Fall 2020 Semester Update

Dear University of Guelph Faculty, Staff and Students,

The COVID-19 landscape remains dynamic and ever evolving. This uncertainty makes planning for the fall semester complex.

We continue to closely monitor public health updates and provincial directives and assess how the public health emergency affects our campus operations and academic planning.

We also continue to monitor announcements made by other universities in Ontario and across Canada. To date, the majority have announced that their teaching will be largely online in the fall and some will only conditionally open residences.

As we plan for fall 2020, our decision making continues to be guided by a set of principles established by University leadership. Top amongst these principles are our commitments to the health and wellness of our campus community and to sustaining the quality and continuity of our academic programs.

We want to assure you that whenever possible, we are taking an evidence-based approach to our decision making. This includes hearing from expert disease modelers and epidemiologists, including many of our own faculty. We must ensure that the University’s approach to the fall puts the health and safety of the U of G community first while providing students with a high-quality education and positive campus experience.

As mentioned in previous communications, it is clear that our plans must be flexible so that we can pivot quickly to comply with public health directives. This is also true for U of G faculty planning courses for the fall 2020 semester.

As such, following extensive consultation, the University has refined its definition of the announced hybrid approach and what it means for fall 2020. We must prepare for the majority of our classes to be delivered online or in an alternative format. Nonetheless, we have the capacity for up to 25 percent of our courses or partial course material to be taught in a face-to-face format.

With respect to our residences, only international students and students with special circumstances, such as limited internet access, unsuitable living arrangements for successful studying, or no alternative housing will be considered eligible for on-campus housing. The number of students living in residence will substantially decrease. This will affect how first-year students are able to access course content.

We are confident that we can safely manage having those students on campus. We will reassess our residence decisions for winter 2021 according to public health considerations and the needs of students.

The University’s plan for hybrid-course delivery will be communicated to students as soon as possible, along with more details about the changes to our student residences.

Once again, the University’s leadership team very much appreciates your continued patience and understanding. These are unprecedented times and it is important that we continue to work together.

Charlotte Yates
Provost and Vice-President (Academic)

The University’s COVID-19 website is your best source of information on U of G’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.