The University of Guelph continues to closely monitor the development of the COVID-19 pandemic. We know that members of the U of G community are concerned, and I want to assure everyone that we take this situation very seriously and are doing everything we can to ensure the health and safety of our campus community.
I am announcing some major decisions that will affect all students, faculty and staff at all three of our campuses. I know that these changes will be disruptive and require all of us to do things differently, but we believe this is best for our University community. Currently, there are no confirmed cases of 2019 novel coronavirus disease on any U of G campuses or research stations. Our focus is on keeping the virus off of our campuses. As well, our University needs to do its part in the fight against COVID-19 in the Guelph region and beyond.
- All classes will be cancelled for one week beginning Monday, March 16, to provide faculty and other instructors and academic support staff with preparation time to deliver course content in an alternative way, including technology modified formats.
- Courses will resume Monday, March 23, but in an alternative-format delivery; no face-to-face classes will be held for the remainder of the winter 2020 semester. We appreciate the support of faculty and other instructors in their efforts to create alternative forms of instruction.
- The winter 2020 semester will be extended for one week; the last day of class and the last day to drop a course is April 9.
- Final exams will be conducted in a modified format; the final exam period will be extended.
- Support will be offered to faculty and instructors to help in this transition. Faculty members and instructors will, of course, have decision-making discretion and options and are encouraged to communicate with their deans and department chairs regarding this process.
Please note: The University and University buildings will remain open and operating as usual. Of course, we understand that this is a very challenging and stressful time, and faculty and staff may have situations and circumstances that require flexibility, so please speak with your supervisor if you need accommodations.
Our libraries, recreation centres, food services and health services all remain open. Research efforts will continue. Researchers should follow the research-related COVID-19 updates on the U of G Research website.
Our residences will remain open and operational. Students may decide to return home and/or study remotely. Please advise residence staff of your decision.
We want to remind the U of G community of the importance of social distancing and encourage everyone to consider ways to minimize close contact to help prevent virus transmission. Information in this regard is available on the Public Health website.
One of the preventive steps we can take as a University is to limit campus events that attract large numbers of people from outside the Guelph region. We have made the very difficult decision to cancel or postpone several upcoming large public events, including the following:
- College Royal, which was to be held March 21 and 22, is cancelled.
- Campus Day open house scheduled for March 29 is cancelled.
- March Break campus tours for secondary school students scheduled for this weekend and during March Break are cancelled.
- The Discover Vets School program scheduled for this weekend is postponed.
We realize this is very disappointing news, especially for the students and many others who have worked so hard for months planning these events. However, we believe this decision is in the best interest of our U of G community.
The University is also recommending that event organizers consider whether to cancel or postpone other discretionary events that are not required as part of courses and academic requirements. Again, please keep in mind the importance of social distancing.
- All U of G travel outside of Canada must be postponed/cancelled until further notice. This applies to faculty, staff, students and researchers. This is a significant change from yesterday’s announcement about restricted travel to only a few countries. Again, we have made this wider decision to ensure the safety and well-being of our campuses. Details are available online.
- The University continues to strongly encourage all U of G community members to follow Public Health’s guidelines and consider the risk of COVID-19 when making non-essential travel plans. It is the traveller’s responsibility to monitor government travel advisories and obtain appropriate authorization, where required, before booking new travel.
- As of Friday, U of G will cancel study-abroad and student exchange programs in Europe and the United Kingdom for the spring/summer 2020 semesters. We are also working closely with students already in Europe and the U.K., asking them to return to Canada as soon as possible and assisting with information about making travel plans and arrangements. Affected students have been contacted directly.
Please keep in mind that this is an evolving situation and things can change very quickly. We will continue to monitor developments and post updates to the COVID-19 website and answers to frequently asked questions on a regular basis.
I want to extend personal thanks to our faculty, staff and students for your patience, cooperation and understanding during this unprecedented challenge. It’s more important than ever that we support and care for one another as we work through this period together.
President and Vice-Chancellor