COVID-19 - FAQs for Student Wellness Services

(updated September 30, 2020)

YES.  Student Health Services remains open. To find out more about booking an appointment, including our hours of operation, visit the Health Services website.  We have changed the format for most of our appointments to reduce the risk of exposure and transmission of COVID-19.

Please be aware of the following:

  • Students are asked to call Student Health Services before coming to the JT Powell Building so the best form of appointment can be arranged for you.  For most booked appointments (including appointments with our Registered Dietitian, Lindzie O'Reilly) we are now converting the format to a telephone or video call.  For appointments that are deemed essential (with input from your doctor), we will continue to see you in-person to provide the care needed. 
  • Appointments for issues that can be safely delayed for a number of weeks (again with input from your doctor) may be cancelled and rebooked when regular clinical services resume at Student Health Services.
  • If you would like to cancel your appointment, please do so, by calling 519-824-4120 x 52131.
  • If you feel you need to be seen in-person please let us know.

Unless you are notified that you need to come into the clinic personally for your appointment, your appointment format has been changed and you will be contacted by your physician through phone call or video call at the scheduled appointment time.

If you are having an in-person appointment, please be aware you will be screened for possible symptoms related to COVID-19 at multiple stages.  Please be honest and upfront about any symptoms or exposure history you may have, in order to reduce any unknown exposure to our staff at a time when we are trying to keep our staff as healthy and available as we can.

If you have questions about what to do about possible symptoms or any other questions about your medical care, please call us and ask to speak with a nurse, who will help you figure out the most appropriate course of action.

Just like online shopping or email, Virtual Care has some inherent privacy and security risks that your health information may be intercepted or unintentionally disclosed.  We want to make sure that you understand this before we proceed.  In order to improve privacy and confidentiality, you should also take steps to participate in the virtual care encounter in a private setting and should not use an employer’s or someone else’s computer/device as they may be able to access your information.

If it is determined that you need a physical exam, you may still need to be assessed in person.  You should also understand that virtual care is not a substitute for attending the Emergency Department if urgent care is needed.

By providing your information to use for the telephone or video call, you agree to let us collect, use, or disclose your personal health information through video or audio communications (while following applicable privacy laws) in order to provide you with care.  In particular, the following means of electronic communication may be used:  or by video call (doxy.me or OTN - Ontario Telemedicine Network).

If your appointment is arranged as a telephone appointment, please be prepared to answer your phone at the time of the appointment.  You will see NO CALLER ID or the University phone number.  If your appointment is arranged to be through OTN, you will receive, before the visit, an E-invite with instructions on how to test your device and how to connect at the time of the visit.

If you think you have symptoms of COVID-19:

Individuals with compatible symptoms that are MILD or MODERATE should be advised to:

1. Get tested for COVID-19.
2. Use a face covering or mask when you are on the way to get a test or visit a hospital.
3. Except for testing, stay home for 14 days from the date you began experiencing symptoms if you test positive.
4. Tell people you have been in close physical contact with (< 2 metres, > 15 min) in the 2 days before your symptoms started to self-isolate
5. Monitor your symptoms. Most COVID-19 illnesses are mild. If you start to experience worsening symptoms, please call your family doctor or Student Health Services (students) at 519-824-4120 Ext. 52131 or Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000 to arrange an over-the-phone assessment if your symptoms are moderate.

If your symptoms are SEVERE and it is an emergency, please go to the emergency room or call 911

Yes. Information about Guelph's COVID-19 Assessment  (including location and operating hours) can be found on the Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health website.

As of Monday, September 21, the Student Health Services is also equipped to conduct COVID-19 testing for students only

Address: J.T Powell Building (enter at the first floor side entrance, next to Guelph Gryphons Athletic Centre)

Hours: Monday-to-Thursday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Following Provincial testing guidance we are testing students with at least one symptom from the COVID-19 Reference Document of Symptoms AND asymptomatic contacts of a confirmed case within 14 days from their last exposure or notification from the COVID Alert app.

Asymptomatic testing will also be done for students as part of outbreak investigations or if eligible for testing as part of a targeted testing initiative directed by the Ministry of Health or the Ministry of Long-Term Care (eg visitors to Long Term Care Facilities). 

Please help us conserve our resources to those who most need it by ONLY booking a COVID test if you fit in one of these categories so that we can help keep campus safe for everyone. 

 Most importantly, a visit home for the weekend is not an indication for testing. If you are worried about transmitting COVID-19 to your family members please either re-schedule your visit or follow Public Health Ontario's self-isolation guide while there.  Also beware that a negative test can give a false sense of security because if you have been exposed you may be incubating the virus and might later become positive while at home.

