On December 16 we informed our community we were adjusting our plans for the winter semester, in response to public health guidance and the realities of the Omicron variant. Since then, additional restrictions and safety measures were instated by the Ontario government which impacted things like seating in our cafeterias and workout areas being closed. Our commitment was to provide an update to our SLC community of students and employees by the end of January as to how the rest of our winter semester would unfold – this is the first of what will be several updates shared with you, as changes to provincial restrictions begin rolling out in a few weeks.
We are increasing on-campus/in person services effective February 22
In alignment with the loosening of provincial restrictions, and to support the eventual increased student activity on our campuses, we will be bringing back all in-person on campus services beginning February 22. This means that in addition to the current services, labs, and workshops happening on campus, things like frontline in-person services, study spaces, libraries, and academic support services (like our test and writing centers), campus tours, and more will be open in accordance with current public health guidelines. This will mean students can conduct business related to their studies in person, when or as appropriate, and SLC teams will be working from campus whenever and wherever possible.
For our SLC employees: Please note that managers and team leaders continue to have discretion in planning who needs to work on campus (and when) as part of this increased level of on-campus activity. Decisions will be shaped by operational requirements and by whether roles directly support or interact with students. Regardless as to whether you serve in a position that requires you to be on campus, all SLC employees who would like to work on campus are welcome to do so and are encouraged to reach out to IT or Facilities as required.
Opportunities for on-campus components will increase beginning March 14
As conditions of the pandemic improve and public health restrictions begin to lift in the coming weeks, students in some programs will begin having opportunities to learn and connect with classmates on-campus as part of their program. This will be handled on a program-by-program basis and at the discretion of academic schools. Details on programming elements will begin being shared with students by February 11 as public health requirements are confirmed and as academic schools determine what is feasible, in terms of introducing on-campus elements to programs.
Examples could include students meeting for group work in person, a workshop or some components of a course shifting to in-person delivery, or course-specific events (like a guest speaker) having both an on-campus/in-person and virtual option for students. Note that some programs will remain alternative delivery to the end of the semester, due to logistics and other requirements.
Consistent with Ontario’s announcement about the staged lifting of restrictions, on-campus gyms and cafeteria seating will be restored and available beginning January 31.
Students are encouraged to stay connected via their slc.me student portal, Blackboard learning management system, and college email and social media. I encourage folks to be patient as our teams work to make decisions that consider all factors, and I will remind everyone that being on campus requires strict observance of public health requirements, like wearing a mask, not moving furniture that is configured to specific requirements, and more.
We all want this pandemic behind us, and together we can safely progress towards a return to the energy, connection, and community that our campuses are known for. More information will be shared and via various channels. I hope the winter semester is off to a good start for all.