COVID-19 Update: May 1, 2020 | 9:00 am

To our U of T Engineering community

First, a huge congrats to all our students for wrapping up final assessments — way to stay focused and motivated through this wild semester, you made it! Big congratulations and thanks to every one of our faculty members and staff. You have been so creative and tireless in your efforts to support our students and each other, and ensuring that we all successfully wrapped up the term. So — everyone, please take a moment to celebrate this accomplishment.

As we continue to plan for the summer and into September, the University is taking its direction from government and public health agencies. And while every day seems to give us more information and insight, much remains unclear. One thing for sure – we know that restarting Engineering will be much more complex and certainly more drawn-out than our pivot was a month or so ago.

At this point, and after discussions with all the vice-deans, department chairs and institute directors, we’re asking all instructors and staff to start preparing to launch the Fall semester online. While we still hope to be returning to campus in-person at some point in the Fall, without timelines for when we might start a gradual return, it’s important that we plan for and consider all scenarios and options — up to and including the possibility of carrying out the whole term remotely. This is truly a complex multi-variable problem with lots of unknowns.

Our plans have implications for every facet of our operations, from admissions and curriculum design, to research, facilities and residences. Leading our Faculty’s primary working groups are:

  • Undergraduate programs: Tom Coyle, Vice-Dean, Undergrad and Micah Stickel, Vice-Dean, First-Year
  • Graduate programs: Julie Audet, Vice-Dean, Graduate Studies
  • Research: Ramin Farnood, Vice-Dean, Research

To support our incoming first-year class, this week we announced the creation of the University of Toronto Engineering Academy, a new program built by our Outreach team. The U of T Engineering Academy will give admitted students who accept our offers access to a suite of established online materials to help them get up to speed on core pieces of the math and physics curriculum. Our First-Year curriculum leads, members of ILead, and high school teachers are contributing to its development, with the goal of helping ensure our incoming students have a smooth transition into first year.

So far, we’ve pivoted about three weeks of class and final assessments online — mapping out a whole semester poses a completely different set of complex challenges, and indeed opportunities. I encourage everyone to work together, to share ideas and plans, as we move into the next phase of our response to the pandemic. I’m proud of all that we, the Skule™ community, have accomplished together, and look forward to working with everyone over the summer.

There will be lots on the go — so stay in touch, stay well, and I’ll keep everyone up to date as things develop.


Christopher Yip
Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering
University of Toronto

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