The following open letter was sent to the University of Guelph community today by Gwen Chapman, Provost and Vice-President (Academic).

I am writing today to provide you with an update about our plans for the winter 2022 semester.

I want to thank all members of the U of G community for your patience and understanding as we have finalized these plans amid uncertainty and an ever-changing situation.

The University has taken a principled approach to planning for winter 2022 and continues to make decisions based on public health guidance. Our focus is on providing high-quality teaching and learning experiences and ensuring mental, social, and physical health for our faculty, students, and staff.

I am happy to report that we are preparing to return to conventional course delivery and offer in-person instruction for most courses this winter. Our current plans include these key components:

  • As in fall 2021, in-person instruction will be available in the winter semester only to students who are fully vaccinated or who have received an approved exemption.
  • Although the province is no longer limiting class sizes, U of G will maintain a flexible default enrolment cap of 450 students per class to help manage traffic flows in and out of our largest classrooms].
  • The University will continue to support instructors who choose to use a blend of remote and in-person components in teaching this winter.
  • As always, some courses identified by colleges and departments may be available through distance education.
  • We plan to open undergraduate course selection for the winter semester in mid-November.

We know that in-person teaching and learning is critical, especially for our first- and second-year students. This fall, through gradual expansion of face-to-face learning, a rigorous vaccine mandate, strict protocols, and other measures, we have demonstrated that U of G can safely offer in-person teaching and learning.

Although it is impossible to predict how the pandemic may change between now and January, we do know that vaccination is key to our ability to provide more in-person academic experiences.

To date, nearly 28,000 members of the U of G community have submitted proof of vaccination status, with 97 per cent being fully vaccinated and 2 per cent partially vaccinated with plans for a second dose soon. Our vaccine mandate will remain in place for the balance of the 2021-22 academic year.

In the City of Guelph, upwards of 89 per cent of the vaccine-eligible population is fully vaccinated, and across Ontario, 83 per cent.

These trends are extremely positive and give us confidence that we can prepare for a winter semester with mostly in-person teaching and learning.

We will continue to work with our University and local public health experts to protect your physical and mental health, including enforcing our vaccine mandate and maintaining our public health and safety protocols and measures.

As always, our plans will remain flexible and subject to changes in public health conditions or guidance. We will inform you of any needed changes as soon as possible.

Once again, I want to thank you all for your dedication to the University during the uncertainty of this global pandemic.