New vaccine requirement at York University

Vari Hall new image
Vari Hall new image

The following is a message to the York University community from President and Vice-Chancellor Rhonda Lenton:

La version française suit la version anglaise.

Dear York Community,

The health and safety of our community members remains our highest priority, and we continue to advance multiple strategies and initiatives to protect our students, staff, faculty, instructors and researchers from COVID-19.

At yesterday’s town hall, we discussed the University’s plans to support a safe return to campus, and our support for the Council of Ontario Universities’ call on the provincial government to declare a provincial vaccine mandate for post-secondary institutions and a COVID Safe Pass vaccine verification process.

After consultations with stakeholders across the University, including student and employee groups, York will require all community members and visitors on our campuses this fall to be vaccinated against COVID-19, subject to medical and human rights exemptions, in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations.

Vaccination is the most powerful tool we have to protect ourselves and our communities from COVID-19. To ensure that vaccines remain accessible to our community members, York will continue to partner with Humber River Hospital to host vaccine clinics on the Keele Campus throughout August and September.

As always, the most recent updates on our return to campus plans, including answers to frequently asked questions, can be found on the Better Together website.

I want to thank all of our community members for continuing to do their part to protect themselves and others throughout the pandemic and look forward to sharing more details with you about this update in the coming days.

Sincerely,

Rhonda Lenton
President and Vice-Chancellor


Nouvelle obligation de vaccination à l’Université York

Chère communauté de York,

La santé et la sécurité des membres de notre communauté demeurent notre priorité, et nous continuons d’adopter de multiples stratégies et initiatives pour protéger contre la COVID-19 la population étudiante, le personnel, le corps professoral et enseignant ainsi que la communauté de recherche.

Lors de la discussion communautaire d’hier, nous avons présenté le plan de l’Université pour assurer un retour sécuritaire sur nos campus. Nous avons également joint notre voix au Conseil des universités de l’Ontario qui demande au gouvernement fédéral de rendre la vaccination obligatoire au sein de toutes les institutions d’enseignement postsecondaire, accompagnée d’un système de vérification des passeports vaccinaux.

Après avoir consulté divers intervenants au sein de notre Université, dont des membres de la population étudiante et du personnel, York imposera la vaccination contre la COVID-19 dès cet automne pour tout membre de la communauté ou visiteur qui souhaite se rendre sur nos campus, sous réserve d’exemptions pour des raisons médicales ou des droits de la personne, selon les lois et règlements applicables.

La vaccination est l’arme la plus efficace en notre possession pour nous protéger, nous-mêmes et notre communauté, contre la COVID-19. Pour assurer que les vaccins soient disponibles à la communauté, York continuera de collaborer avec l’hôpital Humber River pour accueillir des cliniques de vaccination sur le campus Keele en août et septembre.

Nous vous rappelons que les dernières mises à jour eu égard au retour sur les campus ainsi qu’une foire aux questions se trouvent sur notre site web Better Together.

Je tiens à remercier toute notre communauté, dont les membres agissent pour rester en santé et protéger les autres depuis le début de cette pandémie, et je vous enverrai plus de détail sur cette nouvelle obligation dans les prochains jours.

Cordialement,

Rhonda Lenton
Présidente et vice-chancelière 

Funding supports York project to advance gender equality in pandemic recovery

Serious Mature Women
Three hispanic or middle eastern mature women posing looking at the camera serious

A project out of York University that will advance gender equality in the social and economic response to COVID-19 is one of 237 projects to receive funding under Women and Gender Equality Canada’s $100-million Feminist Response and Recovery Fund.

“Creating Space: Precarious Status Women Leading Local Pandemic Responses” is a collaborative, two-year project that brings together five organized research units (ORUs) and six researchers representing five York Faculties, as well as 10 partners, working on issues of equity, diversity and inclusion to advance a feminist response to the impacts of COVID-19 through systemic change.

The project was awarded $667,609 and aims to centre precarious status women’s experiences to support self-determination and accelerate systemic change to reduce gender-based violence, promote workplace health and safety and increase economic security.

Associate Vice-President Research Jennifer Hyndman says the successful application was made possible through a groundbreaking collaborative effort. “Such collaboration across Faculties, schools, and disciplinary boundaries is unprecedented among the ORUs at York,” she said.

The community-based project will be led by Professor Luann Good Gingrich (director, Global Labour Research Centre; Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies) and Professor Heidi Matthews (Osgoode Hall Law School), the project’s co-principal investigators, along with four research directors: Professor Elaine Coburn (director, Centre for Feminist Research; International Studies at Glendon Campus); Professor Deborah McGregor (Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Environmental Justice; Faculty of Environmental & Urban Change/Osgoode Hall Law School); Professor Gertrude Mianda (director, Harriet Tubman Institute; Gender & Women’s Studies at Glendon Campus); and Professor Yu-Zhi Joel Ong (director, Sensorium: Centre for Digital Art & Technology; School of Arts, Media, Performance & Design).

“Our project will take advantage of this unprecedented moment of significant appetite for new ways of thinking and living together that are more just and sustainable,” said Matthews. “As devastating as the pandemic has been for women and gender-diverse individuals, particularly those from Indigenous nations and racialized communities, it has also pried open space to dismantle the otherwise rigid status quo structures that work to marginalize these groups.”

Logos for the organized research units: The Harriet Tubman Institute for Research on Africa and its Diaspora; the Jack & Maie Nathanson Centre on Transnational Human Rights, Crime and Security; the Sensorium Centre for Digital Arts and Technology; the Global Labour Research Centre; and the Centre for Feminist Research
The ORUs supporting the project include (top to bottom, left to right): The Harriet Tubman Institute for Research on Africa and its Diaspora; the Jack & Maie Nathanson Centre on Transnational Human Rights, Crime and Security; the Sensorium Centre for Digital Arts and Technology; the Global Labour Research Centre; and the Centre for Feminist Research

“Creating Space” involves five York ORUs – the Centre for Feminist Research, the Global Labour Research Centre, the Nathanson Centre on Transnational Human Rights, Crime and Security, the Harriet Tubman Institute for Research on Africa and Its Diasporas, and Sensorium: Centre for Digital Art and Technology – and nine community partners representing female temporary foreign workers, asylum seekers, Indigenous women and undocumented frontline workers: ACORN Canada; Canadian Caribbean Art Stars Inc.; BC Employment Standards Coalition; Black Creek Community Health Centre; Feminist Alliance for International Action Canada (FAFIA); Kashe Dance; Migrant Resource Centre Canada; Nail Salon Workers Project; and The Ajumose Mentorship and Oversight Group of Ontario (Tamogo) Foundation. The project will also be supported by its international human rights law collaborator, the Global Legal Action Network.

