Archive of Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates for the U of T community

Previous messages

 

To our students, and to all members of our U of T community:

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a shift in all our lives but your ability to adapt to and evolve with these unexpected challenges has brought to light your strength, ingenuity and resilience.

In response to the advice of public health officials and government travel advisories, we want to update you on steps the University is taking to support students, faculty, librarians and staff as we plan for the summer.

Support for Students:

Summer Courses

To limit the spread of COVID-19, courses that start in May (F and Y summer courses) will be delivered remotely. A final determination of the delivery mode for summer courses that start in July will be made by June 13. This change will allow you to continue your studies while keeping our communities healthy by continuing to practice social distancing.

To make it easier for you to plan, we have created a central directory where you can find information on the summer session classes from all Faculties and divisions. 

Programming and Support

Our staff members continue to work to respond to your needs and are dedicated to delivering services and supporting your continued success at U of T.

Many co-curricular programs and events at all three campuses are continuing and are being delivered in an online format. Appointments with Accessibility Services and Academic Success are being offered over the phone and through video conferencing and U of T MySSP continues to be available to all students online or by phone at 1-844-451-9700 or 001-416-380-6578 (outside of North America).

Online Self-Declaration of Illness

The University is temporarily suspending the need for a doctor’s note or medical certificate for any absence from academic participation in the University.

Please use the Absence Declaration tool on ACORN found in the Profile and Settings menu to formally declare an absence from academic participation. Record each day of your absence as soon as it begins, up until the day before you return to classes or other academic activities. The University will use this information for academic considerations and to monitor the overall health of our community.

In addition to this declaration, you are responsible for contacting your instructors to request any academic consideration.

Support for Faculty, Librarians & Staff:

We want to acknowledge and recognize the outstanding work and dedication of our faculty, librarians, and staff in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and in supporting our students.

Things have been changing quickly, often daily, but you can read about our plans for the month at the HR and Equity website. There you will find information about continuing University supports for employees.

As always, for the most up-to-date information, please visit U of T’s COVID-19 update page and the COVID-19 FAQ for students and take time to review the frequently asked questions. If you have questions that are not addressed, use the Contact Us button at the top of the FAQ section to submit your question.

Thank you for working with us as we navigate this situation together. U of T students, faculty, librarians and staff have a reputation for brilliance, innovation and resilience, and every day you are proving that to be true.

A message from U of T President Meric Gertler regarding convocation

To our graduating students, and to all members of the U of T community:

Over the past two weeks, members of the University of Toronto community have risen to the unprecedented challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic with remarkable generosity, patience and creativity, as we have faced one difficult decision after another. Our students, in particular, have shown tremendous resolve in completing their courses under extremely stressful circumstances.

From the beginning of this crisis, we had hoped that one particular decision would not be necessary. Convocation is that special time of year when our academic community comes together to celebrate the accomplishments of our graduating students. We all cherish this great U of T tradition, when we witness first-hand the excitement of our graduating students – and the pride of their families – as they cross the stage in Convocation Hall.

We have consistently relied on the guidance from public health authorities as we have navigated our way through the pandemic. Unfortunately, the latest guidance indicates that the need for physical distancing to limit or slow the spread of the virus will continue for some time. It is for this reason that we have taken the difficult decision to cancel all Convocation ceremonies for the Spring 2020 season, previously scheduled to take place from June 2-19.

Students who complete their degree requirements will still graduate and receive their degrees and parchments. We are currently exploring possible alternative means of celebrating your graduation, and we will be back in touch with you as soon as possible with more information. In the meantime, I invite you to consult our COVID-19 website for the latest updates.

We appreciate that this decision will come as a huge disappointment to our graduating students, their families, friends, teachers and mentors. While many other universities have come to a similar decision, this does little to diminish our shared disappointment. We take enormous pride in your accomplishments, and we want to give you the send-off you deserve.

You have learned and achieved so much during your years at U of T. And your presence has strengthened our academic community through your countless contributions inside and outside the classroom. Receiving your degree is one of the most important milestones in your life. We are so sorry that we cannot celebrate this achievement in the traditional way.

