Dear Students, Staff and Faculty,
We want to wish you each the very best for 2022 and for the new semester.
As we prepare for the start of winter classes next week, we recognize the uncertainty and disruption being caused by the Omicron variant and the rise in COVID-19 case counts across the country. In response, the University is continuing to assess our plans as we balance our commitment to health, safety and well-being with our commitment to providing the best possible learning, teaching, research and work experiences for all community members this winter.
Before the winter break, in response to public health guidance at that time, U of G decided to postpone the start of most in-person learning until Jan. 24. Since then, uncertainty and case counts have continued to increase.
Given the complexity and dynamic nature of the situation, we are undertaking considerable engagement with internal and external stakeholders to ensure that we have considered all perspectives. This includes working with local and provincial public health units to better understand the modelling projections and evolving context of COVID-19.
The University is carefully considering the guidance, perspectives and needs that have been shared. Please be assured that we will announce any changes to our winter 2022 course delivery plans for the Guelph and Ridgetown campuses by Jan. 14.
Throughout the semester, U of G will keep you updated about any changes and will prioritize your health and well-being. As we continue to hear from public health officials, we can protect ourselves by wearing well-fitting masks, physically distancing when possible, practising regular hand hygiene and, most importantly, getting booster doses. The University is now hosting a public vaccination clinic on campus in the Guelph Gryphons Athletics Centre, where you can receive first, second or third vaccination doses.
The pandemic continues to challenge us collectively and individually. Some of you - or those close to you - may have tested positive for COVID-19 over the winter break, or you may currently be experiencing symptoms. We know parents and guardians are balancing additional child-care responsibilities because of the shift to virtual learning for K-12 schools. Many are also struggling with additional mental health stressors. Reach out to your instructors, managers and counsellors when you need help, and please know there are resources and services available to you.
Thank you all for your continued dedication, patience and, above all, compassion. Kindness and empathy have gotten our community through challenges in ways that we would have thought impossible in March 2020. We have confidence we can – and will – do the same this semester.
President and Vice-Chancellor
Provost and Vice-President (Academic)