The multidisciplinary team brings together expertise in labour, digital arts, international law and human rights, Indigenous legal traditions and knowledges, feminist and Indigenous methodologies, and migration and Black diaspora studies.

“We are committed to a collaborative approach that emphasizes relationships and mutual learning, and opening space for creativity and innovation to reimagine the legal and economic systems that create status insecurity for many women in Canada,” said Good Gingrich.

Funding for this project highlights York’s efforts in working to support gender equality during the COVID-19 recovery. Sara Slinn, associate dean research and institutional relations at Osgoode Hall Law School, said “Osgoode is very proud to be involved in this timely and important project.”

LA&PS associate dean research and graduate studies, Ravi de Costa, said the grant is a testament to the strength of social science and humanities research at York – not only in LA&PS, but across the University. He commended Good Gingrich and Matthews for putting together a “superb” group of researchers from five faculties.

“The research they will do in this project will provide a critical and largely missing understanding of the effects of the pandemic on some of the most marginalized members of society.”

The project will:

  • design collective, autonomy-focused, and locally rooted strategies to address economic insecurity, frontline workplace safety and systemic gender-based violence
  • launch a new human rights initiative to devise innovative legal arguments that disrupt dominant legal paradigms by supporting Indigenous-led self-determination
  • create a participatory, experimental multimedia digital framework to shift the public conversation and accelerate systemic change around gender and status precarity.

Good Gingrich and Matthews say they anticipate cross-Canada impact. Researchers and graduate students contributing to the project will work with partner organizations to build capacity and support mutual knowledge exchange. This work will shape transformative policy, innovative and critical strategies for legal intervention, and change the conversation on a national level.

CFI awards more than $1.5M in research infrastructure funding to York University

research graphic

Researchers at York University will receive more than $1.5 million in funding from the Government of Canada as part of a $77-million investment to support 332 research infrastructure projects at 50 universities across the country.

Announced on Aug. 11 by Innovation, Science and Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne, the contribution comes from the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s (CFI) John R. Evans Leaders Fund (JELF) program, a tool designed to invest in state-of-the-art labs and equipment researchers need to turn their visions into reality.

At York, Professors Ali Asgary, Marcus Brubaker, Solomon Boakye-Yiadom, Liam Butler, Taylor Cleworth, Claire David, Shital Desai, Matthew Keough, Christine Le, Ozzy Mermut, Arturo Orellana, Enamul Prince, Jennifer Pybus and Emilie Roudier will receive funding totalling more than $1.5 million for their infrastructure projects.

“York is delighted to have 14 academics receive the John R. Evans Leaders Fund,” said Vice-President Research and Innovation Amir Asif. “This vital funding helps ensure we attract and retain the very best researchers who are undertaking truly innovative work. From addiction vulnerability to critical data-literacy research, from age-related impairments to advancements in particle physics – these projects will make positive change for our students, our campuses and our local and global communities.”

The funded projects at York are:

Ali Asgary, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies
DEXR LAB
CFI JELF award: $100,000
Ali Asgary
Ali Asgary

Asgary and DEXR Lab will conduct research and develop extended reality (XR) applications for public safety, public health and disaster-and-emergency management training, education and operations. DEXR Lab will be equipped with the latest XR hardware and software for developing XR applications for areas including structural firefighting, wildfire management, hospital-emergency-and-intensive-care units, first-responders’ collision simulation, virus transmission and spread, train derailment and volcano eruption, among others. DEXR Lab will be supported by York’s Advanced Disaster, Emergency and Rapid Response Simulation (ADERSIM) and will enhance Canada’s share in the XR research and market – putting the country at the forefront of XR applications in the aforementioned areas.

Marcus Brubaker, Lassonde School of Engineering
Generative Modeling for CryoEM, Hyperspectral Imagery and Video
CFI JELF award: $140,000
Marcus Brubaker
Marcus Brubaker

Brubaker will develop novel artificial intelligence (AI) methods focused on applications where labelled-training data is limited or unavailable. The goal of this research is to enable learning from minimal amounts of data – dramatically reducing the amount of labelled data required and democratizing access to the technology. The methods developed could allow small companies, not-for-profit organizations or even individuals to effectively apply state-of-the-art AI methods, rather than only being available to large companies (which have either vast amounts of data already available or the resources to collect it). To reach this goal, Brubaker’s research will explore probabilistic-generative methods with specific applications in hyperspectral image analysis, video analysis and the processing of electron cryomicroscopy data.

Solomon Boakye-Yiadom, Lassonde School of Engineering
Machine Learning and Additive Manufacturing for the Development of Next Generation Materials
CFI JELF award: $140,000
Solomon Boakye-Yiadom
Solomon Boakye-Yiadom

For thousands of years since the advent of bronze, alloy development has involved diluting a single base element with small amounts of other elements. This approach is slow, expensive and requires a lot of effort with minimal increments in required material properties. A new idea where alloys have no single dominant element is gaining traction. These multi-principal element alloys, specifically, High Entropy Alloys (HEA), possess superior properties. Research lead by Boakye-Yiadom, along with Professors Marina Freire-Gormaly and Ruth Urner, will guide in the accelerated discovery and development of advanced HEAs and enhance our ability to detect and minimize defects during metal additive manufacturing. This includes innovative discoveries for advanced materials and process monitoring during manufacturing.

Liam Butler, Lassonde School of Engineering
The Climate-Data-Driven Design (CD3) Facility for Built Infrastructure
CFI JELF award: $140,000
Liam Butler
Liam Butler

The influence of climatic variations on Canada’s vast infrastructure stock, valued at more than $850 billion, is largely ignored in infrastructure design. Variations in temperature, humidity and precipitation, along with increased frequency of extreme events will lead to cyclic factors that influence the behaviour of infrastructure materials. Mitigating these adverse effects starts with being able to reliably measure and to better understand the impact that climate variability has on infrastructure. Butler, along with Professors Usman Khan and Matthew Perras, will establish a unique field laboratory, where robust sensing, advanced AI-based data analytics and innovative infrastructure materials will be developed and validated. The vision is for the CD3 Facility to become Canada’s leading research laboratory in climate-data-driven infrastructure design – providing immediate impact to regulators, asset managers and suppliers, and long-term benefits for all Canadians.