Convocation is an occasion to look back with pride and to look forward with hope. Even though we cannot gather in person, we remain tremendously proud of the Class of 2T0. And from what I have seen and heard of your leadership in this most difficult time, we have all the more reason to hope – both for your own success in the years to come, and for the future of our society.

Sincerely,

Meric S. Gertler
President
University of Toronto

The University is supporting the efforts of our country and our province as we implement measures aimed at containing and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Yesterday, Premier Doug Ford announced the mandatory closure of all non-essential workplaces, except for a list of essential services, effective midnight tonight.

We would like to take this opportunity to tell you what this means for the University of Toronto.

We continue to be committed to delivering three fundamental elements of the University’s core mission:

  • ensuring that our students can complete their term,
  • providing a place to live for those students in residence who are unable to return home, and
  • supporting the critical COVID-19 and time-sensitive research endeavors of our world-class scholars.

The province indicated that businesses that are able to continue working remotely or online should do so. Therefore, the University will continue our work in terms of teaching, research and other business remotely.

Libraries

All libraries will close as of 6 PM, Tuesday, March 24, 2020.  We know a small number of students continued to use our libraries in recent days in order to access their courses, and efforts are underway on all three campuses to support individual requests. Students should use the Contact Us button located at the top of the FAQ section on the University web site, indicating their campus, in order to receive additional information.  

Research

Essential areas

Work in areas explicitly listed by the province as essential, such as campus police, food facilities, institutional maintenance and information technology support will also continue. Critical staff supporting those functions will need to come to our campuses for work.

Academic Continuity

We are continuing to offer courses through alternative means without in-person meetings or class sessions, and all Faculties have notified students of plans for the final examination period. Details about the offering of summer courses will be available in the coming days. Thank you for the dedication and creativity of all those who contributed to this effort. Resources for instructors are available from the Centre for Teaching Support and Innovation.

Student Residences and Services

The University last week asked students who live in residence, and who are able to return home, to do so. We continue to provide a welcoming home for international students, students whose family members are in self-isolation, and out-of-province students who need more time to make travel arrangements. Our dedicated residence staff are continuing to support students living on our campuses and the province has listed student residences as one of the essential services that will remain open. More information for students in residences is available on the Office of the Vice-Provost Students website.

Our accessibility services continue to provide support to students, and Student Life has moved many co-curricular events and workshops online to help students stay motivated, focused and connected.

Research

As of Friday, March 20, 2020, only those research labs that are conducting critical COVID-19 related research and time-sensitive critical projects with exemptions may continue.

For any research projects that have received an exemption to continue, the University is requiring social distancing as a measure to help disrupt the chain of transmission of COVID-19 in an effort to protect vulnerable individuals and to reduce overburden on our healthcare system. All those in research environments should continue to review the information from the University’s homepage, which is continually updated.

All other research should continue, as possible, remotely. No other on-campus research (i.e., research activities that have not received exemptions from the University) may be conducted.

Maintaining Operations and Working Remotely

Since March 16, a significant portion of U of T’s workforce has begun to work remotely and will continue to do so until further notice.

The province is encouraging those who can continue to work remotely to do so. We are in the process of assessing the Ontario essential workplace list and will notify employees in positions where there may be an impact in terms of requirements to be physically present on our campuses. At this time, only individuals in U of T-identified critical positions that require them to be on site may report to work on our three campuses. Individuals in these positions will be notified by their Divisional HR offices. 

If you have questions about travel insurance, equipment, or other HR matters, please visit the HR & Equity COVID-19 website.

These are extraordinary times and we want to thank each of you for the adaptability and commitment you continue to show each day.  The University is indebted to your talent and resourcefulness during a time when each day brings new challenges. 

For all the latest information, please see the University’s Coronavirus page. Please take the time to review our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). If you or members of your unit have a question that is not covered, please consider using the Contact Us button located at the top of the FAQ section to submit your question.

