COVID-19 - 2019 Novel Coronavirus

Academics – Students COVID-19 FAQs

On this page:

Faculty and course instructors can find information specific to them on the Faculty and Academic Staff Relations COVID-19 FAQ page.

To help protect our community from COVID-19:

  • Courses resumed Monday, March 23, through an alternative delivery format of instruction (not face-to-face). Distance Education classes also resumed March 23.
  • The winter 2020 semester is extended for one week. The last day of class is April 9. The last day to drop courses is May 20. More information is in the FAQs below.
  • In courses where instructors are holding final exams, the exam will be conducted in a modified format.
  • U of G’s modified final exam period starts Monday, April 13 and ends no later than Wednesday, April 29.
  • Support will be offered to instructors to help in this transition. Instructors have decision-making discretion and options. They are encouraged to communicate with their deans and department chairs regarding this process.

Questions and concerns regarding changes to the remainder of Winter 2020 courses can be directed as follows:

  • If you have questions about the remainder of the academic year or are having difficulties with alternative delivery format courses, please see the FAQs below.
  • If you have questions specific to your course(s), including course material, assignments, exams or grade weightings, alternative delivery format and specific accommodations, please contact your instructor.
  • Undergraduate and Associate Diploma students: If you need to request deferred privileges for your course because you cannot complete a final term assignment, test or final exam, please contact a program counsellor in your degree program.

A move of this magnitude is new territory for U of G. We appreciate your patience as we adapt to this new method of delivery. More information will be added to these FAQs as it becomes available.

Course Delivery and Research

The circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic have led to significant changes in the structure and delivery of courses for the remainder of the Winter 2020 semester. Instructors have been authorized to make these adjustments, following University Policy and Procedures on Academic Continuity.

Information on supports available to help you with this new structure is available in the FAQs on this page.

Alternative delivery can mean something different for each class. It may mean students will view PowerPoint presentations or submit video assignments. Instructors will have more information for their students soon. Details will be available from your instructor and CourseLink.

Distance education courses resume March 23. A new exam schedule will be created to reflect this timing. Students will not be required to come to campus to write exams.

All students can return home with confidence that all remaining winter 2020 course requirements can be completed remotely. This includes international and domestic students who plan to fly home.

Consistent with public health policy and to promote physical distancing, the Office of Research urges, in the strongest terms, the significant scale back of research activities. Learn more on the Office of Research’s website.

Course Drop and Refunds

The last day to drop classes is Wednesday, May 20, 2020, after students have received their final grades.

The final three weeks of winter 2020 classes have moved to an alternative delivery format to allow students to complete the semester. As instruction is still available through these alternative delivery formats, tuition refunds will not be issued.

No refunds will be issued to students who decide to drop a course.

In line with U of G’s usual procedures, a student being investigated or found guilty of academic misconduct will be re-registered if they drop the course. Students can request academic consideration by contacting the program counsellor for their degree program.

Circumstances require the University to be flexible. We hope to have more information in the coming days.

Yes. All academic deadlines are currently being evaluated under the current circumstances and will be communicated as soon as possible.

Final Exams

The modified exam schedule will be available around April 3. U of G’s modified final exam period will start Monday, April 13 and end no later than Wednesday, April 29.

Yes. If an instructor has determined that a scheduled final exam is necessary to sufficiently assess learning outcomes, it will proceed. This applies to all modified exams and final assessments.

In courses where instructors are holding final exams, the exam will be conducted in a modified format (i.e., not face-to-face). Your instructor will be able to provide further information.

No. Understanding that online exams will take time to setup, exams will occur within a four-hour window. However, students will have two hours to complete an exam once they have started. Students are encouraged to begin the exam at the start of the designated exam period to accommodate any connection difficulties.

If the student is registered with Student Accessibility Services (SAS) and requires additional time as an accommodation to complete the exam, this will be arranged for them. Questions about other types of exam accommodations can be addressed to the student’s SAS advisor.

Yes. Remotely invigilated exams using Respondus require students to have both a computer and web cam to complete the exam. If you have an online exam without remote invigilation, you will need a computer but not a web cam.

Students should email the CourseLink support office at by April 10 if they require technical support or resources. The CourseLink support office has resources available to help students with technology concerns and can work with and advise students on their technology needs.

