Community Update #22 - Provincewide shutdown – What it means for York

As you may be aware, on Monday, December 21, the Ontario government announced a provincewide shutdown and additional measures to help limit the spread of COVID-19, that come into effect starting on Boxing Day (Saturday, December 26).

To provide clarity and ensure continuity over the holiday break and into the winter term, I wanted to provide a final communication for 2020.

Given that the City of Toronto was already in a lockdown situation, there are very few additional impacts on our current university operations.

The University will close as planned from Thursday, December 24, 2020 to January 6 inclusive. The majority of university operations will remain online and remote for the winter term, with limited necessary on-campus operations. Most instruction and examinations will resume on January 11, 2021. The limited number of courses with approved in-person instruction or examinations will proceed but are restricted to 10 persons in a room at any one time until further notice.

In the New Year, under strict adherence to provincial and public health guidelines, currently approved on-campus research and in-person activities can and will continue. Should any additional information about the shutdown’s impact on currently scheduled activities be forthcoming, it will be communicated directly to instructors, students and staff. Following the holiday closure period, anyone approved to be on campus for research, teaching or ongoing required activities continues to be approved until further notice.

Family Accommodation

Elementary and Secondary schools are subject to further restrictions, with some schools not opening their doors well into mid-January. For those with caregiving challenges, please be in touch with the appropriate course director, Chair, Dean, or supervisor. The University will be as flexible as possible.

Additional supports for caregiving are provided through York’s Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP). Please visit https://www.workhealthlife.com/ for more information including resources for caregivers; all services are confidential.

Holiday Travel

The government is asking that people stay home and travel outside of their region only for essential purposes. Individuals and families who arrive or return to Ontario during the provincewide shutdown period should self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival. New provincial guidelines now include interprovincial travel. Anyone traveling outside of Ontario should self isolate for 14 days, when returning from another location. Further direction will be provided to students living in campus residences. Please review the current requirements carefully here.

To help keep everyone safe, please avoid coming to campuses for non-required purposes. For those approved to be on campus, please continue to follow the University’s screening and health and safety protocols and:

  • Complete the COVID-19 Screening Checklist every time you must come to campus, and do not come to campus if “yes” was answered to any of the screening questions.
  • Wear a face covering in shared spaces and within buildings. Face coverings should be tightly fitted to cover the nose, mouth and chin. Scarves and bandanas are insufficient.
  • Practice physical distancing and hand hygiene.

We will continue to communicate government restrictions and public health guidelines as they evolve, and more details are made available. For the most current information, we encourage all community members to visit the YU Better Together website on a regular basis.

In closing, let me take this opportunity to wish you all a peaceful holiday season. 2020 has been a very challenging year. I want to thank you and also acknowledge those members of our community who will be working over the next two weeks as required. I hope that everyone has some opportunity to disconnect and take a much-needed and welcome pause.

Yours sincerely,

Rhonda L. Lenton
President and Vice-Chancellor