Friday, September 25, 2020

On Sept 25 the following email was sent to current graduate students

To: Waterloo graduate students

From: Feridun Hamdullahpur, President and Vice-Chancellor

Subject: Staying safe on and off campus

I have been pleased to welcome the Waterloo community back for the fall term, whether it is virtually or on campus. As we continue into the term, it is important to remember that each of us has an important part to play in limiting the risk of COVID-19 and maintaining safety both on and off campus.

Safety on campus

You can help reduce the spread of COVID-19 by limiting your time on campus to necessary visits. If you do need to be on campus, it is very important to follow the proper safety protocols.

We understand that having access to campus facilities and spaces for study, recreation and spending time with your peers is important to your academic success and mental wellbeing. A number of on campus operations have re-opened or have announced expanded in-person services this fall term. You can get information about what’s open on campus on the COVID-19 website, including which buildings are open and their modified operating hours, as well as updates from the Library, select Food Services dining options, W Store locations, The Centre, Campus Wellness, and Athletics and Recreation.

When visiting campus and using any University facilities, be sure to observe public health guidance, the safety protocols we have issued to date, as well as any additional expectations for the particular space you are using. For example, instructors will go over expectations in the classroom or lab, and common areas may have designated seating or capacity limits. As a graduate student, you will also be required to complete the “Returning to Campus Safety During COVID-19” training before arriving on campus.

A limited number of study carrels are available by appointment at the Davis Centre Library. We have also made study spaces available in academic buildings, which will be clearly marked with signage. For everyone’s safety, you must observe the following rules when using the study spaces:

  • Wear a face covering at all times.
  • Sit only in designated seating.
  • Maintain 2 metres distance from others at all times.

These rules apply to everyone using the space, even if you are studying with roommates or anyone in your “social bubble.” Anyone not following these rules may be asked to leave.

Whether you are studying or socializing, safety must remain top of mind. The Province of Ontario recently limited the size of private social gatherings to 10 people at an indoor event or gathering and 25 people at an outdoor event or gathering. These limits apply on campus (outside of classroom, lab and work settings) and in your homes off campus.

Again, we must take these rules, and our shared responsibility to each other, very seriously.  If members of our community do not follow these rules, we may consider disciplinary action to ensure we can keep campus spaces open and to maintain the health and safety of our community.

Face, space and hands

By following public health advice, we can help protect our community and help limit the risk of spreading the virus. Three simple steps we can all take, whether you are on or off campus:

  • Wear a mask. Face coverings, such as masks, that cover the nose, mouth and chin are required in all common areas of campus buildings, or wherever physical distancing is a challenge.
  • Leave some space. It is important to keep a physical distance of at least two metres from others. We have installed signage around campus to help with maintaining distance. Follow the guidance on the signs.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and running water. When soap and running water are not available, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer is a good alternative.

Just remember: face, space and hands. These are simple measures, but they are the very best way to protect ourselves and each other.

More details about these measures and other safety requirements, protocols and tips are available on the university’s COVID-19 website, which I hope you’re all familiar with by now.

Let’s continue to respect and look out for one another as we head into the fall term. We are all Waterloo Warriors, and Warriors protect each other.

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