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Upcoming Academic Terms: Info and Plans

Fall 2020 Begins

Updated on Sep 4
Tags: health and safety, all updates

The Fall 2020 term begins

Though Tuesday 2 September marked the start of term, preparations began months ago for hundreds of faculty, staff, administrators, and students.

COVID-19 has complicated those preparations. Members of the University community have worked tirelessly to prepare for a term in which nearly all teaching and learning will be remote.

To all, my thanks for everything you have done to bring us to this first week of term.

For their part, students have prepared. A record number took courses remotely in the Spring/Summer term. Incoming students have participated in virtual orientation, familiarized themselves with UR Courses, connected with instructors, and availed themselves of academic supports offered in light of their grade 12 year having been cut short.

These preparations will serve them well, and I wish to thank them for engaging so enthusiastically prior to their Fall 2020 studies. To see and hear some thoughts from five of our students, please click here.

To every member of our community, I wish you the best as the term begins!

Protocols for a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 on campus

In recent days, with Saskatchewan COVID-19 infection rates very low, people ask: are we being too careful? Are Saskatchewan postsecondaries, including the U of R, overplaying the risk on our campuses?

We believe not. Campus outbreaks elsewhere make clear that underestimating COVID-19 risk can lead to hundreds, indeed thousands, of infected people on a campus. The disruption to teaching and research, to people’s lives, is profound.

Simply put: we don’t want to go there. Together with health and safety measures already in place, continuing to limit the campus population will limit the spread of COVID-19, reducing major disruptions to teaching, research, students’ academic progress – and the health and safety of many on and off campus.

Even so, we need to prepare for possible cases. In consultation with public health authorities, the University has developed a set of comprehensive response protocols. Should you have questions or concerns, please contact the Health, Safety & Wellness team at health.safety@uregina.ca or (306) 337-2370.

Virtual Fall 2020 Convocation

Recently I wrote to graduating students to say that Fall Convocation will, as did Spring Convocation, take place virtually. I know how disappointing this is to them, their families, and their friends.

At the moment, however, large gatherings simply are not safe.

Our Convocation team has planned a number of ways to honour the graduates, including a celebratory video, a commemorative program, and a graduation package. Additional information will be provided to graduands and the University community in the coming weeks.

Queen City Pride Parade – this Saturday at noon

I noted in last week’s message that though COVID-19 has complicated many aspects of our lives, it has also made us more creative. The annual Queen City Pride Parade is a wonderful example of such creativity and resilience.

The parade is a featured event of the week-long Queen City Pride Festival, which runs this year from 30 August to 5 September. In past years, the parade has been a truly interactive event, with many joining the procession of vehicles, floats, and other participants.

COVID-19 has altered that level of interactivity. In fact, the parade wouldn’t have been possible if it were not for the planning committee’s creativity in planning the Queen City Pride Parade – Car Edition.

The parade takes place this Saturday, and its theme is both succinct and apt – “Together Apart.”

I will be there in a University-sponsored car with the theme “You Belong Here.” Take a moment to visit the Queen City Pride Parade – Car Edition website, which contains scheduling, route, and other information.

My thanks to the UR Pride Centre for Sexuality and Gender Diversity and its Executive Director, Jacq Brasseur, for coordinating the University’s involvement in the Queen City Pride Festival and in the parade itself. Jacq, you and your colleagues’ dedication to the 2SLGBTQIAP+ community exemplifies the commitment to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion central to our new Strategic Plan, kahkiyaw kiwâhkômâkaninawak.

In closing

Thank you for everything you have done for our University over the past several months. It is through your efforts – the efforts of hundreds - that the fall term begins with such promise.

Sincerely,

Thomas Chase

Interim President and Vice-Chancellor