Eduvation Blog

Plans for Fall 2021

In early 2021, CdnPSE institutions started making a flurry of announcements about plans for program delivery in the Fall 2021 term. They are reproduced here in chronological order, as they appeared in the Eduvation Insider newsletter. (For a colour-coded spreadsheet of CdnPSE announcements, see column AB of our Canadian Data.)


Feb 24, 2021: Optimism for Fall

Many students want the full campus experience, so a key driver of Fall 2021 enrolment will be the nature of program delivery. (There is more reason to be optimistic than ever before, with vaccines rolling out and of course the second wave subsiding with the arrival of spring – but rising variants and uncertainty about their resistance to the vaccine could still sideswipe us.) At this point, it seems reasonable to hope for the best in September, while planning for contingencies…

uAlberta announced yesterday that it plans “to welcome a significantly increased number of our university community members back to our campuses this autumn” and is optimistic that vaccination, masks and social distancing will allow it “to safely offer face-to-face undergraduate and graduate courses, research, and related support services.” UofA expects to continue with a combination of in-person and remote delivery, using “larger spaces for smaller classes.” Course specifics will be determined by Apr 26, and course registration will be delayed until mid-May. “By January 2022, if not sooner, we anticipate being back to our regular campus routines.” The Quad

Concordia U announced yesterday that, although the province has been urging a return to in-class instruction asap, it will maintain online classes this summer, with some exceptions for teaching labs, courses or studio work. “Students can expect more campus access this summer” for optional activities, and there may be in-person final exams in some courses. The Jun 17 convocation will be virtual. A decision for Fall term will be announced in early May.  Montreal Gazette

SAIT announced recently that the majority of Spring/Summer programming will be delivered online, “supported by virtual meeting technology and simulations.” (Updates about Fall 2021 will be posted “as soon as the information becomes available.”)  SAIT

McGill U announced yesterday “that McGill will return to in-person teaching beginning in Fall 2021. While some components of courses will harness the pedagogical benefits of online teaching, students and teaching staff should plan for a return to more regular rhythms of on-campus academic activity by September.” Student residences will be open, and the first-year housing guarantee will return. Admin and support staff will progressively return to campus, “with the goal of achieving a regular presence” by Sept.  McGill


CdnPSE Announcements to Date

I may have missed a few, but as you know I’ve been sharing CdnPSE announcements about Fall 2021 as they are made public, and keeping track of the wording in my master spreadsheet. So far, many institutions have indicated it is still too early to tell (which is true), but 5 are planning for blended delivery or a gradual return to campus this Fall (Algonquin, RRC, Ryerson, Toronto, Windsor). These announcements came earliest from cities like Toronto, Ottawa and Winnipeg in the midst of lockdown at the time. Another 9 universities have announced an intention to more fully return to campus (Alberta, Brock, Dalhousie, Laurier, McGill, McMaster, Redeemer, Trent, and York). In the spreadsheet, you’ll see these schools marked in green in column “AB.”

On the other hand, there is some remarkable caution in the K-12 sector…

Calgary Catholic School District says online learning will continue to be an option for families in the 2021-22 school year. It has 6,000 elementary students registered in its K-9 online school, St Isidore, and 1,500 registered for online high school. “What we’re doing is forward thinking here. We know that the vaccine is getting rolled out, but the vaccine has not been approved for students or children under 16 at this point in time.” So far, 3,400 out of 18,130 students (19%) have moved back to in-person learning this spring. Parents must make their decision for Fall by the end of March.  CBC

Ottawa Catholic School Board has announced the creation of 3 “permanent” virtual schools for September, to include virtual extracurricular and sporting activities. Although Ontario is planning for in-person schooling this Fall, the OCSB says “a small number of students learn best in the online environment.” Interested families must sign up by Feb 25.  Ottawa Citizen

American K-12 schools are still planning for the possibility of more remote learning this Fall. Joe Biden has made reopening schools a priority, but vaccines are not yet available to most teachers and may not be available for young children until late spring or early summer. In the long term, some expect to see an “all-remote option” for students.  ABC News

“There’s going to be some element of the genie not being able to be put back in the bottle. I think that there now will always be a group of families who want a virtual option… We know we’re able to, but are we willing to do it?”Brian Woods, Superintendent, Northside Independent School District, Texas


To sum up: Hopefully CdnPSE will be back “in the pink” by getting back to campus, at least in part, by September. (We should also be ready for hybrid/flexible means of delivery, should the worst case scenario arise with COVID19 variants.) But for fall international recruitment, and hence institutional finances, to be back in the pink too, we need to sort out visa processing times right away, communicate clearly about quarantine protocols and vaccination progress, and ensure we’re offering students meaningful work-integrated learning opportunities.

Feb 26 2021: Fall Plans (Postscript)

In the past few days there’s been a deluge of CdnPSE announcements about plans for Summer and Fall 2021 (see my master spreadsheet for more details.)

