What Ontario’s Step 3 reopening means for York University

Vari Hall from the exterior
Vari Hall

On Friday, July 16, the province officially moved into Step 3 of its Roadmap to Reopen.  At this time, it is encouraging to see an improving public health situation and surpassed vaccination targets; however, it is important to be mindful of recent comments made by Ontario’s chief medical officer of health about the need to have the highest rate of vaccination possible heading into September, as more will begin to gather indoors.

The latest health data also shows that there is a disproportionate rate of infection among those who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated. The University continues to strongly recommend that all eligible members of the York community receive their COVID-19 vaccines this summer.

A preliminary review of the impact of Step 3 for York suggests that while there are no major changes posed to the delivery of the Summer 2021 term (with courses largely delivered remotely), some fitness and in-person research activities involving human participants will resume. The following will apply under Step 3:

  • Beginning on July 19, the Tait McKenzie Fitness Centre will have a limited reopening for York students only, with workout times available on a reserved basis. The Fitness Centre has scheduled fitness classes to resume the following week by reservation.
  • While indoor gatherings must allow for all to maintain a physical distance of at least two metres, in-person instruction will continue to abide by existing gathering limitations (10-person maximum), with an exception for a maximum of 50 persons allowed for in-person instruction in the School of Nursing.
  • All indoor gatherings must still abide by two-metre physical distancing, masking/face covering requirements and/or the proper use of personal protective equipment.
  • Students filming outdoors or undertaking other activities outdoors must abide by the 100-person outdoor gathering limit.
  • Beginning on July 16, in-person/face-to-face research involving human participants will resume with exceptions, subject to approved health and safety plans, current ethics and/or permit approval and applicable physical distancing requirements.
  • If you do need to come to campus, please request access through the Campus Access system or have pre-existing approval to access campus spaces. Completion of daily screening is also part of this process.

The University continues to await guidance from the Ministry of Colleges and Universities on what will and will not be permitted for the Fall 2021 term and it is anticipated that this information will be shared with Ontario’s post-secondary sector soon. Plans continue to be developed to implement changes to on-campus activities, in-person classes and student experiences at the appropriate times.

In the coming weeks, more information will be shared via weekly Wellness Wednesday Return to Campus Special Issues and on the Better Together website. If you have questions about York’s safe return to campus that are not currently covered under any of the existing FAQs, feel free to submit them here.