This message was originally sent to the UWaterloo community by Vivek Goel, President and Vice-Chancellor and James W. E. Rush, Vice-President, Academic and Provost.
In the last week we have seen our campuses come alive once again as we made our return to in-person learning. We hope everyone who got to experience the campus last week felt some of the energy of having our spaces occupied by students learning and working together.
We were pleased to see our community remaining vigilant and respecting the need to wear masks and maintain distancing where it is required. Thank you for doing your part to keep the people around you protected. We remind you to complete the daily Campus Check-in and to stay away if you are sick. We also encourage all members of our community to get their booster vaccine as soon as you are eligible.
Last week, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health confirmed the encouraging news that the peak of the Omicron wave has passed. Today, in light of improving public health indicators the government announced it is accelerating the timelines for lifting restrictions over the coming weeks.
These are encouraging signs that indicate our current plan to cautiously return to more in-person experiences is on an appropriate trajectory.
We will continue to follow the government’s roadmap to reopening in the coming days and weeks to guide the public health restrictions on campus. This means some facilities and services – such as dining and non-spectator areas of recreation facilities – will operate without capacity limits from February 17.
Other elements of our existing plan for our gradual return to regular levels of in-person activity, as indicated in our message on January 21, will remain unchanged. Additionally, our proof of vaccination requirement will remain in place at least for the duration of the Winter term. We will continue to review the government regulations as they become available and provide more information when we are able.
Since February 7, some large classes have temporarily remained online to help manage our overall campus density. We are confirming today that many of those classes will change to in-person delivery as of February 28, while some, depending on local circumstances determined on a case-by-case basis, may remain online for the remainder of the term.
Overall, we expect most classes that were originally planned to be in person for this term to return to in-person activity after Reading Week. Students in the affected classes can expect to hear from their instructors by the end of this week on Friday, February 18. We will continue to share details on the COVID-19 information website.
Thank you again for everything you are all doing to keep one another safe as we get back to doing what we are all here to do: giving students the best education to set them on a path to shaping a new, exciting future for all of us.