Here's how universities are preparing for the fall semester in Toronto

Aug 4 2020, 4:51 pm

Toronto universities are gearing up for students returning to class in the fall semester, as going back-to-school looks different this year.

The University of Toronto (UofT) and York University have been continually updating their models, as Toronto has been gradually advancing in its economic reopening.

On Friday, Toronto entered Stage 3 of reopening — the third and final stage — which allows indoor gatherings of up to 50 people and outdoor gatherings of 100.

Both universities are offering a mix of remote and in-person learning. But if people need to enter the campus, then enhanced safety measures have been implemented.

According to UofT, at its Mississauga campus, for example, there are signs directing the flow of foot traffic, posters advising for people to wear face masks, and promoted use of hand sanitizer stations that have been installed on every floor.

The classrooms will also have “shrink-wrapped desks” to indicate where they can and cannot sit in order to have proper physical distancing.

The enhanced safety measures come as more than 90% of undergraduate courses will have an online delivery option and roughly one third will have in-person class.

UofT is also upgrading its ventilation equipment to “protect the safety of occupants.” This upgrade stems from scientists who have found the COVID-19 spreads easily from person to person in close contact, especially in enclosed spaces, via respiratory droplets.

York University will also have strict protocols for students returning to campus, which only includes those living in residence, pre-approved in-person teaching and learning for the fall, pre-scheduled appointments with service and support providers, visiting libraries for curbside pickup, and faculty and staff providing designated on-campus services.

Other than these exceptions, the university is asking for faculty, staff, and students to work or study remotely.

If allowed to be on campus, then screening questions must all answered and if any are replied with an affirmative then entering school grounds is not allowed.

The questions include if the individual has any symptoms, has travelled outside of Canada in the last 14 days, or has been in contact with someone who has a probable coronavirus case.

And, if permitted to be on campus, then everyone must maintain physical distancing, wear face masks, and practice frequent hand hygiene.

Clarrie FeinsteinClarrie Feinstein

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