A letter from President Meric Gertler

To all members of the U of T community:

In recent days, we have all become familiar with concepts like ‘social distancing’, ‘self-isolation’ and ‘flattening the curve’ – all part of our individual and collective efforts to slow and limit the spread of COVID-19.  

Further to my letter to the community on March 13th, the University has moved judiciously to adopt a series of extraordinary measures to put these concepts into practice (see the update issued on March 17th).  We have been guided in this effort by the advice of local, provincial and national public health authorities.

Our goals have been to do our utmost to protect the health and safety of our community and the wider population; to ensure that our students can complete their term; to provide accommodation and support for those students in residence who are unable to return home; and to continue to support critical research focused on COVID-19 and other time-sensitive work.

As Canada’s leading university, home to the country’s largest research operation, its biggest and most diverse undergraduate student body, and one of the world’s largest graduate education enterprises, the transformation we have achieved in the last few days is nothing short of remarkable.

We have transitioned all of our courses to alternative means of delivery, making innovative use of online technologies and other ingenious strategies to carry on with our teaching and learning activities.

We have enabled most of our faculty and staff to continue their vital work from home.

We have encouraged those of our students in residence who are able to move to alternative accommodations to do so, while ensuring that international students and those with nowhere else to go have a welcoming home in our residences.

We have suspended most of the lab-based research on our three campuses, necessitating the shutdown of literally hundreds of labs and other facilities, and restricted access to our physical library spaces.

None of these decisions was taken lightly, and each has presented significant implementation challenges.  But our community has risen to these challenges with astonishing creativity, commitment, and goodwill. 

I want to thank all members of our community across our three campuses for their co-operation and support in these endeavours, beginning with the all-too-often unsung heroes: our staff members – who have helped maintain our student services, who support our online operations, who ensure our facilities and work environments are safe, accessible and well maintained, and who ensure the continuity of our business operations and core functions of the University. 

Our faculty members, other instructors, and librarians have gone to incredible lengths to ensure that our students can complete their courses and programs without interruption.  This has required many amazing feats of innovation and re-engineering on the fly.  But our U of T educators are pulling it off, with great support from our staff, because they are so committed to the academic success and intellectual development of our students.

This is a time when our research and expertise are being featured in the media on a daily basis – a testament to the intellectual depth and breadth of our faculty in medicine, public health and other health science professions, but also across the social sciences, humanities, sciences and other professions.  This is a timely reminder to the wider world of the importance of the research excellence we foster at U of T and its affiliated health care institutions.

Indeed, many of our faculty and alumni are now on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19.  They are working steadily and effectively, under enormous pressure, to protect the most vulnerable people in our society.

Let me also acknowledge our academic and administrative leaders – principals, deans, academic directors and chairs, and their team members.  They have informed our decision-making at every stage, to ensure it embraces the needs of all our divisions and each of our three campuses.  And they continue to provide stellar leadership across the University.

Finally, our students have shown incredible resilience, leadership and understanding during a challenging and stressful time.  Their patience and adaptability in the midst of this crisis are an example to us all.  Their concern for their fellow students and for society at large is inspiring.

Simply put, at a time when our actions are accentuating the physical separation between us, the enduring strength of our community is more evident than ever.  

Let me close by thanking each and every member of the University of Toronto community for your magnificent response to this generational challenge.  The coming days and weeks will no doubt bring further challenges, calling on all of us to be adaptable, creative and understanding.  But I am confident that U of T will emerge a stronger, more resilient organization, thanks to you.

I wish you all continued strength in your work and studies, and good health to you and your loved ones, as we move forward in confidence together. 

We pledge to communicate with you regularly, as developments require.  In the meantime, please visit our website for up-to-date, detailed and authoritative information.

Sincerely,

Meric Gertler
President
University of Toronto

As Canada continues to deal with the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, the University remains committed to playing our part in ensuring the health and wellbeing of our community. Equally important is our commitment to three core activities:

  • ensuring that our students can complete their term,
  • providing a place to live for those students in residence who are unable to return home, and
  • supporting the critical COVID-19 and time-sensitive research endeavors of our world-class scholars.

