UPDATE: Ryerson planning for ‘broader return’ to campus in winter 2022

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By Thea Gribilas and Heidi Lee

Ryerson hasn’t yet made an official decision about the return to fully in-person classes and activities in the winter 2022 term, “but anticipates the majority of classes will be offered in person,” the university confirmed in an email.

In an email sent to students on Oct. 20, Jen McMillen, vice-provost, students, said “the university has been planning for a broader return in January 2022.” She added that students can expect to get full details about their specific classes in the coming weeks. 

“We will be welcoming all eligible students to come to campus to attend class, participate in extracurricular activities, access services and support and to build community with one another in person,” the email reads.   

“We are very encouraged by increased vaccinations and other indicators of a return to our normal way of life across Ontario, and look forward to increased activity and life on our campus.”

The school announced on Sept. 17 that all Ryerson community members would have to be vaccinated in order to come to campus as of Oct. 18. Students who have yet to submit their proof of vaccination must do so by Nov. 1 in order to access campus.

The school has also amended their definition of who is fully vaccinated to only include vaccinations approved by Health Canada. Initially, Ryerson accepted all vaccines approved by the World Health Organization. 

In the email, McMillen said students who aren’t vaccinated will have “limited academic options available for Winter 2022; remote learning options may not be in place for every course, and the university may not be able to offer you an immediate plan to support your academic progress.”

Although the school-run student newspaper On the Record reported on Oct.14 that students will be returning to in-person learning full-time, the school has yet to make a final decision. A previous version of their story included a headline stating that Ryerson will return to full in-person classes next semester.

“While some faculties and programs are starting to identify their processes, the university is still working through the details and no official decision has been made about the winter term,” the statement reads. 

A Ryerson spokesperson did confirm that the university continues to plan for a possible full return to all activities on campus in January 2022, which was originally stated earlier this summer. However, formal decisions will be made with guidance from public health agencies and government directives.

“We will continue to keep the community informed and hope to have a more detailed update in the next few weeks.”

On Thursday, students in the School of Journalism received an email from interim program co-chair Gavin Adamson that said “we have heard from the university that the winter 2022 plan is for a full return to classes as directed by the province.”

Adamson’s email added that “classes are at 50 per cent capacity at the moment, but we’ll be at full capacity according to the guidance we’ve been given.”

Ryerson’s email stated “for some time now, the university has been planning for a return to all activities on campus in January 2022 with the safety, health and well-being of our community members guiding that process.”

The Eye previously reported that Ryerson was preparing for the fall 2021 to be a “transition period” in the lead up to “a full return to all activities on campus in January 2022.”

In Adamson’s email to journalism students, he said the School of Journalism plans to accommodate students, staff and faculty “as much as possible” through online and hybrid course options.

Adamson’s email also reiterated that masking and vaccination requirements will remain in place for students, although social distancing requirements could change. “Of course, plans may change according to public health guidelines,” he added.

The University of Waterloo also recently announced that their winter term will “return to pre-pandemic levels of in-person instruction.”

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