COVID-19: How to Work Safely Inside an Occupied Residence

This guideline was developed by Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) for all employees who are required to work inside an occupied unit in the student residence (e.g., East Townhouses) and the family housing sites (e.g., College Avenue and Wellington Woods), in order to prevent transmission of COVID-19 between the employees and the occupants.

  • If you feel sick, stay home, DO NOT come to work and inform your supervisor.
  • If you become sick while at work, STOP working, isolate yourself from others, inform your Supervisor and go home as soon as possible, avoiding public transportation and taking measures to protect others around you. 
  • If you had a close contact with a person suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 in the past 14 days, DO NOT come to work and inform your supervisor. 

If you are worried that you were exposed to COVID-19 or have symptoms, take the Public Health Ontario COVID-19 self-assessment for guidance on next steps OR visit an assessment centre near you to get tested. For a complete list of COVID-19 related symptoms, refer to the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 Reference Document for Symptoms.


Prior to starting the work, check if anyone inside the unit is self-isolating

  • Review the “Student Housing Work Order” and/or communicate with the Campus Police to determine if anyone inside the unit is self-isolating. 
  • The precautionary measures listed in this document must be strictly and meticulously followed if anyone inside the unit has reported to be self-isolating. However, these measures are recommended for all circumstances that require an entry to an occupied residence.


What to bring

  • In addition to the tools, parts and/or equipment required for the job, take the following with you: 
    • Supplied cleaners / disinfectants
    • Disposable gloves for use in cleaning / disinfection
    • Hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol (optional)
    • Non-medical face masks


Hand hygiene 

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds immediately before you enter the unit and immediately after you leave the unit.
  • Dry your hands with a paper towel.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
Hand washing with water and soap

Physical distancing from the occupant 

  • Immediately after knocking on the front door or ringing the doorbell, take a few steps back to stay at least 2 metres away from the occupant who opens the door.
  • Instruct the occupant (and the other occupants) in the unit to maintain at least 2-metre distance from you for entire duration of the work
  • If the work needs to be conducted in a room, you and the occupant should not be present in the same room as it is difficult to maintain a safe distance from each other. Kindly ask the occupant to leave the room until the work is finished.
Physical Distancing at least 2 metres between people

Respiratory etiquette when coughing or sneezing

  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand.
  • Dispose of any tissues used as soon as possible in a waste bin and wash your hands afterwards.
Person covering their nose and mouth with a tissue

Clean/disinfect the work surfaces before and after the work 

  • Immediately before the work begins, clean / disinfect the work surfaces that you are going to touch, using supplied cleaners / disinfectants, including the tools, tables, doorknobs, light switches, faucet handles, cabinet handles, etc.
  • Immediately after the work is finished, clean or disinfect the work surfaces that you have touched.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines on the use of the cleaning/ disinfection products and wear disposable gloves if needed (e.g., to avoid irritation on your skin). Follow appropriate steps to take off gloves in order to avoid skin contact with the outside of the gloves. 
  • Always wash your hands immediately after removing the gloves or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
Cleaning and disinfecting a surface with a cloth, while wearing gloves

Wear a non-medical mask 

  • When worn properly, a person wearing a non-medical mask can reduce the spread of his or her own infectious respiratory droplets. Non-medical masks do not provide complete protection against viral particles because of a potential loose fit and the materials used. 
  • Review and follow the Public Health’s instruction video on “How to wear a non-medical mask or face covering properly”. 
  • All employees entering an occupied residence should wear a non-medical mask. 
  • Follow the Public Health guideline on the use of non-medical masks, including the precautions below: 
    • Consistently and strictly adhere to hand hygiene, physical distancing, and respiratory etiquette as described above as the mask alone will not prevent the spread of COVID-19.
    • Wash hands immediately before putting it on and immediately after taking it off (in addition to practicing good hand hygiene while wearing it).
    • Individuals should be careful not to touch their eyes, nose and mouth when removing their mask and wash hands immediately or use hand sanitizer after removing. 
    • When removing the mask, grasp the ties or ear loops carefully without touching the front of the mask.
      Cover your nose and mouth with the mask.
    • Make sure the mask fits snugly but comfortably against the side of the face.
    • Do not share the mask with others.
    • Avoid touching the mask while using it.
    • For a disposable mask, discard it, replace it as soon as it gets damp, soiled, or crumpled. Dispose of the mask properly in a lined garbage bin.
Person wearing a non-medical mask