As part of Canada’s efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19, the Premier of Ontario has declared a state of emergency and the Prime Minister has encouraged all Canadians to stay home wherever possible. In response to these announcements, we are working to allow more employees to telecommute and to have more flex-time arrangements.

The University remains open but encourages employees who can work from home to do so. For the University to deliver on our commitments to teaching, residences and critical research, some employees will be required to come to our campuses, and we remain committed to their health and safety. Some employees may be assigned to other duties.

Continue reading for more details about what this will entail.

Academic Continuity

At the core of our actions is our commitment to enable students to complete their term and start the summer session. Following our memo of March 13, faculty and instructors are now delivering the remainder of their courses without in-class instruction.

Libraries at the University of Toronto will be closed as of 11:59 pm, March 17, 2020. The Robarts Library at the St. George campus and the libraries at UTM and UTSC will be open to members of the U of T community with limited staff and very limited services to support technology needs for those students who need to access resources required to complete their courses. All digital services remain operational and accessibility services will also be available. 

Student Residences

We will continue to provide residences for those students who cannot return home at this point.  The University is working on ways to support students who will not be able to return home when the term ends. 

More information for students living in residences will be available on the Office of the Vice-Provost Students website.

Research

In accordance with guidance from government officials, the University is advising that all lab-based research operations must be shut down no later than 5 pm, Friday March 20, 2020. We will consider exceptions for critical COVID-19 research and time-sensitive critical projects that are approved by the Incident Management Team based on the University’s protocol for the approval of critical or time-sensitive research.

Those who are able to continue their research off-campus should continue as long as it is safe to do so and should assign appropriate work to trainees and staff. For research staff who cannot be assigned remote tasks, HR & Equity has provided guidance (see below) about pay continuance and potential redeployment.

Shut down of laboratory research operations should be done in a safe and orderly manner according to the guidance provided by the U of T Research Oversight and Compliance Office. 

Maintaining Operations and Working Remotely

The University has been developing business continuity plans and together we are consulting with senior leadership to ensure that these plans allow the core functions of the University to continue.

Any employee who can work from home should do so. Guidance on telecommuting, flex-time arrangements, and pay continuity for those who cannot work from home can be found on the HR & Equity COVID-19 website.

For the University to deliver on our commitments to teaching, residences and critical research, and the services to support these activities, some employees will be required to come to our campuses. We remain committed to their health and safety. Managers should refer to the University’s Business Continuity website for guidance in determining these critical functions. In order for the University to continue its operations at this time, some employees may also be assigned to other duties.

All University buildings will be closed as of 11:59 pm, March 17, 2020 to the general public. Members of the University community will need key or fob access to enter them or must present appropriate identification to campus security. 

Please take the time to review our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), the HR & Equity COVID-19 website, and the Research Labs COVID-19 FAQs. If you or members of your unit have a question that is not covered, please consider using the Contact Us button

Change in format of classes

As announced on March 13 by President Gertler: starting on Monday, March 16 and continuing until the end of classes on Friday, April 3, all in-person undergraduate and research-stream Master’s and Doctoral courses across all three campuses will be delivered by other means, such as online instruction. Decisions regarding professional programs have been made by Deans and more information on course instruction will be posted as it becomes available.

Self-Isolation Guidance  

Based on the guidance of public health officials, the University is directing all members of our community and visitors to our three campuses and our off-campus sites to do the following: 

  • If you have travelled from anywhere outside Canada, including the United States, please self-isolate for 14 days. If you travelled internationally and returned to Canada prior to March 13, you do NOT need to self-isolate unless you travelled from areas designated by government travel advisories as affected areas prior to March 13 (China, Hong Kong, Iran, Italy, Japan, SIngapore and S. Korea).
  • If you experience symptoms of COVID-19 (e.g. fever, cough, difficulty breathing), please call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000 or your primary care provider’s office. 
  • Call ahead prior to visiting any healthcare provider and let them know about your travel history and symptoms (e.g. fever, cough, difficulty breathing) so they can make special arrangements to see you quickly, provide testing, and ensure that they use proper infection control measures.  

