In-person return & vaccine requirements

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.


Christopher Yip
Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering
University of Toronto