This message was originally sent to employees by Vivek Goel, President and Vice-Chancellor, and James W.E. Rush, Vice-President, Academic and Provost.
We’re writing today to let you know about our intentions for the start of winter term 2022.
As you know, for students, we are planning a return to pre-pandemic levels of in-person instruction. This means that from January 4, 2022, learning at Waterloo will happen primarily in-person.
We are extremely grateful for your positive response to the requirement to provide proof of vaccination to come to the campus. Vaccination rates amongst the campus community are very high, so, despite the recent increase in cases across the province, we are confident that we can prepare for a winter term that will allow for this return to in-person academic experiences.
For employees, we will continue our ongoing and safe return to in-person operations. Of course, returning to in-person operations is, and will continue to be, guided by current public health guidelines and by the operational needs of units and departments.
Many of you are already working from the campus and many more of you have already planned to return in line with the needs of your unit, or of your research program. You can expect to hear from your unit head about the plans you need to make for work in January and beyond.
We continue to assess new ways of working in our future
We know that for many of you, working remotely has offered new ways of working and connecting that you may want to continue. The flexibility we have all learned throughout the pandemic has opened opportunities to reimagine what work at Waterloo looks like. We have many units with different operational needs and, as such, Human Resources are working to support units in assessing how they can plan for the future of our work.
As we imagine our work in the future, we know that campuses will remain an important part of our employees’ work life. As a university, there are unique aspects of life on campus that keep us connected and focused on student experiences, research and scholarship, our strategic plan and our academic mission.
Assessing where we work in the future must consider academic and operational needs, financial responsibility, sustainability goals, equity and inclusion, and many more factors. While leaders work on these longer-term plans for our work, we will remain flexible as we enter a winter term where our gradual expansion of in-person experiences continues. You can expect to talk to your manager about meeting departmental needs and balancing your personal circumstances during this period of transition.
Continue to wear a mask and follow public health instructions
To ensure we can continue to expand in-person experiences for our students and employees, we must all remain vigilant and play our part in limiting the spread of COVID-19. Please continue to follow mask-wearing, physical distancing and other public health instructions throughout the winter term.
As always, our plans will remain flexible in case public health guidelines change and we need to scale back in-person experiences. If we need to make changes, we will share information with you as soon as possible.
We are extremely grateful for your efforts to keep the University working throughout the pandemic. Creating a vibrant campus experience for our students is so important and requires all of you to make it happen. Thank you in advance for your positive support and perseverance as we continue this return to campus life, for everyone.