As we near the end of the Fall 2020 term, we want to take the opportunity to briefly reflect on the past several months and provide an update on what is ahead for the York community. While it has been a challenging transition to virtual learning, students, faculty and staff have shown great resilience and continue to demonstrate impressive learning accomplishments. Through your feedback, we have learned much about what we can do to ensure that your virtual learning experience is a successful one. We welcome and encourage your continued input.
York University’s Senate Executive Committee recently approved the extension of the Principles to Guide Fall/Winter Graduate and Undergraduate Course Planning to the Summer 2021 term. This means that the same approach to course delivery approved for the upcoming Winter term will also apply to the Summer 2021 term. As guidance from public health authorities evolves, we will continue to explore opportunities to offer more in-person learning when it is safe to do so.
Where remote learning is not able to accommodate course components such as labs, studios or small graduate classes, York will maintain flexibility and make best efforts to accommodate requests for in-person instruction. Our colleagues in Facilities are currently investigating the potential to use outdoor spaces on our campuses to increase modestly the opportunities for in-person learning in Summer 2021. The following process will apply to the Summer 2021 term:
- Instructors will be polled to identify courses requiring in-person activities or optional learning components.
- Faculty or instructors who wish to request access to campus spaces for research or teaching purposes will continue to submit requests here.
- At registration, students will be informed if a course has a required in-person component.
- Courses with optional in-person components should also have a fully remote version available to allow students to complete their work online if needed.
- Staff will continue to work from home throughout the term, unless asked to return to campus to support research, in-person teaching, in-person student service activities, or other required services. Managers will contact identified staff and provide notice to help them plan and make special arrangements, as needed.
We are actively monitoring the rapidly evolving public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic in order to inform planning for the Fall 2021 term. As announcements on vaccine availability are made, we will continue to update our response during the Winter 2021 term. More details will also be shared shortly concerning this year’s holiday closure period extending between December 24th through to January 6th.
A forward looking plan for the 2021/22 academic year is underway, alongside a plan for the gradual, phased return to campus when restrictions are lifted. We appreciate the ongoing patience of our students, faculty and staff, and together we can make the coming two terms a success.
Provost & Vice-President, Academic