Campus Operating Guidelines

The health and safety of the students, faculty, staff, volunteers, and guests who are a part of the Queen’s community is the university’s priority. These guidelines are intended to support a safe experience for the Queen’s community.

Queen’s operations are to align with Ontario moving into a modified Step Two of its Roadmap to Reopen for at least 21 days (until January 26, 2022). 

Where discrepancies exist between the Campus Operating Guidelines and the Roadmap to Reopen directives, the Provincial directives apply. 

New directives for the Queen's Research community are also available.

For those very limited academic activities that continue in person this January, comprehensive safety measures are in place to ensure students can meet the academic requirements of their program. 

Note that those faculty, staff and students in clinical programs or accessing hospitals must adhere to the requirements and standards set by the Faculty of Health Sciences and the hospitals, which may be different than those in these Guidelines.

Queen's Safe Return Website

Common Spaces/Areas

Common spaces and areas include lobbies, hallways, stairwells, restrooms, elevators, lunchrooms, break areas, etc. 

Custodial Support Services will disinfect frequently touched surfaces in common areas. Surfaces not in common areas, such as individual office doors knobs, must be disinfected by occupants

Individuals are required to wear a face covering in all indoor common areas and classrooms. Further details and exceptions are outlined in the Guidelines for Individuals Returning to Campus, section 5


Units are not strictly defined. Rather, it is at the discretion of the faculty or department to define their unit(s). For example, two teams working on the same floor may choose to define themselves as one unit.

  1. Practice physical distancing of 2 metres/6 feet.
  2. Frequent hand washing is one of the most effective prevention measures.
  3. Anyone exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms should not come to campus.
  4. Limit interacting groups to cohorts of no more than allowed under the provincial regulations or as permitted to provide for 2 metre physical distancing, whichever is less - continue with virtual meetings.
  5. Individuals are required to wear a face covering in all indoor spaces including in their own workspace (exceptions are outlined in the Guidelines for Individuals Returning to Campus, section 5), in university vehicles and in common areas such as lobbies, hallways, stairwells, restrooms, elevators, etc. 
  6. Frequent cleaning and disinfecting of high-touch surfaces.
  7. Self-isolation as per public health guidance.

Where possible employees should continue working remotely to decrease density on campus and mitigate the exposure of those whose work requires them to be on campus. 

With the phased return to campus, appropriate health and safety measures must be put in place. In addition to these Guidelines, please refer to Ontario COVID-19 Response Framework which provide information on regional health measures and sector-specific public health and workplace safety measures. The hierarchy of controls to identify the best practices for controlling a person’s exposure to COVID-19 is shown below. It highlights that the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) is the last line of defense in protecting employees against potential exposure.

Hierarchy of Control in a Pandemic

The top level of the pyramid addresses elimination of risk by limiting the number of people in the workplace. Elimination of risk is addressed by way of Queen’s plans for a phased return to campus through a gradual, rotational or periodic return to campus. 

Engineering controls, the next level of protection, are required if physical distancing isn’t possible. This includes adjusting the physical layout and utilization of workspaces, control of traffic flow, physical barriers, etc. 

The third level of protection is administrative controls which provide procedures and processes to reduce exposures and includes resources such as these guidelines and checklists, signage and posters, alterations to work methods, public health measures, and cleaning and disinfecting procedures. 

As previously noted, when the above levels of control are not sufficient to control risk of infection, the final level of protection is PPE. Non-medical cloth masks can reduce the spread of one’s own respiratory droplets. 

Adjustment to Physical Layout or Utilization of Workspaces

The Building Capacity and Protocols subgroup of the Campus Operations Group is responsible for mapping all building space on campus to provide building and departmental managers with the occupancy capacity for the spaces they manage. Information on the process to request an increase in room occupancy capacity (PDF, 116 KB) is available on the VPFA website.

