UTogether

COVID-19 planning updates

The University of Toronto is planning for a safe, gradual return to campus in consultation with our community and public health experts. Given the changing nature of the situation, we are providing updates detailing the latest public health guidance, U of T’s COVID-19 policies and return-to-campus plans.

Read the latest update below. Previous entries are posted chronologically beneath the latest message.

From: Trevor Young, Acting Vice-President and Provost
Kelly Hannah-Moffat, Vice-President, People Strategy, Equity, and Culture

Re: Fall Planning – Progress to date

 

Thanks to the collective effort of our community members, many of us have been able to safely return to onsite activities this fall. An in-person experience is critical for effective learning and for students’ mental health and well-being. It has been so gratifying to see students interacting in classrooms and throughout our campuses, and to have the opportunity to reconnect with each other after communicating virtually for more than a year and a half.

While this is an exciting time, we know that it is also a period of transition and we want to update you on the University’s progress so far and remind you of the measures we are taking to keep our community safe.

 

Vaccinations

As of September 27th, 76,000 students, faculty, librarians, and staff have declared their vaccination status via UCheck. Of those individuals, 99% have indicated that they are vaccinated (94% have provided proof they are fully vaccinated; and another 5% have indicated they are on their way to being fully vaccinated). We are verifying all vaccination documents that are uploaded. 

The public health evidence is clear: vaccination matters. Those who are vaccinated are much less likely to catch or transmit COVID-19, so vaccination and other measures such as mask-wearing significantly increase the safety of our campus communities. 

All members of the University community must provide proof of being fully vaccinated in UCheck by October 29 (two weeks following the October 15 deadline to receive a final shot). Employees must upload proof of vaccination in UCheck, even if they are currently working remotely. 

If you have specific questions about uploading proof of vaccination and the University’s COVID response, please visit our Frequently Asked Questions

 

Show Your Green 

A green screen on UCheck shows that you have complied with the vaccination guideline and have passed the daily health screening. Students, faculty, librarians, staff, and other community members may be asked to show their green screen, particularly in areas on campus such as libraries and athletic facilities. Instructors may also ask their students to show green screens to enter their classes.  

All community members must use UCheck to demonstrate their compliance with the vaccine guideline, and those who are not compliant are not permitted to come onsite for any reason. 

 

Enhanced Safety Measures 

In addition to a mandatory vaccine requirement, the University’s return to campus plan includes other layers of safety measures such as industry-leading ventilation and an updated indoor mask mandate. Acknowledging the importance of in person instruction, the Ministry of Colleges and Universities, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officers of Health and the Ontario Science Table, have modified Step 3 requirements for capacity limits and physical distancing in indoor instructional spaces such as classrooms and libraries in Postsecondary institutions. These modifications were put in place in light of the mandatory vaccination requirement.    

 
The University continues to track and report COVID-19 on our campuses and there have been no reported outbreaks at U of T since we started the fall term and implemented the Joint Provostial and Human Resources Guideline on Vaccination. This is in large part due to our extremely high vaccination rate, the collective efforts of our community, and other measures the University has taken to prepare for a safe return to campus.  

We deeply appreciate your continued commitment to a safe and supportive environment. We continue to listen to your feedback, and we will keep updating you throughout the fall as public health guidance evolves. 

 

Further and New Resources

From: Trevor Young, Acting Vice-President and Provost
Kelly Hannah-Moffat, Vice-President, People Strategy, Equity, and Culture

Re: Fall Planning – Welcome to the Start of a New Academic Year

 

Dear University of Toronto community,

We are delighted to welcome you back to our three campuses for a new academic year.

We believe that an increased presence on our campuses allows us to better fulfill our academic mission by providing a rich learning environment for our students and supporting critical research and innovation.  A large part of what makes a U of T education great is the in-person environment of our three campuses, which are full of formal and informal learning experiences.

The health and safety of our community is at the forefront of our planning, with public health and provincial guidance setting the framework for our direction as an institution.