Algonquin College announced yesterday that it will “extend the cancellation of all on-campus events until August 31, 2021” (or will deliver Spring term courses online).  AC

Aurora College (NWT) announced earlier this month that it is planning to offer “most programs and courses” F2F for the 2021-22 academic year, starting this Fall, but will “continue to offer enhanced programming by distance” for some programs and courses.  Aurora

Ontario Tech announced Wednesday that “plans are underway to offer courses on campus that have experiential components” this Fall, as well as small tutorials or graduate seminars, where PHO permits, but “we expect to continue holding most medium to large classes in a virtual format.” ONTech

uOttawa announced Wednesday that “planning has started for a revitalized campus experience for the Fall 2021 term.” They have “an ambitious plan to provide a full, enriching on-campus experience with an increase in in-person and hybrid learning formats.” Students will be offered “increased residence options and greater access to many on-campus co-curricular, community and wellness activities.” “Every effort will be made to accommodate students who do not or cannot attend in person to continue their programs at distance.”  uOttawa

UPEI says it is planning a return to a “more normal” academic experience this Fall. Some online options will continue, but with as much F2F as possible. A survey of UPEI students found significant mental health and academic challenges during emergency remote instruction. (Summer session will remain largely online.)  CBC


Mar 11, 2021: Fall Plans (Part 3)

I knew I would eventually come to regret listing all of these as they came along, but I certainly didn’t expect 50+ announcements within 3 days! Here is the latest crop, largely from Alberta…

Coast Mountain College is “planning for enhanced fall programming” and a “revitalized campus experience for the Fall 2021 term,” with “an increase in in-person and hybrid learning formats.” Every effort will be made to accommodate students who cannot or do not wish to attend in person.  CMTN

Concordia U of Edmonton president Tim Loreman says in this 5-min video that CUE “is going to try to be back on campus as much as we possibly can,” and that “it may even be a full return to campus.” “It will not be online as it has been.”  YouTube

Fanshawe College “plans to expand F2F instruction and return to more of its vibrant on-campus student experiences” for Fall. “More small classes, labs and practical instruction will again be offered in person, with appropriate safety protocols in place.” Fanshawe is again offering a “student experience guarantee” this fall, allowing students to “try Fanshawe for 10 days risk free.”  Fanshawe

Lethbridge College president Paula Burns says in a 1.5-min video that “we’re looking forward to welcoming even more [students] back to campus this fall, for safe interactive learning experiences.” “We’re ready for fall.”  YouTube

uLethbridge is finalizing details on a “significantly expanded personal experience” for Fall, including among “many options” a full reopening of campus. (All adult Albertans have been promised the opportunity for a vaccine shot by Jun 30.) “Regardless of whether we are able to fully reopen or not, we are planning to have many more in-person experiences for our students this fall. For that reason, we are encouraging our students to make plans to be in Lethbridge for September 2021.” Residences will more than double their occupancy from last year.  UL

Mount Royal U is planning to welcome students back to campus in September. President Tim Rahilly says “It’s our intention to be back as face-to-face as we can be.” Calgary Herald

Okanagan College president Allan Coyle is “looking forward to a more normal year ahead,” although exactly what that will look like is still being worked out.  Global


The flurry of optimistic announcements this week is unprecedented throughout this pandemic – even last spring, when I predicted many of the plans would have to be changed, they were nonetheless announced across many weeks. This time around, in just a few days, 70% of BC institutions in my list have now announced, along with 33% in Alberta, 38% in Ontario, 66% in New Brunswick, and 70% in Nova Scotia. Other provinces and territories have either just one, or no announcements so far. (See a colour-coded summary in my master spreadsheet, column AB.)


Mar 16, 2021: Fall Plans (Part 4)

If you’ve been paying attention, you will notice that virtually every CdnPSE is promising “increased” on-campus instruction in September, and “hoping” for a return to full in-person activities. (See my master spreadsheet for colour-coded announcements.) While BC expects to have all young adults vaccinated by July, other parts of Canada may be waiting until late September or October – making certainty a challenge at this point. McMaster U, one of Canada’s leading medical institutions, has a reassuringly cautious position on the matter…

Algonquin College president Claude Brulé wrote last week that, “with vaccination rollouts, we remain optimistic and hopeful for increased face-to-face teaching delivery options” this fall. Ultimately that will be subject to PHO decisions.  Algonquin

Capilano U is “planning for maximum in-person classes and activities at our campuses and learning locations in September,” following PHO Bonnie Henry’s direction last week.  North Shore News

Conestoga College already has ~5,500 students learning in-person on campus, and president John Tibbits says that for September, “the question is not whether the college will be open or not, it’s a question of how far, how much further we can go.” He does not think the college will be completely open by Fall, and thinks recent PSE announcements have been “too optimistic and focused on marketing.”  CBC

Holland College (PEI) is promising full-time on-campus classes for all students this fall, although class sizes will be smaller and masks will still be required indoors. Students and faculty will be divided into cohorts of up to 50, and scheduled to minimize interaction between cohorts. Some blended learning will be provided too.  CBC

Loyalist College “is planning for a safe return to campus and in-person learning” this fall, writes president Ann Marie Vaughan – although “we will be prepared to shift once again to multiple forms of delivery upon the advice of HPE Public Health.”  Loyalist

McMaster U has “tremendous optimism” that vaccines will allow a return to campus classrooms and residences this fall, but recognizes that the pandemic is “a dynamic situation,” and although other institutions have been making announcements, “we don’t want to overpromise on a bunch of items that we think we can’t deliver on.” A decision will be made in April, but “realistically we’re looking at a blended environment.”  Hamilton Spectator

Mohawk College president Ron McKerlie is “hopeful” for more F2F learning this fall, but “we expect there will still be some restrictions in place that will limit our on-campus activities.” Plans will be announced by Mar 31.  Hamilton Spectator

