Limited in-person instruction may resume February 22

Thursday, February 4, 2021

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


  • In-person learning that was previously suspended for the stay-at-home order will resume on Monday, February 22, pending confirmation of the government’s instructions.

  • We strongly advise you to avoid any travel over reading week 

As we approach the end of the government’s recent stay-at-home order, I am writing to clarify our immediate next steps to restart our phased return to campus.

If the order is lifted on February 11, we will resume limited in-person teaching and learning after reading week on Monday, February 22, 2021.

This buffer gives instructors time to prepare for in-person learning that the recent lockdown suspended. It also allows some time for our support functions to resume their work to support those who are on campus.

Other campus activities will go back to the operational levels from before the Winter break when the stay-at-home order is lifted. If you are enrolled in on-campus  courses you should check with your instructor for course plans. If you have lab- or research-based activities, please contact your faculty supervisor or graduate officer for direction.

These immediate plans may need to change if the government extends the stay-at-home order, imposes other restrictions or provides new direction for post-secondary institutions. You can expect to hear more from us once we know more. 

Please continue to review the COVID-19 website for the latest news and updates on campus reopening.

We strongly advise you to avoid any travel over reading week 

We are all Waterloo Warriors, and we must continue to protect each other and our campus community. As you make your plans for a safe and restful reading week, it is very important to continue to follow all government regulations and COVID-19 safety guidance.

The government strongly advises that you only travel if it is absolutely essential. While we look forward to the year ahead with hope as vaccines are distributed across the country, we must remember that COVID-19 still poses an immediate risk, and new variants of the virus present an added threat.

The government advises that if you must travel for essential reasons, you should reduce close contact with others 10 to 14 days before traveling. Do the same before coming back to Waterloo.  

As you make your plans, please remember: 

  • If you must travel home for the break, consider a self-quarantine or reducing close contact with others, 10 to 14 days before travel. You should do the same before coming back to Waterloo.  
  • The fewer people you have contact with, the lower the risk of exposure to COVID-19. Virtual gatherings and virtual events are the safest way to visit with people outside your household.  
  • Under the current provincial stay-at-home orders, trips outside of the home should only be for essential reasons (e.g. work, school, groceries, pharmacy, health care, or physical activity). While this may change before reading week, be aware of any relevant guidance at the time.
  • If you are concerned you were exposed to COVID-19 or have symptoms, take the online COVID-19 self-assessment.  
  • Get tested if you have symptoms compatible with COVID-19, or if you have been advised of exposure by your local public health unit or through the COVID Alert app.  
  • University supports are available to you. If you need to get tested for COVID-19, make an appointment at the campus COVID-19 Testing Assessment Centre. To speak with a nurse about COVID-related health concerns, contact the University’s COVID-19 hotline at 1-833-UW-COV19 (1-833-892-6819) or complete this web form. 

I understand, many of us feel fed up and tired of these restrictions. But unnecessary travel will put people at risk and we must not let our guard down. 

I know it has been a challenging time, and the upcoming reading week will provide a much-needed rest.