Dean's Messages

Latest information for Engineering students, faculty & staff from Dean Chris Yip

Vaccination uploads & checking in

October 7, 2021

To our U of T Engineering community

Walking through our campus, seeing so many of you back in person and having a chance to chat has been amazing – it’s so good to have our engineering spaces in use again. It has been really inspiring to meet up with students, staff and faculty. While the pandemic is still very much ongoing, the return back to Skule™ this year has been relatively smooth, and that’s due to the huge amount of preparation by students, staff and faculty alike.

I’m also sending out my thanks to everyone for your ongoing cooperation and efforts to keep us in-person – uploading your vaccination receipt to UCheck, showing your green screen every day, wearing your mask in all common-use areas, and staying home if you’re not feeling well.

As we all settle into the Fall Term and midterms approach, I wanted to take a moment to check in and remind everyone of some key dates and resources.

Upload proof of vaccination & UCheck every day

  • All members of the U of T community who come onto campus must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and are required to upload proof of vaccination through UCheckEveryone must receive their final dose by October 15, 2021 to qualify as fully vaccinated by October 29, 2021. All members of the community must provide proof of being fully vaccinated in UCheck by October 29, 2021. Employees, – including both faculty and staff – must upload proof of vaccination in UCheck even if they are currently working remotely.
  • Everyone coming to campus in person must complete UCheck every day, and receive a new green screen, before arriving on site. Spot checks are being conducted around campus and in classrooms – “Show Your Green“!

Mental health is health

  • As the term picks up speed, the upcoming Thanksgiving long weekend provides a good opportunity to slow down for a moment. Academic success is terrific, but maintaining your own health and finding balance is the most important thing – and sometimes taking a break is what’s needed. Get to know a classmate and take a walk to check out the changing leaves on campus, set aside time to reset your sleep schedule to prioritize your wellbeing, help your family prepare a meal, or play some games and relax. I know I’ve got a long run planned for this weekend
  • If you’re feeling overwhelmed, this is a good time to reach out for help. All students can reach out to the Faculty’s Mental Health Programs Officer for mental health resource navigation support. For undergraduates, the First Year Office or your program’s academic advisors are also excellent places to start. For graduate students, know that your supervisors and your graduate department administrators can offer a helpful connection to information and resources. I’m also sharing some of the mental health resources that are available to us 24/7 – we should all keep these handy.

Coffee with Chris

  • This Fall, I’d like to connect with our students, staff and faculty – to hear from you and answer any questions you may have. In the weeks ahead, we’ll be setting up a couple of open discussion-style Coffee with Chris events – dates to come, so please stay tuned and I hope to see you there.

I’m proud of the way I’ve seen our community take responsibility to keep ourselves, our classmates, and our colleagues safe. I hope you all have a relaxing long weekend, and that we launch into the second half of the semester with renewed balance and energy.

Chris

Christopher Yip
Dean
Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering
University of Toronto

Support Resources for Students

Academic Concerns & Advising

You may have concerns about upcoming academic work that you may feel unprepared for or are unable to complete at this time.

Mental Health Resources for Students 

Each of us responds to stress, grief and tragedy differently – at one time or another, we all need help. If you are feeling overwhelmed or unsure where to turn, please reach out.

U of T My Student Support Program (MySSP)

  • Immediate and/or ongoing confidential, 24-hour counselling support
  • 1-844-451-9700 (outside of North America, call 001-416-380-6578)
  • Download the My SSP app: Apple App Store | Google Play.

Multifaith Chaplains

U of T St. George Health & Wellness

  • Physical & mental health care by physicians, nurses, counsellors and psychologists.
  • 416-978-8030

U of T Engineering Mental Health & Wellness

  • Mental Health learning opportunities, COVID-related resources, reports, services & supports for U of T Engineering.

Student Mental Health Resource

  • U of T’s mental health resource hub containing the tools, strategies and experts to meet you exactly where you are on your mental health journey.

Support Resources for Staff and Faculty

For staff and faculty who are supporting students navigating mental health challenges, the U of T Engineering Student Well-Being Resource Guide outlines additional considerations and a variety of resources for both you and the student. We thank you in advance for all the ways that you continue to foster a culture of care and support here at U of T Engineering.

All U of T staff and faculty members have access to the Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP). If you are experiencing distress, please reach out at any time – 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year – by contacting the EFAP at:

In-person return & vaccine requirements

September 3, 2021

To our U of T Engineering community,

As we approach the start of the Fall Term in U of T Engineering, we are also paying close attention to the latest public health guidelines and adapting our plans to enable a safe return to in-person activities. As we have all seen, this information changes often, and our plans must change accordingly.

I am writing today to share a few key updates:

1. In-person course meetings will proceed as planned

I am energized and excited to confirm that we will resume in-person course meetings on campus next week. Per the recent update released by the Provost’s Office, the University has been informed that in-person course offerings can continue as planned, without physical distancing and capacity limit requirements for indoor instructional spaces. This is possible because of the stringent vaccine and indoor masking mandates the University has put in place.

  • In the meantime, all undergraduate and graduate students should carefully read each communication from instructors for details on class meetings.
  • Undergraduate students: Some sections of undergraduate courses will proceed online for either the full Fall Term or a portion of it. Please visit the Undergraduate Timetable for Fall Term 2021 for updates.
    • First-year students in the Core Programs: Please stay tuned for a message from Professor Tom Coyle, Vice-Dean, Undergraduate, for more information on your courses. 
  • Graduate students: While most courses will take place in-person, many courses are being offered online in the Fall and Winter Terms. Please check the Online Course Offerings list for details.

