Interim update on provincial guidance for the fall term

People walk through Vari Hall, which is located on York U's Keele campus
People walk through Vari Hall, which is located on York U’s Keele campus

The following is an important message to the York community from York University Provost and Vice-President Academic, Lisa Philipps, and Provost and Vice-President Research and Innovation, Amir Asif.

Dear York community, 

Late last week, the deputy minister of colleges and universities (MCU) distributed a memo providing guidance to the post-secondary sector for Fall 2021 planning, based on progressing vaccination rates in Ontario and continued improvements in public health indicators. This guidance includes:

  • the resumption of all in-person instruction and on-campus activities without capacity limits;
  • no physical distancing requirements; and
  • the continuing requirement for masks and face coverings to be worn in indoor spaces.

It is important to note that post-secondary education (PSE) institutions will still be required to follow relevant public health and workplace safety requirements. The MCU will be releasing an updated Postsecondary Education Public Health Measures Framework in early August 2021 with further information, including the requirement for all PSE institutions to have Continuity of Education Plans in place before September, in the event of a disruption to in-person teaching and learning.

The guidance from the MCU is welcomed news, as it provides greater clarity for us as we continue to plan for the gradual reopening of our campuses. As has been the case in our planning throughout the pandemic, we will continue to put the safety and well-being of our community first, in order to allow us to resume in-person activities on our campuses with confidence.

We also appreciate that many course directors may have already made plans based on the confirmed mode of delivery loaded onto our system this past week. Students have also begun to register for courses based on the information provided, regarding requirements for on-campus/in-person or online/remote delivery. Those plans provide a strong foundation for increasing activities on our campuses while meeting the diverse needs of our students as we prepare for the fall. We will therefore proceed with the mix of in-person/on-campus and remote/online activities as planned.

Hopefully, the improvements in our public health situation will allow for increased in-person/on-campus activities, including instructor/student meets and co-curricular and extracurricular student events. However, broadly speaking, the MCU guidance does not materially impact our fall term plans. Specifically, the University does not intend to convert existing courses or meets that have been marked for remote or online delivery to in-person delivery.

For the remainder of the summer term, as mentioned in our last community update, York University continues to maintain existing two-metre physical distancing requirements, while some fitness and in-person research activities involving human participants will resume under Step 3. We also continue to ask that those who wish to come to campus at this time request access via the Campus Access System.

Further details about the fall term will be shared with you by early August. In the coming weeks, more information will also 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 the FAQs, please feel free to submit them here.

Lisa Philipps
Provost and Vice-President Academic 

Amir Asif
Vice-President Research and Innovation