Taylor Cleworth, Faculty of Health
Neuro-mechanics of Balance Deficits During Dynamic Stance
CFI JELF award: $125,000
Taylor Cleworth
Taylor Cleworth

Falls and resulting injuries are a major health and economic concern for older adults, care providers and Canadians at large. Reducing fall rates can be challenging due to the multi-faceted nature of controlling upright stance. Cleworth will study the sensorimotor mechanisms underlying balance control and investigate possible avenues of treatment for balance deficits. The new infrastructure will provide the foundation for an innovative research program aimed at understanding the complex interaction of biomechanical and cortical mechanisms that contribute to human balance and mobility deficits, and to assess and improve the efficacy of balance-related interventions and fall prevention programs.

Claire David, Faculty of Science
Next generation of neutrino detectors for the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE)
CFI JELF award: $125,000
Claire David
Claire David

David, along with Professor Deborah Harris, will build a versatile cryogenic test bench to develop a prototype for the next generation of neutrino detectors. This modular system will have the ability to test two modules of the current state-of-the-art technology in the same cryostat – allowing direct comparison of different alternative readout systems. The modules will be paired with revolutionary electronics for light detection that other Canadian universities are developing. Ultimately, the optimized prototype will serve DUNE, the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment, an international effort hosted by Fermilab in the United States. This will enable David and Harris, also research scientists at Fermilab and part of the DUNE collaboration, to be at the forefront of detector development in experimental particle physics.

Shital Desai, School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design
Social and Technological Systems lab
CFI JELF award: $50,000
Shital Desai

Efforts to develop technologies for older adults is challenged by changing physical and cognitive abilities of older adults. Assistive technologies should adapt to the needs of older adults without them having to adjust settings, change versions or use hacks. Desai’s research will investigate a generation of prompts in emerging technologies for people with dementia. Machine-learning techniques will be employed to learn about the user and make inferences regarding their state while using the technology. The research outcomes will be used to develop adaptive-assistive technology and drive pivotal advancements in the area of interactive design and adaptive technology for older adults. It will lead to development of deployable technologies in non-clinical settings, driving independence and social inclusion in older adults – advancing Canada’s position as a leader in interactive-adaptive technology.

Matthew Keough, Faculty of Health
Center for Research on Addiction Vulnerability in Early Life
CFI JELF award: $50,000
Matthew Keough
Matthew Keough

Millions of Canadians struggle with co-occurring alcohol use and emotional disorders (e.g. anxiety) but very little is known about why alcohol use and emotional disorders co-occur so frequently, resulting in a lack of understanding of how to treat them effectively. Keough’s innovative experimental research aims to uncover the biopsychosocial risk factors for alcohol use-emotional disorder comorbidity in emerging adulthood (ages 18 to 25). Keough will acquire state-of-the-art equipment for his Center for Research on Addiction Vulnerability in Early Life (CRAVE Lab). Using a simulated-bar-lab environment and innovative technology, his research will have the potential to improve treatments for alcohol use-emotional disorder comorbidity and improve the lives of many Canadians and their families.

Christine Le, Faculty of Science
Infrastructure for the Catalytic Synthesis of Medicinally Relevant Organofluorine Compounds
CFI JELF award: $160,000
Christine Le
Christine Le

Le’s research seeks to develop more efficient, cost-effective and greener methods for the synthesis of medicinally relevant fluorine-containing compounds. On average it takes 10 years for a newly discovered drug to reach the market due to the complexity of clinical trials, production and approval by government agencies. The synthetic methods targeted in this research will improve the efficiency of drug discovery and synthesis, allowing critical medicines to reach the market sooner. The research objectives and methodologies align with Canada’s commitment to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, which include the efficient use of natural resources, the reduction of chemical waste and the development of essential medicines.

Ozzy Mermut, Faculty of Science
Biophotonics Diagnosis, Treatment and Dosimetry in Age-related Disorders and Human Diseases
CFI JELF award: $160,000
Ozzy Mermut
Ozzy Mermut

Personalized medicine will improve patient outcomes and limit health-care costs facing aging populations and consequent diseases. Globally, one billion people face vision impairment, with age-related macular degeneration affecting 245 million. Mermut’s research aims to identify tissue-specific biomarkers for early-stage diagnosis of vision disorders and other diseases, advancing the understanding of molecular pathogenesis. Photonic techniques will then be developed for targeted, minimally invasive phototherapy. A tissue model will be engineered, recapitulating natural, diseased tissues to study laser treatments and develop dosimetry that provides molecular information on initiated-cell responses. The ultimate goal is complete eradication of pathogenic cells that lead to debilitating diseases through absolute, precise laser therapy.

Arturo Orellana, Faculty of Science
Organic Synthesis for Development of Therapeutics
CFI JELF award: $107,000
Arturo Orellana

Orellana’s research program will focus on developing enabling technologies for new therapeutics to address the healthcare needs of a large portion of the Canadian population. This program brings together multidisciplinary teams of experts from industry and academia to target difficult challenges in health care including diseases such as Alzheimer’s, ovarian cancer and diabetes. The fundamental-science focus on design, synthesis and characterization of drug-like organic molecules will provide critical know-how to deliver cures for diseases affecting large patient populations, while establishing Canada as a leader in health and science research.

Enamul Prince, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies
Establishment of the Intelligent Visualization Laboratory
CFI JELF award: $114,726
Enamul Prince
Enamul Prince

Prince will establish the Intelligent Visualization Lab with an aim to make analytics more accessible by changing the way we interact with data. A diverse range of people with different levels of skills and backgrounds will perform analysis on large data-sets faster and more effectively through natural and fluid interactions. The lab will significantly improve the ability of professionals – ranging from data scientists to business analysts, to health-care analysts – to analyze data and make complex decisions, with the potential to unlock new markets and direct financial benefits for Canadian industry. The lab will also allow students to train for the high-demand fields of AI, data science and analytics.

Jennifer Pybus, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies
The Centre for Public AI (CPAI)
CFI JELF award: $69,385
Jennifer Pybus
Jennifer Pybus

Pybus will establish the Centre for Public AI (CPAI) – Canada’s preeminent centre for the interdisciplinary application of a more grounded, civically driven explainable approach to AI. It aims to foster an understanding of the diverse infrastructures that gather personal data on applications and platforms through the development of tools and participatory workshops. The research conducted will fill an important gap by contributing to a growing field of critical data-literacy studies to examine algorithmic practices impacting the lives of Canadians. New tools will facilitate academic and policy interventions related to algorithmic accountability from the perspective of non-expert users who experience the outcomes of machine-learning technologies.

