I hope that you were able to find some time to unwind and re-energize during the holiday break. I would also like to wish you a happy New Year.
Unfortunately, our new year begins amidst a surge in cases because of the omicron variant of COVID-19. As a consequence, the Province has recently announced a return to a modified Step 2 of its reopening plan.
Since York made the decision to delay the resumption of most in-person activities in the winter term, the immediate impact of the new provincial guidelines is minimal and limited to non-instructional and non-research activities and spaces. Nevertheless, the new restrictions do affect some university operations such as restaurants as well as other sectors. York has therefore made the following additional changes to in-person teaching, learning, research, and work:
- With some exceptions where the student learning outcomes cannot easily be realized without in-person instruction, courses will remain online until January 31, 2022. Faculty members and instructors will receive additional details directly by email in the coming days. Teaching supports will continue to be offered through the Teaching Commons in addition to Faculty-level services.
- Staff who are not required to be in-person will continue to work remotely and will receive additional details from managers directly by email in the coming days.
- Researchers can continue on-campus research; however, everyone is asked to attend only to essential activities.
- Libraries are offering contactless curb-side pickup only, with few exceptions, until January 10, 2022. Please use the following email firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
The school closures in K–12 have also added more responsibilities to those balancing work with childcare and other caregiving responsibilities. As we have done previously, the University encourages leaving 12–1 pm unscheduled and free of meetings to support general wellbeing and to help caregivers. A reminder to all employees that resources and support are available, and additional supports can be accessed through York’s Employee and Family Assistance Program.
I am pleased to announce a dedicated York community vaccination clinic will run from January 10 through to January 28, 2022, at the Keele campus. More information about the clinic will be communicated in the coming days.
As we continue to do what we can to blunt the impact of the omicron variant, I urge everyone to continue to follow the most current public health guidance. Please ensure you receive a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as you are able, maintain physical distance where possible, and wear a high-quality mask. Please do not come to campus unless you must and, if you do come to campus, complete your screening on YU Screen. Most importantly, please do not come to campus if you feel unwell.
These are challenging times as the pandemic continues to test us with new and continuing strains and stress. Thank you for your cooperation, flexibility, and shared commitment to community health and safety.
The administration will be continuing to monitor developments and is in frequent contact with government, public health officials, and other PSE institutions regarding the trajectory of the pandemic. Please continue to check YU Better Together for the most current information and ongoing updates.
President and Vice-Chancellor