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Letter from the President: Plans for Fall 2021

To all members of the U of T community:

I am writing to update you on our planning for Fall 2021. The COVID-19 pandemic has been a long and challenging journey for all of us, with many unexpected developments along the way. But with the vaccine rollout now picking up speed, we have reason to expect better days ahead. It is in this spirit of optimism and continued vigilance that we are making plans for September.

Academic and administrative leaders across our three campuses are now preparing for a gradual and safe return to in-person activities for the Fall 2021 term. We will continue to follow public health guidance closely in order to protect the health and safety of all members of the University community. Our planning will also accommodate the local circumstances and particular needs of each of our campuses, divisions and programs.

Starting this September, we are optimistic that most courses, student services and co-curricular activities will be able to proceed in person, with the possible exception of large-scale gatherings. Likewise, we expect that researchers will continue to increase their in-person activities, and that administrative and support staff will resume on-campus work. At the same time, we will continue to leverage the innovations developed over the past year, such as high-quality online teaching and delivery of services to students and faculty members, to maintain flexibility where needed or enhance the experience of our community. We will also strive to offer more flexible work arrangements for all employees, while ensuring that our students are once again able to experience in-person learning and on-campus activities. For more information, please see the memo recently circulated to the University’s academic leadership.

I understand how difficult the past year has been for all members of our community. I also appreciate that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to present significant challenges. However, now is the time to look forward with optimism and excitement as we contemplate a return to greater in-person activity on our three campuses. Let me take this opportunity to thank you all once again for the resilience, dedication, creativity and consideration you have shown throughout the past year. Your example remains a wonderful source of inspiration as we continue to pursue our academic mission together.

Best wishes,

Meric S. Gertler