Changes to York University operations, online learning continues

Changes to York University operations, online learning continues

This morning, Premier Ford declared an emergency and new public health guidelines were released. To ensure the health and safety of our campus communities and to prevent the risk and spread of COVID-19, we are moving to offer only required services on our campuses. Effective end of day Thursday, March 19, buildings on our campuses will close with limited access as needed for required services.

Effective immediately, legally required closures include:

  • Libraries
  • Childcare centres
  • Dine-in food facilities – only take-out or delivery is available

Other changes could come into effect and will be communicated.

Transition to Required Services

The University will continue to support our students to complete their academic term — with required employees physically present on campus and all others working off-campus in a virtual mode.

York has continuity plans to guide this shift in operations. Managers will work closely with staff regarding the transition with the goal of having all non-required staff working from home no later than end of day, Thursday, March 19. Implementation details will continue to be communicated to the community through e-mail, as well as through our website and social media.

We intend to operate virtually as much as possible.

The University is fully committed to helping our students complete the term.

  • Our academic plans to complete the term by shifting to various online learning strategies will continue.
  • Support for faculty moving their courses to electronic formats will continue.
  • Food services and residences will be available for those who cannot return home due to travel restrictions, health, personal circumstances or various obligations.
  • Those in residences who can return home should do so immediately.
  • York International is encouraging all students currently studying abroad to come home if they are able.
  • Details about final exams will be forthcoming.
  • More information will be emailed about ways for students to access library resources and services online.

Please note that while the University has moved to a required services model, employees will continue to be paid for any currently scheduled days/shifts. Employees may be redeployed to other critical work priorities.

York is committed to continuing ongoing research

  • Researchers are encouraged not to start, or submit, any new research protocols requiring on-campus activities. Researchers should also assess the needs for ongoing projects.
  • Researchers, their staff, graduate students and postdoctoral scholars should ensure they have the necessary tools, materials and data to continue work remotely where possible.

York is committed to the wellness and well-being of our entire community

We know this situation is causing anxiety and stress for our community. The University offers comprehensive supports that will continue despite the move to a required services model.

  • Students: Dedicated staff will continue to provide support to help students manage their academics and well-being. If they’re experiencing anxiety or stress, please encourage them to reach out to Student Counselling & Development at 416-736-5297 or visit the website to learn about remote access of services. Other mental health & wellness resources are available here: students need academic support, they can reach out to their course instructor, program office or Faculty advisor.
  • Employees: York’s Employee Assistance Program can be accessed 24 hours a day, seven days a week for immediate confidential help at 1-800-268-5211; TTY service is available at 1-800-363-6270.

As always, if you are sick, please stay home. Public Health Ontario has resources available to help people learn how to properly self-isolate.

There are many new travel restrictions which York has communicated and can be found on our dedicated website. It is very important that students, faculty and staff inform themselves on these restrictions.

More information will follow as it becomes available. If you have questions not addressed on York’s dedicated COVID-19 website please email

Thank you.

I want to thank and acknowledge every member of our community for coming together to support each other. I am profoundly grateful to the faculty and staff who have undertaken all the work necessary to help our students complete their courses and to the staff working long hours to plan and respond to this emergency.

The fight against the pandemic is global, and it includes every one of us. Please take every precaution to keep you and your loved ones safe. We will get through this together, as a community, something which has always been York’s greatest strength.

To all of you, my sincere thanks.

Rhonda Lenton
President and Vice-Chancellor