Masks. More frequent cleaning. New plexiglass barriers, physical distancing measures and additional hand sanitizers. These are just some of the measures the University of Toronto is taking to keep the community safe and healthy this fall.
“We’ve taken a very good look at our campus right from when you get on site to when you come to the front door of a building all the way to when you get to the classroom,” says Ron Saporta, U of T’s chief operating officer, property services and sustainability.
“I’m confident that our campuses will be ready come the fall term. We put all the necessary actions in place and we’ve made sure that physical distancing is achievable right across all of our properties.”
At U of T Scarborough, Chief Administrative Officer Andrew Arifuzzaman echoes Saporta’s remarks, noting staff have been hard at work preparing the campus throughout the summer.
“You’ll notice when you come to campus – although not everybody will, those of you do – there’s been a number of changes,” he says, highlighting the addition of signage to direct foot traffic, frequent cleaning of high-touch services such as elevator buttons and door knobs and reduced seating capacity in common areas.
Arifuzzaman says the measures are all designed to ensure that campus remains a safe, healthy and vibrant environment for the new school year.
“So although this year won’t exactly feel the same as every other year, we are convinced that our UTSC community will come together and have a great campus experience for everybody as they get back to school for 2021.”
Mark Overton, dean of student affairs and assistant principal, student services at U of T Mississauga, says members of the community will similarly notice changes as soon as they set foot on campus grounds.
“The start of the 2021 academic school year will be very different. Most of our classes will be online and most of our students, faculty, staff and librarians will continue to work from home,” says Overton. “For those who will be on campus, we’ve implemented public health measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Those measures include the redesign of classrooms to enable two-metre physical distancing, installation of paper towel dispensers in place of air dryers in all washrooms and limits on elevator and room capacity.