North Island College is preparing for “more in-person learning on campus” this September, as recommended by PHO Bonnie Henry. NIC will deliver programs “on campus, digitally and a blend of both on campus and digital learning.”  Education News Canada

Redeemer U plans to continue offering courses through “dual delivery” this fall, allowing students to participate in the classroom and synchronously online.  Hamilton Spectator

uWaterloo is still developing a plan for Fall 2021. Associate Provost Chris Read says, “the planning is certainly underway, but we haven’t committed to any specific direction yet. The message that we’re hearing loud and clear is that the vast majority of [students] are looking forward to getting back on campus, in-person, so they can have that community and their peers, and that face-to-face interaction that’s so important in the learning environment.”  CBC


March 19, 2021: Fall Plans (Part 5)

Collective optimism is gaining real momentum in CdnPSE for a return to on-campus instruction in September, fuelled by the promise of herd immunity and the confidence that comes from herd decision-making. (Announcements come easier when dozens of comparators have already done so, or when PHOs encourage it.) I’ve assembled all the Fall 2021 announcements since Feb 24 on a single page here, if you want to check something out easily. Here are the latest…

Alberta’s Minister of Advanced Education, Demetrios Nicolaides, announced yesterday that he encourages Alberta PSEs “to prepare for a full return to on-campus learning this September.” (Note that the announcement is coming from Alberta’s AvEd minister, not the PHO.) The province’s immunization program plans to offer a shot to every adult Albertan by Jun 30.  CBC

Assiniboine Community College is “planning to offer as much on-campus activity as safely as possible” this Fall.  CBC

Brandon U is currently planning for the Fall term, and all options are being considered. “The goal is to announce a course of action that doesn’t require any backtracking.”  CBC

Lakeland College is “preparing to welcome students back to campus” this Fall, “if it is safe to do so.” >90% of Lakeland students participated in F2F learning over the past year, and Lakeland was 1 of only 2 Alberta colleges to offer full-time F2F trades training.  Education News Canada

uManitoba president Michael Benarroch announced Wednesday that UM is planning a “phased-in reopening of its campus to students and staff” starting this Fall, in anticipation of a “full return” to F2F in early 2022. Classes with a maximum of 20 students can proceed with in-person instruction, while large lectures will continue with remote delivery. Departments can begin planning for up to 40% of staff to return to campus over the summer.  Winnipeg Free Press


“Our past experience has taught us that we need to remain cautious. The situation can change quickly, but this is what we believe is safe based on what we know right now.” Michael Benarroch, president, uManitoba


Mount Allison U president Jean-Paul Boudreau wrote yesterday that the MtA community should celebrate a successful academic year, with just 2 cases of COVID19 despite bringing 75% of the total student population to Sackville. The promise of “expedient vaccination” and the return of the “Atlantic bubble” next month allows “the opportunity to begin planning for an orderly and safe return to campus for the majority of University operations, staff members, and students, this summer.” For Fall 2021, MtA will provide “as much on-campus academic programming as possible.”  MtA

Niagara College announced yesterday a “significant increase in on-campus learning” for September. “The college is reviewing programs for increased on-campus classes and labs, focused on safety, academic quality and student experience.” Throughout the Fall 2020 and Winter 2021 terms, almost half of NC students have experienced some degree of F2F learning. Specifics for each program will be provided in early May.  NC

Royal Roads U announced yesterday that it is “planning for a return to on-campus programming starting in September 2021.”  RRU

uSaskatchewan vice-provost of teaching and learning, Patti McDougall, told the UofS Council (essentially the academic senate) yesterday that the Fall 2021 term is expected to be a “transitional period” prior to a more normal Winter 2022 term. “It’s an understatement for me to say this is a changing landscape.”  Saskatoon Star-Phoenix

uWaterloo has now announced that they have started planning for “significantly expanded in-person” instruction this Fall. (Just a week ago, UW said they had not committed to any specific plans as yet.) “Many of us will be returning to campus life this year as we all can play a role in creating a dynamic and responsive environment for our students.”  UW


“The recent news of an increase in the number of vaccines across Canada is giving us reason for new hope… We are optimistic that on-campus activity can happen in person with a staged and strategic return to campus. Above all, our plan will be flexible so we can tackle unexpected challenges.”Feridun Hamdullahpur, president, uWaterloo



March 22, 2021: Fall Plans (Part 6)

More and more CdnPSEs are jumping on the bandwagon with relatively optimistic announcements of “increased” in-person delivery starting in September. There’s been a steady stream over the past month. Since Friday, there have been 6 more, particularly in Alberta in response to the minister’s encouragement…

Bishop’s U president Michael Goldbloom emailed the campus community on Friday to announce senate’s recommendation for a return to campus for 2021-22. Bishop’s is planning “for a full return to on-campus teaching and learning,” although programs may offer up to 20% of their courses online or hybrid, “to ensure that international students who are not able to secure a study permit” can begin or continue their studies.

