COVID-19 updates: Archives

March 21, 2022

To all staff, faculty, instructors, and students; 

I want to provide an update on the latest public health restrictions on our campus. The University of Toronto continues to require mandatory vaccination, health screening, and masking in indoor spaces on all three campuses until at least the end of the academic term, including the exam period. For further information and updates, please visit: How U of T is preparing for a safe return to campus | University of Toronto (utoronto.ca)

Sincerely, Dan Haas

February 6, 2022

From: Cheryl Regehr, Vice-President & Provost

Kelly Hannah-Moffat, Vice-President, People Strategy, Equity & Culture

Scott Mabury, Vice-President, Operations & Real Estate Partnerships

All University of Toronto activities will take place as originally planned Monday in accordance with the move to increased in-person learning, research, and work. As a reminder: Students should refer to the information specific to each campus and Faculty available here.  

  • Normal building access on the St. George campus will be restored Monday. Students, faculty, librarians, and staff are able to enter most facilities for regular activities Sunday using keys and security fobs.¬†
  • The Robarts and Gerstein libraries, the Athletic Centre, Goldring Centre, Varsity Centre, and Hart House will reopen Monday as usual. They remain closed Sunday.¬†
  • Vehicle access on campus will be restored and parking lots reopened Monday. These remain closed Sunday.¬†
  • The shuttle bus between Mississauga and St. George will operate normally Monday.¬†
  • The Campus Safety Communications Centre remains open 24/7: 416-978-2222¬†¬†¬†

The City of Toronto may keep some roads around the Queen’s Park area closed Sunday and Monday. Check the city’s road-closure website and give yourself more time to reach your destination.  

Check the campus status website for any further changes before travelling. High priority information will be shared through the emergency alerts system (UTAlert). Register for UTAlert at utoronto.ca/alerts.  

Restrictions were put in place on the St. George campus over the weekend out of an abundance of caution due to protests in the Queen’s Park area, but the campus was quiet.  The U of T campuses in Mississauga and Scarborough were unaffected. 

February 5, 2022

From: Cheryl Regehr, Vice-President & Provost

Kelly Hannah-Moffat, Vice-President, People Strategy, Equity & Culture

Scott Mabury, Vice-President, Operations & Real Estate Partnerships

Members of the University of Toronto community are advised to avoid the Queen’s Park area this weekend and remain vigilant on the St. George campus due to the planned protests.

The University is open but access to our buildings on the St. George campus remains restricted. Students, faculty, librarians, and staff are able to enter most facilities for regular activities using keys and security fobs.

Out of an abundance of caution, the Robarts and Gerstein libraries, the Athletic Centre, Goldring Centre, Varsity Centre, and Hart House will remain closed over the weekend. Vehicle access on campus is restricted and on-campus parking lots are unavailable.

You will notice an increased police presence in the area around Queen’s Park; the City of Toronto has closed surrounding roads and parking.

The U of T campuses in Mississauga and Scarborough remain open.

The University will provide another update tomorrow as the situation evolves. High priority information will be shared through the emergency alerts system (UTAlert).

Register for UTAlert at: utoronto.ca/alerts

The Campus Safety Communications Centre is open 24/7: 416-978-2222.

The University recognizes that equity, diversity & inclusion, accessibility and wellness resources may be required during this time. We invite the community to connect with the following tri-campus offices if needed:

February 4, 2022

From: Cheryl Regehr, Vice-President & Provost

Kelly Hannah-Moffat, Vice-President, People Strategy, Equity & Culture

Scott Mabury, Vice-President, Operations & Real Estate Partnerships

Due to the planned protest at Queen's Park this weekend, the University has adjusted access to our buildings on the St. George campus. The University will remain open, but from 12 p.m. today access was restricted to many U of T buildings downtown. Faculty, students, staff and librarians are still able to enter most facilities using keys and security fobs.  

The Gerstein and Robarts libraries will close at 5 p.m. today. On-campus parking lots have already been closed. 

This decision was taken out of an abundance of caution. Members of our community are advised to remain vigilant on and around the St. George campus today and over the weekend. You will likely notice an increased police presence in the immediate area around Queen’s Park to the east of campus. 

The U of T campuses in Mississauga and Scarborough will remain open. However, the shuttle bus between Mississauga and St. George will not be operational. 

The University will provide updates to our community as the situation evolves. High priority information will be shared through the emergency alerts system (UTAlert).  

Register for UTAlert at: https://www.utoronto.ca/alerts 

The Campus Safety Communications Centre is open 24/7: 416-978-2222.

January 19, 2022

From: Cheryl Regehr, Vice-President and Provost
Kelly Hannah-Moffat, Vice-President, People Strategy, Equity, and Culture

We are writing to update you on plans for the winter term and the steps the University of Toronto is taking to balance the learning needs of our students with the need to minimize the spread of COVID-19. The University shifted to a predominantly remote model for learning and work in December to respond to the emergence of the Omicron variant.

We know that there is uncertainty and apprehension around returning to in-person study and work, and we are relying on expert advice to support our community with enhanced safety measures. We believe that the continuum of education from pre-school through post-secondary is essential to the wellbeing of our society and as the Ontario Science Advisory Table notes, is vital to students’ mental health.  

Our students have told us how important physical presence on campus is to them ‚Äď both for their academic work and for their mental wellbeing. U of T currently hosts thousands of students in our residences, many of whom have travelled far from home to learn and interact with their professors, classmates and friends.¬†

For these reasons, in the coming weeks, we will return to more in-person activities on all three U of T campuses.

Return to In-Person Learning 

With all of this in mind, we are sharing with you the following plans: 

Effective Monday, February 7, we will increase in-person teaching and activities across all our campuses and Faculties. Exact plans will vary depending on local factors. For example, some undergraduate Faculties will deliver their winter 2022 courses as originally planned, including many in-person sections. The Health Sciences Faculties will work in consultation with their partners in the health and social care systems to increase in-person teaching in a way that supports the health system at a time of great strain. Programs that include placements in settings such as schools may prioritize in-person placements while continuing remote instruction for other elements of their programs. Campuses, divisions, and departments will be reaching out to students and instructors to confirm arrangements, as needed. Students should refer to the information by campus and Faculty available here.  

The Ministry of Colleges and Universities has confirmed that for post-secondary institutions, there are no restrictions on in-person instruction on our campuses, and no distancing or capacity limits for instructional spaces due to the array of public health measures we have successfully implemented on our campuses, including the very high level of compliance with our vaccination mandate.  

We want to acknowledge those staff members who have been working in-person on our campuses throughout the pandemic, including caretakers, lab technicians, library and residence staff, grounds and maintenance staff, and campus safety services. Employees currently working remotely should be ready to return to campus as of Monday, February 7 to support increased in-person teaching and learning and related activities. Staff will be contacted by their managers to discuss specific return-to-campus plans. Alternative work arrangements will need to be in place beyond February 7 for staff roles that have approval to work in any hybrid capacity - i.e., employees with approval to work any portion of the work week remotely. Faculty members and librarians should contact their Dean, Chair, Director or Supervisor to discuss their workload assignment if applicable.

All employees are expected to be within commuting distance of their workplace, unless approval is obtained in advance to work outside of Ontario. We continue to encourage flexibility and support for employees with childcare responsibilities resulting from potential cancellations of in-person classes for school-age children or day care closures. 

Enhanced Safety Measures 

The University of Toronto is closely monitoring the latest public health guidance and continues to update the 12 ways to ensure our campuses provide a safe place in which members of the U of T community can study, learn and work. 

Everyone must wear masks in indoor spaces at the University. Evidence points to the increased efficacy of medical masks. The University is working to make the appropriate masks available, as supplies allow, to U of T community members who are unable to obtain them due to cost or supply chain issues. More information will be available in the coming days at the UTogether site. 

The University has a limited supply of rapid screening kits at this time and we are prioritizing their use for higher-risk situations. We encourage those community members who are registered in U of T’s rapid screening program to continue uploading their results into UCheck.

All students with on-campus activities and all employees, whether or not they are immediately required on campus, must upload proof of vaccination to UCheck as required by the Council of Ontario Medical Officers of Health. Almost 110,000 people have uploaded their vaccine information into UCheck. We are pleased that 99% of our community members are fully vaccinated, with the majority of those remaining on their way to full vaccination.  Members of the community continue to be required to complete the UCheck self-screening and have a green screen before coming to any U of T location.

In addition, UCheck is being updated the week of January 31 to allow you to voluntarily upload documentation related to additional (booster) doses. We encourage everyone to receive an additional vaccination (booster) dose as they become eligible. More appointments are added to the provincial portal and local pharmacies daily. For those without an Ontario health card, appointments are available at the Discovery Pharmacy in the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy.

Divisions will make non-classroom spaces available to students to support studying and eating between classes in a distanced fashion. Robarts and Gerstein Libraries on the St. George campus are open to members of the U of T community, as are the UTM Library and UTSC Library. Other campus libraries are open as well, and information can be found here. Operations staff on each campus will be working with divisions to find ways to address this need. 

As we plan for an increasingly vibrant in-person experience for our students, we want to reiterate our commitment to doing all we can to provide safe conditions for working and studying at our campuses. We remain vigilant about evolving public health conditions and continue to adjust and adapt our plans based on the guidance of our community of experts. We look forward to seeing you soon.   

Wellness  

We appreciate the stress that these rapidly changing circumstances may have on members of our community. We encourage anyone who needs support to please reach out for assistance. 

U of T’s My Student Support Program (My SSP) provides students with real-time and/or appointment-based confidential, 24-hour support for any school, health, or general life concern at no cost. 

The‚ÄĮEmployee & Family Assistance Program‚ÄĮ(EFAP)‚ÄĮis available to employees of the University of Toronto. This program is provided at no cost 24/7‚ÄĮand‚ÄĮ365 days a year.‚ÄĮCall toll free‚ÄĮ1-800-663-1142.‚ÄĮ¬†

Questions? 

    • For general questions regarding the University‚Äôs COVID-19 response, please visit the University‚Äôs UTogether site
    • Students ‚Äď please contact your registrar‚Äôs office regarding your courses and academic programs¬†
    • Faculty and librarians ‚Äď please contact your Dean, Chair, Director, or Supervisor¬†
    • Staff ‚Äď please contact your manager and/or divisional HR office¬†

December 15, 2021

From: Trevor Young, Acting Vice-President and Provost
Kelly Hannah-Moffat, Vice-President, People Strategy, Equity, and Culture

As many of you are aware, the federal and provincial governments have made a series of announcements regarding efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in light of the new Omicron variant of concern. All Ontarians are being asked to assist with limiting spread by reducing the number of social gatherings, obtaining their third dose when eligible, and allowing employees to work from home where possible. As we have learned throughout the pandemic, we all have a role to play as individuals and as a University community to support public health in our communities. It is equally important to remember that we have experienced much uncertainty in the recent past and we have relied on expert advice, flexibility, and innovation to continue delivering on our academic mission.