Emilie Roudier, Faculty of Health
Microvascular Epigenetics of Physical Activity
CFI JELF award: $80,000 
Emilie Roudier
Emilie Roudier

Roudier’s research aims to address how physical activity induces beneficial changes in the vascular epigenome. She will establish a specialized lab to study the interaction between physical activity and the vascular epigenome. Canadians are at high risk of vascular diseases due to unhealthy behaviours. Most researchers focus on finding and averting adverse epigenetic marks correlated with vascular diseases. This lab will take a counterpoint approach – aiming to define what a healthy vascular epigenome is. The discovery of beneficial epigenetic marks generated by this research will support the discovery of new biomarkers to assess environmental risk to vascular health and test the efficiency of lifestyle or preventive interventions aiming to boost vascular health.

About the Canada Foundation for Innovation

For more than 20 years, the CFI has been giving researchers the tools they need to think big and innovate. Fostering a robust innovation system in Canada translates into jobs and new enterprises, better health, cleaner environments and, ultimately, vibrant communities. By investing in state-of-the-art facilities and equipment in Canada’s universities, colleges, research hospitals and non-profit research institutions, the CFI also helps to attract and retain the world’s top talent, to train the next generation of researchers and to support world-class research that strengthens the economy and improves the quality of life for all Canadians.

Reminder: Join the York community for a virtual town hall Aug. 11

Keele-campus-Fall-image-showing-the-Bergeron-Centre-for-Engineering-Excellence

The following is an important reminder to the University community from York University President and Vice-Chancellor Rhonda L. Lenton:

La version française suit la version anglaise.

Dear colleagues,

We would like to remind you that all students, staff, course instructors and faculty are invited to join us for a virtual town hall on Wednesday, Aug. 11, where we will discuss our plans for a return to on-campus activities in just a few short weeks and address questions from our community members.

We invite all students, staff, course instructors and faculty to attend, and encourage you to submit questions in advance of the event using this form. You can also visit the updated Better Together FAQs page for answers to frequently asked questions about return-to-campus plans.

Date: Wednesday, Aug. 11

Time: 2:30 p.m.

Zoom Webinar:
yorku.zoom.us/j/92238531516?pwd=MXByRTNpQlRWQUExdEYrSlNIdXFJUT09

Webinar ID: 922 3853 1516

Telephone Dial-In: 647-374-4685

Password: 311801

Link to Livestream: youtu.be/rOS7scJYUvw

To help answer your questions, I will be joined by:

  • Lisa Philipps, provost and vice-president academic;
  • Amir Asif, vice-president research and innovation;
  • Sheila Cote-Meek, vice-president equity, people and culture;
  • Carol McAulay, vice-president finance and administration;
  • Lucy Fromowitz, vice-provost, students; and
  • Parissa Safai, special advisor to the president for academic continuity planning and COVID-19 response and associate professor, School of Kinesiology and Health Science.

If you have any accessibility needs, notes or comments, please let us know.

We will be hosting this town hall via the videoconferencing platform Zoom Webinar. You can learn about downloading and using Zoom here. The webinar will also be livestreamed on the town hall website.

If you have attended a past town hall, we would like your feedback through this short survey. If you were unable to attend previous town halls, you can access all of them here.

The latest community updates, resources and answers to frequently asked questions can always be found on our YU Better Together website.

I look forward to your questions.

Sincerely,

Rhonda L. Lenton 
President & Vice-Chancellor 


Joignez-vous à la communauté de York pour une conversation communautaire virtuelle le 11 août

Chers collègues, chères collègues,

Nous aimerions vous rappeler que l’ensemble de la population étudiante, du personnel, du corps enseignant et du corps professoral est invité à se joindre à nous pour une conversation virtuelle communautaire le mercredi 11 août, durant laquelle nous discuterons de nos plans pour le retour des activités sur nos campus dans quelques semaines et répondrons aux questions des membres de notre communauté.

Nous invitons l’ensemble de la population étudiante, du personnel, du corps enseignant et du corps professoral à participer et à soumettre leurs questions en amont de l’événement à l’aide de ce formulaire. Vous pouvez également visiter la foire aux questions (FAQ) du site Better Together pour consulter les réponses aux questions fréquemment posées au sujet du retour sur le campus.

Date : Mercredi 11 août 2021

Heure : 14 h 30

Webinaire Zoom :
https://yorku.zoom.us/j/92238531516?pwd=MXByRTNpQlRWQUExdEYrSlNIdXFJUT09

Code du webinaire : 922 3853 1516

Numéro de téléphone : (647) 374-4685

Mot de passe : 311801

Lien pour la diffusion en direct : https://youtu.be/rOS7scJYUvw

Pour m’aider à répondre à vos questions, je serai accompagnée de :

  • Lisa Philipps, vice-présidente aux affaires académiques et rectrice
  • Amir Asif, vice-président de la recherche et de l’innovation
  • Sheila Cote-Meek, vice-présidente de l’équité, des personnes et de la culture
  • Carol McAulay, vice-présidente des finances et de l’administration
  • Lucy Fromowitz, vice-rectrice aux affaires étudiantes
  • Parissa Safai, conseillère spéciale de la présidente pour la planification de la continuité académique et la réponse à la COVID-19 et professeure agrégée de l’École de kinésiologie et des sciences de la santé

Si vous avez des besoins, des remarques ou des commentaires en matière d’accessibilité, veuillez nous le faire savoir.

Cette conversation communautaire aura lieu grâce à la plateforme de visioconférence Zoom Webinar. Vous pouvez télécharger Zoom et apprendre à vous en servir ici. Le webinaire sera également diffusé en direct sur le site Web des conversations communautaires.

Si vous avez déjà assisté à une conversation communautaire, nous aimerions connaître votre opinion avec ce bref sondage. Si vous n’avez pas pu assister aux conversations précédentes, elles sont toutes disponibles ici.

Vous trouverez les dernières mises à jour, ressources et réponses aux questions fréquemment posées sur notre site Web Better Together.

J’attends vos questions avec impatience.

Sincères salutations,

Rhonda L. Lenton 
Présidente et vice-chancelière

Children’s health course tackles SDGs with an assist from globally networked learning

Collaborating with students from Ecuador on a class project was an eye-opening experience for Danielle Legerman, a fourth-year student in York University’s Children, Childhood and Youth Studies (CCY) program and president of the new United Future Teachers’ Association.

“It was the first opportunity I had for globally networked learning (GNL) in university and it was exciting,” said Legerman. “I thought it would be tricky building rapport online with someone across the globe, because it’s always difficult meeting someone new, but we clicked almost instantly, perhaps because we had a common goal (the project).”

