I am writing today to share with you new developments and decisions that we have made as we continue to closely monitor the development of the COVID-19 pandemic.

We know that members of the U of G community are concerned, and we are taking this situation extremely seriously. Our focus has been on the health and well-being of our community members and on safeguarding the continuity of our academic and research mission.

We are also committed to keeping U of G community members informed.

Currently, all three U of G campuses remain open. Following recommendations from Public Health about social distancing to slow the spread of the virus, the University is implementing several changes.

Beginning Tuesday, March 17, employees are asked to work from home when operationally possible. Employees who are required to perform a critical function and/or whose physical presence is necessary to perform their work as determined by their supervisor will need to continue to come to campus. Please speak to your supervisor for clarification as to whether you are required to work on campus. The University will work to minimize the disruption of this change on staff members.

Business continuity plans for colleges, departments and units will be put into effect to allow for the continuation of critical services. Some units may opt to reduce service offerings while continuing to deliver their core academic and research services and other supports on campus. These must be approved by supervisors.

As announced previously, all classes are cancelled this week. Courses will resume Monday, March 23 in an alternative-format delivery; no face-to-face classes or face-to-face exams will be held for the remainder of the winter 2020 semester.

All students who are still living in campus residences are asked to vacate their residences as soon as possible. Students who are unable to do so should contact Student Housing. We will continue to provide services to students who cannot leave campus, although students may be required to move between residences, among other changes.

Faculty and researchers should review their research plans and projects to address how to temporarily postpone, limit or adapt research-related activities if necessary. Please contact the Office of Research or your associate dean of research and Graduate Studies for further information.

Similarly, graduate students completing thesis-based research should, in partnership with their supervisor, review their research plans to address how to adapt research-related activities if necessary, especially if lab-based activities are suspended.  Further information for graduate students will soon be communicated directly to students and posted online.

 All University and community events on campus have been cancelled for the immediate future. As well, large gathering places, including athletic facilities, the child-care centre and some campus food services, have been closed.

We understand that the changes are significant and will require all of us to do things differently. We believe this is best for our University and greater community. As well, our University needs to do its part in the fight against COVID-19 in the Guelph region and beyond.

The situation regarding COVID-19 is very dynamic, and guidance from public health and government officials changes frequently – sometimes even hourly. We continue to update the University’s COVID-19 website with current information, so please continue to monitor the site. Updates will be communicated immediately on this web page, through email, on other University web pages and via U of G’s social media channels.

As well, the COVID-19 page includes answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) on a variety of topics, from academics to travel to health care tips.

We thank you for your continued patience, co-operation and understanding as we work together to ensure the health, safety and operations of our University. During this fast-changing and complex situation, it is more important than ever that members of the U of G community continue to support and care for one another.

Franco Vaccarino
President and Vice-Chancellor