Eduvation Blog

Winter Term Avalanche

Good morning, and TGIF!

No doubt, many of you have one foot out the door already for the winter break, and I confess I had intended to start MINE 2 weeks ago. (Omicron is frustrating many of our best-laid plans.)

But as promised, I spent most of yesterday reviewing and rating the 200 higher ed holiday greeting videos on my 2021 Holiday Videos master playlist. Then, my plans to publish a curated set of the very best were frustrated, when half a dozen more vids hit the interwebs last night – including some extremely good ones!

So, my holiday video collection is delayed, probably until Monday. Good news for those of you stuck at work next week; bad news for those of you looking for entertainment this afternoon. (You can always play 5 years’ worth of Ten with Ken Holiday Specials, if you need something PSE-related as background for your virtual parties today.)

Meanwhile, there have been some developments since yesterday worth noting…



Cases on Campus

Since yesterday…

McMaster U reported another student case on campus Dec 16.  BacktoMac

uCalgary reported its first confirmed case of Omicron yesterday, as Omicron cases in the province doubled overnight from 60 to 119. The person was on campus and those in the same classroom have been notified. In-person exams are continuing as planned.  CBC  |  Global



Avalanche of Deferrals

With COVID19 cases hitting new heights in Ontario and Quebec, governments reimposing restrictions and urging a return to WFH immediately, there have been early rumblings of another January pivot to remote learning for K-12 students. In the past 3 days, those rumblings have become a full-fledged avalanche of announcements from Ontario colleges and universities…


Online for 1 Week

The earliest announcements conservatively deferred the start of winter term classes by one week, or moved them to online/remote delivery:

McMaster U announced Tuesday that classes would be online for the week of Jan 10-16.

Laurentian U announced Wednesday it would delay the beginning of winter term by one week, from Jan 10 to Jan 17 (as it did last year). It also announced yesterday that exams are moving online as of Sunday. (There was a confirmed exposure in an exam hall on Dec 10.)



Online for 2 Weeks

By Wednesday, other ONpses were announcing 2-week delays for the winter term:

uGuelph announced Wednesday that Winter 2022 courses will begin with 2 weeks of remote delivery, from Jan 10-23, with “limited exceptions.”

Seneca College classes will start as planned on Jan 10, but in-person classes and labs will be delayed until Jan 24.

uWaterloo announced yesterday that classes will be delivered online Jan 5, and continue online until Jan 24, “or as public health conditions allow.” Some clinical and lab-based courses will continue in person.

“We need to stay vigilant and keep doing the things we know limit the spread of COVID… While we remain hopeful that we can get back to in-person experiences, the introduction of the Omicron variant has altered the trajectory of the pandemic. –  Vivek Goel, president, and James Rush, provost, uWaterloo


York U will begin classes virtually on Jan 10, but in-person courses and activities will not start until Jan 24.



Online for January

Other ONpses have announced that classes will be delivered online throughout January – at least!

Brock U will move courses to online delivery until Jan 30

Carleton U will hold its first 3 weeks of winter 2022 classes fully online, from Jan 10-30. “Subject to public health guidance, we anticipate in-person instruction to start Monday January 31.” Exams scheduled Dec 20 onward will also be moved online or rescheduled.

Conestoga College will start classes online until at least Jan 30.

Durham College classes will begin as scheduled Jan 10, “delivered remotely where possible” until at least Jan 28.

Mohawk College plans a “temporary reduction” of in-person learning from Jan 6-30.

Niagara College is implementing “what we expect to be short-term modifications to program delivery” and will shift some program elements to online/remote delivery until Jan 28, “at which time we will reassess” for the remainder of the term.

OCAD U has decided to delay the start of winter term classes until Jan 28, so that they can resume in-person. The winter study break has been cancelled (Feb 22-25) and classes will end Apr 25.

Ontario Tech U will begin Winter term a week late on Jan 17, and classes will remain online until at least Monday Jan 31.

Ryerson U announced yesterday that classes will be held virtually until Jan 30.

St Lawrence College will deliver courses “via alternative delivery except for practical labs and workshops on campus” for “the first few weeks of the semester.”

uOttawa will move most courses completely online until at least Jan 30.

uToronto classes will start virtually on Jan 10, with in-person learning delayed until Jan 31.

Wilfrid Laurier U says in-person classes will not take place until at least Jan 31.



Online until March

Other ONpses have been even more conservative, announcing that classes will be delivered online throughout January and February:

Algonquin College will move the majority of academic programming to primarily virtual/remote delivery as of Jan 10. “We will continually review the need for virtual delivery, but it is expected to continue in this manner until March 7,” the end of mid-term break.

Fanshawe College will delay the start of winter semester classes until Jan 10, and shift “more” classes online. (It is unclear whether that will continue throughout the entire semester or not.)

George Brown College classes will resume Jan 10, using the Fall protocols (all delivered online, except in-person labs, shops, and clinics) until Feb 28. (And that date is “subject to change as circumstances evolve.”) The return to workplace plan has been paused.

Sault College will move most courses to remote learning for the Winter term. Only essential practical classes will occur on-campus. (It sounds like this is the entire term.)

Queen’s U announced yesterday that it will transition most academic activities to remote delivery until the end of reading week, Feb 28, “to align with Ontario’s accelerated booster dose rollout for all individuals aged 18 and over.” (Since Nov 29, there have been nearly 500 cases linked to Queen’s



Outside Ontario

So far, the decision to pivot online in January seems almost universal among Ontario colleges and universities, but CdnPSEs in other provinces may follow suit, depending on their PHO’s guidance…

uWinnipeg has announced it will deliver most classes remotely until Reading Week, Feb 26. The remainder of the Winter term will be evaluated at the end of January.

NSCC says it is “actively reviewing plans for the Winter Term based on updated guidance from Public Health.”




There may be more announcements to come, but I’ve got to draw the line somewhere!

I’ll be back soon with my 2021 Holiday Special round-up.

Meanwhile, stay safe and be well!


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