This message was originally sent to employees and graduate students by Vivek Goel, President and Vice-Chancellor, and James W.E. Rush, Vice-President, Academic and Provost.
Recent news about the rise of COVID-19 cases in Ontario, driven by the emergence of the Omicron variant, means that 2021 is ending with a great deal of uncertainty about the future, once again.
Scientists around the world are learning about Omicron every day. The keys to controlling this variant continue to be the same: masking, avoiding crowded and poorly ventilated spaces, and most importantly, vaccinations, particularly to reduce the risk of severe illness. Getting vaccinated – and getting a booster shot when you are eligible – well help Ontario mitigate the effects of this new variant.
It is also clear that we need to act to protect the things that are most important to us like keeping schools open and allowing our students to take exams and learn together in person.
To do this, we must limit all non-essential personal contacts to reduce levels of community transmission.
Our plans for end of term exams will remain in place, but we are urging everyone to observe the latest guidance from Region of Waterloo Public Health and limit all other non-essential contact.
This means we are cancelling all non-essential in person end-of-year gatherings and meetings on campus. We strongly urge you to cancel all work-related end-of-year gatherings off-campus, too. Please find ways to use virtual meetings and gathering tools.
We’re also asking managers and supervisors to allow people to work from home immediately, where it is possible. Maintaining flexibility to work from home now will help us keep our contacts down while we increase vaccine levels and booster shots.
We will continue to monitor the situation and public health advice and plan to share guidance about the next term before the University closes for the Winter break. While we can hope for the best, we must plan for the worst.
Please keep watch on your email, our social media channels, and the COVID-19 information website for more help and information.