U Canada West is “thrilled to announce that we are preparing for a full return to on-campus learning for the Fall 2021 term.”  Twitter

MacEwan U’s provost wrote Friday that “we will be able to make greater use of our facilities this Fall,” subject to PHO guidelines, “to maximize every opportunity to bring you back to campus for face-to-face activities.” Currently MacEwan is timetabling courses for F2F classroom delivery, but “we will be able to seamlessly move between face-to-face and online delivery of classes,” and “many online modules of our courses will remain central to our instructional activities.”  MacEwan

NAIT’s provost responded to the government’s message last week by clarifying that NAIT “will reintroduce in-person classroom learning and services for students this fall as health guidelines allow,” while also considering its “strategic direction” and the need for “individual approaches.” She emphasizes that NAIT has been working “to understand how hands-on, physical approaches can work together with engaging virtual approaches as we innovate for the future.”  NAIT

“NAIT has been offering in-person instruction in shops and labs throughout the pandemic, and we are heartened by the Minister’s acknowledgement of the value of individual approaches. This is critical for NAIT given the work we’re doing to understand how hands-on, physical approaches can work together with engaging virtual approaches as we innovate for the future.”Sue Fitzsimmons, VP Academic & Provost, NAIT


Portage College is “planning to be back on campus as much as possible in Fall 2021,” and hopes that “vaccinations will allow us to be at full capacity” – but asks students “to remain patient” as plans are finalized.  Portage

Ryerson U president Mohamed Lachemi wrote last Thursday that “we are continuing to actively plan for a number of scenarios for the 2021-22 academic year, including in-person, virtual and hybrid approaches. While many details continue to evolve, at this time the university is optimistic that we will be able to safely open our campus to some degree in the fall,” and that “on-campus activities will return to normal at Ryerson for our winter term in January 2022.” Ryerson’s goal is to provide a “thorough update” by Jun 9.  RU


Mar 23, 2021: More Plans for Fall

CdnPSE has been announcing upbeat plans for Fall 2021 over the past month. (See the complete summary on a single page here.) Since yesterday there have been 5 more:

uGuelph interim provost Gwen Chapman announced yesterday that they are “planning for flexibility” because the COVID19 landscape “remains dynamic and ever-changing.” Vaccination progress and PHO advice “give us confidence that we can plan for a vibrant on-campus experience in the fall. We are planning to offer as many face-to-face classes, labs and other student experiences as possible.” Some faculty will likely “leverage remote technologies and learning approaches that have proven effective” for blended and hybrid delivery.  uGuelph

McGill U was among the first in Canada to announce an intention to return to on-campus learning this Fall, way back on Feb 23. Yesterday they clarified that the Quebec government expects “all students” to be on campus this fall (since high-risk individuals will be vaccinated long before that), and that McGill “does not plan on implementing a hybrid model.” Details of their working scenarios, presented at a Mar 12 town hall, include 2 “realistic” scenarios with teaching “mainly on-campus” (except classes >150), with or without 1m distancing, but with mandatory masks indoors. “Flex spaces” are planned on campus, to permit students to participate in noisy video calls.  McGill Daily

St Lawrence College confirmed yesterday its “intention to be primarily F2F for program delivery and to restore in-person campus services where possible for September.” The decision is dependent upon physical distancing requirements.  SLC

“I am thrilled at the prospect of seeing more of our students and employees back on campus… This is not a time for ‘we’ve always done it this way,’ but rather an opportunity to innovate where possible, to continue helping our students achieve their academic goals.”Glenn Vollebregt, President & CEO, St Lawrence College


St Thomas U president Dawn Russell announced yesterday that “we are seeing positive signs indicating the possibility of a more traditional return to campus in September,” such as the reopening of the Atlantic Bubble and a return to high school classes in NB in April, and the province’s goal to vaccinate every New Brunswicker by the end of June. “Students should expect to return to campus unless something significant changes with Public Health’s direction and guidelines.” Planning is nonetheless considering a range of options.  STU

SAIT’s VP academic, Brad Donaldson, announced yesterday that a working group is considering various scenarios for Fall, but “with great optimism” they hope to have more students on campus and to see an increase in on-campus activities. He adds that innovative teaching approaches “are helping guide new ways of delivering programs.”  SAIT

“The world of work you are entering has changed in ways we couldn’t have foreseen even a year ago, and it’s our commitment that your SAIT education will prepare you for what the future holds. We are focused on moving forward and finding new ways for you to learn and grow — ensuring all our students are career-ready.”Brad Donaldson, VP Academic, SAIT


And if the 70-odd announcements from CdnPSE I’ve tracked so far aren’t enough to persuade you, but you’re waiting for bigger guns to make the call…

Harvard announced yesterday it will reopen campus to all faculty, staff and researchers on Aug 2, and the Faculty of Arts and Sciences expects a “full return to campus,” a return to in-person learning and full-density in campus housing. “Though final decisions will not be available until late May.”


Mar 25, 2021: Plans for a Vaccinated Fall

Higher ed has been continuing to make optimistic announcements about their plans for the Fall 2021 term. (Check out all of them on a single page here.) Some of the latest in Alberta and Ontario include…

Concordia U of Edmonton is planning “a significant return to campus this fall” and “a near full return to in-person learning experiences.” However, CUE “may also be in a position to continue to offer some virtual programming and services this fall.”  CUE

Keyano College “aims” to offer in-person instruction in September, since “the path to every adult Albertan receiving their first dose of COVID19 vaccine by the end of June is likely.” (Alberta’s minister of advanced ed is encouraging institutions to prepare for a “full return to in-person instruction” this fall.) Keyano will continue to offer virtual online options for students.  Education News Canada

Ontario Tech clarified yesterday that it is planning the majority of courses on-campus for Fall term, including small and medium-sized classes, tutorials, labs and experiential learning activities. “Larger lectures will likely still have to be held online… We expect to provide options for remote and online learning where possible.”  OnTech

uWindsor announced this week that it has formed an “Action Group on Fall Return,” advisory and implementation teams, “to plan toward a goal of maximizing opportunities for students to have on-campus experiences in the fall.”  uWindsor Daily News