 

Vaccination Requirements

As stated in our previous memo, in order to attend University premises for any reason you must:

  1. Be fully vaccinated and have provided the University with proof of vaccination
  2. Complete daily health screenings via UCheck

We expect all members of the community to have their first vaccine dose by September 13, and to have received their second dose by October 15 (i.e., full vaccination by October 29).  Those awaiting the conclusion of the 14-day period after their second vaccination or who have a University-approved exemption must participate in the University’s rapid screening program and may be subject to additional safety measures.

You can now upload your proof of vaccination in UCheck. Only the vaccine receipt(s) that provides proof that you are fully vaccinated is required.  For example, if you have a Government of Ontario vaccine receipt that documents the second of two doses, upload only this document.

Those vaccinated in Ontario can generate and download their vaccine receipts here.

Vaccination continues to be the best way to protect ourselves and our community against the spread of COVID-19. This week, over 34,245 people have already uploaded their proof of vaccination through UCheck, with 94% fully vaccinated.

 

Vaccination Guideline

We encourage all members of our community to familiarize themselves with our Joint Provostial and Human Resources Guideline on Vaccination. This document details the guiding principles and requirements of our vaccination mandate.

 

Learning and Working On Our Campuses

We are committed to providing enhanced on-campus learning experiences for our students across all three campuses. U of T campuses and divisions are making the best decisions for their communities with available information. Ontario universities remain in step 3 of the provincial reopening framework with some allowed exemptions for essential activities such as teaching in indoor instructional spaces (including classrooms, teaching laboratories, instructional spaces in libraries, in-person experiential learning, etc.). Outside of this context, the University remains subject to physical distancing, capacity limits, and other measures.

Please remember that you must wear a face mask indoors with limited exceptions and follow posted directional signage.

 

We Are Here to Help

We recognize that while the transition back to in-person learning, teaching, and working is exciting, it will also be a period of adjustment and may be stressful for some. The well-being of our students, faculty and librarians, and staff is the University’s highest priority, and we encourage anyone who may need assistance to please access the wellness supports listed below:

If you have specific questions about uploading proof of vaccination and the University’s COVID response, please visit our recently-updated FAQs for answers to these and other key questions. You can also reach out via the Enterprise Service Centre to submit a query. Our support team is available 7 days a week to help answer your questions (Monday – Sunday from 8:30am to 9pm).

We deeply appreciate all that you have done in preparation for this academic year, and thank you for everything you will continue to do to maintain a safe and supportive environment for our community.

 

Further and New Resources

From: Trevor Young, Acting Vice-President and Provost
Kelly Hannah-Moffat, Vice-President, People Strategy, Equity, and Culture

Re: Fall planning – Welcome Back

 

Dear University of Toronto community,

As we welcome our community to a new academic year, we have planned for a fall term with expanded in-person experience and have put in place measures that protect and promote safety in our working and learning environment.

Further to last week’s COVID-19 fall planning update, we are providing you with additional details on the latest announcement from the Ministry of Colleges and Universities, proof of vaccination, and the UCheck platform.

 

Provincial Guidance on in-Person Instruction

New guidance from the Ontario Ministry of Colleges and Universities released August 31 provides Ontario universities with the ability to deliver in person teaching without physical distancing and capacity limits as long as there are stringent public health measures in place that include a vaccine mandate and indoor masking. 

All other requirements at Step 3 of the province’s reopening plan continue, including physical distancing requirements and capacity limits in non-instructional spaces.

Faculties and Divisions will apply this guidance based on local conditions and their unique instructional needs in consultation with Divisional leadership and their teaching staff. We will continue to adjust plans as public health conditions evolve.

Students should check their Faculty/Divisional websites for more information on their courses.

 

Proof of Vaccination

As stated in our previous memo, beginning September 13, in order to attend University premises for any reason you must:

  1. Provide proof of vaccination.
  2. Complete daily health screenings via UCheck.

Those awaiting their final vaccine dose (required by October 15) or who have a University-approved exemption must submit negative rapid screening results through UCheck.

Starting September 6, you will be able to upload proof of vaccination in UCheck. Only the vaccine receipt(s) that provide(s) proof that you are fully vaccinated is/are required to be uploaded. For example, if you have a Government of Ontario vaccine receipt showing the second of two doses, upload only this document.

Instructions on how to upload documents are available on the UCheck website.