Pairing York students with students from Universidad San Francisco de Quito in her course Children’s Health and Quality of Life: A Rights-based Perspective was the work of Cheryl van Daalen-Smith, associate professor in the CCY program, supported by the GNL team within York International.

“This course offers a good opportunity for intercultural dialogue through globally networked learning, because children’s health is affected by decisions made globally and thus wholly affiliated with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” van Daalen-Smith said. “In this popular elective in CCY, we look at the social determinants of Canadian children’s health and what creates quality of life in relation to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children, something that most countries have officially signed.” By enabling discussion about the same issues for children in another country, such as Ecuador, students gain the ability to understand how health is a human right for children.

Supported by the GNL team, van Daalen-Smith was partnered with the Universidad San Francisco de Quito, connecting with a professor who was teaching a service-learning course that was focused on giving back to the community.

“They weren’t focused specifically on children’s health, although they were concerned about child poverty, but they were sold by the opportunity to discuss the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals as a key strategy in service learning in Ecuador. They were excited about the possibility of facilitating intercultural dialogue and meeting students and professors from another country.

United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals infographic
United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals infographic

“We agreed that we’d each do a lecture in each other’s class and have the students work together in groups to explore an SDG of choice in order to understand its relevance to children’s health and children’s rights. It fit perfectly with York’s University Academic Plan, which in part invites faculty, programs and students to find ways to pursue meaningful engagement and impact on the SDGs as a university.”

While van Daalen-Smith taught the social determinants of health, the SDGs and children’s rights to the Ecuadorean students remotely, Universidad San Francisco de Quito Professor Karla Diaz discussed child health inequities in Ecuador with the York students, even bringing them to a simulated village to illustrate how some children in Ecuador live. Meanwhile, the students worked online in groups of two or three to examine an SDG in depth, examining the link between them, children’s health and the social determinants of health in each country.

Over the course of a few weeks, the students spent time conversing and sharing information, discussing the issue and relevant statistics, determining how their chosen SDG affected children. They each were asked to prepare an infographic reflecting the impact of the SDG, whether in their own country or comparing both countries, and they each presented them to their own class.

“The students all wished we could have more synchronous time and, moving forward, I would ensure these synchronous group meetings are scheduled ahead of time in one another’s syllabus,” van Daalen-Smith said. “Our respective courses only overlapped for a few weeks because of different semester start dates, so we only scratched the surface in terms of intercultural discussion, but we saw that the major health threats to children in each country were very different. In Canada, they included injuries, poor mental health, child abuse, poverty, food insecurity, physical inactivity, bullying, vaccine-preventable illness and discrimination. In Ecuador, the concerns were sexual abuse, food insecurity and poverty. What jarred both myself and Dr. Diaz was that in both countries, Indigenous children were faring the worst in terms of health outcomes, quality of life and poverty.”

Legerman’s group focused on reducing inequality (SDG No. 10) and “there was lots to talk about,” she said. “It was great to have an in-depth conversation with a partner across the globe. We realized how many differences there were in our countries’ health policies for kids.”

As she continues on to teachers college in 2022, Legerman plans to look for opportunities to build globally networked learning into the courses that she, herself, teaches.

Her classmate, Iffat Shah, a third-year CCY major, had never heard of GNL before taking this course, but said she hopes there are more opportunities in her future. “It’s a great way to get insight into the rest of the world and learn about the health and rights of children in a part of the world where you’ve never been.”

Shah and her group focused on SDG No. 16, peace and social justice for children, and she enjoyed the research, the discussions with students in Ecuador and learning from her classmates’ presentations on their own SDGs.

“Everyone is used to being online, and it’s great that in my own house, I can see remotely what is happening in other countries,” she said.

“I’m sold, totally sold, on GNL,” said van Daalen-Smith. “When you have two committed professors, students get excited about talking to others around the world. And the SDGs are a perfect fit for globalizing our classrooms at York University.”

She is working on integrating GNL into her upcoming PhD courses in nursing and in gender, feminist and women’s studies this coming year. Van Daalen-Smith and Diaz, her Ecuadorean colleague who is now a friend, are already planning to work together again next summer.

“We’re looking at what we’d do the same and what we’d do differently, while continuing to unpack the SDGs and their relevance for children,” she said. “She’s awesome, and I’m excited about it. What made this all possible was that the level of support we received from the GNL team at York International was second to none. I highly recommend GNL to my colleagues at York and look forward to faculty colleagues reaching out if they are as intrigued with the prospect of GNL as I was. Pedagogically, it is a real game-changer.”

By Elaine Smith, special contributor

Robert J. Tiffin Student Leadership Award recognizes 11 students

Image announcing Awards
Awards card

Eleven York University students were recently honoured with the Robert J. Tiffin Student Leadership Award, which recognizes students’ leadership at the University and their contributions to the growth, development and vitality of the York community. Now in its ninth year, the award was created in honour of Robert J. Tiffin, who served as York University’s vice-president, students from 2005-12.

York University students, faculty, staff and alumni nominated students based on their engagement and leadership roles at York. An in-person ceremony was not possible this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic; however, winners were notified in a congratulatory letter from Lucy Fromowitz, vice-provost, students.

“All candidates for this award are role models who exhibit leadership, dedication, integrity, enthusiasm and the demonstrated pursuit of excellence. On behalf of the entire York University community, thank you for your hard work and commitment to excellence,” Fromowitz wrote.

Tiffin also recognized the students’ achievements and their dedication to leadership amid the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Each year, students are encouraged to become proactively engaged with their educational experiences through their academic studies, co-curricular and extracurricular activities. You definitely embraced that challenge and, despite the disruption caused by the pandemic in the past two academic years, have not only enhanced the student experience of your fellow students, but also shaped the foundations for future students to become engaged within the York community,” he said. “I’m always impressed by the diversity of ways in which leadership occurs at York, and this was truly evident in the ways you contributed.”

Robert J. Tiffin Student Leadership Award recipients this year:

Amin Hatamnejad
Amin Hatamnejad

Amin Hatamnejad
Hatamnejad is pursing a bachelor of science in the Kinesiology and Health Science program in the Faculty of Health. He has held a variety of roles within the Kinesiology and Health Science Student Organization, including president. He helped to transition the program fully online amid the pandemic and created two new chapters: Discover You and the Alumni Network (YUKSAN). Hatamnejad has also worked as a leadership coach, course representative co-ordinator and orientation co-ordinator at both Calumet and Stong Colleges, and has served as a student senator and a president’s ambassador.

