This update is provided for archival purposes only.

Public Health guidance and University of Waterloo operations may have changed. For the most up-to-date information, please visit our COVID-19 frequently asked questions.

Confirming dates and approach for spring 2021 term

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

This message was originally sent to employees by president and vice-chancellor Feridun Hamdullahpur.

  • We are confirming continuation of primarily online learning and instruction with some courses, activities and supports available in person 
  • Spring term will start one week later, on May 10 

With the winter term underway, leaders have been working to plan what our approach to learning and instruction will be for the spring term. We are also making some changes to the calendar dates for the spring term.

We will share details with students today so they can plan for the spring with confidence.

Online learning will continue to be our primary mode of instruction 

All of us might have hoped for a transition to more in-person learning and instruction this spring. The recent surge in COVID cases in Ontario makes it clear that the virus and our collective efforts to stop the spread need our continued attention posing ongoing difficulties in planning for in-person learning.

With this in mind, our plans for the spring term will be in keeping with our current approach. This means that we must prepare for instruction to continue primarily online and in-person in limited situations as the regulations allow.

If you have questions about plans for instruction in your faculty or unit, please discuss them with your supervisor. 

Spring term will start one week later than planned

We recognize that instructors and students need more time to transition between terms than the current academic calendar allows. To create more time between terms, the Senate has agreed that the spring term will now start a week later on Monday, May 10, 2021. Classes will end on Thursday, August 5 with exams starting Saturday, August 7 and ending by Monday, August 16 (the original last day of exams). 

More detail on the revised academic dates for the term are available online:

I know that many of us would prefer to be making plans for a return to in-person activities. With deep regret, we cannot safely plan for that given what we know about the pandemic today. Please be assured that we are continuing to revise our plans for a safe and staged return to in-person activities as soon as the conditions allow.

As always, thank you for everything you are doing to keep this University operating for our students, faculty staff and partners.  Your health and wellbeing  is  our  priority. Please remember to take care of yourselves and each other. If you need support, our Employee and Family Assistance Program is available 24/7 for counselling, coaching and support. We encourage you to access this valuable service by calling 1-800-663-1142 or  visiting  Homeweb.caWellness Together Canada  (1-866-585-0445) is also available to anyone needing support, including friends and family.