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OCAD U President Ana Serrano announces plans for winter 2021 term

Dear members of the OCAD U community,

With our fall term in full swing, we’re turning our attention to preparing for the winter 2021 term. Our approach will be similar to the fall – we’ll deliver our academic programs remotely and students will not be required to attend in person in winter 2021.

At the same time, we will pilot a small number of optional studio courses that will combine online learning with in-person instruction, and we are working on opening more facilities for service delivery and independent work. More details on all of this will be shared with our community early next week.

I know that we all miss being on campus – connecting with each other in person, grabbing a coffee or lunch, or just hanging out in the Great Hall. At the same time, we are heartened that many of you are connecting with each other and committed to building this OCAD U community no matter what the circumstances are.

Like the 34 student community ambassadors who have put in nearly 1,000 hours of outreach with first-year students through our new Learning Communities initiative. Or, the 75 student peer mentors who are supporting close to 200 new students. Or, how 15 student clubs are connecting with students through virtual meet and greet events. Plus, many students are taking advantage of virtual workshops like the one on bike repair and maintenance that attracted close to 50 students. These are just some ways that we are connecting with each other. So, this is all goodness. 

A commitment to your health and safety

As we’ve seen this week, Ontario has entered the second wave of COVID-19, and that’s why keeping everyone healthy and safe remains our top priority – an important consideration in making our decisions.

The extension of our Work from Home program beyond January 1, 2021 is now being reviewed and we’ll let everyone know later this fall.

We continue to monitor COVID-19 developments and keep in regular contact with Toronto Public Health as well as with the Council of Ontario Universities, Universities Canada, the Ontario Ministry of Colleges and Universities, and our colleagues at the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design.

Our commitment to protect you and the broader community is reflected in our Gradual Opening Strategy and safety protocols. I encourage you to visit our gradual opening strategy web section where we are posting regular updates. If you have any questions, please email

A request – we want to hear from you!

With an increase in COVID-19 cases, we know that we all have to do our part to help stop the spread of the virus. But what that means may not be clear to everyone. How many people can be in my bubble? Should I always wear a mask outside too? Do I dare eat inside a restaurant?

I know that many of us are doing an incredible job of keeping the virus from spreading. And what’s more, you likely have developed strategies to stay safe and keep others safe while living a vibrant life.

Stories of what works to stay healthy, how we protect our families, friends and neighbours, how we cope, and how we find some solace and/or pleasure in this new context are important to share. Send your stories, tips and ideas to We’d love to hear from you!

Take care and keep well.

Ana Serrano
President and Vice-Chancellor