Students are encouraged to set up their computers for online invigilation soon so that they have some familiarity with the environment before their first exam. Students will be able to test their environment prior to the final exam by taking a practice test set up in CourseLink. Guidelines for preparing the test taking environment can be found online.

Students should immediately contact the CourseLink support office at 519-824-4120 Ext. 56939 or toll-free 1-866-275-1478 (Canada and USA).

In the event of a technical difficulty, students should contact the CourseLink support office immediately at 519-824-4120 Ext. 56939 or toll-free 1-866-275-1478 (Canada and USA). If you cannot complete an exam due to technical difficulties please contact your program counsellor.

At this time, exams deferred to the summer semester will not be face-to-face. Deferred exams will be through alternative delivery formats.

Students who do not have a computer and/or a web cam should contact the CourseLink support office at to ask for assistance with technical difficulties.

Before making any decisions, wait for your instructor to tell you more about alternate assignments. Not all instructors will have exams during the revised final examination period and not all courses that originally had scheduled exams will have an online exam. Students who have a conflict with the revised final examination schedule when it is posted may submit a request for a deferred condition through their Program Counselling office. U of G’s modified final exam period will start Monday, April 13 and end no later than Wednesday, April 29.

Be sure to monitor the Government of Canada’s travel advisories. Currently, the Government of Canada advises Canadians to avoid non-essential travel outside Canada.

Final Grades

Final grades that have been received in the Office of Registrarial Services will be posted to WebAdvisor beginning April 30, 2020. Grades will continue to be updated on WebAdvisor as they are received until May 6, 2020.

A revised grading structure has been implemented for the Winter 2020 semester. After the final exam period and once students have received their grades, the following options will be available to them for each course:

  • Keep final numeric grade awarded – No action required
  • Assign a “pass” designation, when a passing grade is achieved – Submit an electronic form to Office of Registrarial Services (available next month)
  • Drop the course via WebAdvisor

The “pass” designation does not affect your semester average or your cumulative GPA. You will receive credit for the course.

This revised grading structure (numeric grade or “pass”) applies to all students and courses. All students, except students in the DVM program, can drop courses. DVM students should consult college administration for further details. Students will have until Wednesday, May 20, 2020 to make their choice for each Winter 2020 course. These instructions will also be posted on WebAdvisor and CourseLink.

No. This policy was implemented to support student mental health and to acknowledge challenges students will encounter with alternative formats of learning. Students with deferred exams from F19 completed all coursework in its original format. They may choose to request deferred privileges.

Yes. This grading scheme will apply to all winter 2020 students affected by the transition to alternative delivery models for their coursework.

Student requests for a “pass” designation will be submitted via a form that will be posted to WebAdvisor. The Office of Registrarial Services will process these requests. This is not an approval process. Students have the freedom to retain their grade, assign a “pass” or drop the course.

The University is exploring best practices to indicate academic disruption on official transcripts.

Professional schools are evaluating these requirements. Information will be shared as it becomes available.

Students can retain an F, but professional schools are evaluating their requirements given the circumstances. The University would not recommend this as an option to students until it is fully understood what professional schools have decided.

Yes, but the University strongly advises against it at this time.

This will be addressed on a case-by-case basis. Students can request academic consideration once the final grade has been received.

Provided a student achieved a pass, even with a zero on the final exam, then no, they do not need to write the final exam. If no deferred exam is requested, the final grade will be posted (i.e., cumulative total, coursework + exam) and the student will have the opportunity to choose to drop or assign a “pass.”

No. A “pass” does not assume the grade weighting of the required average. The “pass” does not count toward cumulative GPA.

No. Students have the choice to assign a “pass” or “drop” for each course in which they are enrolled.

Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning

The work placement host/employer may decide to impose physical distancing and ask student employees to work from home or may terminate the placement early.

For Students
If you can continue your experiential learning opportunity, we encourage you to do so. Discuss the potential for work-from-home arrangements with your host/employer and follow guidelines and protocols set out by your placement host/employer. If you choose to discontinue your placement, we will support your decision without penalizing you for doing so.

