This message was originally sent to graduate student by president and vice-chancellor Feridun Hamdullahpur.
New government rules mean that if you can do your work from home, you must.
If you must come to campus, only do what is needed and go home as soon as possible.
We encourage you to keep a mask on at all times in public places.
Yesterday, the Government of Ontario issued a new state of emergency and stay-at-home orders to help deal with the spread of COVID-19.
Instructions from the government mean that we must double down on our efforts to make sure that most of our work is done remotely, from home. Only work that absolutely cannot be done from home should happen in-person.
Your supervisor will let you know if there are any changes to your work arrangements. In most cases, our plans to deal with the lockdown in our region from December remain in effect.
If you are permitted to work on campus in a work station or office by yourself, the Ontario law allows you to remove your mask. Despite this, we encourage you to consider keeping your mask on while working on campus.
Though I know many of us are challenged, once again, by a period of lockdown I implore you all to avoid any gatherings with people you don’t live with.
Most learning continues remotely, as planned
The new stay-at-home order has not changed the guidance on course activities. Remote learning is our primary way of teaching and learning this term.
In-person course activity can only continue for subjects or instruction that requires that we teach it in-person. This includes clinical or hands-on training, with a limit of 10 students per section.
Faculty associate deans have been contingency planning for the winter term and have identified courses that will continue in-person or remotely during a lockdown.
Our student residences will remain open as normal. Students who live on campus need to wear masks in all common areas of the residences, but not in their main living area.
Lab research continues
On campus lab research is not affected by the new emergency measures. Faculty members, postdocs, graduate students and research staff may continue lab research that is compliant with the approved safety plans. Please ensure you go home as soon as your on-campus research activity is complete.
You can check our memo from Tuesday, December 22, 2020 for more guidance on research during this period of lockdown.
Help is available to you in dealing with the lockdown
I know that many of you may have questions and concerns about balancing dependent care with academics and work. You may have anxieties related to the lockdown in general. As you prepare to navigate the next few weeks, please rest assured there is support available to you.
If you have questions or concerns about your academics, please talk to your supervisor, your graduate officer or your graduate co-ordinator about your plan. You can check on the University’s COVID-19 website for additional resources.
Above all else, your health and wellbeing are our priority. Please remember to take care of yourselves and each other. If you need support, I encourage you to review the Counselling Services website.
Please do your part to stop the spread
I know we are all tired of the changing conditions, rules and of being confined to our homes. We will only get through this if we look out for one another and do our part to stay home and stay safe.
Please, only leave home for the most important things like grocery shopping or medical appointments. Whenever you go out, wear a mask to protect those around you – even outdoors – and keep a physical distance of two meters or more.
Thank you for everything you are doing to keep our community safe.