The provincial government will be launching a vaccine passport program effective September 22 that will provide a way to verify vaccination status for those without UCheck access. We will provide additional details as they become available.

If you are participating in an activity that is identified as higher risk (e.g., athletics, living in residence, and music instruction) and have received instructions on how to upload your proof of vaccination via Star Rez or ServiceNow, you will also be required to upload your vaccine documents in UCheck.

The University of Toronto is committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for its faculty and librarians, staff, students, volunteers, visitors, and other community members. We will continue to refine our comprehensive plan as new information becomes available, including updated public health recommendations.

We look forward to a safe and exciting fall term back on our campuses together.

 

Requests for Exemption

Those seeking an exemption for medical or other protected human rights grounds can make a request through the University’s Vaccination Exemption Request Portal via the Enterprise Service Centre (ServiceNow). Forms are now available and completed requests can be uploaded for review beginning today. Please note that approval is not guaranteed.

If you have already applied for an exemption through another process (i.e., living in residence) continue to follow that process.

 

Rapid Screening Program

U of T’s Rapid Antigen screening program is now open.

Rapid screening is mandatory for those with an approved vaccination exemption or those in the process of becoming fully vaccinated if they are coming to University premises or live in residence. Results must be uploaded through UCheck twice a week. 

The Council of Ontario Medical Officers of Health has advised that rapid screening cannot be used as an alternative to vaccination.

 

Vaccination Clinics

Pop-up vaccination clinics will be available on our campuses this fall in addition to other vaccination clinics. More information is available on the UTogether vaccine page.

Thank you for your hard work, patience, and understanding as new protocols are established. We appreciate our community’s dedication to keeping each other safe. A further update will be provided next week.

 

Further and New Resources

From: Trevor Young, Acting Vice-President and Provost
Kelly Hannah-Moffat, Vice-President, People Strategy, Equity, and Culture

 

Dear University of Toronto community,

We look forward to welcoming our community to our campuses and we are writing to provide you with additional information about fall planning. We have been working diligently with the U of T community, public health experts and others for a safe return. As has been evident through the course of the pandemic, the situation evolves, often rapidly. Given the changing public health landscape, you will be receiving weekly updates on return-to-campus plans.

We are awaiting further guidance from the Ministry of Colleges and Universities about physical distancing and capacity limits, and we will continue to follow local public health guidance.

 

Vaccination and rapid screening

All members of our community who come onto our campuses in the fall must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and will be required to upload proof of vaccination via UCheck. We expect all members of the community to have their first dose by Sept. 13, and to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 15. This requirement aligns with the recent recommendations of the Council of Ontario Medical Officers of Health for post-secondary institutions in the province and the sector’s response.

Individuals seeking a permitted exemption for medical reasons or other protected grounds under the Ontario Human Rights Code will be able to make a request through the University’s Enterprise Service Centre (ServiceNow). More information about requesting an exemption will be available next week. Students who have already applied for an exemption (i.e., living in residence) will continue that process.

Individuals who are awaiting their final vaccine dose or who have received a University-approved exemption must participate in the University’s rapid screening program and may be subject to additional safety measures. At-home screening kits will be provided to these individuals and available for pick-up at no cost, along with an instructional video. Results must be uploaded in UCheck at least twice weekly (subject to change depending on public health conditions), and a negative result will be required before coming to University-owned or operated premises. Individuals who are neither fully vaccinated nor enrolled in the rapid screening program by Sept. 13 cannot come to any University premises. Rapid screening cannot be used as an alternative to vaccination without an approved exemption.

Visitors to U of T premises will also be required to be fully vaccinated. More details about the process for visitors - including vendors, events attendees, gym members and others - is coming soon.

 

Updated mask policy and other safety measures

The University has a 12-step plan for a safe return to campus for our entire community. This plan includes many layers of safety measures such as:

We developed these strategies based on scientific evidence and with advice from leading public health experts within and outside of the University. In addition, the University has protocols and supports for students who need to quarantine following travel to Canada.

The University of Toronto is committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for its faculty and librarians, staff, students, volunteers, visitors, and other community members. We will continue to refine our comprehensive plan as new information becomes available, including updated public health recommendations.

We look forward to a safe and exciting fall term back on our campuses together.

 

Further Resources