Dean's update to students, staff, and faculty regarding COVID-19

Posted on March 14, 2020


March 14, 2020
5:45 PM

To all Engineering students, staff, and faculty,

This has been a challenging time. You have been dealing with uncertainty and constantly changing conditions and information. The coronavirus COVID-19 situation has affected all of us, not only in our academic and professional lives, but our personal lives as well. The decision by the University to suspend classes next week gives us an opportunity to step back from the day-to-day operations and the time to put a plan in place for the remainder of the academic year.

We are really in uncharted territory; I want to thank you all for your hard work, resourcefulness, patience, and resilience. I am proud to be part of this amazing community of people that make up the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science. Please remember to support each other and be kind during this crisis.

My aim here is to provide some information on how the one-week suspension, and the cancellation of in-person undergraduate classes, will affect academic programming and operations in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science. I want to answer some questions that many of you have raised. Thank you for your questions and for your candor.

  • March 16-20. In-person classes, tutorials, labs, etc. are cancelled. All deliverables and assessments including assignments, tests, etc. for that period will be rescheduled or cancelled. Your instructor will be in touch with details. Online classes will continue as scheduled (with no interruption next week).
  • Classes will resume on Monday, March 23 and will be delivered through remote teaching. There will be no further face-to-face undergraduate teaching this term.
  • The change in delivery mode coupled with the one-week suspension of classes means that instructors will likely adjust the syllabus and assessment scheme.
  • Your instructors will communicate with you about the nature of any changes to your courses. This will happen by Friday March 20 at the latest.
  • Accreditation: The changes in academic programming in response to this crisis will not affect the accreditation of our engineering programs. Engineers Canada has recognized the circumstances of the COVID-19 situation, and have affirmed that programs have flexibility in the delivery of courses. In the event that classes and/or lab activities are cancelled due to this unforeseen circumstance, it is not an expectation that the programs will need to justify to future CEAB visiting teams the impact on Accreditation Units counts. See this statement from Engineers Canada (PDF)
  • Exams: It is likely that alternative forms of assessment will be used in place of on-campus in-person exams – we will update you as soon as we are able on any changes to delivery format.
  • Graduate classes for our MSc, MEng, and PhD students will continue without interruption. Any changes in mode of delivery will be communicated directly by the instructors.
  • Research efforts will continue. Please refer to the message sent from VPR Office for specific information regarding research studies
  • The University and the University buildings will remain open (subject to any further updates at a later time). Facilities such as libraries, the ARC, Health Services/Student Wellness Services, will all also remain open. The ILC will be open Monday-Friday 7:30 am-5:30 pm subject to change.
  • Engineering students still have access to resources and space including prototyping and fabrication spaces. Instructors will provide guidance about course and capstone projects. The ILC shop will be open during building hours.
  • You have access to almost all software for courses, work and special projects through our AppsAnywhere service that will allow you to work remotely. Our IT team are available to help anyone access these platforms remotely.
  • Managers and Heads will be flexible in supporting alternate work arrangement requests due to isolation measures or public school and childcare closures. All staff are asked to contact their managers if there are any such needs. More information is available through the University’s Human Resources page.
  • Our IT group has provided information on how to access campus and Engineering services when you are working from home.
  • As always, any students, staff, or faculty with cold and flu symptoms are to stay home and report their absence through the normal channels. Please see information on Public Health guidance for additional reporting at the Coronovirus COVID-19 Information page.
  • All University-sponsored travel outside of Canada has been suspended indefinitely. More information can be found here. This includes all student competition teams, research placements, exchanges, internships and conferences. It also applies to incoming travel by visitors outside of Canada.
  • Exchange Students: Engineering’s Student Services team will work to support our students who are away on exchange.
  • The Provost has made a statement regarding the University’s plan.
  • The University will continue to update the Coronovirus COVID-19 Information page.

In addition to the University’s information page, I would encourage you to continue to monitor the Faculty News Page for any FEAS-Specific updates, as they arise.

We are making decisions in a time of uncertainty, and applying adjustments as necessary. These decisions are aimed at protecting the health and wellness of our community, while at the same time achieving our academic mission. We will update you as things evolve. Please do not hesitate to contact me – I welcome your questions and feedback.

Again, thank you all for your efforts in helping us manage this challenging situation.

Warmest regards,

Kevin J. Deluzio, PhD, PEng, FCAE
Professor and Dean