Mar 30, 2021: Fall Plans

Higher ed has been continuing to make optimistic announcements about their plans for the Fall 2021 term. (Check out all of them on a single page here.) Some of the latest include…

Carleton U’s scenario planning working group presented draft guidelines for the Fall term at Senate last week, including “a significant proportion” of seminars, labs, and smaller classes delivered F2F, “while also ensuring the availability of online options to provide flexibility.” The university will optimize ventilation, PPE, cleaning, signage, and traffic flow to prioritize health and safety.  Carleton

Centennial College announced yesterday that it is “actively planning for the safe and measured re-opening of our campuses,” and will communicate plans no later than Jun 1. “The vaccine roll-out in Ontario is cause for optimism… We are also mindful that there is considerable uncertainty about the months ahead.”  Centennial

Confederation College president Kathleen Lynch announced yesterday that they “are pleased to announce our intentions to return to an in-person on-campus learning experience in greater numbers across all of our campuses.” Confederation is working towards expansion of F2F learning for all programs “on a phased in or rotational basis (including theory-based learning),” and reintroduction of on-campus student services, food services and recreational activities.  Confed

“We look forward to returning to a more robust campus life for everyone in our College community, while maintaining our rich, interactive and engaging learning experience for students. We also excitedly await the opportunity to make new memories together on campus in the 2021/22 academic year!”Kathleen Lynch, President, Confederation College


McMaster U provost Susan Tighe provided a “mid-planning update” on Friday, explaining that “it is our aim that students will be able to come to campus regularly,” and that “we will be greatly increasing the number of on-campus classes,” PHO restrictions permitting. (This seems somewhat more optimistic than the “blended scenario” described mid-March.) Residences will be open, and more details about capacity will be known in early May. “We are also carefully considering the needs of our international students and are keeping a close eye on visa processing times and other Canadian entry requirements.”  McMaster

Memorial U provost pro tem Mark Abrahams announced Friday that we “expect to be on campus and in-person for university activities in September.” Detailed planning is ongoing, but “new and current students should make plans to be on our campuses for their university experiences this fall, unless all of the courses they are registered for are offered online.” PHO requirements could include masks and physical distancing.  MUN Gazette

Yale U shared yesterday “a preliminary sense of what to expect” this Fall, assuming that “a significant percentage of our faculty, students, and staff will be vaccinated by the end of summer.” Yale is “cautiously optimistic that we will have a full residential program for our undergraduates if public health conditions permit,” with masks and asymptomatic testing required, and some limits on lecture size. Yale “expects” faculty to conduct their classes primarily in person, although “a brief period of remote instruction also may be necessary at the beginning of the semester.” (Yale is also “preparing contingency plans in case of a further wave of COVID19.”)  Yale

York U introduced a new “Transitional Remote Work Policy” yesterday, “with a goal to create more flexibility for staff, stronger engagement, satisfaction and productivity in daily work, both now and into the future.” York will review the policy “over the next year to determine if an ongoing policy is the right approach for York as an employer of choice.” Managers will contact all staff in April and May, consider requests individually, and communicate decisions by Jun 30.  York


Apr 7, 2021: Fall Plans

Despite challenging pandemic conditions in the near term, CdnPSE is continuing to make optimistic announcements for Fall 2021. (Check out all of them on a single page here.)  Since last time…

Algoma U is targeting a “fairly active” return to all 3 campus this fall, if Canadians get vaccinated on schedule. “Algoma’s students can expect a gradual return to campus with a mix of online, in-class and blended instruction to start the 2021-2022 academic year.”  Sault Star

Mohawk College announced last Wednesday it “is confident that we will be bringing more students and employees back to campus for classes and labs, and other on-campus activities this September.” Despite the fact that Hamilton re-entered lockdown last week, fall plans “are not based on where we are today, but where we think we will be.” Mohawk notes that “any decision regarding mandatory vaccination would be made by the province.”  Mohawk

Northern College announced “a tentative return to a new normal” for Fall, on Apr 1. Northern “intends to welcome students back to a traditional learning environment as much as possible, utilizing high flex options, modernized by the lessons learned from this unprecedented pandemic, barring any unforeseen changes in the pandemic situation between now and September.” Student satisfaction over the past year has remained “in the high 90th percentile.”  Northern

Queen’s U principal Patrick Deane announced yesterday that “the university is planning for a resumption of in-person activity in September.” Although much remains unknown, the administration is hopeful that “most of the restrictions will be lifted” by September, and that daily operations will be “much closer to what prevailed prior to the pandemic.” Current plans “includes flexibility for staff with a gradual return.”  Queen’s Gazette

Sault College anticipates a return to on-campus activity at its Sault Ste Marie, Toronto and Brampton campuses this fall, but remote delivery will continue if COVID19 conditions remain the same or similar to now.  Sault

“We understand the need for social connection and the shared learning that occurs when we have face to face activities and shared experiences. We have also gained a much better appreciation of some of the advantages of working remotely. Simply put, we will put together the best of both worlds going forward when COVID19 is finally under control.”Ron Common, president, Sault College


April 19, 2021: Fall Plans

Since my last summary Apr 7, another 10 CdnPSEs have made announcements about plans for the Fall 2021 term, and the province of New Brunswick has announced its expectations. (I am rounding up all of them on a single page here.) 