Occupancy capacity is determined by the capacity of each individual space rather than the building as a whole. This includes guidelines for common spaces that are utilized by the regular occupants as well as those traversing through the building. The metrics governing physical layout and workplace occupancy under physical distancing guidelines are:

  • Non-fixed seating areas (e.g. research labs): 1 person per 18.5 sqm.
  • Fixed seating areas (e.g. classrooms, office areas with fixed furniture placement): 2 metre physical separation.
  • Common spaces (e.g. corridors etc.) as per guidelines below

Measures for workspace modification may need to be considered to enable appropriate physical distancing and health and safety practices:

Move individual workspaces (cubicles, desks, lab benches) so they are at least 2 metres apart.

  • Where workstations cannot be separated by at least 2 metres, provide alternate means to ensure employees are at least 2 metres apart – for example:
    • Utilize every other desk, seat, or workstation.
    • Relocate employees to currently unoccupied rooms such as meeting rooms.
    • Consider flexible work arrangements with employees alternating days in the workspace.
    • Consider temporary “office hoteling” where employees do not use a regular assigned workspace but rather they reserve desk space for the days they are in the office, allowing for temporary use by different individuals. This will maximize office space; however, thorough sanitizing practices must be implemented with the employees disinfecting surfaces at arrival and before departure.
    • Barriers such as plexiglass shields should be installed where there are customer service points/face-to face interactions and where physical distancing cannot be maintained. A process for centrally identifying, procuring and installing barriers can be found here (PDF, 124 KB).

Where workstations or cubicles are adjacent to a corridor and where people will be moving through the space and physical distancing cannot be maintained for the person within the cubicle, there are a few options that can be considered in order of preference. These adjustments must be made prior to the individual returning to work within this space.

Preferred Options

  1. Departments need to continue to assess the need to be on site. If the work can be done from home, that remains the first consideration.
  2. Re-locate those that really need to be in the office to another location (perhaps an empty office area).

Alternate Options

  1. Where the person within the workstation faces the corridor or is in a position at 45 degrees to the corridor, the wall of the workstation between the corridor and the person should be raised to 2.1 m (7feet) to provide a barrier. Options to achieve this can include a taller divider wall or plexiglass.
  2. Where the person within the workstation sits parallel to the corridor, the height of the cubicle wall that is directly in front of the workstation should be a minimum of 1.5 m (5 feet) to mitigate risk and to provide separation from any adjacent workstations.

Please note that if the role of the individual involves transactional interactions with others regardless of the positioning with respect to the corridor, a barrier must be installed that is large enough to create an effective barrier between the breathing zones of the people on each side (from the individuals nose plus 12 inches).

It is required that people going through corridors wear masks and minimize stops in these spaces. Individuals working within the cubicle space do not need to wear a face covering while working within the space as long as they are appropriately physically distanced from others within the cubicle space.

We recognize that the layout of cubicles can pose a challenge. If you require additional guidance, please contact

Workstation layout to meet spacing requirements

Traffic Flow Control Measures 

Entrances and Exits

  • If multiple doors are not available for entrances and exits and the direction of flow cannot be managed, designate dedicated building entrances and exits with proper signage.
  • Where possible have controlled exit and entry points for offices with traffic flow arrows.
  • If your operations require a line up or congregations of patrons outside the establishment, you must ensure they maintain  a physical distance of at least two metres from other persons and wear a mask or face covering in a manner that covers their mouth, nose and chin.

Circulation Paths: Corridors, Hallways and Stairwells

  • Where appropriate physical distancing cannot be accomplished in main circulation paths such as narrow corridors and entryways, consider opportunities for designating the direction of foot-traffic. Good judgement should be exercised when determining directional routes, including giving consideration to accessibility issues. Similarly, circulation paths should not result in individuals having to spend a considerably greater amount of time in the corridor to reach their destination, potentially resulting in more people in the common space and increasing the risk of person to person contact.
  • University signage is available for supervisors to use in their specific departments and workspaces and to building managers for common spaces.
  • Floor decals are available to mark 2 metre spacing for physical distancing where queues could form (example: line for elevators, classrooms, washrooms etc.).
  • It is recommended that units review the building mapping information prior to installing directional signage.

