What the extended COVID-19 shutdown and stay-at-home orders mean for spring term 2021

Thursday, April 22, 2021

On April 22 the following email was sent to graduate students


To: Graduate students

From: Feridun Hamdullahpur, president and vice-chancellor   

Date: April 22, 2021

Subject: What the extended COVID-19 shutdown and stay-at-home orders mean for spring term 2021


  • 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. 
  • Instructors will inform students about class format (in-person or remote) for the beginning of spring term (May 10, 2021) as soon as possible. 

The provincial government previously announced a shutdown and stay-at-home order.  This order has been extended for an additional two weeks, until May 20, 2021.

This affects the beginning of the spring academic term.

The extended shutdown restrictions will be the same as the restrictions currently in place under the previously announced measures; this includes current research activity restrictions.

  • In-person course activity can only begin 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 spring term and have identified courses that will begin in person or remotely during the stay-at-home order.
  • 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 the beginning of spring term (May 10, 2021) as soon as possible. 
  • A list of spring graduate courses offered in-person is available online.

Crossing the border into Ontario from another province is permitted for the purpose of moving to the Region or into residence on campus.

  • Students are not required to quarantine before crossing an inter-provincial border; however, the Ontario government is strongly recommending that anyone travelling between provinces self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival.
  • If you are coming to Waterloo from another province, please make a plan to self-isolate before integrating with housemates or other community members.
  • If you will be travelling by land across a provincial border to come to Waterloo, you can apply for a letter to confirm you need to reside in the Waterloo Region during the spring term. To request an official letter, please use the online request form.
  • 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. International students should continue to follow Waterloo’s travel processes and remember that students are not permitted to quarantine in residence.

Please continue to follow all University safety protocols and to only attend campus for classes which are scheduled in-person. 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.  

Thank you for your perseverance, patience and support as we all do our part to stop the spread.

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