International Travel  

Based on the guidance of public health officials, the University is advising all members of its community to avoid all non-essential travel abroad and to avoid all cruise ship travel.  

Recreational and Sport Facilities 

The University of Toronto Athletic, Recreation and Physical Activity facilities will be closed effective Sunday, March 15 at 12:01 AM until Friday, April 3. 

U of T Day Care Closures 

Based on the recommendation of public health officials, all University of Toronto childcare centres are closed effective Monday, March 16 until Monday, April 6.

As Canada continues to deal with the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, the University remains committed to ensuring the health and wellbeing of our community. Equally important is our commitment to deliver on our core activities:  

  • Ensuring that our students have the ability to complete their term,  
  • Providing a place to live for students who are in residence and unable to return home, and  
  • Supporting the cutting-edge research endeavors of our scholars. 

On March 16th the Prime Minister encouraged Canadians to stay home where possible. The University has been developing business continuity plans to help us deal with situations like this. We are reviewing those plans as well as consulting with senior leadership. We will be announcing shortly plans for as many staff as possible to work remotely, while still meeting our core commitments to support teaching, students in residence, and research. 

University of Toronto operations continue, and all three campuses remain open, with the following measures in place:

Change in format of classes

As announced on March 13 by President Gertler: starting on Monday, March 16 and continuing until the end of classes on Friday, April 3, all in-person undergraduate and research-stream Master’s and Doctoral courses across all three campuses will be delivered by other means, such as online instruction. Decisions regarding professional programs have been made by Deans and more information on course instruction will be posted as it becomes available.

Self-Isolation Guidance  

Based on the guidance of public health officials, the University is directing all members of our community and visitors to our three campuses and our off-campus sites to do the following: 

  • If you have travelled from anywhere outside Canada, including the United States, please self-isolate for 14 days. If you travelled internationally and returned to Canada prior to March 13, you do NOT need to self-isolate unless you travelled from areas designated by government travel advisories as affected areas prior to March 13 (China, Hong Kong, Iran, Italy, Japan, SIngapore and S. Korea).
  • If you experience symptoms of COVID-19 (e.g. fever, cough, difficulty breathing), please call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000 or your primary care provider’s office. 
  • Call ahead prior to visiting any healthcare provider and let them know about your travel history and symptoms (e.g. fever, cough, difficulty breathing) so they can make special arrangements to see you quickly, provide testing, and ensure that they use proper infection control measures.  

International Travel  

Based on the guidance of public health officials, the University is advising all members of its community to avoid all non-essential travel abroad and to avoid all cruise ship travel.  

Recreational and Sport Facilities 

The University of Toronto Athletic, Recreation and Physical Activity facilities will be closed effective Sunday, March 15 at 12:01 AM until Friday, April 3. 

Libraries 

Selected libraries remain open, with limited hours, social distancing measures, and restricted to only U of T users. More information will be available Monday, March 16 about upcoming library closures and reductions in hours. 

U of T Day Care Closures 

Based on the recommendation of public health officials, all University of Toronto childcare centres are closed effective Monday, March 16 until Monday, April 6.

The March 14th message to faculty, staff, and librarians is available on the HR&E webpage.

University of Toronto operations continue, and all three campuses remain open, with the following measures in place:

Change in format of classes

As announced on March 13 by President Gertler: starting on Monday, March 16 and continuing until the end of classes on Friday, April 3, all in-person undergraduate and research-stream Master’s and Doctoral courses across all three campuses will be delivered by other means, such as online instruction. Decisions regarding professional programs have been made by Deans and more information on course instruction will be posted as it becomes available.