The most important actions community members can take now to reduce the risk of infection and prevent the spread of any respiratory illness, including coronavirus COVID – 19 are to:

  • Practice social distancing - avoid social gatherings and crowds.  If you are around people outside your family, do your best to stay at least 2 metres away from them, and work from home if you are able.
  • Avoid travel - especially by air and outside of Canada.
  • Wear a non-medical mask or cloth face covering in indoor and outdoor public spaces where physical distancing is a challenge.  In Guelph, face coverings must be worn by any customer, patron, employee or visitor, who enters an establishment.
  • Download the COVID Alert app, to be notified if you have been in contact with anyone with COVID-19
  • Work from home or remotely as much as possible
  • Minimize travel and self-isolate for 14 days after all international travel
  • Get tested if you are worried you have or have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19
  • People of any age with certain underlying medical conditions are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. If you have a chronic medical condition see this awareness resource for more detailed advice
  • Follow usual best practices for hygiene, including:
    • wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the washroom and when preparing food
      • use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available
    • When coughing or sneezing:
      • cough or sneeze into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand
      • dispose of any tissues you have used as soon as possible in a lined waste basket and wash your hands afterwards
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
    • Frequently clean objects and surfaces that many people touch, such as doorknobs, phones and tv remotes, with regular household cleaners or diluted bleach (1 part bleach to 9 parts water)
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick

Counselling and mental health care including psychiatry will continue to be provided by Student Wellness either over the phone or through video.  Individuals can make appointments by calling Student Wellness (519-824-4120 x53244). Individuals who already have appointments with counselling will continue but will be done over the phone or through video if available. At this time, phone and video alternatives are a temporary measure to allow us to provide ongoing care and support as we respect the parameters of social distancing. 

Individuals seeking support who haven’t been seen in the past are able to set up virtual/telephone appointments with our Student Wellbeing Navigators.  Individuals can call Student Wellness to book an appointment (x53244).

Same-day appointments (Drop In) is available for urgent situations.  Please call (X53244) during our regular drop-in times (Monday - Friday, 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm).  You will be put in a queue for a counsellor to call you back.

Please ensure you are ready for your appointment at the time indicated and accept the call, which may come from either an unknown number or the University's number.

We will be using technologies that are deemed secure, however video and audio may be at increased security risk for being intercepted or disclosed to a third party.  To help keep your information safe and secure you can:

Understand that this method of communication is not secure in the same way as a private appointment in a counselling office.

If using video: Use a private computer/device (i.e., not an employer’s or third party’s computer/device) and a secure internet connection. For example, using a personal computer or tablet is more secure than at a library, and your access to the internet on your home network will generally be more secure than an open guest Wi-Fi connection.

Ensure you are in a private space where your conversation with the counsellor cannot be overheard.

You should also understand that virtual care is not a substitute for in-person communication or clinical examinations, where appropriate, nor for attending the Emergency Department when needed (including for any urgent care that may be required).

Urgent Access

24-hour/7-days a week mental health support lines available:

  • Here 24/7 at 1-884-437-3247
  • Good2Talk at 1-866-925-5454
  • HelpPhone at 1-800-668-6868, or if you prefer texting support, text UofG to 686868

Online Video Counselling is available through mywellness powered by Inkblot, and your Student Health Insurance Plan/any family benefits can help to cover the costs of this service. It would occur over the computer via a secure version of Skype and is more affordable than in-person counselling, which means your student benefits stretch even further and you don’t need to travel to a counsellor’s office. Your first session is free!

Online Self-Directed Supports and Resources:

App Supports

  • Woebot is an automated conversation agent that helps you monitor your mood and learn about yourself. Use the referral code: ONTARIO for the app to direct you to local resources, if needed.

Mindshift: CBT app for Anxiety Support: https://www.anxietycanada.com/articles/new-mindshift-cbt-app-gives-canadians-free-anxiety-relief

Staff/Faculty can call x53444 if you would like to consult with a counsellor regarding a student of concern.

As of Tuesday, June 9, 2020, the HPC will re-open its doors to the public with limited hours and limited practitioners in clinic. New protocols have been put in place and clients and patients are asked to familiarize themselves with these protocols before arriving for their appointment.  

HPC's Virtual Care Options page

Please note that appointments with Lindzie O'Reilly are offered through Student Health Services and will be conducted via phone during this time.

Students may call 519-824-4120 x53020 or email svinfo@uoguelph.ca for support. The Sexual Violence Support Coordinator will respond to arrange a telephone meeting.

SAS Exam Centre

The SAS Exam Centre is not invigilating tests and exams for the remainder of the W20 semester.

Midterms and final exams (W20)

Please monitor your U of G email for updates from your professors. If your course is on CourseLink, updates may also be posted there.

Accommodations for online tests and exams

SAS will notify students who have existing accommodations about the process for online tests and exams via their U of G email account.

We expect extra time will be made available for online tests and exams based on students’ current accommodations. We are working on a process to notify your professors of what is required.

There may be some limitations around adaptive software (e.g. Jaws, ZoomText, Kurzweil or Dragon) and the virtual proctoring software used for online exams. Students who may be affected will receive additional information.

If in-person assistance is required in order to use a particular accommodation, it may be necessary to defer the test or exam until the SAS Exam Centre resumes normal operations.

Deferred exams from previous semesters

Please contact your program counsellor if you have an outstanding deferred exam from a previous semester. If you require additional supporting documentation related to a disability that is known to SAS, please contact your SAS advisor.

Deferred exams for the current semester

There may be an increased number of students seeking a deferred exam as a result of a disability-related concern this semester. Assistance will be provided to students who have registered with SAS – please contact your Advisor.

