Wednesday, April 14, 2021

    Brandon Sweet
    University Communications

    Public health authorities declare outbreak in residences over

    On Tuesday, April 13, Region of Waterloo public health declared the COVID-19 outbreak in all University of Waterloo residence buildings to be over.
    "By following public health guidelines and increased safety measures put in place in response to this outbreak, our campus community—particularly students currently living in residence—have allowed public health to take this step," wrote Feridun Hamdullahpur in a memo circulated to the campus community yesterday. "While the outbreak is officially over, it remains critical that we all continue to follow the advice of public health officials. Please continue to do your part and follow the province’s recent stay-at-home orders, which include remaining at home unless leaving for necessities such as groceries or health-care services."

    Effective Tuesday, April 13, please note the following adjusted safety protocols for residence buildings: 

    • Residents should continue self-monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms and symptomatic testing is available at the Testing Assessment Centre at Health Services. 
    • Access control will continue to be managed through designated entrances requiring a WatCard or key, however, security personnel will no longer be situated at the entrances. 
    • Our existing no guest policy remains unchanged. Students must continue to socialize with those within their household (that is, within their suite or traditional-style residence floor). The only individuals in a room or suite should be the residents who live there. 
    • As we are still in a stay-at-home order, all common use space such as lounges and study rooms will continue to remain closed until the end of the term. 

    "Please continue to follow all public health guidelines and seek testing if you are showing symptoms of COVID-19," the president writes. "Testing is available on campus for University students, employees, postdocs and family members living in the same household. To book a test, please use the online registration form."

    "Please continue to follow all University safety protocols. As we approach a period of heightened uncertainty, it is also important to take care of yourselves and each other. Help is available if you need it." 

    "Thank you for your continued perseverance, patience and support as we all do our part to stop the spread."

    Businesses and entrepreneurs are changing the game for digital health

    Waterloo Innovation Summit banner image.

    This article was originally published on Waterloo News.

    To Dr. Louise Schaper, Amazon’s plan to start selling health-care services is a gamechanger.  

    “If you can afford to pay for it great, but what happens to people who can’t pay for private health care?” she asked. 

    At Waterloo’s latest Innovation Summit on the future of health innovation, Dr. Schaper’s keynote address emphasized the need to embrace creative and collaborative approaches to make health-care services available to everyone.  

    “In order for us to invent a health-care system that is truly patient centered, truly innovative, one that delivers a higher quality of care … every single health-care organization is going to have to rewrite their business plan,” said Dr. Schaper, CEO of Australasian Institute of Digital Health

    As the “fourth wave” of digital health continues, society needs to think beyond new technology and seek non-traditional routes between industry and business, alongside shaping government policy that is “pro-innovation, but also pro-patient.”  

    She noted that hosting a “training day” for a new electronic medical records software program for workers isn’t integration, but rather health-care professionals need to be part of the process from the very beginning, with an emphasis on upskilling the workforce whether it comes to front-line care or the back-end jobs supporting the delivery of care.  

    COVID-19 has spurred investment in innovation 

    The pandemic has fueled innovation across businesses and industries. It’s placed unparalleled demands on modern health-care systems, with hybrid models being widely adopted to respond to the crisis. In response, society is seeing businesses, investors, government and health-care providers collaborate in new ways, at an exponential pace. According to industry leaders, these efforts need to keep going.  

    “During the pandemic, we found this huge rush of funding, focus and interest on one particular topic,” said Jun Axup, chief science officer and partner at IndieBio and a one of three panelists at the Summit. “Both public and private funding, public engagement became the focus bridge to figuring out problems we need to solve. The hope is that this translates to a focus on what’s broken and how the problems can be solved.” 


    Speaking from the investor’s side, Jun Axup thinks we should “absolutely take more risks” when it comes to investing in technology that might be the solution out of this pandemic.

    Brian Lewis, president and CEO, Medtech Canada, added that for more innovation to happen in the area of health technology, the Canadian health-care system budgets needs to remove funding silos and mandate procurement for purchase price minimization.   

    “What needs to happen, is funds need to be put forward and we need to reconfigure the provincial health-care system to look at downstream value of new innovation,” said Lewis. “The system needs to evolve.” 


    Are we willing to take bolder risks deploying health technologies? To protect us from reverting to old ways after the pandemic, Brian Lewis says it’s important to “keep our awareness up” to allow our health-care systems change for the better.

    Collaboration is the strategic response to the pandemic 

    While there’s still more work to do, the collaborative efforts across many industries are paying off, even if it means traveling into unfamiliar territory in usually risk-adverse environments.  

