President’s Letter to Students - York University is here to support you

I wanted to write to each of you and say how much I appreciate your patience and perseverance as we move forward together to do our part in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. I am also grateful for the outstanding work of our faculty and staff to ensure your health, well-being and continued academic success. The next several months will continue to be challenging, but I am confident that our community will come through this crisis stronger than before.

Completing your academic term
We are doing everything we can to ensure you can finish the winter term. We have transitioned our courses to remote learning formats and taken the exceptional step of replacing all in-person examinations with other assessment strategies, including online examinations in a limited number of courses. We are now delivering the vast majority of our campus services online to ensure that you continue to have the supports you need.
In response to advice received by Toronto Public Health, we are working with those of you living in residence to determine who can find alternative accommodations, while also continuing to support those of you who are unable to do so.

Graduation and Convocation
We are now looking into possible options for Spring graduation. Unfortunately, it will not be possible for the June ceremonies to go forward as planned, but our team is working on developing a virtual option. While not a replacement, we want to find a way to celebrate your academic achievements with you. We are also planning on expanding our Fall 2020 ceremony should you wish to attend in person at that time. Further information will be sent to our graduating class as soon as the details have been worked out.

I know that this postponement will be disappointing for you, your family and your friends. The entire community of faculty and staff looks forward to celebrating with you at Convocation, and it is one of my very favourite campus traditions. I do want to make clear however that you do not need to "cross the stage" at a convocation ceremony to graduate. Once you have fulfilled the academic requirements of your program, you will receive your degree and be able to proceed with plans you may have regarding employment or postgraduate and professional education.

Upcoming Courses
For those of you who are continuing students, please know that Plans are  already underway to provide a robust selection of courses online or through other remote learning approaches. We hope to provide more information on this shortly.

I want to thank all of you once again. It is an honour for me to be a member of this resilient community, the strength of which has always been the University's greatest resource. Although we are now separated by space and circumstance, I hope you will continue to draw comfort from the bonds that connect each of us to the University and each other.

As always, you can access the latest information and updates on York’s response to COVID-19 at https://returntocampus.blog.yorku.ca/. You can also email your questions to coronavirus@yorku.ca. The pandemic is very stressful, so if you need wellness or mental health supports, please visit https://mhw.info.yorku.ca/.

Stay well and take care of each other.

Rhonda Lenton
President & Vice-Chancellor
York University