This service is to help supplement the learning of students with disabilities who are in class and experience a barrier to taking their own notes. It is not an appropriate substitute for attending class (e.g. for students who are sick).

Students who are registered with SAS and have access to note taking as a disability-related accommodation can continue to access the note taking portal for classes up until March 13. Problems can be addressed to sasnotes@uoguelph.ca.

Volunteers are asked to continue to provide notes if there are lectures that are live streamed for any of their courses.

For most online learning, volunteer note taking is not necessary as the content is usually provided in text format alongside audio/visual formats. If you experience a disability that prevents you from accessing online content, please contact your SAS Advisor.

If you experience a routine, short-term illness (including colds, the flu, and most people with symptoms of COVID-19), you do not need to register with SAS. Follow the regular procedures for missed academic work due to illness:

  • Contact your professor for in-course tests, exams and assignments,
  • Contact your program counsellor for final exams or deadlines that you cannot meet before the semester is over.

If you experience complications due to COVID-19, such as those resulting from another pre-existing health condition, then you may need to register with SAS for on-going support.

In addition, SAS supports all other types of disabilities, both permanent and temporary. This includes mental health conditions, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), learning disabilities, chronic medical conditions, concussions and other brain injuries, mobility and dexterity impairments, and vision and hearing impairments.

Students can initiate the process of registering with SAS by filling out the New Student Intake Form found on our website.

Supporting Documentation

Students who register with SAS will be asked to provide supporting documentation from an appropriate health care professional. Look for Documentation Guidelines on our website under First time with SAS for more information.

Flexibility around deadlines

If there is a disability-related reason you cannot meet an academic deadline, please contact your SAS Advisor for assistance.

Adaptive software and alternate format text

If you need assistance with adaptive software or alternate format text, please contact Library Accessibility Services.

Appointments with an SAS advisor

SAS will continue to offer one-on-one appointments for students during regular business hours. This service is now being offered over the phone or online. If you have an appointment, please email your phone number to your SAS Advisor.

Prospective students

Students who have applied to the University of Guelph but not yet started their degree may request an appointment with an SAS Advisor. These appointments provide general information about the types of disability-related supports and accommodation available on campus. Call x56208 or email sas@uoguelph.ca. We will be conducting these appointments over the phone or online.

SAS Advisor Drop-in

Advisors continue to be available most days from 10:00 to 11:30 for drop-in. Please email your SAS Advisor with your contact information if you have a time-sensitive concern.

SAS advisors who are away

All SAS Advisors have made contingency plans for a colleague to cover their caseload for urgent situations if they are away. If you are not sure who to contact, please call x56208 or email sas@uoguelph.ca.

Response time to email

SAS Advisors make a best effort to respond to email within one business day. However, during busy times it can take 2 to 3 business days.

If you have a time-sensitive academic concern, please review your course outline for suggestions about what to do. If appropriate, you may then email your professor and copy your SAS Advisor. If there is additional context you wish to share with your SAS Advisor, you may also email them privately.

When asking for assistance from your SAS Advisor by email, please be sure to explain how your disability is related to the current situation, and provide specific details about the relevant courses and deadlines.

Programs and services (Student Support Network) are not currently operating.  Will update as required.   

Can I meet with the staff? 

The Wellness Education & Promotion Centre staff are working remotely from home and are happy to connect with peers, volunteers and academic practicum students online via email.  

Can I meet with my UShine peer mentor? 

You can email your UShine peer mentor to connect online. 

Student Support Network (SSN) Interviews

The interviews for fall winter 2020/21 SSN volunteers will take place on Saturday March 21 and Sunday March 222020. Successful applicants will have received a Webex interview invitation and an email with instructions on how to use Webex. If you did not receive this invitation or email or if you have any questions, please email Melanie Bowman mbowman@uoguelph.ca prior to your interview time.  

Student Support Network (SSN) Course 3190 & 4190 

Each course assignment (Journals, Threshold Concepts, and Final Letter) will be due one week after the deadlines posted on Courselink. If you require further accommodation, we are happy to work with you. We know this is a challenging time and if we can help alleviate some stress please let us know. For any support with the course, please email Melanie Bowman at mbowman@uoguelph.ca  

*Use Courselink to submit your journal assignment, do not drop off hard copies of your work*   

  • Gryphon Family website -  A collection of resources that can help our Gryphon family thrive during these unprecedented times. Student Affairs has created this website to help make school life, work life and home life a bit easier during COVID-19.
  • Finding your SHINE amid COVID-19: Mental well-being tips and strategies - Student Wellness has put together these important strategies to help you SHINE through these uncertain times.
  • Pharmacy services on campus - Please note that the UC Pharmacy remains open Monday - Friday, 10:00 am - 4:00 pm daily. Please note that while the University Centre is now closed, the UC Pharmacy is still open. For students and patients needing to pick up a prescription or other supplies, please call the pharmacy at 519-763-7773 to be let into the UC building via the EAST SIDE automatic door.
  • Meal Ideas - Student Wellness Dietitian, Lindzie O'Reilly, has created these simple meal ideas that support social distancing - a great tool for everyone, not just students!