As a result of recent government announcements, we are implementing some changes beginning tomorrow.

Classes and Exams

Effective tomorrow, December 16, 2021, in-person exams will not be proceeding.

Online tests and exams will proceed as planned. Campuses and divisions will be reaching out to students and instructors to confirm arrangements for each course that had planned in-person tests and exams. Exams may be modified to another delivery mode or cancelled.

Most classes will resume on Monday, January 10, 2022 (with some beginning earlier). However, in-person learning for all courses ‚Äď graduate and undergraduate ‚Äď will be delayed until Monday, January 31, 2022 (with the exception of some in-person practica, as well as courses in the health sciences, which will resume as planned). Again, campuses, divisions, and departments will be reaching out to students and instructors to confirm arrangements.

All members of the U of T community must still upload proof of vaccination to UCheck if attending campus for any reason in the winter term.

Working Remotely

With the latest provincial announcement, all employees should work remotely until Monday, January 31, 2022, with the exception of those who must work on campus, such as employees who support operations, construction, and ancillary services, who provide in-person student support, or who are needed for specific in-person research activities.

Alternative work arrangements will need to be in place beyond January 31 for staff roles in any hybrid capacity - i.e., employees planning to work any portion of the work week remotely.

Regardless of whether roles are required on campus or can work remotely, all employees must upload proof of vaccination to UCheck. All employees are expected to be working near their campus, unless approval is obtained in advance to work outside of Ontario.

Outbound Travel

The federal government has issued a global travel advisory advising Canadians to avoid non-essential travel outside of Canada. Individuals who may be required to travel for work-related reasons should confirm existing travel restrictions including travel advisories, flight availability, and local border restrictions which may prohibit entry to the destination country. In addition, travellers must be fully vaccinated by completing a COVID-19 vaccine series in Canada at least 14 days before travelling.

Travellers are encouraged to review resources available to the University community through International SOS as part of their pre-departure processes. We will be in touch as needed with students engaged in learning abroad in January 2022.

Inbound Travel

Inbound travel is also subject to additional restrictions, including preventing entry to foreign nationals who have been in specific countries for 14 days prior to entry. Canadian citizens and permanent residents who have been to these countries will be subject to enhanced testing, screening, and quarantine measures upon re-entry to Canada.

Until January 14, 2022, those travelling to Canada who are not fully vaccinated with a Health Canada or WHO vaccine may be permitted to enter but will be required to quarantine for 14 days.

Effective January 15, 2022, all foreign nationals must be fully vaccinated in order to enter Canada. This includes international students over the age of 18 and temporary foreign workers with valid work permits. Foreign nationals who are not fully vaccinated will be prohibited from entering Canada unless they fall under one of the limited exemptions including some children under the age of 18, new permanent residents, and agricultural workers. Exempt unvaccinated travellers will continue to be subject to testing, quarantine, and other entry requirements.

Residences, Sports & Recreation

Residences currently scheduled to be open over the winter break will remain open. All residences will be open as scheduled in January.  Students that choose to leave campus, should take, at minimum, essential items to continue their education, including laptops, textbooks, and important papers.

For details regarding on-campus student services, including sports and recreation, please visit the websites of U of T Sport & Recreation, Hart House, St. George Student Life, UTM Student Services, and UTSC Student Services.

Some libraries will remain open with limited hours over the holiday break to ensure students have access to the internet and computers as well as access to print research collections. For details on operating hours, please visit the University of Toronto Libraries website.

We appreciate the stress that these rapidly changing circumstances may have on members of our community. We will continue to update you with information to support your current activities and decisions about winter plans.
Wellness

U of T’s My Student Support Program (My SSP) provides students with real-time and/or appointment-based confidential, 24-hour support for any school, health, or general life concern at no cost.

The Employee & Family Assistance Program (EFAP) is available to employees of the University of Toronto. This program is provided at no cost 24/7 and 365 days a year. Call toll free 1-800-663-1142. Employees can access the following resources through the EFAP:

Questions?

  • Students ‚Äď please contact your registrar‚Äôs office regarding your courses and academic programs
  • Faculty and librarians ‚Äď please contact your Dean, Chair, Director, or Supervisor
  • Staff ‚Äď please contact your manager and/or divisional HR office

December 9, 2021

From: Trevor Young, Acting Vice-President and Provost
Kelly Hannah-Moffat, Vice-President, People Strategy, Equity, and Culture

As we approach the holiday break, we want to take this opportunity to update you on plans for the winter term and provide you with links to guidance and resources.

Thanks to the efforts of the entire University community, we have been able to experience a successful return to on-site activities this fall term. We have received much positive feedback about the many benefits of in-person interaction, learning, and research from students, faculty, librarians, and staff.

The comprehensive steps that we have taken to protect our community, such as mandatory vaccination, indoor masking, upgraded ventilation within our buildings, and daily health screening through UCheck have been effective. As a result of your support through this term, we can confirm that there have been no COVID-19 outbreaks on any of our campuses this fall.

As we have learned since the beginning of the pandemic, the situation is always evolving. In the coming months, we will monitor COVID-19 developments and follow public health and provincial guidelines. As we have done from the beginning of the pandemic, we will adapt to any changes and implement best practices.

Winter term

We continue to plan for a more robust on-campus presence for students, staff, faculty, and librarians in the winter term. We encourage students to visit their Division’s website for up-to-date information about their classes and programs.

With more students on our campuses, we look forward to seeing more faculty, librarians, and staff supporting students’ on-campus experience and delivering services in person.

Travel

Most of you will know that the World Health Organization (WHO) has identified a new COVID‚Äď19 variant of concern (Omicron). While much about the variant remains unknown, its emergence has led to new border measures to enter Canada and for travel to other countries around the world.

In the face of this development, we know that many of you may be struggling with difficult decisions about whether to travel in the coming weeks. For the most up-to-date information regarding Canadian entry and testing requirements, please refer to the Government of Canada website on travel, testing, and borders. Note that testing, isolation, and quarantine may be required upon (re)entry to Canada. Community members with plans to travel are encouraged to review this site for information related to travel advisories. Students should also review the Frequently Asked Questions regarding travel to and from Canada.

Vaccination

The University’s vaccine requirement will remain in place in the winter term. This is separate and distinct from the provincial vaccination passport rules. The vaccine guideline is the result of a directive of the Council of Medical Officers of Health (COMOH) as well as regulations set out by the Ministry of Colleges and Universities (MCU) and the Chief Medical Officer of Health.

As a reminder, proof of full vaccination must be uploaded to UCheck. At this time, those with Health Canada approved vaccines do not need to upload proof of their additional (booster) dose. We encourage students, faculty, librarians, and staff to obtain additional vaccine doses as they become eligible.

If you have specific questions about uploading proof of vaccination and the University’s COVID-19 response, please visit our Frequently Asked Questions.

Our thanks

As ever, we are incredibly grateful to our remarkable U of T community. We owe the success of our return to campus this fall and the continued success of the University’s mission to your hard work, adaptability, and dedication. We acknowledge that many in our community have been feeling the strain of managing work, study, and life in the face of the uncertainty that the pandemic brings, and we hope that the coming holiday break provides the opportunity to rest and recharge. We look forward to a new year and winter term when more of us can gather and see each other in-person.

Resources

Wellness

Although the holiday season is often a period of restoration and celebration, we know that for many, it can also be a challenging time. We hope that everyone can stay physically safe, mentally well, and socially connected.

U of T’s My Student Support Program (My SSP) provides students with real-time and/or appointment-based confidential, 24-hour support for any school, health, or general life concern at no cost.

The Employee & Family Assistance Program (EFAP) is available to employees of the University of Toronto. This program is provided at no cost 24/7 and 365 days a year. Call toll free 1-800-663-1142. Employees can access the following resources through the EFAP:

Additional Resources

October 1, 2021

From: Trevor Young, Acting Vice-President and Provost
Kelly Hannah-Moffat, Vice-President, People Strategy, Equity, and Culture

Thanks to the collective effort of our community members, many of us have been able to safely return to onsite activities this fall. An in-person experience is critical for effective learning and for students’ mental health and well-being. It has been so gratifying to see students interacting in classrooms and throughout our campuses, and to have the opportunity to reconnect with each other after communicating virtually for more than a year and a half. 

While this is an exciting time, we know that it is also a period of transition and we want to update you on the University’s progress so far and remind you of the measures we are taking to keep our community safe. 

Vaccinations 

As of September 27th, 76,000 students, faculty, librarians, and staff have declared their vaccination status via UCheck. Of those individuals, 99% have indicated that they are vaccinated (94% have provided proof they are fully vaccinated; and another 5% have indicated they are on their way to being fully vaccinated). We are verifying all vaccination documents that are uploaded. 

The public health evidence is clear: vaccination matters. Those who are vaccinated are much less likely to catch or transmit COVID-19, so vaccination and other measures such as mask-wearing significantly increase the safety of our campus communities. 

All members of the University community must provide proof of being fully vaccinated in UCheck by October 29 (two weeks following the October 15 deadline to receive a final shot). Employees must upload proof of vaccination in UCheck, even if they are currently working remotely. 

If you have specific questions about uploading proof of vaccination and the University’s COVID response, please visit our Frequently Asked Questions. 

Show Your Green 

A green screen on UCheck shows that you have complied with the vaccination guideline and have passed the daily health screening. Students, faculty, librarians, staff, and other community members may be asked to show their green screen, particularly in areas on campus such as libraries and athletic facilities. Instructors may also ask their students to show green screens to enter their classes.  

All community members must use UCheck to demonstrate their compliance with the vaccine guideline, and those who are not compliant are not permitted to come onsite for any reason. 

Enhanced Safety Measures 

In addition to a mandatory vaccine requirement, the University’s return to campus plan includes other layers of safety measures such as industry-leading ventilation and an updated indoor mask mandate. Acknowledging the importance of in person instruction, the Ministry of Colleges and Universities, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officers of Health and the Ontario Science Table, have modified Step 3 requirements for capacity limits and physical distancing in indoor instructional spaces such as classrooms and libraries in Postsecondary institutions. These modifications were put in place in light of the mandatory vaccination requirement.  

The University continues to track and report COVID-19 on our campuses and there have been no reported outbreaks at U of T since we started the fall term and implemented the Joint Provostial and Human Resources Guideline on Vaccination. This is in large part due to our extremely high vaccination rate, the collective efforts of our community, and other measures the University has taken to prepare for a safe return to campus.  

We deeply appreciate your continued commitment to a safe and supportive environment. We continue to listen to your feedback, and we will keep updating you throughout the fall as public health guidance evolves. 

Further and New Resources

SEPTEMBER 9, 2021

From: Trevor Young, Acting Vice-President and Provost
Kelly Hannah-Moffat, Vice-President, People Strategy, Equity, and Culture

Dear University of Toronto community,

We are delighted to welcome you back to our three campuses for a new academic year.

