COVID-19 Update: Important changes to course delivery and vaccination exemption requirements

Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

The following updates are provided by the Return-to-Campuses steering committee.


We are looking forward to the start of the fall 2021 semester! The University of Guelph continues to plan for the start of classes amid a surge of COVID-19 driven by the Delta variant. We don’t know when the waves of COVID-19 are going to subside, and we appreciate that this uncertainty is immensely challenging for students, faculty and staff. U of G continues to take the necessary steps to ensure we can best meet our community’s needs, including availability of in-person instruction. In support of this, our vaccination mandate continues to evolve, including tighter rules for accessing campus and vaccination exemption requirements.

IMPORTANT: Recent changes to U of G’s vaccination mandate and physical distancing requirements may impact some courses. More information is available below. Students should check CourseLink the week of Sept. 6 to confirm whether in-person courses are affected by the following changes.

Some courses starting remotely this fall

Earlier this month, the University announced a vaccination mandate that requires all those accessing our buildings and University-managed facilities to be vaccinated against COVID-19. To access U of G buildings and University-managed facilities, you must have your first shot by Sept. 7 and your second by Oct. 15.

It generally takes two weeks after vaccination for your body to build its immunity. With that consideration in mind and to help better protect our community, some instructors may choose to deliver scheduled face-to-face courses remotely from Sept. 7 to 28. After Sept. 28, courses that were planned for face-to-face delivery will be delivered in person. Instructors will update CourseLink shortly if their course delivery method is changing.

This change to the first few weeks of course delivery can help us provide better protection as we navigate the fourth wave of COVID-19 in Ontario and the Delta variant.

Updated vaccination exemption requirements

As we work to address the fourth wave of COVID-19 and the Delta variant, we are tightening our criteria for vaccination exemptions.

As of Sept. 7, you will be able to access classrooms, U of G buildings and University-managed facilities only if:

  • you are vaccinated against COVID-19 — you must have your first shot by Sept. 7 and your second by Oct. 15 or
  • you have received an approved exemption based only on medical or other grounds protected by the Ontario Human Rights Code.  To request an exemption, you must complete an exemption request form and provide documentation to support your request. Those with an approved exemption must complete frequent COVID-19 testing (minimum twice per week) to access U of G buildings and facilities.  If you received a vaccination exemption prior to Aug. 30, you must complete the updated form and provide supporting documentation.

This aligns with updated requirements released last week by Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health.

More information on how to upload your proof of vaccination or exemption request form will be available later this week. Information on rapid testing on campus will be available soon.

If by Sept. 7 you will not be vaccinated against COVID-19 and have not been granted an exemption:

  • Students should switch from scheduled face-to-face courses to remote-delivery or Distance Education courses. If you are having difficulty selecting appropriate courses for this semester, please talk to your program counsellor.
  • Faculty and staff should speak with their manager/supervisor

Physical distancing in classrooms

Across Ontario, post-secondary institutions are waiting for decisions from the provincial government about physical distancing in classrooms. We expect to hear details this week and will provide an update if these decisions affect in-person learning at U of G.

To help create safer spaces for our community, instructors who are scheduled to teach in classrooms with a planned student capacity of 75 per cent or more have the option of transitioning to hybrid or remote course delivery for the entire fall semester. Students should check CourseLink the week of Sept. 6 to see if their courses are affected.

More to come

Given current uncertainties, we are developing contingency plans should public health directives further restrict our plans for in-person learning.

Keep reading these COVID-19 updates to learn more about what to expect and how to keep yourself safe this semester. Coming up: what’s open on campus, classroom safety protocols, how to submit proof of vaccination and more!

We thank you for your continued patience and understanding as we navigate the ever-changing COVID-19 landscape.


The University’s COVID-19 website is your best source of information on U of G’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Return to Campuses website provides essential information for those coming to campus. If you need to be on campus, make sure you complete the U of G COVID-19 Screening Form every day before you arrive.