Measures to Limit/Restrict Access to Common & Smaller Shared Spaces 

Kitchenettes, Lounges, Break Rooms and Meeting Spaces 

  • Limit occupancy in these spaces to the assessed total or provincial guidelines, whichever is the most restrictive, and provide signage.
  • Stagger lunch/break times to minimize opportunity for transmission.
  • Shared appliances such as refrigerators, microwaves, kettles, coffee makers, toaster ovens, and water coolers will need to be disinfected by employees.

Common Spaces Used for Programmatic Purposes 

Capacity should be determined for common areas when they are used for programmatic purposes (e.g. Goodes Hall Commons). Signage may be required to reroute regular pedestrian traffic from these areas when they are being used for programming.


  • If a safe physical distance cannot be maintained in a multi-stall washroom, then it should be considered single use. For example, if there is not enough clearance from point of entry to allow an individual to pass safely by another at the sink to a stall, then it should be considered single use.

Meeting Rooms/Recommended Meeting Procedures

  • Visitors attending campus must complete the university’s COVID-19 Assessment.
  • Any in-person meetings must comply with public health guidelines. For face-to-face meetings, mark certain seats as unavailable in meetings rooms in order to maintain 2 metre distancing.
  • Please bring your own white board markers.


  • Restrict elevator use to one person at a time, for accessibility reasons or for moving equipment.
  • Ensure appropriate signage for a single occupancy elevator (PDF, 114 KB) is posted. Stand aside as the individual exits the elevator to allow adequate physical distancing.


  • If seating cannot be moved to 2 metre distancing, then mark seats as unavailable.
  • Use directional signage for circulation where there are multiple entrances.
  • Use floor decals to encourage distancing when waiting to enter the classroom.

Clinical Spaces

  • Waiting rooms should be discouraged. Patients should be escorted into the facility when instructed to do so.
  • Clinics should consult with Public Health and their governing bodies with respect to seeing patients/clients where physical distancing is not possible.

Locations for purchasing masks on campus

Using Masks to Control the Spread of COVID-19

Used correctly, masks help control the spread of COVID-19.  To be effective a mask should:

·        fit securely to the head with ties or ear loops

·        maintain their shape after washing and drying

·        be made of at least two layers of tightly woven material (such as cotton or linen)

·        be large enough to completely and comfortably cover the nose and mouth without gaping[1]

Masks are especially important in situations where you can't maintain proper physical distancing measures of 2 metres (6 feet). For more information on masks, including how to wear and clean your mask(s), please see the KFL&A Public Health website.

The following guidelines outline masking requirements for the Queen’s University Kingston campus that align with the reopening Ontario regulations. These guidelines are subject to change. Please note that additional rules on masking based on vaccination status may be required.

Mask requirements for indoor areas:

Individuals are required to wear a mask at all times when they are indoors on campus. This includes:

·        Classrooms, libraries, lecture halls, and other teaching/learning spaces such as labs;

·        While in university vehicles with other occupants; and

·        While in common areas such as lobbies, hallways, stairwells, meeting rooms, restrooms, and elevators.  

Some programs may require the wearing of medical-grade masks and/or full personal protective equipment (PPE).

Mask requirements for outdoor areas:

On campus, masks are recommended outdoors if individuals are not able to maintain a
two-metre physical distance from non-household members.

Masking is required for outdoor events on campus, regardless of distancing.

Exceptions to the requirement to wear a mask apply only in the following circumstances:

1.       For employees in the workplace:

·         in areas that are not accessible to members of the public;


·        where working alone in an office or in a cubicle that is at least two metres away from the nearest occupied workstation.


·        where they are in a workspace less than two metres from the nearest occupied workspace, and there is a barrier between the individuals that is more than 1.5 metres in height. When working in an open workstation and standing, a mask must be worn.


·        when travelling alone in a university vehicle.