We believe that an increased presence on our campuses allows us to better fulfill our academic mission by providing a rich learning environment for our students and supporting critical research and innovation. A large part of what makes a U of T education great is the in-person environment of our three campuses, which are full of formal and informal learning experiences.

The health and safety of our community is at the forefront of our planning, with public health and provincial guidance setting the framework for our direction as an institution.

Vaccination Requirements

As stated in our previous memo, in order to attend University premises for any reason you must:

  1. Be fully vaccinated and have provided the University with proof of vaccination
  2. Complete daily health screenings via UCheck

We expect all members of the community to have their first vaccine dose by September 13, and to have received their second dose by October 15 (i.e., full vaccination by October 29).  Those awaiting the conclusion of the 14-day period after their second vaccination or who have a University-approved exemption must participate in the University’s rapid screening program and may be subject to additional safety measures.

You can now upload your proof of vaccination in UCheck. Only the vaccine receipt(s) that provides proof that you are fully vaccinated is required.  For example, if you have a Government of Ontario vaccine receipt that documents the second of two doses, upload only this document.

Those vaccinated in Ontario can generate and download their vaccine receipts here.

Vaccination continues to be the best way to protect ourselves and our community against the spread of COVID-19. This week, over 34,245 people have already uploaded their proof of vaccination through UCheck, with 94% fully vaccinated.

Vaccination Guideline

We encourage all members of our community to familiarize themselves with our Joint Provostial and Human Resources Guideline on Vaccination.
This document details the guiding principles and requirements of our vaccination mandate.

Learning and Working On Our Campuses

We are committed to providing enhanced on-campus learning experiences for our students across all three campuses. U of T campuses and divisions are making the best decisions for their communities with available information. Ontario universities remain in step 3 of the provincial reopening framework with some allowed exemptions for essential activities such as teaching in indoor instructional spaces (including classrooms, teaching laboratories, instructional spaces in libraries, in-person experiential learning, etc.). Outside of this context, the University remains subject to physical distancing, capacity limits, and other measures.

Please remember that you must wear a face mask indoors with limited exceptions and follow posted directional signage.

We Are Here to Help

We recognize that while the transition back to in-person learning, teaching, and working is exciting, it will also be a period of adjustment and may be stressful for some. The well-being of our students, faculty and librarians, and staff is the University’s highest priority, and we encourage anyone who may need assistance to please access the wellness supports listed below:

If you have specific questions about uploading proof of vaccination and the University‚Äôs COVID response, please visit our recently-updated FAQs for answers to these and other key questions. You can also reach out via the Enterprise Service Centre to submit a query. Our support team is available 7 days a week to help answer your questions (Monday ‚Äď Sunday from 8:30am to 9pm).

We deeply appreciate all that you have done in preparation for this academic year, and thank you for everything you will continue to do to maintain a safe and supportive environment for our community.

Further and New Resources

SEPTEMBER 2, 2021

From: Trevor Young, Acting Vice-President and Provost
Kelly Hannah-Moffat, Vice-President, People Strategy, Equity, and Culture

Dear University of Toronto community,

As we welcome our community to a new academic year, we have planned for a fall term with expanded in-person experience and have put in place measures that protect and promote safety in our working and learning environment.

Further to last week’s COVID-19 fall planning update, we are providing you with additional details on the latest announcement from the Ministry of Colleges and Universities, proof of vaccination, and the UCheck platform.

Provincial Guidance on in-Person Instruction

New guidance from the Ontario Ministry of Colleges and Universities released August 31 provides Ontario universities with the ability to deliver in person teaching without physical distancing and capacity limits as long as there are stringent public health measures in place that include a vaccine mandate and indoor masking.

All other requirements at Step 3 of the province’s reopening plan continue, including physical distancing requirements and capacity limits in non-instructional spaces.

Faculties and Divisions will apply this guidance based on local conditions and their unique instructional needs in consultation with Divisional leadership and their teaching staff. We will continue to adjust plans as public health conditions evolve.

Students should check their Faculty/Divisional websites for more information on their courses.

Proof of Vaccination

As stated in our previous memo, beginning September 13, in order to attend University premises for any reason you must:

  1. Provide proof of vaccination.
  2. Complete daily health screenings via UCheck.

Those awaiting their final vaccine dose (required by October 15) or who have a University-approved exemption must submit negative rapid screening results through UCheck.

Starting September 6, you will be able to upload proof of vaccination in UCheck. Only the vaccine receipt(s) that provide(s) proof that you are fully vaccinated is/are required to be uploaded. For example, if you have a Government of Ontario vaccine receipt showing the second of two doses, upload only this document.

Instructions on how to upload documents are available on the UCheck website.

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. We will provide additional details as they become available.

If you are participating in an activity that is identified as higher risk (e.g., athletics, living in residence, and music instruction) and have received instructions on how to upload your proof of vaccination via Star Rez or ServiceNow, you will also be required to upload your vaccine documents in UCheck.

Requests for Exemption

Those seeking an exemption for medical or other protected human rights grounds can make a request through the University’s Vaccination Exemption Request Portal via the Enterprise Service Centre (ServiceNow). Forms are now available and completed requests can be uploaded for review beginning today. Please note that approval is not guaranteed.

If you have already applied for an exemption through another process (i.e., living in residence) continue to follow that process.

Rapid Screening Program

U of T’s Rapid Antigen screening program is now open.

Rapid screening is mandatory for those with an approved vaccination exemption or those in the process of becoming fully vaccinated if they are coming to University premises or live in residence. Results must be uploaded through UCheck twice a week. 

The Council of Ontario Medical Officers of Health has advised that rapid screening cannot be used as an alternative to vaccination.

Vaccination Clinics

Pop-up vaccination clinics will be available on our campuses this fall in addition to other vaccination clinics. More information is available on the UTogether vaccine page.

Thank you for your hard work, patience, and understanding as new protocols are established. We appreciate our community’s dedication to keeping each other safe. A further update will be provided next week.

Further and New Resources

AUGUST 26, 2021

From: Trevor Young, Acting Vice-President and Provost
Kelly Hannah-Moffat, Vice-President, People Strategy, Equity, and Culture

Dear University of Toronto community,

We look forward to welcoming our community to our campuses and we are writing to provide you with additional information about fall planning. We have been working diligently with the U of T community, public health experts and others for a safe return. As has been evident through the course of the pandemic, the situation evolves, often rapidly. Given the changing public health landscape, you will be receiving weekly updates on return-to-campus plans.

We are awaiting further guidance from the Ministry of Colleges and Universities about physical distancing and capacity limits, and we will continue to follow local public health guidance.

Vaccination and rapid screening

All members of our community who come onto our campuses in the fall must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and will be required to upload proof of vaccination via UCheck. We expect all members of the community to have their first dose by Sept. 13, and to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 15. This requirement aligns with the recent recommendations of the Council of Ontario Medical Officers of Health for post-secondary institutions in the province and the sector’s response.

Individuals seeking a permitted exemption for medical reasons or other protected grounds under the Ontario Human Rights Code will be able to make a request through the University’s Enterprise Service Centre (ServiceNow). More information about requesting an exemption will be available next week. Students who have already applied for an exemption (i.e., living in residence) will continue that process.

Individuals who are awaiting their final vaccine dose or who have received a University-approved exemption must participate in the University’s rapid screening program and may be subject to additional safety measures. At-home screening kits will be provided to these individuals and available for pick-up at no cost, along with an instructional video. Results must be uploaded in UCheck at least twice weekly (subject to change depending on public health conditions), and a negative result will be required before coming to University-owned or operated premises. Individuals who are neither fully vaccinated nor enrolled in the rapid screening program by Sept. 13 cannot come to any University premises. Rapid screening cannot be used as an alternative to vaccination without an approved exemption.

Visitors to U of T premises will also be required to be fully vaccinated. More details about the process for visitors - including vendors, events attendees, gym members and others - is coming soon.

Updated mask policy and other safety measures

The University has a 12-step plan for a safe return to campus for our entire community. This plan includes many layers of safety measures such as:

We developed these strategies based on scientific evidence and with advice from leading public health experts within and outside of the University. In addition, the University has protocols and supports for students who need to quarantine following travel to Canada.

The University of Toronto is committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for its faculty and librarians, staff, students, volunteers, visitors, and other community members. We will continue to refine our comprehensive plan as new information becomes available, including updated public health recommendations.

We look forward to a safe and exciting fall term back on our campuses together.

Further Resources

MAY 20, 2021

12 ways U of T is preparing for a safe return to in-person instruction
 
In preparing for the safe return of students, staff, faculty and librarians this fall, the University of Toronto is taking a wide range of precautions to curtail the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

As the situation evolves, U of T will monitor public health guidance daily to ensure that its measures are up to date and informed by evidence.   

Everyone coming to campus will continue to be required to take a self-reported health screening. Building ventilation systems will continue to be inspected, air filters have been upgraded where necessary and air purifiers are being added to classrooms as needed. Room occupancy will be limited, as is the case with other enclosed spaces, from grocery stores to buses.   

‚ÄúWe‚Äôre exploring every possible avenue to prepare our campuses for a successful fall term that includes in-person learning, activities and other experiences,‚ÄĚ said Ron Saporta, chief operating officer, property services and sustainability.¬†
 
Read the 12 ways U of T is planning for a safe return of in-person instruction this fall: https://www.utoronto.ca/news/12-ways-u-t-preparing-safe-return-person-instruction 
 
For more information on how U of T is preparing for a safe return to campus, visit the UTogether website: https://www.utoronto.ca/utogether/safe-return

APRIL 1, 2021

Dear students, faculty, staff, and instructors;

As we are about to begin this long weekend, I wish to provide you with a brief update.

We have all seen the rise in COVID-19 counts in the community, and we are awaiting an expected announcement from the Premier today. The presence of this third wave reinforces the need for each one of us to continue to strictly adhere to the safety measures we already have in place. These include: wearing a mask, maintaining physical distance, and doing the UCheck self-assessment if coming to the Faculty. While it is so easy to let our guard down, we must continue to be patient and follow these protocols. 

Many of you read President Gertler’s letter of March 8th to the U of T community, where he said that the university is preparing for a gradual and safe return to in person activities for the fall 2021 term. We are preparing our own plans that will see us carrying out much more in person than we experienced this past year. It is encouraging to keep this in mind as we continue with our current safety requirements.

This year, once again, U of T’s spring convocation and our own Licensing and Awards ceremony will take place virtually, both on June 23rd. Our virtual Licensing and Award event will take place at 10:00 a.m. and the convocation ceremony will take place at noon. Further details will be forwarded in the future.

Vaccinations have been progressing well. The earlier supply issues now appear to have been resolved, and we should anticipate an accelerated roll-out so that, hopefully, everyone can get their first injection in the not-too-distant future. As you know, faculty, instructors, staff, and students involved in patient care can register to be seen at the UHN clinic held at the MaRS building. Details on the requirements to qualify and how to pre-register can be found here.  Students treating patients also have the opportunity of being seen at the U of T site, which is at the Test Centre on McCaul St. We are seeing the age requirements for the general population gradually being lowered. Currently, anyone who is 60 years of age or older can arrange for vaccinations at many pharmacies. I strongly encourage everyone to pursue the opportunity to receive the vaccine as it becomes available. 