If you choose to leave your work term or placement early, please let your co-op, internship or practicum coordinator know.

If you are in a program with formal credentialing and required practicum/internship hours, practicum coordinators and instructors will work with you and your supervisor in the coming weeks to address outstanding requirements.

Experiential Learning Students Abroad

Global Affairs Canada has recommend that ‘Canadian travellers return to Canada via commercial means while they remain available’.

In keeping with this information, the University of Guelph advises all students, regardless of what country they are in, to return home. We understand that it may take time to book a ticket and take care of your departure arrangements but we urge you to rebook your ticket home as soon as possible, while flight are still available.

All students who registered their travel with the Centre for International Programs have been contacted directly. If you are a Guelph student abroad (including in the U.S.) on a University of Guelph activity and you have not been contacted directly, this directive also applies to you. For COVID-19 FAQs specific to Guelph students abroad, visit the Centre for International Programs’ website.

Student safety is always our first priority.

Please discuss your work arrangement with your supervisor and refer to the Pay and Benefits section on the COVID-19 Employment FAQs.

Your college or department will contact you soon to share information about your work-integrated learning experience.

Yes. Students who choose not to work under the current circumstances will not be penalized due to impacts of COVID-19.

Yes, if students complete a minimum of eight weeks (280 hours) of work, including working from home, they will receive a co-op credit.

Inform your Co-op Coordinator immediately. You will get access to the Experience Guelph system and be able to apply to other jobs.

Contact your Co-op Coordinator. They will work with you to determine the best solution for your given program.

Across all co-op programs, for any students whose work term is impacted by COVID-19, the minimum number of work terms required by the program will be reduced by one. If a student impacted by COVID-19 meets their program’s adjusted minimum requirement, they will be given a co-op credential.

If summer 2020 was the last opportunity for students to gain the required number of work terms, they may complete a work term in the summer following their last academic semester.

Supports and Services

No face-to-face meetings with instructors will be available. Contact your instructor for an alternative meeting method.

Instructors are working hard to ensure students are not disadvantaged through the use of alternate assignments or formats. Please wait for your instructors to confirm what alternate assignments or formats they have decided on. Once that information is available, any concerns should be discussed with and resolved with your instructor.

If concerns cannot be resolved between you and your instructor please consult your Program Counselling office for support.

Your instructor will have information on who to contact if you have trouble accessing the class material.

We are committed to ensuring students have access to reliable resources to complete the semester. Students are asked to notify the University by sending an email to if they have issues with internet connectivity.

Students experiencing difficulty accessing technology should e-mail the CourseLink support office at and explain their needs.

If you cannot acquire the technology needed, you may contact your instructor to discuss suggested options. If an alternative cannot be agreed upon between you and your instructor please consult your Program Counselling office for support.

Existing academic consideration policies continue to apply. Contact your instructor for more information.

Deferred Privileges and Academic Consideration

Student requests for deferred privileges should be made to the program counsellors in their degree program. Supporting documentation is not required, but students must provide rationale.

Deadlines are to be determined but will likely be extended well into the summer term, given the unprecedented nature of the current situation.


No. Students currently on probation will not be required to withdraw after Winter 2020.

Yes. If a student’s semester average (for numerical grade assignments) pulls their cumulative GPA to 60 per cent and above, they will be considered off probation.

If you did not register in the winter 2020 semester, or dropped all of your W20 courses before March 13, 2020, your two-semester rustication began effective winter 2020 and you will be eligible to apply for re-admission for the fall 2020 semester. If you were enrolled in W20 courses as of March 13, you will be assessed on an individual basis and you will not be required to withdraw.

Future Plans

The summer 2020 semester starts May 7, 2020.

At this point in time, all face-to-face course delivery will be cancelled until August 15, 2020. Undergraduate, graduate and associate diploma courses planned in this delivery mode will only proceed in an alternative delivery format. Final exams for the summer semester will also be conducted in a modified format.

Unfortunately, convocation ceremonies will not be held this June. June convocation ceremonies have been postponed to Fall 2020. We understand this is disappointing for our upcoming graduates and their loved ones. Provided you meet the requirements, you will graduate this spring. Your will receive your degree parchment by mail this spring. More information will be available on U of G’s convocation site soon.