Note: Masks may be removed temporarily when actively eating or drinking in departmental lunch/lounges/break rooms that are not accessible to the public where individuals are separated by a distance of at least two metres at all times.

2.      In class:

·        Direction is provided in the Fall 2021 Protocols for In-Person Classes on the Kingston Campus.

3.      In residences:

·        Direction is provided in the Residence Community Standards along with guidance on physical distancing.

4.      While eating and drinking on campus

·        Individuals who are seated within a dining hall or at designated seating for a retail food outlet location must follow guidance provided by Hospitality Services. Signage is posted to outline the requirements.

·        Eating and drinking in class are not permitted.

·        Eating and drinking in common areas of Queen’s libraries is not permitted. 

·        Eating and drinking should be minimized while in a common indoor area (e.g., lobbies, hallways, stairwells, meeting rooms, and elevators), with masks removed only while the food and drink are actively being consumed, and proper physical distancing maintained.  Individuals are encouraged to eat and drink outdoors or in designated eating areas whenever possible.

5.      When participating in on-campus athletics

·        Direction is provided on the Queen’s University Athletics and Recreation website

Accommodations for Employees and Students

Employees: who cannot wear a mask due to one or more of the exemptions found within the regulations should speak to their manager and contact Return to Work and Accommodation Services.


o       For information about classroom accommodations, please refer to the Fall 2021 Protocols for In-Person Classes on the Kingston Campus.

o       For non-classroom situations, when someone cannot wear a mask due to one or more of the exemptions found within the regulations, students needing medical accommodations for mask wearing should email

When providing services to an individual who is not wearing a mask:

There may be times when, to provide services, employees are required to come within two metres of an individual who is not wearing a mask, and employees are not separated from the individual by plexiglass or some other impermeable barrier. In these cases, a medical grade mask and eye protection should be worn. The recommended eye protection is, in order of eye protection level: goggles, safety glasses that wrap around your eyes or a face shield. Employees should speak to their manager if they feel additional protection may be required.

For more information:

·        Employees, students and visitors can visit the Queen’s Safe Return website.

·        Employees, students and visitors can visit KFL&A Public Health

·        Students can speak with their instructors.

·        Managers can speak with Human Resources.

·        Employees may contact Return to Work and Accommodation Services for requests related to accommodations.

Disposable non-woven masks are available for purchase at the Kingston campus in various locations and these masks meet the standards set by the Public Health Agency of Canada.


Queen's to require COVID-19 vaccinations

The following guidelines are provided for individuals who have been granted permission to return to campus to resume their activities: 

1. Self-monitor (PDF, 581 KB) for symptoms of COVID-19.

2. Individuals who are experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, have had contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the past 14 days, or have been instructed by local public health authorities to self-isolate due to their travel or contact history should not come to campus and use the Ontario COVID-19 self-assessment tool which will provide recommendations on what to do next. Should you be required to self-isolate or if you are quarantined, follow the steps outlined on the Human Resources (HR) website.

The university does not require testing for individuals returning to campus, however, using the provincial testing criteria as the framework (PDF, 167 KB), those with any COVID-19 symptoms or who are concerned that they have been exposed to COVID-19 should follow the guidance of the provincial and local public health authorities.

3. All individuals on campus are expected to adhere to all health and safety directives imposed by local and provincial public health, and the provincial and federal government including:

  • Practicing proper hand hygiene by washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and/or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Practicing physical distancing by staying 2 metres (6 feet) away from others, whenever possible.
  • Limiting the number of individuals at gatherings to no more than allowed under the provincial regulations or as permitted to provide for 2 metre physical distancing, whichever is less.
  • Avoid touching your mouth, eyes, and nose with your hands.
  • Using proper coughing and sneezing etiquette (PDF, 4.9 MB).
  • Ensure your immunizations are up-to-date, including influenza and COVID-19.
  • Disinfect high-touch surfaces frequently.

4. All individuals on campus are expected to adhere to all health and safety directives put in place by the university as described in this guideline (e.g. mandatory face coverings, abide by directional signage, don’t enter spaces that are marked closed, etc.)