As part of U of T’s fall preparedness and planning, an on-site rapid screening for COVID-19 is being piloted, and our clinic has been selected as one of the sites. The plans are still being finalized, but at this point in time it is intended to be offered on a voluntary basis to staff, faculty, instructors, and students who are active in our clinics. The screening will be conducted twice a week, at fixed intervals, by a clinician from Health and Wellness. The results will be reported directly via an online portal to the person 15 minutes after the test is completed. More details will be forwarded in the near future.

A separate endeavour was seen earlier this week when our office sent out a notice regarding a national study being conducted on the incidence rate of COVID-19 among trainees, faculty and support staff in Canadian dental schools. The results will provide valuable information on COVID-19 and I encourage you to participate. Details are described in the email sent from my office on March 29th.

There is no question that the past year has been very difficult for everyone. We are all feeling exhausted and perhaps a sense of isolation. And, although the end of the pandemic appears to be in sight, we are not there yet, and have to continue to remain patient. As a result, it is certainly understandable that a number of us will experience significant anxiety or stress. As always, please know that you should not hesitate to speak to any of us at the Faculty, and please access the help and resources that are available. Students can find support at all times through My Student Support Program (MYSSP) or Good2Talk, as well as the U of T Student Mental Health Resource for mental health services. Faculty and staff can access support through the Employee Assistance Program.

This is the time of year when Easter, Passover, and Ramadan, are upon us. As we experienced a year ago, how we take part in these observances will be different than in the past, but I still hope that you will be able to connect with your loved ones in a manner that is warm, yet safe. As well, please take advantage of this long weekend to rest and relax.

As always, I want to thank all of you for your hard work and understanding. We must continue to remain vigilant and follow all safety protocols for a while yet, but we should be heartened to know that the end of the pandemic is in sight.

Take care,

________________________

Daniel Haas, DDS, PhD, FRCD(C)
Professor and Dean
Arthur Zwingenberger Decanal Chair

FEBRUARY 11, 2021

Dear students, faculty, staff, and instructors;

As we are about to enter this Family Day weekend, I want to take this opportunity to provide you with a brief update.

This past week I had the pleasure of taking part in 2 activities that confirmed my sense of great optimism for the future of our profession. On Tuesday, I attended our annual Research Day, and it was truly a delight to see the quality and breadth of research taking place at our Faculty. The day’s success was further supported by the presence of prestigious keynote speakers, as we heard from the Director of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, the President of the International Association for Dental Research, and the President of the Canadian Association for Dental Research. 

This past weekend I took part in virtual ‚Äúcoffee breaks‚ÄĚ with our applicants to the DDS program as they awaited, or just completed, their interviews. I was joined by our Director of Student Life and our Registrar, as well as quite a number of our current DDS students, where we answered the applicants‚Äô questions about our program and dentistry itself.

Seeing our talent in Research Day bodes well for the future of academic dentistry and our goal of advancing our profession through the creation of knowledge. Sharing the coffee chat with our students during the interview weekend, and witnessing their character during these discussions with our applicants, confirmed my confidence that our graduates will be caring and conscientious professionals.

As we know, February is Black History Month. U of T is offering a number of events that can be found on its Black History Month website.  Please consider participating.

I have a few updates regarding our infrastructure projects. Our current projects in the building are progressing well, which include the installation of the new MDR, as well as the renovations to upgrade our Auditorium. We have a working group who meet regularly to plan for future renovations of Lab 4 and Clinic 2. 

I am also pleased to announce that we have very recently made arrangements to construct a satellite dental clinic, which will be within walking distance of our building at 124 Edward. A clinic of 40 enclosed dental operatories will be built at the southeast corner of Bay and College, on the 22nd floor of 777 Bay Street. This clinic will provide extra capacity for our students and patients, and allow for swing space for future renovations in our building, such as that for Clinic 2.  We are aiming to complete this clinic for September of this year.

Our DDS program continues to undergo modifications to its schedule, as we try to mitigate the effect of the current restrictions. The continuation of the 10-student gathering size limit for the time being necessitates that our DDS-1, DDS-2, and IDAPP students will return in the summer for sessions in Lab 4. The details are still being finalized, but the plan is for our DDS-1 students to return from May 10th to June 18th.  The plan is for our DDS-2 students to return from June 21st to August 28th.  Our IDAPP students will be returning from June 28th to August 28th.  For DDS-3 and DDS-4, we are continuing with our 3 clinics per weekday schedule. For DDS-4, we will commence having Saturday AGP clinics beginning on March 13th, which is the weekend following the NDEB exams, and these clinics will run until May 1st, with the exception of the Easter long weekend.

It is still early to predict how our programs will be scheduled for the fall, but the university is currently preparing a number of contingency plans.

Regarding the vaccine, there is little to update as the recent supply issues have delayed plans for implementation. We continue to work with others at U of T to arrange for the vaccination of our own community and will advise everyone as soon as we have more details to share. 

The recent decline in COVID-19 counts in the community gives us a basis for optimism for the future.  Yet, their numbers are still not at a level where we can begin to relax our precautions, and there is the concern over the variants. Therefore, each one of us must continue to strictly adhere to the safety measures we have in place that include: wearing a mask, maintaining physical distance, and doing the UCheck self-assessment if coming to the school.  As challenging as it is, we must continue to be patient and do our part.

As before, it is certainly to be expected that a number of us may experience significant anxiety or stress. If so, please do not hesitate to speak to any of us at the Faculty, and please access the help and resources that are available. Students can find support at all times through My Student Support Program (MYSSP) or Good2Talk, as well as the U of T Student Mental Health Resource for mental health services. Faculty and staff can access support through the Employee Assistance Program.

I wish to thank all of you for your continued patience, remarkable understanding, and hard work during these difficult times.

This Family Day weekend, and for those entering Reading Week, as well as those in our community celebrating the Lunar New Year, please take the time to relax and connect with your family in a warm, yet safe, manner.

Stay safe and take care,

________________________

Daniel Haas, DDS, PhD, FRCD(C)
Professor and Dean
Arthur Zwingenberger Decanal Chair

JANUARY 15, 2021

Dear students, faculty, staff, and instructors;

I trust that everyone was able to find time to relax over the holiday break and I wish you all the best for the new year that has begun.

As we know, on Tuesday, the premier declared a provincial emergency in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. This includes a stay-at-home order with some exceptions for essential purposes. The Faculty has continued to function under the lockdown measures previously in place so, at the present time, it appears that our current measures are already aligned with this new directive. We should continue to come to our building for essential activity only. This includes research that has received prior approval, required in-person teaching and learning, provision of patient care, and other work deemed to be essential.

The unfortunate continuation of high COVID-19 counts in the community underscore the importance of each one of us to continue to strictly adhere to the safety measures we have in place. This includes wearing a mask, maintaining physical distance, and doing the UCheck self-assessment if coming to the school. These measures are essential to support the health and safety of us all.

Last evening the RCDSO sent out a message to all dentists, in light of this new directive. It is important to note that there is no change in the scope of practice for dentistry. We must continue to use enhanced precautions in place for patient care.

With respect to teaching and learning, all lectures and seminars will continue to be delivered online for this term. At the present time, the 10-student gathering size restriction brought in at the end of November remains in effect. We are currently advocating to be included in the amendment released on December 4th by the Ministry of Colleges and Universities, that allowed most other health profession training programs to return to a 50-person limit. Since that time, we have worked with other organizations to have them advocate to have dentistry included on that list. We have worked with the Registrar and President of the RCDSO, as well as the Executive Director and President of the ODA, who have all been very helpful in communicating with the government on our behalf. We have also communicated with the President and CEO of the Council of Ontario Universities, who also has advocated on our behalf. Our student leaders created an online petition, that has received over 2,000 signatures to date, and was sent to the Ministry. On Monday, TVO Online published an opinion piece on this matter that I wrote in an attempt to raise public awareness.

All this said, we must remain in compliance with the restrictions currently in place. On Monday, our DDS-1 and DDS-2 students will be attending the Lab 4 simulation sessions under a new modified schedule that we expect will be in place at least until Reading Week. Since we have been given no indication when the 10-student restriction will be lifted, we are now preparing plans for DDS-1 and DDS-2 classes to return in the summer to make up the lost time. This will have consequences for many things, including the summer research program. In discussion with Dr. Ganss, we are trying to mitigate its impact on the program as much as possible. We are hopeful that DDS-1 students will still be able to take part, but it will be challenging for DDS-2, given the limited time available. We are working out the details now and will let everyone know the outcome as soon as possible.

Regarding the vaccine, dentistry has very recently been included in the Ministry of Health‚Äôs ‚ÄúPrimary Priorities‚ÄĚ category. We are working with others at U of T to arrange for the vaccination of our own community. We will advise everyone as soon as we have more details.

At this week’s Faculty Council meeting, Professor Joe Desloges, as one of the leads of U of T’s Mental Health Services Redesign Team, provided a presentation on the action items from the Presidential and Provostial Task Force on Student Mental Health. This is a very important initiative for us all. As such, our students should be aware of the new U of T Student Mental Health Resource for mental health services available to them.

It is an understatement to say that the past 10 months have been incredibly difficult. And, this morning’s projections from the Public Health Agency of Canada for the near future on the impact of COVID-19 are very troubling indeed. Yet, although the next few months will be challenging, today we are at a point where there are other signs pointing to a brighter future on the horizon. Many of us may feel that the vaccine rollout is not moving as fast as we would like, yet all signs point toward marked improvement by the early spring. Canada will have more than enough doses for everyone. If the population can avoid significant vaccine hesitancy, we should be able to reach herd immunity. This should allow for a gradual, incremental, relaxation of the current restrictions at some point in the spring. 

Until that time we must remain patient, and continue functioning with the measures in place. We have shown the resilience to do it and we just need to continue for a little while longer. Yet, as we still need to work under these challenging conditions, it is so understandable that a number of us may experience significant anxiety or stress. If so, please do not hesitate to speak to any of us at the Faculty, and please access the help and resources that are available. Students can find support at all times through My Student Support Program (MYSSP) or Good2Talk. Faculty and staff can access support through the Employee Assistance Program.

I want to thank all of you for your continued patience, understanding, and hard work during these trying times.

Stay safe and take care,

________________________

Daniel Haas, DDS, PhD, FRCD(C)
Professor and Dean

DECEMBER 3, 2020

Dear students, faculty, staff, and instructors;

As we enter the last few weeks of this fall term, I wish to briefly touch base with you.

