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COVID fall planning update

Dear University of Toronto community,

We look forward to welcoming our community to our campuses and we are writing to provide you with additional information about fall planning. We have been working diligently with the U of T community, public health experts and others for a safe return. As has been evident through the course of the pandemic, the situation evolves, often rapidly. Given the changing public health landscape, you will be receiving weekly updates on return-to-campus plans.

We are awaiting further guidance from the Ministry of Colleges and Universities about physical distancing and capacity limits, and we will continue to follow local public health guidance.

Vaccination and rapid screening

All members of our community who come onto our campuses in the fall must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and will be required to upload proof of vaccination via UCheck.

We expect all members of the community to have their first dose by September 13, and to be fully vaccinated by October 15. This requirement aligns with the recent recommendations of the Council of Ontario Medical Officers of Health for post-secondary institutions in the province and the sector’s response.

Individuals seeking a permitted exemption for medical reasons or other protected grounds under the Ontario Human Rights Code will be able to make a request through the University’s Enterprise Service Centre (ServiceNow). More information about requesting an exemption will be available next week. Students who have already applied for an exemption (i.e., living in residence) will continue that process.

Individuals who are awaiting their final vaccine dose or who have received a University-approved exemption must participate in the University’s rapid screening program and may be subject to additional safety measures. At-home screening kits will be provided to these individuals and available for pick-up at no cost, along with an instructional video. Results must be uploaded in UCheck at least twice weekly (subject to change depending on public health conditions), and a negative result will be required before coming to University-owned or operated premises. Individuals who are neither fully vaccinated nor enrolled in the rapid screening program by September 13 cannot come to any University premises. Rapid screening cannot be used as an alternative to vaccination without an approved exemption.

Visitors to U of T premises will also be required to be fully vaccinated. More details about the process for visitors – including vendors, events attendees, gym members and others – is coming soon.

Updated mask policy and other safety measures

The University has a 12-step plan for a safe return to campus for our entire community. This plan includes many layers of safety measures such as:

  • Face masks required in all indoor spaces (see updated U of T policy and guideline on face masks)
  • Industry-leading ventilation and building air filtration strategy, including upgrades to MERV 13 filters and air flushing pre- and post-occupancy for all central ventilation systems on all campuses; and classrooms upgraded to a minimum of six air changes per hour — the standard used in healthcare settings
  • Frequently updated COVID safety resources and in-person assessments to evaluate on-campus activities and support the implementation of protective measures

We developed these strategies based on scientific evidence and with advice from leading public health experts within and outside of the University. In addition, the University has protocols and supports for students who need to quarantine following travel to Canada.

The University of Toronto is committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for its faculty and librarians, staff, students, volunteers, visitors, and other community members. We will continue to refine our comprehensive plan as new information becomes available, including updated public health recommendations.

We look forward to a safe and exciting fall term back on our campuses together.

Further Resources