Ammon Cherry
Ammon Cherry

Ammon Cherry
Cherry, an environmental studies student in the Faculty of Environmental & Urban Change (EUC), is the president of the EUC’s Student Association (EUCSA). He was part of the Black Excellence YU Student Consultations, whose input contributed to the actions outlined in York’s Anti-Black Racism Framework. Cherry also served as a president’s ambassador, alumni ambassador and a as student representative on several Faculty committees while pursuing his studies.

Bri Darboh
Bri Darboh

Bri Darboh
Darboh is a doctoral student in clinical neuropsychology in the Faculty of Health and an MBA student at the Schulich School of Business. She has held many advocacy roles, including doctoral student representative, Black Students in Psychology (BSIP) graduate student representative, member of the Diversity Committee and peer mentor in the Autism Mentorship Program. She is also a student affiliate at the Canadian Psychological Association, the Ontario Psychological Association and the American Psychological Association. Throughout her time at York University, Darboh has also created several new workshops, planned events and participated in student groups.

Humayra Rashid Safa
Humayra Rashid Safa

Humayra Rashid Safa
Safa, an international development studies student in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies (LA&PS), fundraised with LA&PS’s Advancement team to help visible minority students experiencing financial difficulties. This effort allowed more than 200 students to take classes last summer. Safa has also held several roles on the International Development Students’ Association, including co-president, vice-president and treasurer. She also helped to co-ordinate the creation of the Sustainable Development Goals Hub and served as both a president’s ambassador and LA&PS dean’s ambassador.

Jean-Marc Moke
Jean-Marc Moke

Jean-Marc Moke
Moke, a psychology student in the Faculty of Health, is dedicated to improving the lives of Black students at York University through his many leadership roles on campus. He is a co-founder and president of the BSIP and a member of the Department of Psychology Undergraduate Studies Committee. He sat on both Calumet and Stong colleges’ Student Success Councils and is a volunteer with York University’s Black Student Alliance. Moke also contributed to the development of York’s Anti-Black Racism Framework and is currently working on establishing a proprietary mentorship program for Black psychology students at York.

Magdalena Kajo
Magdalena Kajo

Magdalena Kajo
Kajo, an economics and French studies student at York University’s Glendon Campus, has been an active leader throughout her time at York. She has contributed by serving Glendon Campus as a school director for Peace by PEACE Glendon. She also held the positions of Chair of Glendon’s Student Caucus and co-founder and vice-president of the Glendon Economics and Business Club. In addition, Kajo was an RBC student ambassador for York University with RBC Wealth Management.

Mahafarid (Fara) Seddigh
Fara Seddigh

Mahafarid (Fara) Seddigh
Seddigh, a psychology and law and society student in the Faculty of Health, has held various roles with the Undergraduate Psychology Student Association, including being promoted to co-president after serving as vice-president of student success and as a peer tutoring co-ordinator. She founded LetsStopAIDS at York, the local chapter of a youth HIV charity. She is currently a Daughters of the Vote Delegate for Equal Voice and a member of the Richmond Hill Constituency Youth Council.

Mingyu (Matthew) Lim
Matthew Lim

Mingyu (Matthew) Lim
Lim, a biology (biomedical science) student in the Faculty of Science, has held several leadership roles throughout his time at York University. He has served in many capacities, including as a president’s ambassador, science student ambassador, vice-president of communications and first-year representative on the Bethune College Council. He also contributed his time as a Residence Life don. Lim is currently working as a research assistant in the infant clinical psychology field.

Monica Shafik
Monica Shafik

Monica Shafik
Shafik, an international development studies and law and society student in LA&PS, has been an active volunteer and social justice advocate, completing more than 4,200 hours of community service. She is the director of ancestral services for Future Ancestors Services, an Indigenous- and Black-owned, youth-led organization that advances climate justice and equity with an anti-racism and ancestral accountability focus. Shafik has also been a Go Global student ambassador for York International, a student advocacy co-ordinator for the Student Academic Support Centre in the York Federation of Students, and a student ambassador and dean’s ambassador for LA&PS.

Simi Sahota
Simi Sahota

Simi Sahota
Sahota, a psychology and business student in the Faculty of Health, has been dedicated to helping others reach their full potential. Her success as a Peer-Assisted Study Sessions (PASS) leader led to faculty inviting her to co-present about PASS at York’s 2019 Teaching in Focus Conference. She has also been a leadership coach, and as project lead of the Financial Wellness Project, she leads a team of research assistants, script writers and video editors.

Vishwaveda Joshi
Vishwaveda Joshi

Vishwaveda Joshi
Joshi, a social anthropology student in the Faculty of Graduate Studies, was York International’s first graduate international student engagement liaison and was invited to represent York University during the High Commission of Canada’s Women’s Day Celebration. As co-chair of the Social Anthropology Graduate Students’ Association, she was involved in creating a COVID-19 emergency fund for graduate students in her program early in the pandemic.

To learn more about the Robert J. Tiffin Student Leadership Award, visit the Vice-Provost Students website.

Join the York community for a virtual town hall on Aug. 11

Keele Campus FEATURED image

President and Vice-Chancellor Rhonda L. Lenton sends this invitation to the University community:

La version française suit la version anglaise.

Dear Colleagues,

We are pleased to announce that we will be holding a Virtual Town Hall on Wednesday, Aug. 11, where we will discuss the University’s plans for a return to on-campus activities this fall.

We invite all students, staff, course instructors and faculty to attend, and to submit their questions in advance of the event using this form. Community members can also visit the updated Better Together FAQs page for answers to frequently asked questions about return to campus plans.

Date: Wednesday, Aug. 11

Time: 2:30 p.m.

Zoom Webinar:
https://yorku.zoom.us/j/92238531516?pwd=MXByRTNpQlRWQUExdEYrSlNIdXFJUT09

Webinar ID: 922 3853 1516

Telephone Dial-In: (647) 374-4685 

Password: 311801 

Link to Livestream: https://youtu.be/rOS7scJYUvw

To help answer your questions, I will be joined by:

  • Lisa Philipps, vice-president academic and provost;
  • Amir Asif, vice-president research and innovation;
  • Sheila Cote-Meek, vice-president equity, people and culture;
  • Lucy Fromowitz, vice-provost students; and
  • Parissa Safai, special adviser to the president for academic continuity planning and COVID-19 response, and associate professor, School of Kinesiology and Health Science.

If you have any accessibility needs, notes or comments, please let us know.

We will be hosting this town hall via the video conferencing platform Zoom Webinar. You can learn about downloading and using Zoom here. The webinar will also be livestreamed on the Town Hall website.

You can add the town hall to your Outlook calendar using the attached .ics file.

If you have attended a past town hall, we would like your feedback through this short survey. If you were unable to attend previous town halls, you can access all of them here.

The latest community updates, resources and answers to frequently asked questions can always be found on our Better Together website.

I look forward to your questions.

Sincerely,

Rhonda L. Lenton 
President & Vice-Chancellor


Joignez-vous à la communauté de York pour une conversation communautaire virtuelle le 11 août

Chers collègues,

Nous avons le plaisir d’annoncer que nous organiserons une conversation communautaire virtuelle le mercredi 11 août, durant laquelle nous discuterons des plans de l’Université pour le retour des activités sur nos campus à l’automne.

Nous invitons l’ensemble de la population étudiante, du personnel, du corps enseignant et du corps professoral à participer et à soumettre leurs questions en amont de l’événement à l’aide de ce formulaire. Vous pouvez également visiter la foire aux questions (FAQ) du site Better Together pour consulter les réponses aux questions fréquemment posées au sujet du retour sur le campus.

Date : Mercredi 11 août 2021

Heure : 14 h 30

Webinaire Zoom :
https://yorku.zoom.us/j/92238531516?pwd=MXByRTNpQlRWQUExdEYrSlNIdXFJUT09

Code du webinaire : 922 3853 1516

Numéro de téléphone : (647) 374-4685

Mot de passe : 311801

Lien pour la diffusion en direct : https://youtu.be/rOS7scJYUvw

Pour m’aider à répondre à vos questions, je serai accompagnée de :

  • Lisa Philipps, vice-présidente aux affaires académiques et rectrice
  • Amir Asif, vice-président de la recherche et de l’innovation
  • Sheila Cote-Meek, vice-présidente de l’équité, des personnes et de la culture
  • Carol McAulay, vice-présidente des finances et de l’administration
  • Lucy Fromowitz, vice-rectrice aux affaires étudiantes
  • Parissa Safai, conseillère spéciale de la présidente pour la planification de la continuité académique et la réponse à la COVID-19 et professeure agrégée de l’École de kinésiologie et des sciences de la santé

Si vous avez des besoins, des remarques ou des commentaires en matière d’accessibilité, veuillez nous le faire savoir.

Cette conversation communautaire aura lieu grâce à la plateforme de visioconférence Zoom Webinar. Vous pouvez télécharger Zoom et apprendre à vous en servir ici. Le webinaire sera également diffusé en direct sur le site Web des conversations communautaires.

Vous pouvez ajouter la conversation communautaire à votre calendrier Outlook à l’aide du fichier .ics en pièce jointe.

Si vous avez déjà assisté à une conversation communautaire, nous aimerions connaître votre opinion avec ce bref sondage. Si vous n’avez pas pu assister aux conversations précédentes, elles sont toutes disponibles ici.

Vous trouverez les dernières mises à jour, ressources et réponses aux questions fréquemment posées sur notre site Web Better Together.

J’attends vos questions avec impatience.

Sincères salutations,

Rhonda L. Lenton 
Présidente et vice-chancelière

Dance prof’s documentary wins at Cannes Indies Cinema Awards

FEATURED image Patrick Alcedo_new_AMPD

A film by York University Associate Professor Patrick Alcedo earned the Best Short Documentary award at the Cannes Indies Cinema Awards on July 10. The film, titled They Call Me Dax, tells the story of 15-year-old Dorothy Echipare who struggles to survive as a high-school student and ballet dancer while living alone in a poor urban district in Quezon City, Philippines.

Movie poster for the film They Call Me Dax“I was elated and surprised when I learned that my new short docu won, as it was an international online competition,” said Alcedo.

Chair of the Department of Dance in York’s School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design (AMPD), Alcedo has directed, written and produced three documentary films in the past year. Two of his other documentary films – A Will To Dream and Am I Being Selfish? – also won, respectively, Best Dance Feature Documentary and Best Inspirational Short Documentary at the Silk Road Film Awards Cannes in May. This same competition singled out They Call Me Dax as Best Dance Short Documentary.

The three films put a spotlight on issues of teenage pregnancy, illegal drugs, precarity of labour and inconsistent governmental support in poverty alleviation in the Philippines. They illustrate how dance, when partnered with grit and altruistic teaching, has the potential to navigate and even overcome these social, economic and political issues.

Patrick Alcedo
Patrick Alcedo

“As a dance ethnographer, I am passionate about putting an emphasis on dance’s ability to empower the marginalized. I want to illustrate that dance, as lived in the lives of its practitioners, is an incredible embodied form in understanding the complexities of race, class, ethnicity, gender, religious practices and diasporic/transnational identities,” said Alcedo. “As a Philippine studies scholar and a Filipino, I devote my energies and resources to fleshing out who Filipinos are, whether in the Philippines or in transnational elsewhere – from the point of view of dance, from their own dancing and choreographed bodies.

Along the same vein of marginality as Dorothy’s story, Am I Being Selfish? focuses on the life of her fellow dancer, Jon-Jon Bides. Despite the resulting financial hardship, Jon-Jon insists on supporting his wife and two young sons by teaching ballet to poor children and at-risk youth, like Dorothy.

The feature-length documentary, A Will To Dream, anchors its narrative in the life of Luther Perez, a former ballet star in the Philippines and Dorothy and Jon-Jon’s mentor and adoptive father. To give underprivileged children and youth from squatters’ areas in Quezon City and Manila a shot in life, he surrendered his U.S. green card – and with it the promise of a better life abroad – to teach them dance.

To date, these films have garnered six official selections from film festivals and award-giving bodies such as the New York Independent Cinema Awards, International Shorts, Lift-Off Online Sessions and the Chicago Indie Film Awards.

Alcedo’s latest win at the Cannes Indies has caught the attention of three television stations – DZRH News of the Manila Broadcasting Corporation, Net25 and Omni Filipino News – that together have thus far garnered more than 28,000 views.

The three films build on Alcedo’s 20-minute documentary Dancing Manilenyos, which was an official selection at the 2019 Diversity in Cannes Short Film Showcase and received an Award of Merit from the 2019 Global Shorts Competition and an Award of Recognition from the 2018 Hollywood International Independent Documentary Awards.

These three recent films would not have been possible if not for the team that Alcedo has put together. Behind these works are cinematographer Alex Felipe, editor and colourist Alec Bell, and transcriber Paulo Alcedo – all York University alumni. Additional cinematography is from John Marie Soberano and archival footage is from both Mark Gary and Denisa Reyes. Peter Alcedo Jr. did the musical scoring.

