As Ontario moves towards reopening the economy, the province is cautiously returning to more normal activities. With the hopes that Ontario will be well into step three of its reopening plan by September, universities are releasing their plans for the upcoming fall semester.
While most schools plan to partially resume in-person learning this fall, there are still guidelines being put in place to ensure the safety of faculty and students, especially for those living in residence. Two universities will require proof of vaccination to move into dorms, while others are encouraging students to get vaccinated.
Carleton announced its plans for students, which it says will include a safe return to smaller classes, seminars, and labs, but will provide the option of online learning as well. By the winter semester in 2022, "vaccination programs should be complete, and we can anticipate a return to essentially normal campus activity," the school stated.
Carleton University Scenario Planning (CUSP) said it aims to provide in-person and online learning for all students in every program and at every level, with possible capacity limits in classrooms.
University of Guelph
As of now, Guelph said it's planning face-to-face classes for the fall semester with courses being capped at 250 students. Students will know what kind of courses they are signing up for when they enroll, and a good portion of in-person classes will be available to all students or will have an in-person element like labs or tutorials.
The university isn't making it mandatory for students to provide proof of vaccination to live in residence, but it is "strongly encouraging" students to get vaccinated if they are able to do so.
Queens currently does not have a detailed plan of what their current plans are for the upcoming fall semester, and told Narcity in an email that "the situation is evolving."
Currently, the Kingston-based university has established a Fall Planning Operations Working Group, which was created to focus on how Queens will operate for the upcoming term.
Their plans will reflect the public health guidelines in Ontario at the time, and Queens is working with public health officials for tips on how to safely bring students back to campus.
Ryerson University has announced that the upcoming fall semester will serve as a transitional period with the expectation that all students will be able to return in the winter of 2022. In the fall, in-person learning will be prioritized for the classes that need it the most or need to have access to on-campus resources.
The SLC will be open at a limited capacity this coming fall semester, and student services like orientation will be offered in-person and online. Ryerson also plans to increase its residence capacities for students.
To make its decisions, the school is considering factors such as the progress of vaccinations and COVID-19 infection rates in the province, gathering limits, and more.
University of Toronto
On June 8, U of T announced that all students who plan to live in residence are recommended to have their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine at least two weeks before moving in. Anyone who is unable to do so will apparently have 14 days after their move-in date to get their first dose, which U of T will help with depending on supply.
The university said in an email to Narcity that with the latest information on Ontario's progress, it's "optimistic for at least a partial return to campuses." Like Guelph, U of T is also encouraging everyone who can get vaccinated to do so.
The school has released a list of 12 ways it is preparing for a safe return to campus learning, which includes health screening via an app called UCheck, scheduling and course caps, classroom ventilation upgrades, and more.
Western University was the first Ontario university to announce that all students will need to have their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in order to live in the campus residences. In its announcement, Western said this will apply to the university plus its affiliated colleges — Brescia, Huron, and King's — so long as Ontario has vaccine supply.
The university is preparing for a fall 2021 return to face-to-face learning and in-person activities, and it will continue to implement safety measures such as masking and social distancing protocols, self-screening requirements, upgraded cleaning and ventilation in its buildings, and on-campus testing.
Wilfred Laurier University
Laurier plans to provide "as many in-person classes as possible with required physical distancing and gathering-size restrictions to maintain safety", with possible capacity limits of 100 students per class.
Students will be able to see whether a class is in-person or online when they sign up for courses. If a class is listed as virtual at the start of the fall semester, it will remain that way until the end of the term.
In an email sent to Narcity, Laurier's Residence Life team said that it is planning to have total occupancy for res buildings at the Waterloo and Brantford campuses starting in September, including double occupancy dorm-style rooms. Unless masking laws are lifted, students will have to wear masks in shared and public spaces, and lounges will also be open at a limited capacity.
While vaccinations are not required to live in residence, the university is encouraging its students to get vaccinated two weeks before Labour Day weekend. Laurier anticipates a "full return of normal operations" by winter 2022.