What the COVID-19 provincial shutdown means for campus operations

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

On Dec 22 the following email was sent to Waterloo students


To: Waterloo students

From: Feridun Hamdullahpur, president and vice-chancellor

Date: Tuesday, December 22, 2020 

Subject: What the COVID-19 provincial shutdown means for campus operations 

Note: This email is for information and action where appropriate. 


  • The Region of Waterloo will move into a provincial shutdown effective December 26, 2020, which affects teaching, research and other operations on campus. 
  • In-person course activity will be transitioning to remote course activity, with some exceptions.
  • Your Faculty, professor or academic advisors will be in touch with you to update you on remote course work routines.

With Waterloo region joining the provincial shutdown effective December 26, 2020, we must adapt to the new emergency restrictions.

The shutdown affects our current approaches to teaching, research and other operations: 

  • In-person course activity can only continue for subject matter or instruction that requires that it be taught in-person, such as clinical or hands-on training, with a limit of 10 students per section, with some exemptions in health care disciplines.
  • Faculty associate deans have been contingency planning for the winter term and have identified courses that will continue in person or remotely during a shutdown. 
  • Instructors will be consulting with their associate dean or chair for clarity and direction. 
  • We will communicate further details as they become available.
  • Your Faculty, professor or academic advisors will be in touch with you to update you on remote course work routines.
  • Face-to-face human participant research on campus must cease immediately upon provincial shutdown restrictions taking effect. It will be restarted when conditions permit.  
  • All other research on campus can continue during the provincial shutdown period following approved safety plans. All departments are expected to have in place a plan for scaling back lab research activities in the event that such direction is given. 
  • Researchers may NOT travel into or out of other regions to conduct research during the shutdown. Hence, off campus field research is not permitted at this time. 
  • More specific details will come under a separate memo from Office of Research later today.
  • Student residences remain open as normal. 
  • All food services are take-out and/or delivery only. Dine-in seating is not permitted. 
  • Athletics facilities are closed.  
  • Print + Retail Solutions will continue to facilitate textbook and course material ordering and offers shipping or curbside pickup options.
  • Libraries can be open for curbside, delivery and pick-up. Visitors may be permitted to enter libraries for contactless drop-off and pick-up, or similar services. Most research-related services may continue.  
  • At this time, the shutdown does not impact the arrival of international students. Federal and provincial 14-day quarantine requirements and the provincial COVID-19 testing requirement are still mandatory upon arrival into Canada. 

The Ontario government is strongly recommending that anyone travelling between provinces self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival. If you are returning to Waterloo from another province after the break, please make a plan to self-isolate before re-integrating with housemates or other community members. Remember that students are not permitted to quarantine in residence.

Please continue to do your part to contain the spread of COVID-19 and follow all University safety protocols. As we approach a period of heightened uncertainty, it is also important to take care of yourselves and each other. Help is available if you need it.  

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