The pre-production, production and post-production of Alcedo’s films have received support from AMPD, the York Centre for Asian Research, the government of Ontario’s Early Researcher Awards program, the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council’s Research-Creation Grant.

Welcoming YU Back to campus

Bergeron Centre with the words Welcoming YU Back

Bergeron Centre with the words Welcoming YU BackSharing information with the York University community is vital in the lead up to the safe return to our campuses. This special issue is one of the many ways we are sharing what we know about “what YU can expect this fall.”

Parissa Safai
Parissa Safai

The point of departure for all of York’s return-to-campus planning efforts is the guidance we receive from the provincial government and from Toronto Public Health. Just recently, the Ministry of Colleges and Universities (MCU) provided all colleges and universities in Ontario with their expectations for Fall 2021 and we are pleased to have received these initial parameters and guidance. On July 20, we shared an update with the community on what this means for York. We are buoyed by the opportunity to further safely enhance the on-campus and in-person experience for students, staff, faculty, instructors and guests this fall.

The University continues to prepare for a mix of in-person and remote learning options in September, as planned. We continue to actively plan for a safe return to our campuses by creating the conditions that will allow our community to return with confidence.

This special issue will expand on the initiatives and activities that are being put in place to keep our University community safe. I hope that you enjoy these pieces and that they give you a greater sense of the work being done to prepare for a return to campus life. Another summer issue will be coming up and in the meantime, please continue to follow the Better Together website and look our for the weekly Wellness Wednesday Return to Campus Special Issue.

Parissa Safai
Special Advisor to the President for Academic Continuity Planning and COVID-19 Response

Featured in this issue of Welcoming ‘YU’ Back

What YU can expect this fall

As the fall term approaches, the University’s COVID-19 Planning and Response team continues to closely follow the latest guidance from public health authorities and will work with leaders from across York to create the conditions that will allow the community to return to campus with confidence.

A Q-and-A with Humaira Pirooz, director of Health, Safety & Employee Well-Being

Humaira Pirooz, director of Health, Safety & Employee Well-Being, answers questions related to plans for this fall and the safe return to work on York University’s campuses.

Do you have questions about the return to campus?

A new feature added to the Better Together website gives the community a way to receive answers to questions on research, student services, parking and a range of other topics.

Share your vaccine selfie and story on Roll Up Your Sleeve YU

Roll Up Your Sleeve YU is a social campaign featuring York community members who are interested in sharing their vaccine stories. The campaign will run over the summer months and into the early fall.

An overview of upgrades to the University’s ventilation systems in office spaces and classrooms

Stewart Dankner, the University’s director of property management in Facilities Services, answers questions about the work underway to update air filtration and ventilation systems to protect the health and safety of students, faculty, instructors and staff.

What YU can expect this fall

Students-Commons-Steps-1 gathering safely

The declining number of COVID-19 cases in Toronto and across the Greater Toronto Area over the past few weeks have given many a much-needed sense of relief. It’s encouraging to see an improving public health situation amid the uptake of vaccines among eligible Ontarians. In the context of return-to-campus planning efforts, an accelerated vaccine rollout across the city and province during the summer was anticipated. However, many hadn’t predicted just how rapid the pace would be (see TVOntario July 8).

That said, it’s still essential to be mindful of how seriously we need to treat COVID-19, given the presence of Delta and other variants of concern identified by the World Health Organization. The return-to-campus planning team is closely following the situation around the world, including in the U.K., Israel and the Netherlands. While there are some important differences between what is happening in Ontario versus these other countries, (see the Globe and Mail July 8), the increase in the number of cases and the subsequent reintroduction of risk-reducing measures tell us two important things: it is essential to get fully vaccinated as soon as you can; and a robust, multi-pronged approach to health and safety will play a central role in our gradual return to campus.

The University continues to strongly recommend that all eligible York community members receive their full COVID-19 vaccination series this summer. The latest health data reveals that there is a disproportionate rate of infection among those who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated (see CBC News July 13).

To support “on the ground” vaccination efforts, York University hosted pop-up clinics on July 6 and 8 this year, in collaboration with health partners from Humber River Hospital. The turnout on both days was exceptional. It was especially noteworthy that 18 per cent of doses administered at the first York pop-up clinic were first doses. Given the success of these pop-up clinics, the option to offer additional Keele Campus clinics is being explored with Humber River Hospital for deployment in late August and early September.

What’s new about fall planning this year?

Vaccines are a powerful tool to protect against COVID-19, but they are just one of many that can be used to keep ourselves, those we care about and our community safe. York’s return-to-campus planning continues to advance multiple strategies and initiatives to protect the health and safety of the community in the fall and beyond (see York’s Better Together website).

This includes a gradual approach to welcoming people and groups back to on-campus and in-person activities. The University’s approach to the fall will remain more measured and this means that we will not see an immediate return to pre-pandemic numbers on our campuses on any given day. The planning team recognizes that: some students, faculty and instructors will not be able to come to York’s campuses due to travel and/or health restrictions; some staff will be participating in the Transitional Remote Work pilot; and not all courses will be offered in-person or on-campus.

In the midst of preparing this special issue of YFile, new guidance was received from Ontario’s Ministry of Colleges and Universities for the upcoming fall term (see the Better Together community update July 20). York is continuing to plan for a mix of in-person and remote learning, scheduling only the courses that have been previously submitted and approved for in-person instruction. The University does not intend to convert existing courses or meets that have been marked for remote or online delivery to in-person delivery.

In the coming weeks, the University will closely follow the latest guidance from public health authorities and any additional restrictions that may be imposed. The COVID-19 Planning and Response Team continues to work with leaders from across the University to create the conditions that will allow the community to return to York campuses with confidence.

For example, all York community members will be expected to continue observing the mask and face covering mandate and the screening protocol this fall. In August, the University will also be introducing YU Screen, a new automated screening tool. YU Screen will be available for anyone intending to come to campus, as COVID-19 screening continues to be required. This tool will also help support case and contact management where needed and help to monitor overall campus density. Full instructions on how to use the tool will be rolled out in late August when YU Screen goes live.

Lastly, it is important to highlight that over the month of August, the entire University community will see a major educative push across multiple communication channels on the safety measures that will need to be observed this fall. As soon as possible, York University will also have a suite of resources available that touch on conflict resolution and suggested language for syllabi to remind faculty, instructors and students of the public health requirements that will need to be observed while on campus.