    “We are at a very difficult transition right now,” said Catherine Burns, executive director, Health Initiatives and Sponsored Research at the University of Waterloo.   

    She explains that we’re going from a system that is very solid and very risk adverse to an environment where technology has a little more risk. Burns says it becomes a question of trust: how much risk is acceptable?”  


    Recognizing the new Innovation Arena, located in the City of Kitchener’s Innovation District, Hamdullahpur highlighted how the space will amplify Waterloo region’s health-tech sector.  

    “Drawing on our strengths in health research, enabling connections between research and industry, and fostering student-driven solutions and entrepreneurship, we are uniquely positioned to lead in this exciting space,” said Feridun Hamdullahpur, Waterloo’s president and vice-chancellor. 

    Housing Velocity, Waterloo’s flagship entrepreneurship program, the Innovation Arena will streamline commercialization pathways for businesses, fast-track delivery of health technologies and drive Canada’s next wave of economic growth. 

    Collaboration, investment, upskilling our workforce — and even taking risks —are the ingredients required to transform and improve patient care. 

    Q and A with the experts: Long-term care after a year of COVID-19

    Professor Paul Stolee

    The University of Waterloo has a number of experts available for comment on various aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    What has changed a year after COVID-19 first wreaked havoc on long-term care homes last spring? Paul Stolee, director of the Network for Aging Research and a professor in the School of Public Health and Health Systems, examines some of the issues associated with long-term care during the pandemic.

    What role can health technology play in supporting older adults at home and in long-term care?

    There are many ways that technology could support the care and quality of life of older people. Some examples are digital technologies to support social interaction, social robots, wearable technologies and other monitoring systems, artificial intelligence models to support clinical decision-making and many others. 

    For these technologies to have an impact, though, they need to be adopted and used, and this is where many obstacles and barriers arise. In the context of the pandemic, a digital device – such as an iPad – could connect socially isolated long-term care residents with their families or facilitate virtual care provision between providers and older adults.

    However, in an underfunded system, who will pay for the device and the internet service? With staffing shortages, who will help the older person learn to use the device and set up the connection with the family member or provider? For these and more complex technologies to have an impact, other challenges facing the long-term care system – like funding, staffing, facilities – also need to be addressed.

    What lessons have we learned when it comes to protecting aged populations during a health crisis? 

    The first is that we should not wait for a crisis, like the COVID-19 pandemic, to address persisting deficiencies of the health and social supports available to older adults. Secondly, the pandemic has exposed the weaknesses of the long-term care sector caused by chronic underfunding, understaffing and outdated facilities. It is very discouraging that despite promises to defend long-term care residents after the first wave, the second wave resulted in a greater number of deaths. 

    Another lesson is that we need to recognize and support the essential role of family caregivers. Restricting family members from visiting their loved ones in long-term care homes may have been a short-term necessity for public health reasons, but caused heartbreaking social isolation of residents, some of whom died without their families with them. 

    A less obvious consequence was the loss of the direct care that family members provide in understaffed homes, as well as the oversight they provide on the quality of care. This exposed a major system shortcoming and an over-reliance on family caregivers to supplement lacking supports and services, contributing to caregiver burnout.

    A fourth lesson is that we cannot look at one part of the care system in isolation. Although the narrative surrounding the care of older people has focused on long-term care, it is important to acknowledge that most older Canadians are in fact community-dwelling. For older Canadians who are aging in place, an integrated system of community care (including primary care, home care, and community support services) is necessary. 

    What has to happen before some semblance of normalcy can be restored for people living in long-term care homes?

    Let’s hope that we don’t see a return to “normal.”  The normal state of things in long-term care – chronic underfunding and understaffing, outdated facilities – is unacceptable and this has been widely recognized for years. I hope that the pandemic is finally a catalyst to improve our care of older people.

    Paul Stolee is a Professor in the School of Public Health and Health Sciences. His research interests include challenges experienced by older patients as they transition across care settings, strategies that can foster greater care coordination and health system integration, and patient and citizen engagement in decision-making.

    Wednesday's notes

    The 19 April 2021 Senate meeting will be held via Microsoft Teams videoconference, according to a note from the Secretariat. Guests are welcome to join the open session of the meeting similar to a normal "in-person" Senate meeting. "If you would like to attend the meeting as a guest observer, please contact Emily Schroeder to request to join the meeting," says the Secretariat announcement. "All requests must be received by Friday 16 April 2021. The agenda is posted on the Senate webpage."