Self-Isolation Guidance  

Based on the guidance of public health officials, the University is directing all members of our community and visitors to our three campuses and our off-campus sites to do the following:  

  • If you have travelled from anywhere outside Canada, including the United States, please self-isolate for 14 days. If you travelled internationally and returned to Canada prior to March 13, you do NOT need to self-isolate.
  • If you experience symptoms of COVID-19 (e.g. fever, cough, difficulty breathing), please call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000 or your primary care provider’s office. 
  • Call ahead prior to visiting any healthcare provider and let them know about your travel history and symptoms (e.g. fever, cough, difficulty breathing) so they can make special arrangements to see you quickly, provide testing, and ensure that they use proper infection control measures.  

International Travel  

Based on the guidance of public health officials, the University is advising all members of its community to avoid all non-essential travel abroad and to avoid all cruise ship travel.  

Recreational and Sport Facilities 

The University of Toronto Athletic, Recreation and Physical Activity facilities will be closed effective Sunday, March 15 at 12:01 AM until Friday, April 3. 

Libraries 

Selected libraries remain open, with limited hours, social distancing measures, and restricted to only U of T users. More information will be available Monday, March 16 about upcoming library closures and reductions in hours. 

U of T Day Care Closures 

Based on the recommendation of public health officials, all University of Toronto childcare centres are closed effective Monday, March 16 until Monday, April 6.   

The March 14th message is available on the HR&E webpage.

University of Toronto operations continue, and all three campuses remain open, with the following measures in place:

Change in format of classes

As announced on March 13 by President Gertler: starting on Monday, March 16 and continuing until the end of classes on Friday, April 3, all in-person undergraduate and research-stream Master’s and Doctoral courses across all three campuses will be delivered by other means, such as online instruction. Decisions regarding professional programs have been made by Deans and more information on course instruction will be posted as it becomes available.

Self-Isolation Guidance  

Based on the guidance of public health officials, the University is directing all members of our community and visitors to our three campuses and our off-campus sites to do the following:  

  • If you have travelled from anywhere outside Canada, including the United States, please self-isolate for 14 days.   
  • If you experience symptoms of COVID-19 (e.g. fever, cough, difficulty breathing), please call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000 or your primary care provider’s office. 
  • Call ahead prior to visiting any healthcare provider and let them know about your travel history and symptoms (e.g. fever, cough, difficulty breathing) so they can make special arrangements to see you quickly, provide testing, and ensure that they use proper infection control measures.  

International Travel  

Based on the guidance of public health officials, the University is advising all members of its community to avoid all non-essential travel abroad and to avoid all cruise ship travel.  

Recreational and Sport Facilities 

The University of Toronto Athletic, Recreation and Physical Activity facilities will be closed effective Sunday, March 15 at 12:01 AM until Friday, April 3. 

Libraries 

Selected libraries remain open, with limited hours, social distancing measures, and restricted to only U of T users. More information will be available Monday, March 16 about upcoming library closures and reductions in hours. 

U of T Day Care Closures 

Based on the recommendation of public health officials, all University of Toronto childcare centres are closed effective Monday, March 16 until Monday, April 6.   

Today’s message is available on the HR&E webpage.

To all members of the U of T community:

RE: Cancellation of classes and delivery of teaching through other means

As you know, since late last year, governments and institutions around the world have been responding in various ways to the threats posed by COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus.

The situation is now accelerating very rapidly. Two days ago, the World Health Organization determined that COVID-19 has reached the level of a global pandemic. Yesterday, among many other developments in Canada, the governments of Quebec and Alberta advised that indoor gatherings of more than 250 people should be cancelled, and the Ontario government announced that all public schools will remain closed for two weeks following the March break.

Continually since early January, the University of Toronto has been monitoring the situation very closely and taking action as necessary in light of the global situation, the advice of public health authorities and the concerns of our community. We have also been liaising regularly with other post-secondary institutions and sector organizations, as well as Toronto Public Health, while consulting with our own U of T experts in public health. We have been informing members of our community accordingly, through a website we created as a clearinghouse of authoritative information.

Yesterday we sent a memo directly to all students, faculty, librarians and staff on our three campuses, to update everyone on our planning for future contingencies. We announced the cancellation of all University-sponsored learning programs abroad. We advised that non-essential travel should be reconsidered and we recommended the cancellation or postponement of all discretionary events. We indicated the steps we have taken to support instructors in planning for the possible cancellation of in-person classes and examinations. We reiterated our advice that those who are sick should stay home, and we reminded community members of where they can find more information online.