Brock U provost Lynn Wells announced Apr 7 that, “with the promise of near-universal immunization over the next few months… we plan to be ready to return to campus in the Fall.” However, she emphasizes that “academic planning is rightly within the purview of academic departments and Faculties,” and that “the subject matter experts are best positioned to rule on matters of scheduling and mode of delivery.”  Brock News

Dalhousie U president Deep Saini announced last week that “we have reason to be hopeful” since NS vaccine timelines have partial vaccination available for everyone 16+ by the end of June, and full vaccination by the end of September. “Our goal is to safely open our campuses to students, faculty and staff this fall.” “Almost all” classes will be held in person, “including our larger classes.” Residences and dining halls will be open “at much greater capacity.” A phased return to campus for faculty and staff will begin in June.  Dal

“As we begin to bring our incredible Dal community back together again, I hope we don’t just pick up where we left off — but that we take what we’ve learned about ourselves and each other this year and build an even stronger Dal community for the future.”Deep Saini, president, Dalhousie U


Durham College plans to offer in-person experiences as much as possible this Fall, with courses offered as in-person, remote, or hybrid. This 3-min video includes examples of what online and blended courses might be like in robotics, etc.  YouTube

Fleming College announced last week that they are “working on plans for flexible learning options that will include online and face-to-face options for selected programs” this fall. More detailed plans will follow by Jun 1.  Fleming

U King’s College announced last week that they plan to resume in-person classes this September, including physical distancing and modified classroom capacities, and some meetings online. “The good news is that teaching and learning, and our communal life in general, will once again be largely in person this fall.” King’s will still offer an online option for some classes.  UKC

Memorial U announced Friday that NL’s vaccine rollout plan anticipates that all eligible members of the community will have access to a first dose by July. MUN anticipates a “full return” of students in Sept, and therefore advises employees to plan for “a return to working on campus in between June and August.”  MUN Gazette

“At this point we are in a race between COVID19 (and variants) and the vaccine, and we are nearing the end. The only way to return to some level of normalcy is through vaccinations… However, it is important to recognize that we will most likely be living with COVID and public health restrictions until 2022.”Greg McDougall, chief risk officer, Memorial U


Mount Royal U president Tim Rahilly reassured the community back on Apr 9 that, despite recent increases in the pandemic and setbacks in AB’s reopening, MRU “must continue to plan as if we are returning to campus in the fall, but be ready to adapt to whatever situation and restrictions are in place at that time.”  YouTube

uRegina is planning a “transitional semester” this Fall, with “thousands” of students returning to F2F classes, but remote learning continuing to play a large role. Computer labs, library and sports facilities will reopen, and food services resume. Much will hinge on student demand, and currently remote learning spaces are filling faster than in-person ones, even for Kinesiology. “A full return” is expected for January 2022.  Regina Leader-Post

“I like the notion of a transition because it allows us to reacquaint ourselves with other people in a gathering. It’ll be a psychological shift to gather people back together again.”David Gregory, provost, uRegina


Trent U president Leo Groarke says Trent is “planning for a full return to in-person learning” this Fall, and is “confident this fall will look much more ‘normal’ than the past year.” Many courses in some programs will continue to be available online.  Trent

Wilfrid Laurier U president Deb MacLatchy announced on Apr 9 that “we are approaching the fall with cautious optimism” with an “overall objective… to increase our on-campus presence in support of in-person teaching, learning, research and students experience.” WLU will be “transitioning to more in-person activity” this fall, with a goal “to return to regular operations with minimal restrictions by winter term in 2022.” WLU will begin issuing weekly “what you need to know for fall” updates starting in May.  WLU


Expectations for Fall in NB

On Apr 7, New Brunswick’s CMOH Jennifer Russell announced that she is “optimistic” that PSE “will be able to offer on-campus instruction safely and successfully during the 2021-22 academic year,” since all adults in the province should have access to a first dose of vaccine by early summer. PSE Minister Trevor Holder added that colleges and universities are independent of government and will make their own decisions on when to resume in-person learning.  CBC

UNB told students they “can anticipate that the majority of classes offered in Fall 2021 will have an in-person component,” and it recommends they prepare to be on campus in September. The NB Student Alliance is urging institutions to be flexible, in order to accommodate students who may not be able or willing to fully return to campus all at once.  Global



April 26, 2021: More Fall Plans

I observed Friday that we’ve seen some CdnPSEs backpedalling a bit on their plans for Fall 2021, or at least couching plans in contingency and speaking of a “transitional term.” (I’m sure it was just a coincidence that many institutions issued reassuring announcements Friday as well.)  Since my last summary a week ago on Apr 19, another 7 CdnPSEs have made announcements about plans for the Fall 2021 term. (I am rounding up all of them on a single page here.) 

Brescia UC announced Friday that, “in anticipation of our region and country recovering from the COVID19 pandemic as vaccines become more accessible, Brescia is planning to return to a majority of in-person learning on campus and resume in-person support services and activities this fall,” of course “pending public health guidelines.” Specifically, this will mean “80% in-person” and “20% virtual learning,” even if restrictions require “a potential cohort model with some livestream technology.” Brescia will offer “a full suite of year 1 courses online,” in case travel restrictions affect international or domestic students. Residence will open “at full capacity.”  Brescia

“We know that we cannot predict exactly what the future holds… While we remain hopeful for a strong return to campus this fall, it is important for us to continue to be realistic and modify our plans as needed.” Cheryl Jensen, interim principal, Brescia UC


UNB-Saint John is still confidently saying it “will return to in-person teaching this fall” (according to correspondence shared with me), and although “some courses” will continue to use virtual or hybrid delivery, “students are expected to be on campus.”