    The Faculty Association of the University of Waterloo's General Meeting will take place on Friday, April 16, from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. "What happens at a general meeting?" FAUW asks. "We tell you about what we’re working on, you get lots of time to ask questions and suggest other things for us to do, and you vote on important things like our budget for the next year or changes to the FAUW Constitution." An email has been sent to FAUW voting members with the agenda.

    Link of the day

    Pan-American Day

    When and Where to get support

    Students can visit the Student Success Office online for supports including academic development, international student resources, leadership development, exchange and study abroad, and opportunities to get involved.

    Instructors can visit the Keep Learning website to get support on adapting their teaching and learning plans for an online environment.

    Updated Course templates are now available within your course in LEARN to help you build and edit your content and assignment pages quickly.

    The following workshops, webinars, and events are offered by the KL team (CTE, CEL, ITMS, LIB):

    Independent Remote Course Design Essentials. Self-directed, continuous self-enrollment course in LEARN.

    LEARN for TAs (CTE6550), Wednesday, May 5, 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

    Employees can access resources to help them work remotely, including managing University records and privacy of personal information. Here are some tips for staying healthy while working from home.

    Stay informed about COVID cases on campus by consulting the COVID case tracker.

    Whether you’re a student or faculty member, the Writing and Communication Centre has virtual services and programs to help you with all of your academic writing needs. This term we have added evening and weekend one-to-one appointments with our peer tutors, and our NEW one-to-one workshops, where you can learn the content directly from one of our writing advisors.

    • Undergraduates: Work with us to brainstorm, draft, revise, and polish your assignments in one-to-one appointments. Ask questions and learn writing tips at our Instagram Live Q&A sessions, and beat isolation while improving your writing skills at the weekly PJ-friendly writing groups.
    • Graduates: Meet with our advisors in one-to-one appointments. Join the online writing community at the Virtual Writing Cafés, learn how to present your work at Speak Like a Scholar, or get moving on your dissertation at Dissertation Boot Camp.
    • Faculty and Instructors: Request custom workshops for your courses, join the Waterloo writing community at the Virtual Writing Cafés, or make progress on your article, book, or chapter in one-to-one meetings with our faculty specialist.

    Co-op students can get help finding a job and find supports to successfully work remotely, develop new skills, access wellness and career information, and contact a co-op or career advisor.

    The Centre for Career Action assists undergraduates, graduate students, postdocs, staff, faculty, and alumni through navigating career services that are right for them. You can attend a one-on-one appointment or same day drop-in session at the CCA for assistance with cover letter writing, career planning and much more. You can also book an appointment online or visit our Live Chat to connect with our Client Support Team. The CCA is here to help you.

    If you feel overwhelmed or anxious and need to talk to somebody, please contact the University’s Campus Wellness services, either Health Services or  Counselling Services. You can also contact the University's Centre for Mental Health Research and TreatmentGood2Talk is a post-secondary student helpline available to all students.

    The Library has published a resource guide on how to avoid information overload.

    The Faculty Association of the University of Waterloo (FAUW) continues to advocate for its members. Check out the FAUW blog for more information.

    The University of Waterloo Staff Association (UWSA) continues to advocate for its members. Check out the UWSA blog for more information.

    The Indigenous Initiatives Office is a central hub that provides guidance, support, and resources to all Indigenous and non-Indigenous campus community members and oversees the university Indigenization strategy.

    The Waterloo Indigenous Student Centre, based at St. Paul’s University College, provides support and resources for Indigenous students, and educational outreach programs for the broader community, including lectures, and events.

    WUSA supports for students:

    Peer support (Visit to book an appointment):

    • MATES – Available Monday to Friday, 10:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (online only)
      • Support sessions available in the following languages: Cantonese, English, Hindi, Mandarin, Portuguese, Punjabi, Spanish, and Urdu.
    • Glow Centre – Available Monday to Friday,  4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. (online only)
    • RAISE – Available Monday to Friday – Varied hours (online only)
    • Women’s Centre – Available Monday to Friday, 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. (online only)

    Bike Centre – Will be reopening soon

    Campus Response Team, ICSN, Off Campus Community and Co-op Connection all available online. Check for more details.

    Food Support Service food hampers are currently available from the Turnkey Desk on weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. in the Student Life Centre. If you have any questions please email us at

    Centre for Academic Policy Support - CAPS is here to assist Waterloo undergraduates throughout their experience in navigating academic policy in the instances of filing petitions, grievances and appeals. Please contact them at caps@wusa.caMore information is available.

