Face Masking Policy
The entire University community is focused on maintaining a safe and healthy environment on campus, preserving the educational experience, and communicating any updates and new information. The University’s frequently asked questions on Masks shares that “In high-density indoor spaces (where physical distancing is not possible), the use of a medical mask is strongly encouraged. The University is a mask-friendly environment, and we ask everyone to respect each other’s decisions, comfort levels, and health needs. The University will continue to monitor public health conditions to adjust our response as needed, and we will update you on any changes.”
Current provincial recommendations include “Ontarians may consider wearing a tight-fitting, well-constructed mask in indoor public settings, especially anyone at higher risk of severe infection.”
Individuals must assess their risk profile to determine their personal circumstance and the risk they may pose to others. The choice to mask, if the risk profile is low, is a personal decision and we ask that individual decisions are treated with respect and support.
One of the Department of Physical Therapy’s strategic goals is to “Commit to working for transformative change on structural inequities and oppression, within the faculty, in our research and across the profession”. As such, the Department of Physical Therapy is committed to accessible and inclusive spaces; promoting the health, safety, and well-being of all persons and the economic, social, and well-being of the community.
As a standard of practice and following public health guidelines, if you have COVID-19, a cough or any symptoms of a respiratory illness of any kind, administer the Ontario Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 Self Assessment for recommendations of what to do next. Stay home until you have no fever and symptoms are improving for at least 24 hours (or 48 hours for gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting and/or diarrhea) and you must wear a mask in all public settings for 10 days following the onset of your symptoms.
Toronto Public Health recommends that you continue to practice prevention measures. These include hand washing and physical distancing, where possible. Toronto Public Health also recommends wearing a well-fitted, high-quality mask when in indoor public settings, especially if they are crowded or have poor ventilation, or if you are around people who are at higher risk (such as seniors or those with a weak immune system). Masks are especially recommended for people at higher risk of getting seriously sick from COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses.
As a part of its commitment, the Department of Physical Therapy has adopted a masking policy to comply with provincial regulations, Toronto Public Health recommendations, and the University of Toronto guidelines to address the risks to health and safety posed by respiratory illnesses such as COVID-19 in an effective, efficient, and flexible manner.
We encourage you to consider the concept of mask mirroring and how this might be incorporated into your practice. Mask mirroring is defined as reciprocating the mask-wearing behavior of patients, with the intent to respect patients' choices and alleviate their potential concerns and anxieties. During your time with the MScPT program, there may be certain situations where mask mirroring is also appropriate (e.g., small enclosed spaces with poor ventilation, close contact with others, or when a community volunteer with medical vulnerabilities is present).
Large Teaching Spaces (e.g., Room 140)
Masking is at the discretion of the individual, unless there is a student, patient or an instructor who requests the group to mask.
Small Group Rooms
Masking is at the discretion of the individuals within the group, unless there is a student, patient or an instructor who requests the group to mask.
Clinical Skills Lab
Masking is no longer required in the clinical skills lab and any location, such as small group rooms, when engaging in clinical skills practice/exams, unless masking is part of the clinical skill (e.g., suctioning), or unless there is a student, patient or an instructor who requests the group to mask.
Masking is at the discretion of the individual.
The Department of Physical Therapy will continue to make masks available for activities related to teaching and learning within the MScPT Program for a student, patient or an instructor who requests a mask.
This guideline is meant to be a fluid document that will need to be regularly reviewed and responsive to the ongoing changes within our environments.
NOTE: During learning opportunities within the clinical environments students are obliged to comply with the Masking Guidelines of the facility they are in.
- COVID-19 Information for University of Toronto Students
- University of Toronto frequently asked questions
- Ontario Protection from COVID‑19 and other respiratory illnesses Guidelines
- COVID-19: What to Do if you have COVID-19
- University of Toronto; COVID-19 GENERAL WORKPLACE GUIDELINE (GWG)
- Toronto Public Health COVID-19 Guidelines