, please inform me via email and I will provide you with the required form. 

In addition to completing required health screening prior to attending work in person,  the Governing Council of the University of Toronto has approved a Policy on Non-Medical Masks or Face Coverings, which is accompanied by a Joint Provostial and Human Resources Guideline on Non-Medical masks. Non-medical masks or face coverings are required to be worn indoors on University property, subject to limited exceptions. There are positive health impacts of using a non-medical mask or face covering to slow the rate of COVID-19 community transmission. The Policy and Guideline are among the many steps U of T is taking to support our community efforts to address the pandemic.

Final Reminders

We are doing everything we can to ensure your safety upon your return. In the event that you and your family require health and wellness support, the University’s Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) is available for you. Individuals can contact Homewood Health through its website or by phone toll-free, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to book appointments or access any EFAP services.

  • Toll Free English:1.800.663.1142
  • Toll Free French: 1.866.398.9505
  • TTY: 1.888.384.1152
  • Services are available in multiple languages – when you call, let them know which language you would prefer to communicate in (including point of contact, translation of documents, counselling services and interpreters)

Upon your return to the physical workspace, should you have any concerns, please report them directly to me, and I will work to resolve them.

If, you experience any COVID-19 related symptoms (cough, fever, difficulty breathing), you should not report to the physical workspace. If this occurs, please use UCheck to conduct a self-assessment or complete a paper-based or offline assessment log. Once complete, follow the instructions for either a red or green screening status, as applicable. 

If you have any questions about the reopening plan, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me and we can arrange a time to speak before you back to your physical University workspace.

All the best,


Professor Rafael Gomez
Director of the Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resources
University of Toronto