    WUSA Commissioners who can help in a variety of areas that students may be experiencing during this time:

    WUSA Student Legal Protection Program - Seeking legal counsel can be intimidating, especially if it’s your first time facing a legal issue. The legal assistance helpline provides quick access to legal advice in any area of law, including criminal. Just call 1-833-202-4571

    Empower Me is a confidential mental health and wellness service that connects students with qualified counsellors 24/7. They can be reached at 1-833-628-5589.

    When and Where (but mostly when)

    Healthy Warriors at Home (Online Fitness)

    Free Exam Fitness Classes (April 6 – 16). Tuesday - Kickboxing, Wednesday- Zumba & Friday-Yoga. All classes are online at 5:00 p.m.

    Drop-in to Warrior Virtual Study Halls on Wednesdays from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Come together in this virtual space to set goals and work independently or in groups each week.

    Livestream Exercises for Waterloo staff: Join us for an energy boosting Bootcamp or a fast and effective Express Home Workout! Open to UW Staff and subsidized by the Staff Excellence Fund.

    Renison English Language Institute continues to offer virtual events and workshops to help students practice their English language skills.

    Warriors vs. Laurier Blood Donation Battle. Join your fellow Warriors, donate blood and help us win the Blood Battle against Laurier for a second year in a row. Set up a profile or add the PFL code: UNIV960995 to your account if you have a account already. Questions? Contact

    Conrad School Connect: Ask-Me-Anything with Cassie Myers, Thursday, April 15, 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

    FAUW General Meeting, Friday, April 16, 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

    Trademarks, Industrial Designs and Trade Secrets, Friday, April 16, 1 to 2:30 p.m. (Previously scheduled for March 26) Please register to receive a link to this event on WebEx.

    University Senate meeting, Monday, April 19, 3:30 p.m.

    NEW - Portfolio & Project Management Community of Practice (PPM CoP) session, "Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) in Project Planning" Wednesday, April 21, 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. Register for this event.

    Retirement of Steve Furino, Thursday, April 22, 3:30 p.m., Microsoft Teams.

    Lectures in Catholic Experience presents Progressive or Conservative? Archbishop Pocock and the Renewal of the Church in Canada featuring Peter Meehan, St. Jerome's University's President and Vice Chancellor, April 23, 7:30 p.m. online.

    Positions available

    On this week's list from the human resources department, viewable on the UWaterloo Talent Acquisition System (iCIMS):

    • Job ID# 2021-6413 - Director, Organizational & Human Development (OHD) – OHD, USG 15
    • Job ID# 2021-6231 - Communications Officer, Media - Dean of Mathematics Office, USG 9
    • Job ID# 2021-6329 - Technical Writer - Math Research Office, USG 10
    • Job ID# 2021-6343 - Co-op Student Experience Manager - CEE - Co-operative Education, USG 10
    • Job ID# 2021-6352 - Information Systems Specialist (Business Systems Analyst) – IST, USG 10 – 12
    • Job ID# 2021-6409 - Administrative Manager – Philosophy, USG 6
    • Job ID# 2021-6163 - Research Finance Manager - Office of Research, USG 11
    • Job ID# 2021-6245 - Project Manager - Plant Operations, USG 9 – 12
    • Job ID# 2021-6262 - Energy Manager - Plant Operations, USG 13
    • Job ID# 2021-6282 - Student Advisor - West Region - CEE - Co-operative Education, USG 8 – 9
    • Job ID# 2021-6384 - Parking Enforcement Officer - Plant Operations - Parking Services, USG 4

    Secondments/Internal temporary opportunities

    • Job ID# 2021-6398 - HR Partner - Human Resources, USG 8 – 11
    • Job ID# 2021-6400 - Administrative Coordinator - Human Resources, USG 6
    • Job ID# 2021-6258 - Manager, Graduate New Student Transition, Student Success Office - USG 10
    • Job ID# 2021-6354 - Development Officer - Dean of Mathematics Office, USG 9 – 11
    • Job ID# 2021-6357 - Financial Aid Assistant - Student Awards & Financial Aid, USG 6
    • Job ID# 2021-6366 - Academic Advisor, First Year Engineering - Engineering Undergraduate Office, USG 7
    • Job ID# 2021-6418 - Development Officer, Annual Giving - Office of Advancement, USG 9 – 10
    • Job ID# 2021-6419 - Senior Development Officer, Annual Giving - Office of Advancement, USG 11
    • Job ID# 2021-6401 - Instructional Digital Media Developer – CEL, USG 8 - 9