While we continue to deal with the many challenges that the pandemic has brought us, it is a pleasure to be able to share some good news. This week the American Dental Education Association (ADEA) announced the winners of the prestigious Gies Awards for 2021. Our Faculty won the Gies Award for Achievement ‚Äď Academic Dental Institution. As the ADEAGies Foundation has noted, these awards exemplify the highest standards in oral health and dental education, research, and leadership.¬†As you likely know, William J. Gies published the landmark report that established the importance of dentistry as an essential component of higher education in the health professions. This recognition of our many years of achievement is a delight to see. The award will be presented in conjunction with the ADEA annual meeting in March 2021.

As we carry on with our research, teaching, and patient care commitments as best as possible under the COVID-19 restrictions, we continue to pursue the Faculty’s goals as stated in our Strategic Plan. The Wellness working group continues to meet virtually with consideration of a number of initiatives, including the development of a framework to guide action for students, staff, and faculty. The Houses initiative, aimed at giving our students a sense of belonging, is now being rolled out beginning with our DDS-1 and DDS-2 students, with the plan to extend it to all undergraduate and graduate students in the future. The DICE working group members have begun their meetings and are considering ways to develop a positive and inclusive culture that promotes diversity and equity at the Faculty. And, the other Strategic Plan working groups continue their efforts on their respective goals.

I want to thank everyone for continuing to follow the safety measures we have in place, such as the UCheck self-assessment, wearing a mask, and maintaining physical distance. Again, I cannot overemphasize how important it is that each one of us strictly adheres to these steps at all times.

The restrictions as a result to Toronto‚Äôs designation of being in the¬†grey zone¬†have certainly impacted our ability to carry out our in-person teaching and learning.¬†The¬†university continues to work closely with the provincial government to seek clarity on the application of these restrictions in the training of health professionals. We continue to engage with the RCDSO and Public Health Ontario. We will keep you updated as we receive new information. In the meantime, we are increasing our ability to carry out clinical teaching and patient care¬†for January. We will be adding 3 sessions per week, with a 4:30pm ‚Äď 7:00pm session on Mondays/Wednesdays/Fridays. There will be some additional modifications, and specific¬†didactic and clinical schedules will be forwarded to respective classes in the near future.¬†We are also converting 3 rooms on the third floor into enclosed operatories to allow for more aerosol-generating procedures, and these will be ready for January. In addition, we continue to pursue other plans to help everyone achieve their academic goals, while concurrently making the health and safety of all our top priority.¬†

These past 9 months have brought on challenges that, at times, seem never-ending. Yet, concurrently, we see promising news of vaccines and point-of-care testing. We know that this pandemic will end ‚Äď as they all do ‚Äď yet, the uncertainty of when this will be is particularly taxing on us all. It is somewhat akin to running in a race but not knowing where the finish line is. As a result, our patience is being tested, and I want to thank all of you for your remarkable resilience during these very trying times. I want to thank everyone for working so hard and rising to the challenge. Staying focused on the fact that we will all eventually get through this, together, is what we need to remember. We should remain confident in knowing that better days are ahead.

Nevertheless, with all of this uncertainty persisting, it is so understandable that a number of us may experience significant anxiety or stress. If so, please do not hesitate to speak to any of us at the Faculty, and please access the help and resources that are available. Students can find support at all times through My Student Support Program (MYSSP) or Good2Talk.  As well, please know that there is now the new U of T Student Mental Health Resource that you can access.  Faculty and staff can access support through the Employee Assistance Program.

The holiday season is not far off. Please enjoy this upcoming break, take this time to benefit from a well-deserved rest, and I hope that you are able to connect with your loved ones in a warm, yet safe, manner.

Please stay safe and take care,

________________________

Daniel Haas, DDS, PhD, FRCD(C)
Professor and Dean

 

NOVEMBER 10, 2020

2021 Winter Term

Please find the following information about each program’s plans on offering the Winter 2021 Term.

Overall, it is expected that the Winter 2021 term will be delivered predominantly online across all our professional and graduate programs for didactic courses.

The Faculty plans to continue in-person lab-based research, hands-on simulation training and clinical activities, as public health, dental regulatory and University of Toronto safety guidelines allow.

Program

Winter 2021 Term Planning

Doctor of Dental Surgery

Winter 2021 didactic courses will be delivered online. In-person simulation and clinical education will be offered to student, as public health, dental regulatory and University of Toronto safety guidelines allow.

 

International Dentist Advanced Placement Program

Winter 2021 didactic courses will be delivered online. In-person simulation and clinical education will be offered to student, as public health, dental regulatory and University of Toronto safety guidelines allow.

 

Research-based PhD/MSc programs

Winter 2021 didactic courses will be delivered online. In-person lab-based research will be offered to student with restricted laboratory occupancy and physical distancing measures in place, as public health and University of Toronto safety guidelines allow.

 

Research-based PhD/MSc programs with Advanced Dental Specialty Training

Didactic and non-patient related seminar courses will be delivered online in the virtual space. Research-based laboratory activities as well as clinically-based laboratory activities such as the oral pathology biopsy program will continue on-site, but with restricted laboratory occupancy and physical distancing measures in place. In-person clinical education will be offered to student, as public health, dental regulatory and University safety guidelines allow. Clinical rotations will continue remotely, as TAHSN hospital and University safety guidelines allow.

 

Dental Specialty Assessment and Training Program

Winter 2021 didactic courses will be delivered online. In-person simulation and clinical education will be offered to student, as public health, dental regulatory and University of Toronto safety guidelines allow.

 

 

OCTOBER 27, 2020

Dear students, faculty, staff, and instructors;

Today all members of the university received an e-mail from the Provost that included the following statements:

Provincial regulation and public health guidance now require that post-secondary institutions implement COVID-19 health screening for anyone coming to campus. In order to comply with these directives, a health screening is now required for all members of our community, including faculty members, librarians, staff, and students, each day they visit any one of the three U of T campuses or any other property owned or operated by U of T. 

Instructions on the use of UCheck are included in the message from the Provost.

As you know, prior to the implementation of UCheck, persons attending the Faculty of Dentistry were required to self-assess daily by completing the Government of Ontario questionnaire and to keep a record of the results as proof of the process. Now that the university is implementing the use of UCheck for all, we will transition over to this system.

Therefore, commencing Monday November 2nd, it will be mandatory for all students, staff, faculty and instructors who are present on-site at the Faculty of Dentistry to self-assess on a daily basis using the UCheck system. 

UCheck meets the requirements for self-assessment outlined by the RCDSO. In addition, UCheck has several advantages over the Government of Ontario questionnaire:

  • Ease of access from a mobile phone, tablet, or desktop, through the U of T portal.
  • It takes less time to complete the questionnaire.
  • The result is immediate. Your final screen will either be green (not at risk) or red (potentially at risk, therefore stay home and seek further direction).
  • The result is automatically logged for you for a 30-day period. ¬†There is no need to save your own results.¬†¬†

Please access the portal and make use of the electronic version of UCheck at https://www.utoronto.ca/utogether2020/ucheck

If you are unable to access the portal for whatever reason, you can access an offline or paper-based log. If you use the paper-based log, please inform as follows:

Thank you for your compliance with this university directive in the interest of protecting the health and safety of our Faculty of Dentistry community.  

Sincerely,

Daniel Haas, Dean

OCTOBER 8, 2020

Dear students, faculty, staff, and instructors;

As we approach this Thanksgiving weekend, I want to take this opportunity to briefly touch base with you.

Our reopening has progressed very well, thanks to the hard work, patience, and understanding of everyone at our school. I want to thank all of you so much for this, as it has resulted in our Faculty leading the way at UofT in regard to the extent of our in-person activities. Our continued success is dependent on all of us diligently following the safety measures in place, such as self-assessment, wearing a mask in common areas, and maintaining physical distance. I cannot overemphasize how important it is that each one of us strictly adheres to these steps.

We continue to adapt our plans as required. We are all aware of the increase in community spread of COVID-19 in the GTA, and are cognizant of its potential impact on our operations. As necessary, we will adjust our protocols, basing our decisions on direction from the university, the provincial government, the RCDSO, and our overarching guiding principles, as listed in my August 28th message. The health and safety of everyone remains our top priority.

In spite of the reality that COVID-19 will be in our community and affect our daily activities for some time to come, we should be gratified with how much we have been able to accomplish at the school since the summer. And, although we should anticipate the possibility of setbacks at some point in the future, we should stay focused on the long game. These past seven months have been a trying time for us all. It has certainly tested our ability to be patient, but patience is something we must continue to demonstrate. 

As such, we should recognize that a number of us may well experience significant anxiety or stress. If so, please do not hesitate to access the help and resources that are available. Students can find support at all times through My Student Support Program (MYSSP) or Good2Talk. Faculty and staff can access support through the Employee Assistance Program. UofT has posted a number of resources on its UTogether 2020 web page.

This Thanksgiving weekend, please take the time to relax and connect with your loved ones in a warm, yet safe, manner.

Please take care,

 

August 28, 2020

Dear students, faculty, staff, and instructors;

Now that we are winding down our activities this month, I want to take this opportunity to provide you with a brief update on our preparations for the coming academic year.

Our re-opening plans continue to undergo a rigorous process and are only being implemented following the review and approval by a number of UofT groups, including the Office of Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) as well as the Planning and Re-Entry Committee. Every activity and event that takes place on campus must go through an approval procedure. Our own academic programs are guided by the Faculty of Dentistry COVID Planning and Reopening Guiding Principles for Academic Programs, namely:

  1. The health, safety and protection of our community is our primary consideration as we return to in-person activities. ‚Äč
  2. We will align with applicable public health and dental regulatory authority directives and guidelines. ‚Äč
  3. We will apply a consistent approach where practicable across the University, with consideration to accessibility, equity and unique stakeholder needs to advance academic participation and community engagement. ‚Äč
  4. We will promote a supportive and respectful environment, including accommodating individual health needs.
  5. We will prioritize the needs of the University community in our planning.
  6. Patient Care: Clinically facing experiential learning is guided by patient care activities and the academic needs of our learners. Learner presence and participation provides valuable contributions to the health of our patients, while concurrently providing learning requirements.
  7. Flexibility: Circumstances may shift as the situation unfolds (such as a change in the Ontario Reopening Plan Stage or a second pandemic wave), and may require flexibility in responding to education activities, where new approaches to learner experience may be required. We will respond and recover according to local context, public health directives, and University direction.
  8. Supervision of Learners: Learners should be appropriately supervised to support valuable/safe learning experiences aligned with academic competencies and or/relevant learning objectives and evaluations. Supervisors/clinical faculty should also be appropriately supported to enable high quality learning, in clinical care/learning environments.

These principles are the basis for the physical changes that we see at 124 Edward, including such things as: the restricted and controlled access to our building; the installation of over 1,000 EHS as well as Dentistry specific signs; the installation of sanitizers in common areas; and additional cleaning on high touch surfaces. These principles also guide the safety measures we all can and need to do including such things as: the completion of the COVID curriculum; self-assessment; maintaining physical distance; and wearing a mask in common areas. Furthermore, these principles provide the rationale for the online delivery of lectures; reduced number of patients being seen in our clinics at any one time; modified scheduling for DDS clinics and simulation labs; and the research re-entry protocols. Our clinic activity continues to be guided by direction given by the RCDSO and Public Health Ontario. All of these actions are being put in place while we concurrently are true to our academic mission of excellence in research, education, and patient care.

