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Responding to Cases on Campus

When a case is reported to Ryerson, it is tracked, monitored and assessed for three primary purposes:

  • to assess and manage possible risk to community members;
  • to assist public health agencies in contact tracing;
  • to prevent any potential spread of COVID-19.

In deciding whether or not to communicate a confirmed or probable COVID-19 case on campus, Ryerson University considers:

  • confirmed risk to the health and safety of the Ryerson community
  • the direction of local public health agencies

If an individual has COVID-19 or is suspected to have COVID-19, unless informed otherwise by public health, the sharing of personal health information is strictly limited to Ryerson staff who need to know this information for the purposes outlined here. 

A confirmed case is a person with laboratory confirmation of SARS-CoV-2 infection based on a validated test approved by Health Canada performed at a hospital or community or reference laboratory. 

A probable case is a person who has symptoms of COVID-19 and:

  • traveled to an affected area (including inside of Canada) in the 14 days prior to symptom onset; or 
  • had close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19; or 
  • lived in or worked in a facility known to be experiencing an outbreak of COVID-19; or 
  • in whom laboratory diagnosis of COVID-19 is inconclusive.

 In the event that Ryerson is notified of a confirmed case, responses by Ryerson include:

  1. An intake process by Ryerson’s biosafety officer (EHS) to confirm details of possible exposure on campus. 
  2. Investigating the details of the case reported.
  3. If risk of exposure occurred, communicating with impacted students, staff and faculty.
  4. Cleaning and disinfection of potentially affected spaces on campus.

An outbreak would be declared when two or more laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases with an epidemiological link are identified in the workplace, institution or school (e.g., same class, same work area, same shift or activity, etc.) within a 14-day period where both cases could have reasonably acquired their infection in the same space. 

Ryerson’s response to an outbreak will include following all public health directives and may also include:

  1. An intake process by Ryerson’s biosafety officer to confirm details of possible exposure on campus.
  2. In consultation with Toronto Public Health, investigating the details of the cases reported.
  3. Restrictions or closures of impacted facilities and activities.
  4. If risk of exposure occurred, communicating with impacted students, staff and faculty.
  5. Cleaning and disinfecting.
  6. Ensuring continuity of teaching, learning and research.
  7. Ensuring the continuity of safe housing.
  8. Considerations for modifying other support services on campus.

Probable cases of individuals working or learning remotely are not required to be reported and tracked centrally as there is no risk to the Ryerson community. 

For remote activities, individuals should contact their supervisor or instructor/coach if their illness affects their work or academic studies.

When a probable case of an individual who has been on campus is reported, Ryerson is tracking, monitoring and assessing the risks to community members for each case to ensure we manage the case to prevent any potential spread of COVID-19. This will include following the steps identified under “When a confirmed case has been identified on campus”.

When a landlord in a leased space notifies Ryerson of a positive case in their building, Ryerson:

  1. Assesses the notification to determine if further communication to advise of possible risk or exposure is required. 
    • In some cases, the landlords explicitly advise whether or not further action is required by Ryerson, including advising Ryerson community members of possible risk.  
  2. If Ryerson receives a notification from a landlord without explicit direction, Ryerson will follow its own assessment process. As part of this, identified Ryerson leased space contacts may be contacted to assist in identifying any potential risk to individuals who may have been in our leased spaces on the same date as the reported positive case
  3. Where a risk of exposure may exist (or the assessment is not able to exclude a potential risk) notification is provided to impacted Ryerson community members as per our communication protocols.

Processes to assist Ryerson in contact tracing

To assist public health agencies in contact tracing, course lists and departmental attendance logs are maintained to ensure on-campus activities and individual tracking is available for case investigations. In the event that a public health agency advises Ryerson of a possible exposure on campus, the course lists, and departmental attendance logs are used to notify students, faculty, and staff of possible exposure. 

As part of this, faculty, staff and students are reminded that as we continue to work together to limit the spread of COVID-19 and keep our community safe, visits to campus should be only as required.