UNB overall sounds more like the CdnPSE mainstream, indicating “we will be expanding our in-person activities and face-to-face experiences,” and are “anticipating that Fall 2021 will bear more resemblance to a traditional UNB experience,” but with the qualification: “we cannot make a definitive commitment to resuming all campus activities as prior to the pandemic.” Still, UNB asserts that “our planning for Fall 2021 is not dependent on the vaccine rollout” because it has “strong health and safety measures in place.”  UNB

“The unpredictability of COVID19 will require a creative, flexible and collaborative approach on the part of the University, students, faculty and staff in the months ahead. We will be living with COVID19 and the public health measures used to minimize its risks for some time to come.”Paul Mazerolle, president, UNB


Saint Mary’s U (Halifax) has announced “a complete and vibrant on-campus experience with in-person classes in the fall.” Residences, dining, libraries and athletics will reopen, although there may be “some changes” in space utilization, schedule and gathering sizes. Some grad programs will be fully designed for online delivery, and students unable to attend classes on campus will have flexible options.  SMU

Seneca College is “optimistic that we can continue to open more spaces and provide more students with an on-campus experience, inside and outside the classroom.” Programs will be delivered in 4 colour-coded formats: online (synchronous or asynchronous), hybrid, in-person, or a new “flexible” mode using “innovative learning spaces” (which sounds like Hyflex). Of course, “all program delivery decisions are subject to the changing circumstances of the pandemic and will be made with the guidance of government and public health authorities.” Student services and resources “will remain online.”  Inside Seneca

Sheridan College clarified Friday that, “in light of the promising developments around vaccine rollout and the government’s plan to offer every adult a vaccine by the end of the summer, Sheridan is actively planning for much more on-campus activity in the Fall 2021 term.” Academic and student support teams are “building additional flexibility” into plans, with “more options for residence, more in-class hands-on learning, and more on-campus community, wellness, research and co-curricular activities” – but also with “flexible, hybrid learning options” throughout the academic year. Fall program delivery modes will be announced by Jun 4.  Sheridan

Vancouver Island U is “planning for a safe return to on-campus instruction” this Fall, based on Bonnie Henry’s advice of Mar 8. VIU’s timetable will be published today, with specifics of the delivery mode for each course, in 1 of 5 ways: in-person, blended synchronous, blended asynchronous, online synchronous, or online asynchronous.  VIU


May 10, 2021: Flexible Fall Plans

Broadway theatres may be eagerly planning to reopen Sept 14 (potentially demanding proof of vaccination), but CdnPSE is still cautious, not wanting to overpromise. As the pandemic has worn on, CdnPSE decisions have been increasingly coordinated at the provincial level, and lately provinces have been making declarations on their behalf…


BC “Primed” for Campus

Following PHO Bonnie Henry’s advice of Mar 8 to “plan for a full return to in-person activities in September,” there was a flurry of announcements from BCpses. Following the release of a more detailed “Primer” last week, more announcements have begun…

BC PSEs and the Ministry of Advanced Ed released an 11-page COVID19 Return-to-Campus Primer on Apr 30, to provide high-level planning guidance before the Go-Forward Guidelines for the sector are released (to be effective Aug 1). The Primer emphasizes “adaptability as conditions change,” but anticipates that “physical distancing will not be required” in PSE classrooms, with “no limits” on class size, and student housing can plan on near-full capacity – although masks, daily self-assessments, traffic management efforts, hygiene and cleaning protocols will have to continue. Social activities, athletics facilities and extracurriculars are subject to local PHO orders, but “educational activities” (defined by the institution) are not. Faculty and staff requests to WFH for medical reasons should be considered carefully.  BC Gov’t

uVic will release its full class schedule later this month, but is reportedly planning to deliver courses “predominantly in-person.” Larger first-year courses (100+) will offer one online section, as will courses with 50+ international students. Instructors can request a family or medical accommodation to deliver their classes online, or can offer to teach in hyflex mode.  The Martlet


“Bullish” in Alberta

Back on Mar 18, Alberta’s Minister of Advanced Ed said that the government “expected” in-person classes to resume at PSE this fall, and encouraged all institutions “to prepare for a full return to on-campus learning this September.” Since then, ABpses have tried to sound more optimistic, but they have been much more cautious than Jason Kenney’s government – and of course, the recent surge of cases has proven them right…

uAlberta released its Fall 2021 course schedule 2 weeks ago (just after my last round-up appeared), with offerings “in-person” or “online.” Overall, 80% of courses are planned for F2F delivery, “to provide options for our students.” Campus activities will resume gradually as PHO restrictions are lifted. “Students, faculty and staff should be prepared to be on campus this fall.”  The Quad

NAIT announced a day later that it is planning “for additional in-person learning and services” this Fall, “as provincial guidelines allow,” but cautions that “we don’t currently know what health guidelines will be in place.” NAIT is working to “safely increase on-campus attendance to manageable levels, while also innovating our education and services to find a blend of virtual and in-person that meets the needs of students.” A recent survey of NAIT students found that 24% preferred online learning, and 45% preferred a blend of virtual and in-person learning.  NAIT