After careful consideration of developments over the past 24 hours, we have made the following additional decisions.

  • We have decided to cancel all in-person undergraduate and research-stream Masters and Doctoral courses across U of T’s three campuses, and we will provide that teaching by other means (which may include existing online platforms).
  • This decision is effective this coming Monday, March 16 and continuing until the end of classes on Friday, April 3. (Please note that all in-person teaching scheduled for today, Friday, March 13, will continue as planned.)
  • With respect to professional programs, each of which has particular circumstances and accreditation requirements, consultation is ongoing today to determine the appropriate course of action.
  • Professional students as well as faculty members, other instructors and staff in these programs will be advised by this coming Monday morning, as soon as decisions have been made.
  • University operations continue, and all three campuses will remain open.
  • Libraries, residences, food services, health & wellness centres, athletics and recreation facilities and other public spaces on all three campuses will remain open.

One of the key factors in these decisions is the need to foster a degree of “social distancing”, as recommended by public health authorities. On that front, our goal is to help interrupt the chain of transmission in the wider community, thereby protecting vulnerable individuals and ensuring that our health care system will not become overburdened.

I would like to extend special thanks to those faculty and staff members who have been involved in monitoring and analyzing this evolving situation and in charting the way forward for the University at this difficult time. Your dedication is remarkable and deeply appreciated.

I salute our U of T clinicians and researchers who are making crucial contributions to the collective efforts to find solutions on the local, provincial, national and international levels. You make us proud.

I would also like to thank all members of the University of Toronto community – our students, faculty and staff members alike. We appreciate that the global COVID-19 pandemic is increasingly worrisome, and that the changes I have just announced will require very significant adjustments on everyone’s part. But, based on the strength of our bonds as a community and the good will that characterizes its members, we are confident that we will meet this challenge successfully.

Sincerely,

Meric S. Gertler

President, University of Toronto 

The University of Toronto is continuing to monitor the development of the COVID-19 pandemic. We know that members of our community are concerned, and we want to assure them that the University is actively planning for the possibility that the current pandemic may affect our operations.   

We hope to be able to complete the term without disruption. We are continuing to carefully assess the global situation, consider the advice of public health authorities, and the interests of our community. Our preparations are focused on the need to ensure the health of our community, and the continuity of our academic and business activities.  

Classes and Other Academic Activities 

As of today, classes and other academic activities continue on our three campuses.   

Events 

As of today, we recommend cancellation or postponement of all discretionary events that are not required as part of courses and academic requirements.   

International Travel for Students

As of today, the University of Toronto has cancelled future university activity to international locations for all students until June 1, 2020. The University of Toronto is working closely with students already abroad to support them in either staying or planning for an early return. If you are a student abroad with questions, please contact safety.abroad@utoronto.ca.  

The University of Toronto continues to closely monitor the COVID-19 situation. As of today, the risk of community transmission in the Greater Toronto Area remains low.  The University follows the advice of Public Health authorities and at this time classes and events continue.

It is important to continue to check travel and public health advisories, which are listed below, as this is an evolving situation.

The advice as of  March 6, 2020 is that those who have travelled to Hubei province or Iran, or have had close contact with a person who is ill with COVID-19 are asked to limit their contact with others for a total of 14 days from the date that they left Hubei or Iran, or were in contact with a person ill with COVID-19. This means self-isolate and staying at home. In addition, they should contact their local public health authority within 24 hours of arriving in Canada. Undergraduate students who are self-isolating should contact their registrar. Graduate students should contact their program to arrange for accommodations.

Travellers returning from other affected areas should monitor for symptoms.  Those who develop symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) or any other symptoms within 14 days after returning to Canada, are advised to avoid contact with others and contact Telehealth Ontario (1-866-797-0000), your health-care provider, or local health authority.  Inform them about your symptoms and travel history.

