Return-to-Campuses Steering Committee to Support Recovery Planning During COVID-19


Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, various committees and working groups have helped the University of Guelph adapt and maintain our academic, research and operational functions.

As U of G continues to navigate challenges created by COVID-19, the institution is also turning its attention to plans for an eventual return to our campuses for students, faculty and staff.

A new, overarching group – the Return-to-Campuses steering committee – will provide a guidance framework to help align efforts across the University for a gradual return.

The steering committee is chaired by Rebecca Graham, University Librarian.

The steering committee is guided by a commitment to the health and wellness of all members of our campus community. Decisions on the timing of our return to campuses will depend on government directives and public health advice.

Most recently, the provincial government unveiled plans for Phase 2 of Ontario’s reopening. Additionally, the Ministry of Colleges and Universities (MCU) announced a program to support a gradual resumption of in-person instruction at postsecondary institutions for some students in critical fields who require in-person training to graduate. Further information about how the MCU program applies to U of G and the University’s preparations for Phase 2 of the province’s reopening will be made available next week.

“Throughout COVID-19, the on-campus presence of staff from several units has allowed U of G to keep essential operations running smoothly,” says Graham. “As the province moves into subsequent phases of reopening and we look ahead to the hybrid fall plans, we will see an increase in staff, faculty and students on campus and need to provide guidance and support for planning.”

Comprised of representatives from key academic, research, service and operational areas across the University, as well as some of U of G’s epidemiologists, the Return-to-Campuses steering committee aims to:

  • Follow principles defined by the University’s executive leadership team
  • Create a framework to aid campus units in planning for the return to campus of staff, students and faculty through the summer and into the fall semester
  • Establish parameters, processes and timelines for identifying essential services and supports
  • Ensure robust plans are developed to safely support all aspects of hybrid course delivery
  • Develop a process for review, feedback and recommendation of unit plans that will ultimately be forwarded to the University Executive Committee for approval

The Return-to-Campuses steering committee includes the following members:

  • Rebecca Graham (Chair, University Librarian)
  • Harry Bakker (Associate Vice President, Physical Resources)
  • Ben Bradshaw (Assistant Vice-President, Graduate Studies)
  • Alison Burnett (Director, Student Wellness)
  • Carrie Chassels (Vice-Provost, Student Affairs)
  • Cate Dewey (Associate Vice-President, Academic)
  • Tina Goebel (Associate Director, Finance and Administration – OAC)
  • Lawrence Goodridge (Director, Canadian Research Institute for Food Safety – OAC)
  • Bev Hale (Associate Vice-President, Research – Agri-Food Partnership)
  • Jenna Hennessy (Manager, Internal Communications)
  • Melissa Horan (Healthy Workplace Coordinator, Human Resources)
  • Lori Bona Hunt (Director, Integrated Communications)
  • Audrey Jamal (Chief of Staff to the President)
  • Mellissa McDonald (Director, Government Relations and Community Engagement)
  • Indira Naidoo-Harris (AVP, Diversity and Human Rights)
  • Chris Nutt (Director, Staff Relations – Human Resources)
  • Stephanie Nykamp (Associate Dean, Clinical Program – OVC)
  • Andy Papadopoulos (Professor, Public Health – OVC)
  • Irene Thompson (Director, Student Housing Services)
  • Ed Townsley (Executive Director, Hospitality Services)
  • Cara Wehkamp (Special Advisor to the Provost on Indigenous Initiatives)
  • Dave Whittle (Chief Information Officer – Computing and Communications Services)

The steering committee’s efforts will complement and supplement the plans and efforts of the Academic Continuity Group and Research Continuity Group. The Return-to-Campuses steering committee will take on the planning previously overseen by the Contingency Planning Committee.