President provides update to campus on Step 3 and beyond
"Last week, Waterloo Region, along with the rest of Ontario, entered the third step of the province’s reopening plan, further reducing the public health restrictions that have defined so much of the last 18 months," President Vivek Goel wrote in a memo to employees circulated yesterday. "As the government made clear, the relaxation of public health measures is made possible by the positive trends in vaccinations across the province and the country."
"Rates of transmission have also continued to drop. As of Monday:
more than 79 per cent of people aged over 12 in Ontario have had one dose of a vaccine,
more than 61 per cent have had two doses, and
Ontario has seen fewer than 200 new cases per day for 11 consecutive days."
"These are positive data points that are giving us confidence that further steps to relax restrictions can happen in the coming weeks provided the data continues to trend in the right direction. The province has already indicated our plans for the fall term can happen without physical distancing and that we can plan to lift capacity limits in our buildings."
"At Waterloo, we are working with our local public health team to make sure our plans for the fall continue to protect your physical and mental health, while ensuring that we can expand in-person experiences for everyone."
"These positive trends do not mean an end to all restrictions. We must remain vigilant, particularly since our region has experienced a series of outbreaks driven by the Delta variant. While local case levels are being controlled, they currently remain above the provincial average. We can plan to continue to wear masks indoors and maintain elevated health and safety protocols to keep our campuses safe. We also need to remain flexible to deal with a fourth wave of the pandemic if it emerges."
"I also want to be clear that while the Ministry of Colleges and Universities has signalled that we can expand in person experiences this fall, they also indicate that local circumstances should guide decision making. Our current academic approach will remain largely as planned. Our students and instructors have already made plans for the fall; changing those plans at this late stage would create new uncertainty and disruption for the community. We will preserve our overall plan to deliver a mix of online and in-person courses for the fall. However, with physical distancing and gathering limit requirements to be lifted, we can look now at potential changes to in person experiences such as in labs, libraries, student clubs and services and more."
"For employees, we will continue to work on departmental plans to guide the return to our campuses. As we start more on campus activities, we must also be prepared in some cases to return to working in person sooner than might have anticipated before now. Whatever the plan in your unit, we expect leaders to be mindful of your personal circumstances and to remain flexible during this new period of change."
"It’s clear that the change and uncertainty that has defined life during the pandemic is set to continue," Goel's memo continues. "I’m hopeful, now, that changes are more positive than we have been used to. As I know has been said so many times, Waterloo was built for change. I’m confident that we’re about to prove that point again."
Student Success Office offers another year at a glance
A message from the Student Success Office.
The foundation of our programs and strategies has been key in our ability to respond to the pandemic and continue supporting our students during their time at Waterloo. The insights from this fiscal year demonstrate our commitment to international students, student wellness, academic success, and the importance of building connections between the student and the campus community.
“This year was filled with change and uncertainty that would not have been possible to navigate without such a committed and compassionate staff team and the support of our campus partners,” Pam Charbonneau, director of the SSO shared. “Our partnerships with the campus community have helped us to support students during this milestone year, and we look forward to continuing our collaborations in the years to come.”
From working with campus partners to welcome Warriors for the first time, through the brand-new SSO-led Waterloo Ready program, to connecting a network of students with virtual peer communities and academic supports, the SSO is positively impacting the student experience at Waterloo.
Read the full report to learn more about the highlights of our year.
Staff invited to Memorandum of Agreement consultation session
A message from the University of Waterloo Staff Association (UWSA).
As outlined in the three MOA Consultation Sessions hosted to date, the University of Waterloo Staff Association (UWSA) is excited to see recent updates to the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) implemented. These updates include key improvements that will help the UWSA continue to improve working conditions for staff at Waterloo. The UWSA has heard strong support from staff at MOA Consultation Sessions so far, and this final session is the best way for UWaterloo staff to become informed and share your voice.
The MOA is an important document for all UWaterloo staff. It outlines the official working relationship between the UWSA, the official voice for UWaterloo staff, and the University of Waterloo. All staff are invited to attend the final Consultation Session by copying and pasting the Teams meeting link below into your calendar:
- Teams Meeting Link: 12:00 to 1:00 on Tuesday, July 27
Links to the current and updated MOA documents, along with answers to questions asked in past sessions, are available at the dedicated MOA Consultation Sessions page.
Concept $5K finals set to bring the entrepreneurial razzle-dazzle
A message from Concept by Velocity.
Get ready to be amazed by UWaterloo students with innovative startup ideas competing in the Concept $5K Finals. The Concept $5K Semi-Finals brought together 34 highly promising student teams with innovative startup ideas looking for early-stage funding. After two nights of impressive virtual pitches, a panel of experienced entrepreneurial judges comprised reconvened and identified the top 10 teams to advance to the Finals.
These student teams will spend the next week practicing and refining their pitches as they prepare to take the virtual stage and impress a new group of judges, as well as the audience. As per usual, there will be four $5K grants awarded to the top teams, but this semester there is an additional $5K to be awarded to a team with a health focused business idea.
Meet the finalists and register in advance to get a glimpse into the future of UWaterloo startups and learn more about these high potential ideas.
The spring 2021 finalists are:
- AIpaca, an AI cloud broker making AI model hyperparameter tuning as easy as one line of code.
- ASPx, which is simplifying hospital grade Antibiotic Stewardship programs (ASPs) for clinics so they can remain compliant to new regulations and play their part in saving antibiotics for the future generations.
- Emre, a free cloud-based electronic medical record (EMR) system built for small and medium sized clinics in emerging markets who are seeking a more efficient and cost-effective way to deliver healthcare.
- House AI, a customized data analytics solution for hospitals and healthcare institutions that saves lives, costs, and improves workflows.
- Keystroke, which is building a Q&A social network for coding questions.
- Maesos, which is developing an IoT microclimate monitoring network using smart weather sensors and novel plant health sensors to optimize agricultural management, maximize yield and combat damage caused by weather, pests, diseases and sprays.
- MedAtlas, which aims to simplify access to specialist healthcare in Africa using telemedicine solutions.
- Microbuild Masonry, which is using natural processes to make build materials with no environmental impact.
- Safi, which is a portable, cost effective, and easy to use pasteurization kit made for Kenyan herders to clean their milk and prevent the spread of deadly illnesses.
- Scena360, an online 3D gathering platform that makes meeting up online more like meeting up in real life.
Check out Concept's blog for the full story: https://concept.uwaterloo.ca/39714/
Quantum-Nano Centre to be closed Saturday and other notes
Plant Operations has announced that an exhaust unit atop the Mike & Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum-Nano Centre will be replaced on Saturday, July 24, which requires a complete building lockdown from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
The entire building will be closed and inaccessible while the exhaust unit replacement is carried out, and there will be a closure of the Ring Road between the Physical Activities Complex's lower parking lot and the entrance to the Needles Hall parking lot to make room for the crane and support vehicles during the operation.
"Thank you all in advance for your help on this lift," says a note from Plant Operations. In case of inclement weather, the rain date will be Sunday, July 25, which means the same closures would be in effect that day.
Warrior Rec Intramural Tournaments are coming up, including Beach Volleyball on Saturday, July 24, Soccer on Saturday, July 24 and Sunday, July 25, and Ultimate Frisbee on Sunday, Sunday, July 25. Advanced Registration required. Check out the full list of intramural tournaments on the Athletics website.