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Interim President's Friday Message

Updated on Oct 30
Tags: students, all updates

Continuing the focus on safety: our own and that of the wider community

Various parts of the world are experiencing new waves of COVID-19 infection. In the last few days, regions of Spain have introduced new restrictions on movement, and the national government has declared a six-month state of emergency. According to The Guardian, "the number of people found to have the virus in England [has risen] by almost a quarter in the week ending 21 October." In Oxford, the COVID-19 alert level will move to "high" tomorrow, with Oxford University keeping "its emergency response status under constant review." And many areas of the United States are seeing rises in infections, hospitalizations, and deaths.

Despite a recent rise in infections in Saskatchewan, thus far we remain relatively fortunate. Most people, including people on the University's campuses, are following the advice of public health officials and observing physical distancing, wearing masks, and practising careful hand hygiene.

Education News Canada republished a recent web story about the University's approach. In it, microbiologist and URP-G chair Dr Andrew Cameron notes that "we don't know what the infectious dose" of COVID-19 is, and that "any measures we can take to limit the amount of droplets and aerosols one emits will help to prevent the spread of the deadly disease and save lives." Darren Cherwaty, Director of our Health, Safety, and Wellness unit, adds: "The University believes in doing its part to limit the spread of COVID-19 on campus, as well as in the general community as we get through this time - together."

We need to be especially mindful of the risks facing health workers who care for the ill. The International Council of Nurses estimates that around the world at least 1,500 nurses - and perhaps as many as 20,000 healthcare workers - have died from the virus to date.

I want again to thank students, faculty, and staff for the care they are showing for others. We will indeed get through this together.

Celebrating Circle of Scholars award recipients

Yesterday afternoon, Chancellor Pam Klein and I hosted the annual reception honouring the University’s new and returning Circle of Scholars award recipients. Although the event could not be held in person, it was nonetheless a wonderful opportunity to speak with and learn about some of our most talented and dedicated students.

For the past decade, the Circle of Scholars Entrance Scholarships have been awarded to the top incoming undergraduate students from several geographic regions within and outside Canada. This year, the scholarships were awarded to students from 13 regions – 10 within Canada and three internationally – bringing the total number of current Circle of Scholars students at the University to 35. The scholarships are valued at $5,000 annually over four years.

A feature story on the recipients is on the University website. Please take a moment to read about these brilliant students. We will hear a lot about them and their accomplishments in the future.

Congratulations to all of our Circle of Scholars students!

United Way reminder

Why give to the United Way? Please take a moment to watch this brief video.

We are now one-third of the way through our campus campaign, with an impressive $47,782 raised to date.

The campaign is under the leadership of campaign co-chairs Doug Moen of the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy and Dr Chris Oriet of the Department of Psychology. Members of the campaign committee are Bruce Anderson from the Faculty of Business Administration, Shayla Bonhomme from Financial Services, Constance Hammermeister from the Office of Institutional Research, Nadene Perry and Janice Yule from Johnson Shoyama, and Emily Armer of the United Way. We owe a special debt of thanks to committee member Devon Anderson, who continues to serve after her retirement from the Faculty of Business Administration, and to the many canvassers in Faculties and units across the University.

If you are able to give, note that the old 8.5 x 14 paper pledge form is now history, and has been replaced by a secure e-pledge available here. Please consider supporting this worthwhile cause. Many will benefit from your generosity.


Thomas Chase

Interim President and Vice-Chancellor