2. Vaccinations are required for all on-campus activity

In mid-August, the Province of Ontario announced that vaccine policies will be required for in-person learning at all universities and colleges across the province, in line with the policies U of T already put in place.

  • Starting September 6, all members of the University community coming on campus – including students, staff, faculty and librarians – will be required to provide proof of full vaccination through UCheck. 
  • Individuals who are in the process of becoming vaccinated or have an approved vaccination exemption will need to participate in the University’s rapid screening program, which is now open. Screening results must be uploaded through UCheck twice a week.
  • Pop-up vaccination clinics will be available on the St. George campus this fall. Visit the UTogether vaccine page for details on how to book your shot.   
  • Those seeking an exemption for medical or other protected human rights grounds can make a request through the University’s Vaccination Exemption Request Portal. Please note that approval is not guaranteed.
  • The provincial government will be launching a vaccine passport program effective September 22 that will provide a way to verify vaccination status for those without UCheck access. The University will release further details as they become available.

3. Updated mask policy

As part of U of T’s 12-step plan for a safe return to campus, face masks are required in all indoor spaces on University property, including classrooms, labs, offices and other shared spaces such as lobbies, elevators and hallways. Details are outlined in U of T’s updated guidelines on face masks

4. Travel restrictions & getting to Toronto

U of T Engineering is a global community, and we are aware that many of our students around the world still face practical challenges getting to Toronto.

  • Undergraduate students: Fall Term undergraduate courses in the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering are scheduled to begin in-person on Thursday, September 9, 2021.
    • Students who think they will not be able to be in Toronto on the first day of classes due to exceptional, extenuating circumstances that will slightly delay their arrival to campus should submit the Late Return to Campus Form by September 7 through the Engineering Student Portal.
    • Accommodations may include providing a student with online access to course materials and assessments; however, online course delivery is not guaranteed. Any approved accommodations will only be in place for a short period and will not be extended for the entire term.
  • Graduate students: Most graduate courses will begin in-person on Tuesday, September 7, 2021.
    • Students who are concerned they will not be able to start their course-based programs as scheduled should contact the course instructor or the graduate administrator of their home department or institute. Accommodations may include conferring access to course materials and assessments; however, online course delivery and time-zone accommodation will not be guaranteed.
    • Research-stream students should contact their supervisors directly.

I know that every member of our community – instructors, staff, TAs and many others – have been working tirelessly to prepare for a Fall Term that delivers the best experience for our students. I appreciate that this ongoing uncertainty is frustrating and stressful. The reality is that as we continue to monitor public health and University policies, please be aware that we may still need to make changes due to pandemic considerations – we will keep you updated.

In these final days before the start of the academic year, please rest up, take care of yourselves, and I’ll see you there.

Chris

Christopher Yip
Dean
Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering
University of Toronto

Returning to campus and start of Fall Term

July 19, 2021

To our U of T Engineering community

I’m delighted to share some extremely positive news from Ontario’s Ministry of Colleges and Universities, announced on Friday afternoon. The latest update indicates that if vaccination rates and public health indicators continue improving, universities will be permitted to resume in-person instruction and activities in Fall 2021, without physical distancing or capacity limits. Masks in indoor settings will still be required.

As I shared in my last Dean’s Message, U of T Engineering continues to optimistically prepare for a safe return to fully in-person learning in the Fall Term. (You can review our scenario plans for undergraduate students and graduate students.)

Our staff and instructors are preparing undergraduate laboratory spaces for in-person labs, and we are working with the Engineering Society to safely plan for Skule™ events, as well as club and team activities. Research facilities have been continuously ramping back up, with our capacity for in-person graduate student research gradually and safely growing.

  • Undergraduate students: Fall Term undergraduate courses in the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering are scheduled to begin in-person on Thursday, September 9, 2021.
    • During the week of August 9, 2021 — about one month before the start of the Fall Term — the Registrar’s Office will begin a process to collect information from undergraduate students who think that they will not be able to be in Toronto on the first day of classes due to exceptional, extenuating circumstances that slightly delay their arrival to campus.
    • These students will be able to apply to the Registrar’s Office to request accommodation and to provide supporting formal documentation. Each application will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Accommodations may include conferring access to course materials and assessments; however, online course delivery and time-zone accommodation will not be guaranteed.
    • Students seeking an accommodation due to a disability should contact Accessibility Services as soon as possible to discuss their individual situations: accessibility.services@utoronto.ca.
  • Graduate students: Most graduate courses will begin in-person on Tuesday, September 7, 2021, subject to public health guidelines.

At long last, this update from the Province is the news we have been hoping for, and I am thrilled that we are on this positive trajectory towards the Fall. I strongly encourage everyone who is able to get fully vaccinated to do so as soon as possible, and to make your plans to be in Toronto and ready to start in-person classes in September. I hope you’re each finding a bit of time to enjoy a well-earned break from your studies, research and work during these summer months — Fall Term will be here before we know it, and I can’t wait to see you back on campus soon!

Chris

Christopher Yip
Dean
Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering
University of Toronto

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