On April 28 the following email was sent to graduate students
To: Graduate students
From: Jeffrey Casello, Associate-Vice President, Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs (GSPA)
Date: April 28, 2021
Subject: Preparing for the spring 2021 term
The spring 2021 term is fast approaching. Whether you are studying remotely or will be on campus for some in-person classes or research, we are here for you. Below you will find some action items and information to get you ready for the term.
- Extended stay-at-home orders for beginning of term
- Revised important dates
- Updates to RA/TA rates
- Class information
- Physical return to campus
- Thesis proposals, comprehensive exams and thesis defence
- Staying connected and supported
The province of Ontario has extended the current provincial shutdown and stay-at-home orders for 2 weeks – this affects in-person teaching, research and other operations on campus, including the beginning of spring term. Learn more in the memo sent to graduate students on April 22, 2021.
With the start of classes delayed to May 10, most important dates for the spring term were revised. A few key dates to know:
- May 10: Classes begin
- May 30: Class enrolment period ends
- May 31: Tuition and fee refund deadline– 100%
- June 25: Tuition and fee refund deadline – 50%
- Aug 5: Classes end
- Aug 7-16: Final exam period
For a complete list, review the spring 2021 academic schedule changes.
- Effective May 1, the Research Assistantship (RA) & minimum PhD funding rates will increase by 1.86%;
- Also, the Teaching Assistantship (TA) rates will be combined with compensation with academic award funding to make it easier for grad students to budget. Learn more.
- Review the important dates for spring 2021 term
- Check to see if you require textbooks or course materials for your class(es), and order to ensure timely delivery – details are available on the W store website.
- Confirm personal details in Quest – make sure your addresses, emergency contact and other personal details are up to date so critical communications are sure to reach you.
- Log in to WatIAM to enter an external password recovery email address so you don't get locked out of your University accounts.
- Two-factor authentication (2FA) is required to access many online systems. Enrol today.
- Reliable internet access will be required.
- Tools such as a webcam may be used in your course.
- LEARN (the web-based learning management system):
- If your instructor is using LEARN
- Before classes start, check your technology to ensure you can successfully participate in online classes. See LEARN’ system, software and internet requirements.
- Find technical support on the LEARN help website or send an email to email@example.com.
- On May 10, log in to LEARN to see what courses will be using this platform.
- If your instructor is using LEARN
- If instructors are using other platforms you can expect:
- An email from your instructor, no later than May 12 to your @uwaterloo.ca email address.
- After May 12, if you still haven’t heard from your instructor, reach out to them via email.
- Review how the Extended stay at home orders will impact the beginning of term.
- Your instructor will email you to tell you if your class will start remotely or in person on May 10.
- If you need to cross the provincial border by ground to attend campus for an essential purpose, you can request a verification letter of support from The Centre.
- If you are coming to campus for the first time since the pandemic started, watch the Welcome Back Waterloo safety video and read this guide to learn more about what to expect. Visit the COVID-19 website for the latest safety updates.
- Stay informed about what services are physically open and available to you and which are offering modified services - these may be updated throughout the term.
- Review the Research information web page on the COVID-19 information website for the latest details about returning to research on campus.
- If you will be serving as a TA during the spring term, visit the Keep Learning website for resources and support, and connect with your graduate officer and department for any additional resources.
Discuss your timelines with your supervisor and agree upon the scheduling of these important milestones.
I encourage you to continue to engage with your fellow graduate students, as well as your research group, supervisors, and course instructors. Among many possibilities, you may consider some of the following opportunities and resources:
- Visit the Graduate Student Association – University of Waterloo (GSA-UW) website for upcoming virtual events.
- Explore online learning resources to help you navigate studying and learning in an online environment.
- Learn about the Student IT Services available to you, how to use them, tips for remote learning, and how to get IT help/support.
- Schedule frequent check-in meetings with your research group and supervisors. For more tips on staying connected, explore the work from home and remote resources web page.
- Refer to the set of University services and resources.
- Explore the Campus wellness website; know that wherever you are, Counselling Services is here to help you.
On behalf of all my colleagues at the University of Waterloo and in the Graduate Studies Community, know that you have our support during your upcoming spring 2021 term and always. If you have any questions as you approach the start of the term, I encourage you to contact your supervisor, graduate officer or graduate co-ordinator, or send me an email. Stay well.