This update is provided for archival purposes only.

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Planning for an online start to the winter 2022 term

Thursday, December 16, 2021

This message was originally sent to faculty by David DeVidi, Associate Vice-President, Academic, and Jeff Casello, Associate Vice-President, Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs.

  • The winter term will begin on January 5, 2022 but most classes scheduled for in-person delivery will begin via remote instruction 
  • Instructors should implement their contingency plans for winter 2022 
  • Courses scheduled for in-person delivery will return to in-person delivery as soon as possible after January 24, 2022 


Today you will have received information from the President and the Provost about changes to the winter term. These changes will have a direct impact on many of your course activities.

The winter term will begin as previously scheduled on January 5, 2022, but classes scheduled for in-person delivery will, with a few exceptions, begin via remote instruction. This requires instructors to activate the contingency plans prepared as part of your course outlines and put them into effect for the beginning of term.

There are exceptions to this change. Those courses that must happen in person (e.g., clinical programs and some labs) will continue to be held in-person between January 5 and January 24 in a manner consistent with public health guidelines. Decisions about which courses fall into this category will be made at a more local level, and program leaders should expect to hear from their Deans about this matter shortly.

Earlier this year, the University decided to return to a largely in-person term because of the benefits this offers, especially to our students. Even with the online start to the term, our intention is to return to in-person instruction as soon as possible because we continue to believe in the value of activities made possible by interactions on our campuses. This online start to the term greatly increases the likelihood of achieving our goal of a safe return to in-person instruction where those benefits can be realized.

Thus, courses scheduled for in-person delivery will not be switched to entirely online or remote delivery for the entire winter term. Based on current information, we continue to plan for courses scheduled for in-person delivery to return to in-person as soon as the public health situation allows on or after January 24, 2022. A primary reason for this decision is to maintain the benefits of in-person instruction while avoiding the expectation that instructors teach in “dual modes” in order to accommodate a large proportion of their students who might be isolating because of exposure to the Omicron variant of the virus. There will be exceptions to this. For example, some stand-alone lab courses with large enrolments may remain in the contingency-modified format throughout the winter term, even if we are able to return to in-person learning at any point. 

We recognize that instructors across the University have been working very hard, through many changes in direction. We also know that implementing these contingency plans is difficult and stressful. You have our deepest gratitude for your resilience and your efforts in providing the highest quality education to your students.

We hope that making these changes early in the new year helps us to be able to get back to in-person instruction later during the winter term. Thank you for everything you have done and will continue to do for Waterloo.