Details of our reopening plans are posted on our website here. This page includes answers to a number of commonly-asked questions and continues to be updated as we get more information.

In the near future you will hear about UofT introducing a new app, called UCheck, which has been developed by those who created the COVID alert app released by the government of Canada. This will give the UofT community a uniform means for self-assessment and provide a risk status. More information is scheduled to be released next week.

Beginning on September 8th, we will see an increase in the number of students in our building. As such, it is essential for all of us to continue to diligently follow all safety protocols in place. Even with this strict approach, we should anticipate that we could easily see setbacks at some point in the future, which could necessitate a modification to our plans. Yet, should this occur, we do not want it to be the result of complacency on our part. It is predicted that COVID-19 will be in the community for some time. And as such, we need to continue to be patient. With the success we have shown so far, I remain optimistic that each one of us can persist in maintaining this high standard.

As before, it is understandable that, for a number of us, this ongoing situation might leave us anxious and under considerable stress. If you are experiencing difficulty, please do not hesitate to access the help and resources that are available. Students can find support at all times through My Student Support Program (MYSSP) or Good2Talk. Faculty and staff can access support through the Employee Assistance Program. UofT has posted a number of resources on its UTogether 2020 web page.

Once again, I want to thank everyone for your hard work, patience, and understanding, as we enter this next phase together. 

Please stay safe and be well,

 

August 6, 2020

Dear students, faculty, staff, and instructors;

I hope that everyone is enjoying the summer. I would like to welcome back all of you who have now returned to our building for scholarly, education, and patient care activities. It is encouraging to see the progress with our reopening plans, which have been created with the health and safety of everyone as the first priority. With that in mind, it cannot be overstated how important it is for each one of us to continue to abide by the requirements for self-assessments, physical distancing, wearing a mask in common-use areas, and other measures that are part of the COVID-19 safety protocol.  As our Faculty is now several weeks into its restart, I wish to provide you with a brief update.

On July 2nd, our research operations resumed with our main principles, once again, being the health and safety of our people while we continue our tradition of discovery and training. Those conducting lab-based research are now becoming accustomed to a new normal ‚Äď operating at approximately 40% capacity. Research involving human subjects needed more extensive adjustments, so we are now beginning to amend research protocols with particular attention to the challenges imposed by this pandemic. This gradual approach to our research restart has proven to be effective and we look forward to welcoming our new cohort of graduate students in September. The research office continues to hold weekly Q&A sessions to keep everyone informed of the latest COVID-19-related news and to address questions and concerns.

During the week of July 6th, our specialty clinics reopened. It is truly encouraging to see that the plan of a slow, gradual, phased approach is working very well. It is so gratifying to see our patients returning for much needed treatment after we had to suddenly pause direct clinical care in March. For September, we anticipate a moderate increase in patient activity for the specialty programs.

This week, after their orientation session, the DDS class of 2021 returned to seeing their patients in Clinics 1 and 2, and the IDAPP class returned for simulation instruction in Lab 4. Our DDS class of 2022 is currently taking online modules and will return to the Faculty next week for their simulation classes taking place in Lab 4 and the pediatric clinic.

For September, our DDS program will require even more modification, and plans are well underway. We will see scheduling that needs to differ from the past, including attendance in shifts and modified hours. As such, I would like to provide you with an overview of what is likely to take place. Simulation labs will run at reduced capacity, and similar to the August preclinical sessions, each section of the class will be attending in shifts. We are planning to schedule CCP clinics at 50% capacity. DDS-3 students will be paired to work with DDS-4 students to co-manage their shared patients in both Clinics 1 and 2. The times for the CCP sessions will be altered to allow for synchronous lectures at the end of the day. The plan is for CCP sessions on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays to be 8:30-11:30 and 12:30 to 3:30. There will be a third CCP shift for DDS-4 students on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with clinic times being 8:00-10:30, 11:30-2:00 and 3:00-5:30. The times for the ancillary clinics will be changed to allow for synchronous lectures at the end of the day and for the staggering of patient entry and exit times with the CCP patients. In general, the morning sessions for ancillary clinics will be 9:00-12:00 and the afternoon sessions will be 1:00-4:00. 

All DDS didactic lectures and seminars will be delivered online. In particular for DDS-3 and DDS-4, most lectures will occur later in the day after clinic sessions, with a number of synchronous lectures ending at 6:00pm. Asynchronous lectures will be available for the day that they are scheduled. When possible, synchronous lectures will be scheduled outside of time needed for in-person activities and commuting, but since that will not always be possible, course directors will record all lectures to have them available.

In the near future, further details of this scheduling will be communicated to those involved. The aim of these proposed changes is to have our students complete the required curriculum in time for a normal graduation date, while concurrently making the health and safety of everyone the highest priority. This necessitates extended hours due to the need to use shifts because of reduced capacity, and include commuting time within the day between in-person activities at the Faculty and synchronous activities at home. 

An enormous amount of work is going into this planning for the DDS program. There are many to thank but, in particular, I want to acknowledge Dr. Laura Tam, Samantha Freeman-Attwood, Beth Hensler, and all those working with them, who have put in a tremendous effort to make this occur. 

As we enter this new phase together, it is understandable that a number of us might find that we are anxious and under considerable stress. If you are experiencing difficulty, please do not hesitate to access the help and resources that are available. Students can find support at all times through My Student Support Program (MYSSP) or Good2Talk. Faculty and staff can access support through the Employee Assistance Program. The University of Toronto has posted a number of additional resources on its UTogether 2020 web page.

Please stay safe and be well,

 

July 10, 2020

Dear students, faculty, staff, and instructors;

Today, we received further information regarding our Faculty’s restart plans. In my message to you of June 26th, I had indicated that the University was considering our proposal for an August 4th return for our DDS classes of 2021 and 2022, as well as our IDAPP class. I am pleased to report that we just heard, today, that this proposal has now been approved.   

This means that the DDS class of 2021 and the IDAPP class will be returning to the Faculty on August 4th.  The initial part of that week will be comprised of training for the COVID-19 safety protocols. Our DDS class of 2022 will be taking online modules starting on August 4th, and then return to the Faculty on August 10th. Specific scheduling details will be sent to all involved in the near future. 

As part of our COVID-19 safety protocol, access to the building will be under strict control. It is critical that everyone read the documents that will be sent to you regarding our COVID-19 safety procedures. 

The Faculty’s COVID-19 safety protocols are now in place, and I am pleased to report that our research laboratories’ restart that began last week, and our specialty clinics’ restart that began this week, have progressed very well. 

Please note that our working groups continue to meet regularly and are working very hard on these protocols, with everyone’s health and safety being the utmost priority. Again, I cannot overemphasize the importance of each one of us adhering to the requirements for self-assessments, physical distancing, and other measures meant to promote the safety for us all.

As before, I wish to remind you that if you are experiencing difficulty, please access the help and resources that are available. Students can find support at all times through My Student Support Program (MYSSP) or Good2Talk. Faculty and staff can access support through the Employee Assistance Program. The University of Toronto has posted a number of additional resources on its UTogether 2020 web page.

Please stay safe and be well,

 

 

June 26, 2020

Dear students, faculty, staff, and instructors;

I wish to provide you with a brief update regarding the Faculty’s restart plans. I am pleased to report that progress has been made on all three of our missions of research, education and patient care.  Our working groups have continued to meet regularly and have worked very hard to prepare for our return, with everyone’s health and safety as a guiding principle and utmost priority. 

We have good news for our research recovery and restart.  Our proposal to reopen our research activities more broadly has been approved by the University. Requests for laboratory access are now being processed, and we are reopening our research facilities on July 2nd for those who have been approved.  These reopening plans can be found on our website here.

Just this afternoon, we also received good news regarding our clinical teaching and patient care.  Our proposal to allow our students access to our learning spaces this summer is being considered by UofT, as part of the Ontario government framework for pilot projects for postsecondary institutions, that was announced earlier this month. This afternoon, we received approval to allow our specialty clinics to reopen on July 6th.  I want to thank the many people who worked very hard on these plans, in particular, Assistant Dean Administration and CAO, Mary Choi, and Director of Clinical Affairs, Jim Posluns.

Therefore, our specialty clinics will be re-opening to elective patient care by the graduate specialty residents during the week of July 6th. The first three days of that week will be comprised of training sessions regarding the new COVID-19 protocols for all students, staff, instructors, and faculty in the clinics. This will be followed by a very gradual return to patient care, with only a percentage of our specialty residents in the clinics at any given time. In the near future, the specifics for this scheduling will be communicated to those involved.

We have been informed that the University is still considering our proposal for an August 4th return for our current DDS-3 (incoming DDS-4) students into the clinics, as well as our incoming DDS-3 students into the simulation lab (Lab 4) to complete the in-person training sessions lost from their time in DDS-2 and IDAPP.  We hope to hear their decision in the near future, and we will keep you updated as soon as we get more information. 

Given the rapidly changing landscape, we must bear in mind the need for flexibility in our proposals. Making definitive plans for a few months in the future will require an acknowledgement of the uncertain times we live in, with an understanding that we have spent only a few months dealing with the consequences of this pandemic.  As has been noted by others, in March very few of us knew where we would be in June, so predictions for several months from now must be looked at in that context.

As we enter this next stage, I cannot overemphasize the importance of each one of us adhering to the requirements for physical distancing and other measures meant to promote the safety for us all.  I am confident that all of us respect this and understand its significance.

As before, I wish to you remind you that if you are experiencing difficulty, please access the help and resources that are available. Students can find support at all times through My Student Support Program (MYSSP) or Good2Talk. Faculty and staff can access support through the Employee Assistance Program. The University of Toronto has posted a number of additional resources on its UTogether 2020 web page.

With all of the hard work that you have been doing, it is so important to take care of yourselves. So, for this extra-long weekend, please relax, spend time with your loved ones, spend time with friends ‚Äď in of course, a physically-distant safe manner ‚Äď enjoy the beautiful summer weather, and do the things that you enjoy. Have a great Canada Day.¬†

Please stay safe and be well,

 

May 29

Dear students, faculty, staff, and instructors;

I hope that everyone is managing well and able to enjoy the warm weather that has finally arrived. I trust that you had a chance to see our e-newsletter from two weeks ago and President Gertler’s letter from last week. We continue to meet regularly to plan our own restart and recovery in our research, education, and clinical service missions. We have created working groups that are preparing details for what will be required so that our building can reopen at such time that is allowed.  All of this is being done in alignment with UofT’s principles of promoting health and safety, advancing academic excellence, and meeting the needs of our community, as outlined on the UTogether 2020 website. The return to our Faculty will be gradual and done in phases. All activities that can be done remotely, will be done that way, for the foreseeable future.

For research, the Division of Vice-President, Research and Innovation released two documents yesterday on the Approach for Research Recovery and the COVID-19 Guideline for Reopening Research Spaces. Our Faculty‚Äôs Research Office is preparing our own plans for reopening consistent with these documents. Please consider taking part in the Q&A session with our Vice-Dean Research, Ben Ganss, that will take place on Wednesday at 2:00. And, there is good news to share ‚Äď we have a record number of NSERC Discovery grants held by our researchers! As a result of that, we will be granted one additional CRC Tier 2 slot in an NSERC-supported area.

For teaching, we had a successful Education Day yesterday, done online for the first time. Vice-Dean Education Jim Lai is working with UofT’s central administration to get permission for our students to return to the building this summer. While we are preparing to deliver all lecture courses online for the duration of 2020, there might be a possibility for small group seminars to take place in-person in the fall. For our specialty programs, we are aiming for a gradual return to elective patient care on July 6th, dependent on RCDSO announcements for that time. This date aligns with the plans by the University’s Health Science Faculties to have learners resume clinical placements in hospitals. For our in-person simulation labs for the current DDS-2 and IDAPP students, we have determined that the earliest we can schedule their return to the Faculty to complete their pre-clinical training will be August 4th. We will likely only have a percentage of the class attending at any given time. For the current DDS-3 students, we have determined that the earliest date that they will be returning to our clinics to resume patient care will also be August 4th.  This too will be scheduled in a gradual manner, likely with only a percentage of the class attending at any given time. For our incoming DDS-1 and DDS-2 students, we are planning for a September start date, as usual, with a likely alteration to the schedule, primarily for the pre-clinical classes. The biggest challenge remains planning patient care in our clinics. We are actively preparing to be in compliance with physical distancing requirements and RCDSO announcements. Prior to seeing patients, everyone involved with patient care will be required to self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 and demonstrate competency in the donning and doffing of PPE.

Our in-person Convocation was originally scheduled to take place on June 5th at 2:30pm. In lieu of this, we will be holding a Virtual Graduation and Awards Celebration at that same time. For our staff and faculty, in lieu of our annual summer BBQ lunch, we will be holding a special event virtually, at 10:00am on June 26th. At this event we will recognize our retirees, and announce the winners of the teaching awards and the Staff Excellence award. More information will come out shortly.

I want to give my thanks to everyone for your hard work, understanding, and patience, as we prepare for our return. Even though we should anticipate setbacks, and plans that may change as circumstances change, we need to stay focused on the long view, as we will get there, together.

All of us have been dealing with so many uncertainties for quite some time now, and this can result in significant anxiety and stress. If you are experiencing difficulty, please access the help and resources that are available. Students can find support at all times through My Student Support Program (MYSSP) or Good2Talk. Faculty and staff can access support through the Employee Assistance Program. The University of Toronto has posted a number of additional resources on its COVID-19 web page.

Please stay safe and be well,

 

May 8

Dear students, faculty, staff, and instructors;

This week we saw the Ontario government extend its state of emergency by one week to May 19th. There has also been an announcement of a very gradual easing of restrictions on certain businesses and activities within the province. Plans are being developed to allow hospitals to resume elective surgeries. And we have seen a number of other provinces allow elective care in dentistry.  While these are very measured steps, these signs indicate that restarting our own activities should be just a matter of time. Nevertheless, we need to balance this guarded anticipation with the need to continue our successful efforts in breaking the chain of transmission of COVID-19.

Many of us saw the good news of Barry Sessle’s receipt of theIADR Gold Medal. This award is the highest recognition given by the International Association for Dental Research. Once we can resume in-person activities, we hope to acknowledge this prestigious accomplishment at the Faculty. We also saw the unfortunate yet understandable cancellation of our summer research program. Our Faculty’s Research Office has been actively planning how to implement our own restart of research that cannot be done remotely. Working with our Research Committee and the University’s Research Office, we foresee a gradual, phased approach. We hope to have a more defined plan in the coming weeks.

In my message of April 16th, I had informed you that we were suspending the delivery of elective patient care in our clinics, as well as all in-person lectures, seminars, and pre-clinical classes, for the month of May. In last week’s message, I informed you that we are planning online delivery of didactic courses for the rest of 2020. As we continue to prepare contingency plans, it is now clear that we will not be able to restart in-person seminars or pre-clinical labs until June 15th at the very earliest. We are hoping to resume elective patient care as early as July 6th, while acknowledging that this might not be possible.  This latter date aligns with the plans of the University’s health science Faculties to resume clinical placements. Our decisions on when we can resume these in-person activities will depend on government, University, and RCDSO announcements. 

As before, I encourage anyone who may be experiencing difficulty to access the help and resources that are available. Students can find support at all times through My Student Support Program (MYSSP) or Good2Talk. Faculty and staff can access support through the Employee Assistance Program. The University of Toronto has posted a number of additional resources on its COVID-19 web page.

This weekend, I hope you are able to celebrate Mother’s Day with loved ones, in a manner that is warm, yet safe. I want to thank all of you for your continued understanding and patience as we go through these challenging times together.

Please stay safe and be well,

 

May 1

Dear students, faculty, staff, and instructors;

As we begin a new month, there is cause for cautious optimism.  This week the Ontario government released its framework for reopening the province.  We see that it will be a gradual, staged approach, which will begin when the right conditions are in place.  There needs to be evidence that we are past the peak of new cases of COVID-19 with a sustained two to four week decrease.  We should be heartened that the flattening of the curve appears to now be here, and it should only be a matter of time before we see ongoing decreases in reported new cases.  We are hopeful that this could begin at some point later this month or next. Yet, we must still carry on respecting current restrictions, in order to avoid future waves.

The Faculty and the University continue to be very active in planning for our restart and recovery.  As I mentioned last week, this will be a very gradual process that will be implemented in phases.  While we are planning for online delivery of didactic courses for the rest of 2020, we continue to prepare contingency plans for different restart dates for our in-person activities, including research programs, pre-clinical classes, and clinics. This will be influenced by physical distancing rules and RCDSO announcements on requirements for patient care.  There is no question that the practice of dentistry will be facing immense operational challenges, and we are carefully considering how these will impact our own clinics.

As much as this pandemic’s restrictions have set us back in so many ways, we should be proud of how we have all collectively responded.  Students, faculty, and staff alike have shown tremendous resilience and diligence as we have adapted our activities.  Didactic courses quickly transitioned to online delivery.  Examinations and graduate degree defenses are proceeding effectively.  Scholarly activity is being conducted as best as possible despite restricted access to our research laboratories. Administrative functions of the school are being carried out very successfully.  While almost all of us are doing this remotely, personnel designated as essential are working onsite to maintain critical functions.  All through this, we have been true to the University’s mission of excellence in research and education.  We should also be proud to be part of the broader UofT community, as we see our colleagues in the news regularly providing expertise to governments as they navigate through this unprecedented crisis. 

The issues we are dealing with can bring significant anxiety and stress to us all.  It is important that we not only be well physically by avoiding COVID-19, but we must be well emotionally.  Please stay connected with family and friends.  For anyone who may be experiencing difficulty, do not hesitate to reach out and access the help and resources that are available. Students can find support at all times through My Student Support Program (MYSSP) or Good2Talk. Faculty and staff can access support through the Employee Assistance Program. The University of Toronto has posted a number of additional resources on its COVID-19 web page.

Once again, my thanks to everyone, for your understanding and patience as we go through these very challenging times together.

Please stay safe and be well,

 

April 24

Dear students, faculty, staff, and instructors;

This week we have read reports that we may be seeing a flattening of the curve of reported cases of COVID-19 in our province. This promising news allows us to look forward to a time when our current restrictions can start to be relaxed. At the same time, we know that reopening the university will be a very gradual process, that is both highly complex and done in phases.  Our Faculty’s own plans will be in line with announcements by the university, the RCDSO, public health authorities, as well as municipal, provincial and federal governments.  

As much as we want to get back to pre-COVID-19 routines as soon as possible, returning too quickly will increase the likelihood of a second wave and the subsequent need to retreat back to even more stringent measures. As difficult as it is, we need to remain patient.  As mentioned in last week’s message, we are continually reassessing and planning contingencies for different start dates and degrees of restrictions. As such, we are beginning to prepare for the possibility that all didactic lectures and seminars may need to be delivered online for the fall 2020 courses. 

We are hopeful that research labs will begin the process of reopening in the coming weeks.   This week, Vivek Goel, UofTs Vice-President, Research and Innovation, and Strategic Initiatives, released a memo, announcing efforts to begin planning for such a gradual restart of research activities across the University. The Faculty’s Research Office will continue to keep us up to date as more information becomes available.  We currently have a small number of our own labs who have been approved to conduct essential research.  One such lab is conducting a COVID-19-related investigation, with several others having submitted proposals in this field.

I know current circumstances remain both uncertain and stressful. For those in our community who are beginning their observance of Ramadan, this year’s physical distancing restrictions will likely make it a much different experience than in the past. For all of us who continue to remain apart from friends and families, I hope you are reaching out and staying connected, especially with those who are living alone. As before, I encourage anyone who may be experiencing difficulty to access the help and resources that are available. Students can find support at all times through My Student Support Program (MYSSP) or Good2Talk. Faculty and staff can access support through the Employee Assistance Program. The University of Toronto has posted a number of additional resources on its COVID-19 web page.

I want to thank all of you for your understanding and patience as we go through these challenging times.

Please stay safe and be well,

 

April 16, 2020

Dear students, faculty, staff, and instructors;

I hope that everyone is managing well in these challenging times. In last week’s message I noted thatclinics will remain closed for elective care until further notice. This week the Ontario government announced that the province’s declaration of emergency has been extended until May 12th. In line with this, we have decided to further extend the suspension of elective patient care in our clinics for the month of May. As well, all in-person lectures, seminars, and pre-clinical classes will continue to be cancelled for this same time period. All teaching, tests and examinations will continue to be carried out remotely. We will continue to monitor the situation with the aim to resume activities at the Faculty as soon as it is feasible, which could be as early as June 1, 2020.

Uncertainty is our current reality. There is a great deal of information regarding COVID-19 readily available to all of us, yet we are still left with more questions than answers. We have to speculate, with minimal confidence, on when physical distancing measures will be lifted, when dentists will be able to resume elective treatment for their patients, and what will be the IPAC and PPE requirements when we do resume elective care. We do expect a gradual relaxation of restrictions, but do not know to what rate or extent. 

This lack of predictability does lead to one certainty, however, and that is that things will be different when we do get back. This especially applies to how teaching and learning can be conducted for our didactic courses, pre-clinical classes, and in our clinics. We are now planning for all of this, creating contingencies for different start dates. Given these constraints, please be assured that our guiding principle is what is best for our students’ academic interests. The key for all of us is to recognize that previous expectations regarding how we learn and care for patients may no longer apply. We will keep you informed as soon as updates are available. I am confident that we will navigate successfully together through this unprecedented time.

Once again, I want to encourage anyone who may be experiencing difficulty to reach out for the help and resources that are available. Students can reach someone for support at all times through My Student Support Program (MYSSP) or Good2Talk. Staff can access support through the Employee Assistance Program. The University of Toronto has posted a number of additional resources on its frequently updated COVID-19 web page.

Please stay safe and be well,

 

April 9, 2020

Dear students, faculty, staff, and instructors;

In my message to you of March 19th, I had indicated that we were suspending the delivery of non-emergent patient care in our clinics until May 4th. It has become increasingly apparent that re-opening on that date will, unfortunately, not be possible. As such, the clinics will remain closed for elective care until further notice. We will continue to reassess and plan to re-open as soon as that becomes possible. 

We appreciate the patience of our students as we implement a number of much needed changes in order to minimize any disruption to their education. These changes, which include online course delivery and examinations, are the best means under the given circumstances to enable progress into the next phase of their program.

For many in our community, this week marks a time of celebration with family and friends. While this year’s Easter and Passover festivities will be very different than originally anticipated, I hope you will still be able to remotely connect with loved ones in a safe manner.

Holidays can be stressful for some and may be more challenging under these difficult circumstances. I encourage those who may be struggling to reach out for the help and resources that are available. Students can reach someone for support at all times, as needed, through My Student Support Program (MYSSP) or Good2Talk. Staff can access support through the Employee Assistance Program. The University of Toronto has posted a number of additional resources.

My sincere thanks to everyone for your continued understanding as we work together through these very challenging times. I hope you and your family stay safe and well, and I wish you all the best while at home during this holiday weekend.

Sincerely,

Daniel Haas, Dean

 

April 2, 2020

Dear students, faculty, staff, and instructors;

All of us continue to be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.  Earlier this week, the Ontario government as well as the City of Toronto both extended their states of emergency.  At the Dentistry building, only a short list of approved essential personnel now work onsite.  We continue to keep open our clinic for emergency care for our patients, as well as our oral pathology biopsy service.  We are making arrangements to send out our three general anaesthesia machines so that their ventilators can be utilized by local hospitals.  In addition, I want to acknowledge our instructors and faculty who have joined us in these efforts with donations of PPE and needed equipment at this time. 

Our priority remains to ensure that the academic needs of our students are being met given the current restrictions we face.  To our DDS and IDAPP students, I want to thank you for your patience as you adapt to the changes in course delivery and assessment.  We have listened to your concerns and to address them, we will be implementing an optional Credit/No Credit grading system for the courses which end this term. More details on this will be shared with you in the near future.  To our DDS-4 students, we continue our efforts to consider alternate arrangements to celebrate your graduation at a date later than the originally-planned June convocation. To our graduate students, I want to thank you for your resilience while your research and clinical experience are being put on hold. Please reach out to your research supervisor or specialty program director with any questions you may have.

To our faculty, I want to thank you for your tremendous efforts to provide courses online and modify means of assessments where needed, and to conduct your scholarly activity as best as possible while being remote from our building.

To our staff, I want to acknowledge and thank you for your hard work that does so much. It helps us to deliver these curricular and assessment changes, facilitates emergency care for our patients, and carries out the Faculty’s administrative needs.

There is so much uncertainty about when we can all return to the Faculty. I recognize what a difficult time this can be for so many of us, and I want to remind you that help and resources are available. Students can reach someone for support at all times, as needed, through My Student Support Program (MYSSP) or Good2Talk. Staff can access support through the Employee Assistance Program. The University of Toronto has posted a number of additional resources. I encourage anyone to reach out.

Once again, I want to acknowledge and thank each of you for your patience and understanding as we work together in these challenging times. Please continue to follow the recommendations of local and provincial health agencies and remain at home as much as possible, so that we each are doing our part in breaking the chain of transmission of COVID-19.

Please stay safe and be well.

Sincerely,

Daniel Haas, Dean

 

March 26, 2020

Dear students, faculty, staff and instructors,

These past few weeks have posed considerable challenges as we adjust to the rapid changes stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.  What we are dealing with is unprecedented for us all.  We at the Faculty have seen cancellations of in-person classes, elective care in our dental clinics, and most recently, convocation.  As difficult as these decisions have been, we understand the need for them. 

Our Faculty has been diligently working to determine the best courses of action and are preparing for every eventuality. I want to thank our faculty and staff who have stepped up and made remarkable strides to enact change so quickly and effectively, and I want to thank our students, who have been so understanding of the need for these adjustments.  We are focused on helping our students meet their academic needs.  Faculty members are committed to creating material for online courses and assessments.  Staff are working hard to get courses online, enable faculty and other staff to work remotely, and keep our clinics open for emergency care for our patients.  I am very proud of the way everyone has risen to the current challenge.

We also continue to make decisions that support the health and well-being of our community, a commitment that extends beyond our walls. We have donated PPE, while retaining a needed core supply, which the University of Toronto will distribute to local hospitals. We will keep open our oral pathology biopsy service, so that crucial diagnoses can be provided for Ontario dentists and their patients. 

I also want to acknowledge what a difficult time this has been for so many, and to remind you that help and resources are available. Students can reach someone for support at all times, as needed, through My Student Support Program (MYSSP) or Good2Talk. Staff can access support through the Employee Assistance Program. The University of Toronto has posted a number of additional resources for the entire community. I encourage anyone who is struggling to reach out.

Events are unfolding very rapidly, and we will continue to keep you informed with updates as best we can.  The DDS and IDAPP students will be contacted this week with class-specific messages.  Specialty program directors will continue to update their residents.

I want to thank each of you for your patience as we work together to navigate our way through this unprecedented time. Finally, I encourage everyone to stay home, as much as possible, so that we are doing our part in breaking the chain of transmission of COVID-19.

Please stay well.

Sincerely,

Daniel Haas, Dean

 

March 19, 2020

To all students at the Faculty of Dentistry;

We are continuously assessing current events and our own role in attempting to break the chain of transmission of COVID-19.  With developments occurring so rapidly, it is very difficult to predict when we will be able to resume our clinical operations. Acknowledging that reality, we have decided to extend the period of suspension for delivering patient care in our clinics, with the exception of emergency care for your own patients. We are currently planning to reopen undergraduate and graduate clinics for full care on Monday May 4, 2020. We are well aware that this might not be possible, depending on what develops over the next number of weeks.

Until May 4th, all in-person lectures and seminars will continue to be cancelled. Where possible, this will be carried out remotely. DDS and IDAPP students should refer to Quercus for course material and graduate specialty students should contact their program director. 

Until May 4th, all pre-clinical classes in DDS-1 and DDS-2 will continue to be suspended. 

Final Exams for DDS students will take place as originally scheduled, carried out remotely using ExamSoft. Further information will follow. For graduate specialty students, please contact your program director regarding year-end examinations, if appropriate.

Beginning the week of April 6th, DDS and IDAPP Term Tests will resume, and may be carried out remotely.  You will be advised of the new schedule for tests and assignments in the near future.  A number of course directors may suggest changing the methods of evaluation in order to reduce the number of term tests required.  We will follow up with you in this regard.  Please check Quercus for updates. 

We know that this is a difficult time.  Please do not hesitate to utilize the resources available at My Student Support Program (MYSSP) or Good2Talk, as needed. There is someone available at all times at both resources.

As you have seen, events are unfolding rapidly.  We are continually reassessing and will inform you of any updates regarding the timing of the reopening of our clinics, as well as resumption of pre-clinical classes, lectures, and seminars.  

In the meantime, please take care,

Daniel Haas, Dean

 

March 16, 2020

To all students at the Faculty of Dentistry: 

Further to my notice on Friday, the RCDSO has just sent a message to all dentists in Ontario stating that they strongly recommend that all non-essential and elective dental services should be suspended immediately, and that emergency treatment should continue. We have always aligned our recommendations with those of the RCDSO. 

As such, effective Monday March 16th, for the next 3 weeks, all patient care in the clinics will be suspended with the exception of emergency care for your own patients and immediate post-operative care.

DDS students

Patients are to be seen for emergency care only. Clinic 1 will remain open for this purpose. Please contact Clinic 1 Desk (Ms. Alma Maksuti) and the Team Leader (Ms. Mary Ann Lisotti) to arrange an appointment.  If you are unsure as to whether or not your patient needs to be seen, please contact either Dr. Tam, Dr. Cornell, or Dr. Posluns. Please note that the DEN277Y (Prosthodontics) pre-clinical practical test will still take place this Monday.

Graduate specialty residents

Please coordinate with your program directors about clinical cases that are emergent and only see those patients. As well, please note that on-site in-person seminars are now suspended for the next 3 weeks.  Where possible, these will be done remotely.

We will continually reassess and inform you if we are able to reopen the clinics on April 6, 2020, and if we are able to resume in-person seminars.  We will also continue to carefully consider both your safety and academic needs while concurrently attempting to break the chain of transmission of COVID-19.

Sincerely, 

Daniel Haas, 

Dean

 

March 14, 2020 

Further to the recent emails from the President and the Provost, the Faculty has carefully considered our educational commitment to our students along with the importance of breaking the chain of transmission of COVID-19. Risk mitigation includes the use of social distancing.

With proper patient screening, of which you have been previously advised, and strict adherence to IPAC protocols, the transmission of disease arising out of a dental procedure remains statistically very low. That being said, the relief of pain and the completion of procedures currently in progress remains of paramount importance. 

Please note that the following will take effect for the Faculty of Dentistry as of Monday March 16th.

DDS and IDAPP students

  • In-person lectures and seminars will be cancelled.¬† Please refer to Quercus next week for course material when we will be able to provide further information.
  • All pre-clinical classes in DDS-1 and DDS-2 are being suspended.¬† These sessions will be rescheduled at a later time, prior to the start of the next academic year.¬†¬†The exception is DEN277Y (Prosthodontics) which has its practical test scheduled for this Monday.¬† As usual, students are expected to wear PPE for this test.
  • For the next 3 weeks, beginning March 16th, all clinics will be suspended with the following exceptions for your own patients. Clinics 1 and 2 will remain open for:
    • Emergency care.
    • Post-operative care.
    • Try-in and insertion of crowns, bridges, and dentures
      • *Restorative and prosthodontic instructors will be present to supervise the above during your usual scheduled CCP time.
    • Manikin-based endodontics, only as assigned by Dr. Cherkas.
  • Clinics are scheduled to reopen on April 6, 2020.
  • For the next 3 weeks, all Term Tests will be suspended. The exception is DEN277Y (Prosthodontics) which has its practical test scheduled for this Monday.
  • All Final Exams will proceed as scheduled. We are planning to deliver them by Examsoft.

Graduate students

  • In-person lectures will be cancelled and moved to online where possible.
  • Small group seminars will continue.
  • Graduate specialty clinics will remain open.
  • Research programs will continue.

For more information on the University of Toronto's response to the coronavirus pandemic, or to read the University's COVID-19 FAQ, please visit the University of Toronto's online resource.