We want to acknowledge and recognize the outstanding work and dedication of our faculty, librarians, and staff as the University continues to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. We know that these are trying times and that circumstances are changing quickly, often daily. To that end, we are writing to provide you with an update on the University’s approach in light of the provincial announcement on Monday, December 21.
The Provincial government has announced that as of 12:01 am on December 26, 2020, the entire Province of Ontario will enter a provincewide shutdown.
We are reviewing the recent provincial and local announcements to determine if there are any impacts to the University. The revised direction on closures and shutdowns in Toronto and Peel is expected to remain in effect until at least January 23, 2021, to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our community.
As always, the University remains committed to taking all reasonable measures to help protect the health and well-being of its community.
The University community has been operating under various restrictions throughout the pandemic including most recently the grey (lockdown) zone stipulated in the Provincial COVID-19 Response Framework, since Monday, November 23, 2020. We have demonstrated our flexibility and ability to operate within these restrictions, and we will continue to do so under the new shutdown measures.
The expansion of the lockdown measures to all of Ontario includes a shift to online learning for elementary schools until January 11, 2021, and secondary schools until January 25, 2021. It also places restrictions on childcare services, in particular, before and after school care for school-aged children. For additional information please see the Ontario Government’s COVID-19 Response Framework.
Maintaining Operations and Working Remotely
It is our shared objective to limit the spread of COVID-19. The University expects as many people as possible to continue working remotely until further notice. Staff who are not already working remotely should begin doing so wherever possible.
Individuals who need to come to the University for work-related purposes should communicate directly with their managers, Chairs, and/or Division Heads to determine if it is safe.
Child Care and Other Caregiving Responsibilities
We appreciate the challenges faced by parents and guardians who continue to care for their children at home, while also trying to fulfill their job responsibilities remotely. We understand that striking a balance between these responsibilities will be especially challenging as schools temporarily shift back to full online learning. Managers, Chairs, and Division Heads are asked to be as accommodating as possible in permitting flexible hours, vacation time, and/or lieu time, staff wellness days, and ultimately unpaid leave if necessary. Academic administrators may consider alternative approaches to the distribution of workload including alternative scheduling/timing of teaching and service assignments for faculty members. The Family Care Office is available to employees as a resource to consult, advise, and support on these matters.
Equity, Diversity & Inclusion
COVID-19 is not specific to people of any ethnic origin, place of origin or race. We are committed to human rights, equity and inclusion and acknowledge the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on various parts of our community. Discrimination or harassment against any persons or communities related to COVID-19 or for any other reason is not tolerated. All Equity Offices are available to employees as resources to consult, advise and support on these matters.
Services Available to Employees
This continues to be a challenging time for our community. Please visit the University of Toronto Wellness Hub for additional supports, as well as connect to services that are available through the Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP), 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Contact information is as follows: