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Fall term: moving forward with optimism

At OCAD University, we are encouraged by the gradual reopening of the province as we move forward with our own plans for the fall. The health and safety of our students, faculty and staff remain our top priority. That is why OCAD University will extend the closure of its physical facilities to July 1, 2020.

Our faculty and staff will work remotely, as they have been doing since mid-March. I am incredibly proud of our community’s commitment to ensuring we deliver high quality education and services during these very difficult circumstances.

This week, we began the spring term with courses being delivered remotely – reflecting the new reality in light of the current COVID-19 pandemic. We are very encouraged by the strong interest on the part of our students. 

We have invested significantly in designing and developing these courses to provide our students with high quality and engaging learning experiences as well as support for remote learning – the hallmarks of an OCAD University education. 

Plans for the fall reopening
This fall, we will welcome both new and returning students with a sense of excitement. Our planning is being led by the University’s Academic and Emergency Response Committee (AERC) of Senate, in close collaboration with our academic leadership and support team.

Since the AERC membership includes multiple stakeholders from across the University, the committee has been able to share crucial information between as many units as possible (academic and administrative) to ensure that our planning processes are inclusive.

I am extremely impressed by the committee’s commitment to the goals of our Academic Plan while maintaining best practices during this challenging time. I would like to acknowledge the extraordinary efforts of our dedicated faculty as well as our staff and academic support units: their tireless work during this period has been exemplary.

The AERC is currently planning for high quality remote learning this fall, building on the spring and summer terms. We are also assessing the feasibility of holding some in-person classes while respecting public health guidelines.

This planning is driven by four pillars: providing excellent curriculum as well as co-curricular activities, building a strong and supportive community, and sustaining and extending our relationships and relevance to the community outside OCAD University. 

We know that art, design and creativity have proven their continued and growing relevance through the COVID-19 crisis and in the creation of a post-COVID-19 world. 

More details about the fall plans will be shared with the community next week. 

OCAD University is also developing a plan for a phased reopening, in dialogue with the Ontario Ministry of Colleges and Universities, our colleagues at the Council of Ontario Universities and public health officials.

The reopening of campuses across the province is complex and must take into consideration a wide variety of factors – from ensuring the health and safety of students, faculty and staff to cleaning and disinfecting protocols to implementing physical distancing measures. We will keep you updated as information becomes available.

Supporting students
We continue to raise funds for the COVID-19 Emergency Bursary Fund and I am pleased to announce that the OCAD Faculty Association has donated $4,000. I thank the Faculty Association for its generous support.

I hope you are keeping safe and well during this time and I encourage you to continue to follow physical and social distancing measures when you are out running errands or even going for a walk. We continue to update our COVID-19 information page, and I encourage you to consult this web page regularly. 

As a community, we have shown tremendous resilience, creativity and innovation in adapting to the challenges and disruptions created by the current public health crisis. We are in this together, and I thank you for your ongoing commitment and support. 

Warm regards,

Dr. Sara Diamond, C.M., O.ON., R.C.A., ICD.D
President and Vice-Chancellor