“Transitional Term” in SK

Last week a series of announcements in Saskatchewan explicitly referenced PSE coordination and used pretty similar language…

uRegina is planning for a “staged reopening” of campus this fall, welcoming back as many people as is safe “with increased options for in-person teaching and learning.” The Fall semester “will be as a transitional one” with “near-normal operations” in Winter 2022. Masking, sanitizing, physical distancing and other precautions will continue.  uRegina

Saskatchewan Polytechnic announced, “in collaboration with the Ministry of Advanced Education and all Saskatchewan post-secondary institutions,” that it would be “safely reopening campus to more students and employees” this Fall. Programs listed as on-campus “will be primarily but not necessarily fully on campus.”  SKPoly

uSaskatchewan continues to plan “for a more open Fall term,” despite high COVID19 rates in the region at the moment. “Many programs, classes and labs” will return to F2F delivery, “much more than we had in this past term,” but Fall 2021 will be “transitional.” “We will likely not complete our full transition out of pandemic operations until at least January 2022.” Student services, dining and residences will be “more fully opened” on campus, “following strict health and safety measures.” Staff will continue to work remotely when possible to reduce campus density.  uSask

“While we are closer to the end of the pandemic than the beginning, we are not through with COVID19 yet, nor it with us.”Peter Stoicheff, president, uSaskatchewan


Cautious Optimism in ON

ONpse announcements have been trickling out for weeks, with quite different language but pretty similar meaning…

Canadore College released its Academic Delivery Plan for Fall 2021 and Winter 2022 last week, “looking forward to the Fall… with reserved optimism.” Canadore hopes to “transition to more in-person learning and service delivery as soon as public health and government guidelines allow.” Currently it plans to begin the Fall semester with a hybrid model “where necessary and safely feasible,” with courses delivered in “remote,” “partial remote,” or “no remote” format.  Canadore

Carleton U’s Scenario Planning working group (CUSP) has delivered its final report with recommendations for Fall 2021, confirmed by Senate on Apr 30. Carleton is “preparing for a safe and gradual return to campus” with a “significant proportion” of F2F courses, particularly “seminars, labs, experiential learning and smaller classes.” The projection now is for a “significant return to on-campus activity” this Fall, and “a return to essentially normal campus activity” by Winter 2022. To accommodate potential PHO requirements and likely visa delays for foreign students, “enhanced online options” will also be available.  Carleton

Durham College will be offering programs this Fall in 3 formats: remote, hybrid, or flexible (hyflex) – but apparently not fully in-person.  DC

George Brown College reports that “most programs will be delivered online” for Fall 2021, with a hybrid model for “select programs where students need to complete hands-on clinical or lab work.”  GBC

Laurier expects mandatory mask requirements to still be in place this fall, and in the “best case scenario” classrooms might return at 50% capacity, with priority given to hands-on courses. Classes will be taught remotely or in-person, but not both – and the school is committed to finishing fall-term classes the way they start. The hope is to return to regular operations with minimal restrictions by Jan 2022.  Waterloo Record

McMaster is “actively planning for a September that will look different from pre-pandemic terms, but also different from the difficult year almost behind us.” The focus is on providing “safe and meaningful in-person experiences” with more F2F learning, on-campus services, small group study and club spaces, and access to campus amenities like gyms, library and dining. Courses will be virtual (synchronous online), online (asynchronous), or will have “elements” of in-person learning if PHO allows. Planning will support social distancing, mandatory masks, enhanced cleaning, reduced density, and personal hygiene practices. Residences will be open to first-year students only.  McMaster Daily News

OCADU is “planning for a safe return to on-campus activities and learning this Fall.” Students will have access to shops, studios, workspaces, student services and technology on campus, but lectures will be mostly online. PHO may require masks, physical distancing and limited density in classrooms. OCAD will offer “a full range of fully online course options” to allow domestic and international students to study, wherever they are – and there are “backup plans” for potential changes to PHO guidelines.  YouTube

Sault College will offer “many” courses in hyflex delivery this Fall, even if all students can return to campus. It has 20 classrooms equipped already, and profs will be offered “a lot of supports.”  Sault Star


Quebec Pushes for Campus

Last week, Quebec’s minister for higher ed Danielle McCann said she wanted a “maximum” number of students to return to campus this fall, while acknowledging they would have to wear masks and abide by 1-meter physical distancing. She estimates this would allow CEGEPs and universities to return to 60% capacity in classrooms. (Throughout the pandemic, the Quebec government has strongly emphasized the need to get students of all ages back in class for their mental health, sometimes resulting in an overloaded healthcare system.) McCann expects a return to normal “sometime in 2022.”  Montreal Gazette


Collaborating in NS

The 10 universities in Nova Scotia, and the provincial government, hope to return campus life closer to normal this Fall. The Ministry of Advanced Education is working on a plan that will ultimately need approval from the provincial CMOH. “If the students, by that time have their vaccines, and the epidemiology is where we want it to be, then you may have two to a room in residences and more normal food service.” Over the past academic year, StFX and Acadia brought students to campus safely in small towns (Antigonish and Wolfville), but it would be more challenging in Halifax.  CBC

U Sainte-Anne announced last week that it is planning for in-person courses this Fall, albeit with a “flexible posture in the face of pandemic-related uncertainty” – so as a result, courses will be planned for hybrid delivery. Residences will be open, and on-campus attendance will likely be required for some activities, including labs. There is even “potential” for a return to varsity sports.  Education News Canada


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