Confirming our plans for winter term 2021

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

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


  • All large classes will happen online this winter.

  • Some classes and supports will be available in person.

  • We will support your academic progress, no matter where you are. 

Dear Warriors,

I know many of you have questions about what winter term will look like. With change happening so quickly, I want to share more detail about our plan for the winter term so you can plan for January with confidence.

Thank you for your continued flexibility, patience and resilience during this unprecedented time.

Thanks to our experiences with our successful spring and fall terms, we have learned a lot and our instructors have made significant investments in upgrades to distance learning. We will continue to put you in the  centre  of everything we do: 

  •  We will follow the advice and guidance of public health officials, as well as internal and external experts. 
  • We hope to enable on-campus experiences and supports for as many students as possible, subject to public health advice. 
  • We will support the academic progress of every student who registers, no matter where they are for the winter term. 

 Many classes will happen online with some in-person classes 

 I know that most of you would prefer learning to happen in-person, as soon as possible. We had hoped to extend our gradual return to campus to more in-person classes next term, but the recent surge in COVID cases in Ontario means we are planning to continue our combined approach to learning for the winter 2021 term.

We will continue to deliver most large courses online, with clinical programs, labs or tutorials available in-person as in the fall term. Though the COVID-19 situation may change throughout the term, classes that start online will stay online throughout winter term.

Some activities will continue to happen in-person, if the conditions allow.  This could mean clinical programs, smaller undergraduate classes or seminars and research-based graduate students working in labs.  Any in-person activity will meet strict guidelines for physical distancing and other public health requirements. 

We will continue to operate on-campus supports and services as conditions allow.

We will support students, wherever they are. This includes support for students in financial difficulty, people who need health and mental health advice, and people who need academic support.  

Warriors Protect Warriors 

Whether you’re studying on campus at Waterloo or studying remotely, we all have an important part to play in limiting the risk of COVID-19 and maintaining safety both on and off campus. 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 and in your home communities; 
  • Maintaining physical distancing wherever possible, and if you are on campus, by sitting in seats marked with decals to ensure physical distancing requirements, and leave space when entering or exiting classrooms or labs, 
  • Washing your hands regularly with soap or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer; and 
  • Practicing safe respiratory hygiene (like sneezing into your elbow). 

We can stand together while staying apart. It’s the Warrior Way. 

Stay well and stay informed 

 The uncertainty and change surrounding the pandemic may cause feelings of heightened anxiety and stress.  Campus Wellness  continues to be here for students – you can find wellness information and other resources to help get you through the term  online

 Visit  the University’s  COVID-19 Information website  for the latest COVID-19 updates and news.