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 details for winter 2021 term

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

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

  • We are confirming detailed plans for winter term for every faculty. 
  • Classes will be primarily online with some courses, activities and supports available in person. 
  • We are sharing plans on the  COVID-19 Information website

With fall term well underway, the University has been working to plan in detail what our approach will be for the upcoming winter term. With change happening so quickly, I want to let you know more details about our plans.

We are also sharing these details with incoming and continuing students today so they can plan for January with confidence.

Towards the end of the summer we were hopeful that we could extend our gradual and staged return to campus to more in-person instruction and learning. 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.

With this in mind, our approach to winter term will be in keeping with our approach to fall term. Instruction will continue both online and in-person in limited situations. This means that while many courses will happen primarily online, some key academic buildings on our campus will continue to be open to support students who choose to be in Waterloo to study, or who have courses with elements that will happen in person.

For employees, there will be no immediate change in return to research and work-from-home arrangements. Please continue to follow your department and unit plans in this regard.

We have put measures into place to keep everyone safe when they come to campus and are encouraging those students who are studying remotely, and those employees who continue to work remotely, to take appropriate precautions to keep their friends, colleagues and family members safe. We are all in this together.

The following principles continue to guide our planning for the gradual return to in-person activities: 

  • We will continue to prioritize health and well-being of everyone in our community. 
  • We will deliver quality learning experiences worthy of our students in any format. 
  • We will phase in in-person activities when public health authorities say it is safe. 

We are increasing our communications activities around promoting safety for all our students both on and off campus with a campaign we’re calling “Warriors Protect Warriors.” This campaign recognizes that we all have an important part to play in limiting the risk of COVID-19 and maintaining safety on campus, and we must each do our part to keep our community safe. Please remember to follow public health guidance and to respect each other as we share our campus spaces by: 

  • Wearing a face covering in common use areas of University buildings if you are on campus and when visiting businesses in Waterloo Region; 
  • Maintaining physical distancing wherever possible; 
  • Washing your hands regularly with soap or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer; and 
  • Practicing safe respiratory hygiene. 

We are continuing to implement our safe and gradual return to campus plans for employees. Please continue to review the COVID-19 website for updates and news for the latest updates on campus reopening. In the meantime, unless your department or unit plans for return-to-work say otherwise, please continue to work remotely.

I am extremely grateful to all our employees who have ensured the success of our current fall term offerings, and who have contributed their insights to our approach for winter term. Thanks to your hard work in difficult circumstances, I am confident that we continue to be well positioned to help our students experience the best that we can offer.

We know that there is a long road ahead, and we hope to return to in-person work and study experiences as soon as we can. We will keep monitoring public health guidance as we plan for winter term 2021 and beyond.