COVID-19: University of Guelph releases plans for winter semester

The University of Guelph has released its plans for the winter 2022 semester as it continues to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.

A letter penned by Gwen Chapman, provost and vice-president, details how the school is preparing to return to “conventional course delivery” and offer in-person instruction for most courses this winter.

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“The university has taken a principled approach to planning for winter 2022 and continues to make decisions based on public health guidance,” Chapman said.

“Our focus is on providing high-quality teaching and learning experiences and ensuring mental, social, and physical health for our faculty, students, and staff.”

Key components of the plan include maintaining an enrollment cap of 450 students per class despite the province no longer limiting class sizes.

The university said the cap will help manage traffic flows in and out of their largest classrooms.

Instructors can also choose to use a blend of remote and in-person lessons, and some courses identified by the colleges and departments may be available through distance learning.

The university also reiterated that just like the fall semester, in-person learning will only be available to students who are fully vaccinated or who have received an approved exemption.

“We know that in-person teaching and learning is critical, especially for our first- and second-year students,” Chapman said.

“This fall, through gradual expansion of face-to-face learning, a rigorous vaccine mandate, strict protocols, and other measures, we have demonstrated that U of G can safely offer in-person teaching and learning.”

She added that while it is impossible to predict how the pandemic could change things by January, getting vaccinated is key to their “ability to provide more in-person academic experiences.”

The university said 28,000 members of the U of G community have submitted proof of vaccination status with 97 per cent considered fully vaccinated and two per cent partially vaccinated.

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In Guelph, upwards of 89 per cent of the vaccine-eligible population is fully vaccinated, and across Ontario, 83 per cent.

“These trends are extremely positive and give us confidence that we can prepare for a winter semester with mostly in-person teaching and learning,” Chapman said.

“We will continue to work with our University and local public health experts to protect your physical and mental health, including enforcing our vaccine mandate and maintaining our public health and safety protocols and measures.”

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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