5. Face Coverings:

Please refer to the COVID-19 Masking Guidelines

6.  Eye Protection:

In instances where staff are providing service

  • to individuals that are unmasked


  • you cannot maintain the 2-metre physical distance


  • your current protocol does not involve a plexiglass shield between you and the individual

then it is required that a procedure/surgical mask and eye protection be worn. The recommended eye protection is, in order of eye protection level: a face shield, or goggles, or safety glasses that wrap around your eyes. 

7. Supervisors, employees, and students should familiarize themselves with the passive and active monitoring guidelines. Faculties and departments must ensure that each day prior to accessing facilities, employees complete the screening assessment module in the SeQure App which can be downloaded from the Campus Security and Emergency Services web page. An on-line web version of the COVID-19 Screening Assessment is also available for those unable to use the App.

Faculties and Departments must ensure that employees are completing the screening assessment using either the App or the on-line version. A paper version of the screening assessment is also available if required. Employees must submit the written version to their supervisor prior to accessing the facilities if they do not use the app or on-line version.

The only exception to the SeQure App process is if a faculty or a department have in place an alternate screening assessment process that has been reviewed and approved for use by the university. Please contact your Faculty of Department should you have any questions about which screening assessment tool you should be completing.

8. Managers/Supervisors are required to maintain records of all employees, students and other individuals in their unit who are accessing their facilities. Information recorded must include name, date, location attended and personal phone number. This is essential for providing information to the public health unit if requested to assist them with their contact tracing.

9. Employees should familiarize themselves with important resource information found on the HR website:

A core public health infection prevention and control principle for reopening a facility is the monitoring and identification of illness. This will be accomplished at Queen’s university through a combination of passive and active monitoring strategies.

Passive Monitoring

Passive Monitoring will be achieved through signage on campus that will provide a clear and visible reminder to all individuals entering the building to not enter the facility if they are exhibiting any symptoms of COVID-19 and to practice the required public health measures such as physical distancing, hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette, etc., when in the facility.

The signage that will be deployed is as follows:

  • Building entrance signage
    • Symptom monitoring poster
    • Public health procedures poster
  • Hand washing posters in bathrooms
  • Physical distancing posters for common areas including reception areas, lunch and breakrooms
  • Respiratory Etiquette poster
  • Hand sanitizing posters
  • Elevator and washroom access posters.
  • Directional signage for guide people flow within buildings

For research facilities, a specific Safety Protocol Poster for entrances to the location has been provided through the Vice-Principal Research Office to be posted at the entrance to the research facility.

Active Monitoring

The intent of active monitoring is to reduce the potential for illness spread by identifying potential cases to ensure they are managed.

As part of a start-up plan, facilities or departments will need to implement active monitoring measures that may include some of the following recommended practices to inquire if employees are exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms:

  • Regular in-person check-ins with employees
  • Regular email check-ins with employees
  • Regular virtual check-ins with employees (using zoom or team meetings)
  • Encouragement of employee peer-to-peer check-ins while on-site.

The check-ins would entail a person overseeing the space or the employees or their designate asking simple questions to employees as to whether they are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19. Information on COVID-19 symptoms is available through the KFL&A Public Health website.

Employees should also be encouraged to monitor for symptoms, including the measuring of temperature if they have the means, while they are at home.

In the event someone indicates they are exhibiting symptoms they should be advised to not physically attend the workplace or leave the workplace immediately and follow the response steps outlined on the HR COVID-19 webpage.

If you are notified that one of your employees has tested positive for COVID-19, contact Dan Langham (Director, Environmental Health & Safety) immediately by email ( or by phone (613-533-6000 ext.74980). For after-hours or in the event you are not able to reach Dan, contact the Emergency Report Centre at 613-533-6111 and ask to be connected with him. Dan Langham will coordinate next steps under the direction of Public Health and in consultation with the appropriate university stakeholders.

