Dear York Community,
A very warm welcome to the 2021–22 academic year!
While I know that we still face challenges ahead, I am grateful that we are able to be safely re-opening our campuses and resuming many of the activities that we have missed over the past eighteen months — from in-person classes, to extracurricular activities, to just getting together to chat.
Throughout the pandemic, the health and well-being of our students, faculty, course directors, researchers, and staff have always remained our highest priority. Those of you returning to our campuses this fall will likely notice that we have instituted multiple layers of pandemic defence that together create a stronger and more resilient protection against COVID-19, including:
- upgraded air filtration and ventilation systems running 24/7 to improve airflow;
- mask and face covering requirements for all indoor spaces;
- newly installed plexiglass barriers, especially in high-traffic locations;
- new contactless hand-sanitization stations;
- clear signage regarding COVID-19 safety measures;
- required daily screening and case management with the YU Screen tool;
- reduced overall numbers on our campuses; and
- capped numbers of students in classrooms and other teaching spaces.
Additionally, and most importantly, the University is requiring all individuals coming onto our campuses this fall to be vaccinated against COVID-19, subject to a limited set of exemptions that would permit regular COVID-19 testing as an alternative on the basis of medical or other grounds recognized by the Ontario Human Rights Code.
Our community has rallied over the course of the pandemic — our students, faculty, and course instructors expertly pivoted to remote learning; our researchers continued to find impactful solutions to complex problems, including those related to the pandemic; our required service staff played a critical role in keeping our campuses open and completing many important renovations and upgrades to our facilities; our staff continued to deliver high-quality services remotely to our entire community; our administrative team, including a host of pandemic response committees, supported the complex planning underpinning these efforts; and we have worked together to enable a gradual transition back onto our campuses, creating a new way forward informed by all that we have accomplished during this time.
There are still remaining uncertainties about what this fall will bring, and how the public health situation here in Ontario may change. I want to assure all of our community members that the University will continue to work closely with Toronto Public Health, the Chief Medical Officer of Health, and the Ministry of Colleges and Universities to ensure that we are following all public health guidance, and to keep you updated on any important developments. The most up-to-date University planning information can always be found on our Better Together website.
I want to thank you all again for the innovation, perseverance, and professionalism that you have shown over the past year and a half. I wish you all the best for a healthy and successful 2021–22 academic year.
President and Vice-Chancellor