What the COVID-19 provincial shutdown means for campus operations

Thursday, April 1, 2021

On April 1 the following email was sent to the UWaterloo community, including graduate students


To: Graduate students

FromFeridun Hamdullahpur, president and vice-chancellor  

Date: Thursday, April 1, 2021 

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


  • The Region of Waterloo will move into a provincial shutdown effective April 3, 2021 for a period of 28 days, which affects teaching, research and other operations on campus.
  • Your Faculty, professor or academic advisors will be in touch with you to update you on any changes to your classes by Monday, April 6, 2021.
  • As we approach the long weekend, please do your part and don’t travel outside the region.

The provincial government has announced a new shutdown effective April 3, 2021 lasting for a period of 28 days. We must adapt to the new emergency restrictions.

The shutdown will be very similar to the one experienced in January, and 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 remaining eight class days of the winter term and have identified courses that will continue in person or remotely during a lockdown.
    • Instructors will consult with their associate dean or chair for clarity and direction and should inform students about class format (in-person or remote) for Monday, April 6 as soon as possible.
  • On campus laboratory research 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 if we receive that direction. We will share more information on human participant research and field research next week.
  • Student residences remain open as normal with additional security and shared space safety measures already in place due to the ongoing outbreak.
  • 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 operate W Store with a limited capacity. All services will continue to remain available online.
  • Libraries will 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. Study spaces within the Davis Centre library will be closed temporarily.
  • General office activity is limited to work that must occur on campus. Any work that can occur remotely should be done from home. Leaders and department heads will need to communicate their areas’ specific priorities and plans.
  • At this time, the shutdown does not impact the arrival of international students and does not change any of the federal or provincial quarantine requirements or the provincial COVID-19 testing requirement.

As a campus, we need to be prepared for the possibility of a lockdown period of longer than 28 days. We will continue to monitor the situation in this could affect our plans for the spring term.

I know none of us wanted to go through another shutdown, but this is the right thing to do for our global battle with this virus. Thank you for your perseverance, patience and support as we all do our part to stop the spread.

As we approach the long weekend, please do your part and don’t travel outside the region. If you have to travel and are returning to Waterloo from another province after Easter, 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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