Health Care or Health Sciences facilities may have different active screening protocols for individuals entering their spaces. These protocols must be adhered to.

Enhanced Precautions are required for students, faculty and staff, who:

  • are not fully vaccinated and have indicated on their vaccination status declaration form that they will be fully vaccinated by October 15; or 
  • who are seeking accommodation from the vaccination requirement under medical or religious/creed grounds through Human Resources or Student Wellness Services; or 
  • who have been granted an accommodation.

Enhanced Precautions are required for these individuals in addition to all pan-university health and safety requirements under the university’s COVID-19 Vaccination Policy, which includes daily screening.

Enhanced precautions for students, faculty and staff:

  • Mandatory twice-weekly rapid testing and disclosure of test results pursuant to the University’s testing procedures and protocols.
  • Use of take-out only from campus dining halls and food retail locations
  • No access to the Athletics & Recreation Centre, involvement in any Athletics & Recreation sanctioned programs or attendance at any sporting event.

Additional precautions for employees: 

  • Travelling in University vehicles alone.
  • Not eating meals or taking breaks in a shared space (e.g., conference room, lunchroom) with other individuals.
  • Must wear mask at all times regardless of proximity to others.

How long must these Enhanced Precautions be followed?

  • Until 14 days after the administration of the final dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. 

If you see someone on campus not following the university and/or Public Health COVID guidelines: 

  • As with any health and safety concern, if you are comfortable having a conversation with someone who is not following the protocols, you can do so. It may simply be a situation where the person was not aware or forgot and this could be a teachable moment.  We are all in this together and everyone could play a part.
  • For immediate intervention - Call Campus Security and Emergency Services – ext. 36111.
  • For less urgent situations - Contact the Department of Environmental Health & Safety – ext. 32999.

For concerns regarding the COVID related protocols in your work location or department: 

  • Following the internal responsibility system, you should raise the issue with your supervisor.
  • If the issue is not resolved, contact the Department of Environmental Health & Safety – ext. 32999.

For concerns regarding the COVID related protocols in locations where there are established monitoring processes (such as the ARC or the Libraries): 

  • Raise your concern with those that are in the monitoring role in those facilities.

For concerns regarding building infrastructure (hand sanitizer at building entrances, cleaning of spaces, refill of soap in washrooms, etc.)  

For concerns regarding contractors on campus: 

  • Contact Fixit – ext. 77301 or 613-533-6757 or After hours - call 613-533-6080
  • Facilities will address the on-campus requirements with the contractor’s personnel.

Confirmed COVID-19 exposures or confirmed COVID-19 cases on campus should be reported to the Department of Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) at or 613-533-2999.

Students and instructors, please refer to the Continuity of Education Plan.

For after-hours or in the event you are not able to reach EHS, contact the Emergency Report Centre at 613-533-6080 and ask to be connected with the Director of Environmental Health and Safety (Dan Langham). Dan Langham will coordinate next steps under the direction of Public Health and in consultation with the appropriate university stakeholders.

In order to support contact tracing by the Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington Public Health Unit (KFLAPH), the department will provide to EHS the name, phone number, staff or student number and email of the person. This will be provided to EHS in a password protected Word document.

The Director of Environmental Health and Safety will be the lead in contacting KFLAPH and will liaise between them and the department.

If needed, and as instructed by EHS, the department will provide the names and contact numbers for those identified by KFLAPH as contacts during the case and contact management process. That information will be sent in a password protected word document to EHS. The department will also be prepared to review the presence/activity of employees, students, volunteers, visitors and contractors in the department to identify other potential contacts of the identified case.

EHS, on the advice of KFLAPH, will provide the department an action plan in terms of next steps for a response, cleaning, further communications within the department, etc.

If the department is concerned about reports or information about potential cases connected to the department, the department will contact EHS to discuss and get guidance regarding the situation.

The department will be contacted by The Director of Environmental Health and Safety in the event that a positive case has been identified by KFLAPH as being connected with the department. EHS will lead the department through the processes listed above in support of case and contact management.