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 orignally sent to undergraduate students by president and vice-chancellor Feridun Hamdullahpur.

  • Spring term will start on May 10 (instead of May 3) 

  • We will continue with primarily online learning and instruction, with some courses, activities and supports available in person 

  • We are sharing plans on the  COVID-19 Information website


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.

I am sharing these details with you today so you can plan for the spring with confidence.

Spring term will start one week later than planned

We recognize our students need more time to transition between terms than the current academic dates calendar allows. To create more time between terms, the Senate has agreed that the spring term will now start a week later than planned, on Monday, May 10, 2021. Classes will end on Thursday, August 5 with exams starting Saturday, August 7.

I hope that this additional time between terms will provide you with some rest and allow you to focus on your wellbeing. 

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

Online learning will continue to be our primary mode of instruction 

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, with in-person activities available 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 academic advisor.

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. 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. 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.

Remember to take care of yourselves and each other as we continue into the term, and that help is available  if you need it.