This update is provided for archival purposes only.

Public Health guidance and University of Waterloo operations may have changed. For the most up-to-date information, please visit our COVID-19 frequently asked questions.

No in-person course activity for Spring 2020

Friday, March 20, 2020

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

The University has made an important decision to continue with an alternative delivery system of operations for Spring Term. This means that we are not going to deliver in-person course activity. All courses and exams will take place online. 

Employees will continue to work from home until further notice to help support the ongoing functions of the University and academic success for students. 

We believe this step is necessary to create some certainty during this uncertain time. We also need to be sure that we can continue to deliver what is most important – a great University of Waterloo academic experience.  

I am sharing some important details about the new term with you now, but there are many more details we need to consider and decide. I plan to give you more comprehensive information on Spring Term by the end of next week.

Term will start on May 11, 2020

We will not deliver any in-person course activity for Spring Term and pivot to alternative means of course delivery starting May 11, 2020 – a week later than originally scheduled.

Courses will run for a full 12-week term, to August 5, 2020. There will be a limited one-week exam period, ending, August 15, 2020, during which there may be online exams or final assessments due.

For now, the dates for the Drop/Add Period remain unchanged. 

We will share more information by Friday, March 27, 2020

Instructors are currently developing alternative ways to continue the delivery of courses with the full support of many units across campus. The extra week before classes start will provide additional time for us to plan for a full term of online course activity and give our instructors the help and resources they need. We will use the lessons we are learning at the end of the current term to help us plan for Spring.

We know that there is a lot more information we need to share and we plan to communicate any changes to course offerings, the new set of academic and financial dates, and new enrolment appointments by Friday, March 27, 2020.

Most buildings will be locked

We will keep the following buildings open Monday to Friday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

  • Applied Health Sciences (AHS) (B.C. Matthews Hall (BMH) addition)
  • Engineering 5 (E5)
  • Engineering 7 (E7)
  • Quantum-Nano Centre (QNC)
  • Mathematics 3 (M3)
  • Student Life Centre (SLC open 24/7)

You can expect communication from your dean or department head on building access in case you need to access offices.

We are not accepting new bookings for residence during Spring Term  

To keep our students, staff, and spaces safe, we will continue with our unprecedented measures for services in residence buildings. We have urged students to leave residences if they can to help us maintain best practises on social distancing – most students have left or decided to leave.

Some students need to stay in the residences. We will continue to support students who need to stay in residences with essential services and support. We are not accepting new bookings for residence during Spring Term. 

We’re introducing more flexibility for co-op students

We are creating flexible pathways to help students complete the Spring 2020 work term. If your work term is affected by COVID-19, we are reducing the minimum number of work terms you need to complete by one with a minimum of three work terms in undergraduate programs. This applies to all programs except those in Pharmacy.

International travel is suspended

The Government of Canada has imposed significant border restrictions. We are not currently approving any University-related travel until further notice.

International co-op work terms and international exchanges will not be moving forward for the Spring Term. Co-op is working with employers to establish flexible pathways to help students complete the spring 2020 work term. Students are encouraged to monitor their WaterlooWorks messages or reach out to their co-op advisors with questions.

Stay well, stay home and watch for more information

I realize that this continues to be an exceptional time. We know we need to keep taking action that will slow the spread of COVID-19. We also know we have an important job that we must keep doing.

There are people across the University community who are available to support our students along the way. We know we can’t provide you with answers to all your questions today, but there are people working tirelessly to make sure we can answer those questions soon.

If you have questions, please continue to send them to and our team will do their best to get you the information you need as soon as we can.