Wednesday, March 17, 2021

On March 17 the following email was sent to the UWaterloo community, including graduate students


To: UWaterloo community

From: Feridun Hamdullahpur, president and vice-chancellor

Date: Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Subject: Updating you on our fall plans


  • We have started planning for significantly expanded in-person approach for fall term
  • We will keep sharing our plans on the COVID-19 Information website

I’m writing today to let you know about our intent to begin a move back to in-person operations for our students and employees.

The COVID-19 pandemic put everyone to the test. The unpredictability of the last year has been as challenging as any of the new public health measures we have added to our lives. I know many of you are eager to get back to in-person learning, work, and other campus activities as soon as possible.

The recent news of an increase in the number of vaccines across Canada is giving us reason for new hope. It is with that sense of hope that I am pleased to announce that we are planning to deliver significantly more an in-person learning, work and research starting in the Fall 2021 term. We are optimistic that on-campus activity can happen in person with a staged and strategic return to campus. Above all, our plan will be flexible so we can tackle unexpected challenges.

Our goal will be to create as many on-campus experiences as possible starting September. Whether you come to our campuses to live, work, or study, I am hopeful that you will see many more of the amazing people who make Waterloo an amazing place.

We will continue to work with health officials and all levels of government to make the staged transition back to on-campus operations safe for students, employees and the community. While we must continue to update our health and safety practices, I want to be clear that many of us will be returning to campus life this year as we all can play a role in creating a dynamic and responsive environment for our students.

As we begin to welcome people back to campus, we know we can rely on the flexible arrangements many of you have put place this year in rising to the challenge of this pandemic. Though in-person learning will increase, we know many students will continue to attend virtual classes no matter what the pandemic demands. Our services and employee arrangements will also need to stay flexible – meaning available both in-person and online – to ensure we can continue to adapt to the uncertainty of COVID-19.

I have asked James Rush, vice-president, academic and provost, to share more direction for this approach with the leadership team. You can read his memo on the COVID-19 website.

The pandemic has challenged us all, but I am so proud of our community’s response. You have each, in your own way, stepped up for your community, your families, your friends and yourselves. This past year has not been easy, but as we move forward with a new sense optimism about the future, I am confident that we will continue to rise to any challenges that come our way.

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