The best way to protect yourself is through prevention.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Sneeze and cough into your sleeve
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick
  • Stay home if you are sick

The University is continuing to monitor developments involving the coronavirus (now referred to as COVID-19). 

Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health continues to advise that the risk to Ontarians is low. 

The university has established a steering group of senior administrators, including leaders who responded to the SARS crisis in 2003, and has established working groups to co-ordinate U of T’s response across its three campuses.  The University also has academic and business continuity plans that will be enacted if needed.

We will continue to update information on our FAQs as new information becomes available.

Those who have travelled to Hubei province in the last 14 days should limit their contact with others for a total of 14 days from the date that they left Hubei. This means self-isolate and staying at home. In addition, they should contact their local public health authority within 24 hours of arriving in Canada. Undergraduate students who are self-isolating should contact their registrar. Graduate students should contact their program to arrange for accommodations.

Travellers returning from other affected areas should monitor for symptoms.  Those who develop symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) or any other symptoms within 14 days after returning to Canada, are advised to contact Telehealth Ontario (1-866-797-0000), your health-care provider, or local health authority.  Inform them about your symptoms and travel history.

Confirmation of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Toronto is raising concerns and questions among members of the University of Toronto community. Ontario’s chief medical officer of health continues to advise that the risk of contracting the virus remains low. University leaders are carefully monitoring the situation and are in communication with faculty experts who work in our affiliated teaching hospitals and in public health.

We will continue to keep our community informed of new developments through the U of T website and urge those seeking information to consult trusted sources such as the Government of Ontario.

Symptoms of the coronavirus include fever, cough and difficulty breathing. Should you experience these symptoms AND have recently travelled internationally to an affected region, avoid contact with others and contact your health-care professional or nearest hospital.

Students travelling internationally should refer to the safety abroad office website.

Staff and faculty may refer to the Government of Canada’s travel advisory website.

For our students who do some learning in health-care settings, the leaders of our health science faculties and OISE are aware of the steps needed to protect our students, should it become necessary. Learners, faculty and staff in a health science setting should follow the directions of the administration of the facility.

If students are unable to return to the university as a result of the travel restrictions, they should contact their registrar (undergraduate students) or graduate program (graduate students) to arrange for accommodations.

As of January 25, 2020, Ontario Health officials have confirmed one presumptive case of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Toronto. Health officials continue to note that the risk of contracting the virus remains low. We are monitoring the situation carefully, and are in communication with faculty experts who work in our affiliated teaching hospitals and in public health.

Symptoms include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Should you experience these symptoms AND have recently travelled internationally, avoid contact with others, and contact your health care professional or nearest hospital.

Students travelling internationally should refer to the safety abroad office website safetyabroad.utoronto.ca. Staff and faculty may refer to the Government of Canada’s travel advisory website travel.gc.ca/travelling/advisories.

For our students who do some learning in health care settings, the leaders of our health science faculties and OISE are aware of the steps needed to protect our students, should it become necessary. Learners, faculty and staff in a health science setting should follow the directions of the administration of the facility.

If students are unable to return to the University as a result of the travel restrictions, they should contact their registrar (undergraduate students) or graduate program (graduate students) to arrange for accommodations.

The University has received questions regarding the Coronavirus from students, staff and faculty. We are actively monitoring the situation and will provide additional information when available.

Information regarding the Coronavirus is continually updated by various public health organizations. At present, the World Health Organization has not declared this a Public Health Emergency of International Concern and there are no confirmed cases of the virus in Canada. However, infection control experts predict that there will be cases of the virus in Canada at some point.

As is the usual best practice, we encourage the community to:

  • Wash your hands frequently and use hand sanitizer when needed
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow
  • If you have a severe cold or the flu, stay home

For information on how to protect yourself, symptoms, and current travel advice, please refer to the following sites:

About the Coronavirus:

Government of Canada Public Health Agency: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/coronavirus.html
U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus

Travel Guidance/Advice:

Government of Canada Travel Advice: https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/advisories/pneumonia-china