All activity for on-campus courses suspended for one week

Friday, March 13, 2020

From the office of  Feridun Hamdullahpur, president and vice-chancellor of the University of Waterloo

  • We are suspending all activity for on-campus courses for one week, from March 14 to March 23.
  • At the end of this suspension, all in-person course activity is cancelled until the end of term, including in-person final exams. Instructors are working on alternate ways to deliver remaining course work and exams/assessments.
  • Fully online courses will continue, but in-person exams for these courses are cancelled and may be replaced with alternative assessments.
  • Campus operations will continue.

I am writing to provide an important update regarding Waterloo’s response to COVID-19. These are unprecedented times and we know that many people are dealing with increased stress and uncertainty.

We are introducing measures that we believe help protect the safety of our students, employees and our community. We also want to make sure that we ensure students get the best outcomes from their hard work so far this term.

  • All activity for on-campus courses (e.g., classes, labs, tutorials, etc.) is suspended for one week. Course activity will stop on March 14. We will resume course activities in alternative formats on Monday, March 23.
  • In the next week, instructors will provide students with information on how they will complete their courses.
  • The Centre for Extended Learning’s fully online courses will continue.

We will use this pause in course activity to allow instructors to plan alternative ways of delivering learning – including ways of measuring achievement instead of in-person final exams.

  • At the end of the suspension of activities, the University is cancelling all in-person course activity, including in-person exams, through the end of the Winter Term on April 25.
  • Instructors will inform students how assessment will happen.
  • The cancellation of in-person exams includes the in-person exams for fully online courses.

Accommodation for illnesses

We have made the University of Waterloo Verification of Illness form for students a self-declaration, which means students do not need a doctor’s note for accommodation if they become ill. Students can find the Influenza Absence Declaration in the Personal Information section of Quest.

Graduate studies and co-op programs

Planned research milestones for graduate students such as comprehensive exams and PhD defences may continue as planned. Students should contact their supervisor or associate dean, graduate studies to discuss any changes.

We are continuing to engage with students enrolled in co-op programs and their employers to help them manage through the remainder of the term. Students in other work placements can reach out to their academic supervisor if they have any concerns.

University operations

We will maintain business and administrative operations during this period of uncertainty. Office buildings will remain open. A reminder: those who are sick should stay home seek the advice of a health professional.

All residences remain open and operational.

Libraries, food services, health and wellness centres, athletics and recreation facilities and other public spaces on all campuses will remain open. We recommend you use social distancing and proper hygiene as a preventive measure.

We have enhanced cleaning protocols on campus, including increased decontamination of lecture halls and disinfection of high-touch surfaces.

We have not changed the revised travel and event instructions that we issued on March 12.

This situation is extremely challenging and I know many people across our campus are working to help reduce uncertainty. Please know that we will continue to monitor the situation and respond. There are measures we can all take to reduce the spread of the virus and work together to try to protect our community.

Additional information and resources

We are keeping the University’s COVID-19 website up to date with information. We’ve posted FAQs and other important information, updated in real time. 

If you have questions or concerns about coronavirus and Waterloo, please email and our team will help find the right campus contact. 

Supervisors, please post or otherwise circulate this message for the convenience of casual employees and employees without direct access to email.