Faculty of Information Resource Page for COVID-19


Please check the University of Toronto COVID19 web page for the latest COVID-19 updates for the entire university 

FAQs about the upcoming 20/21 academic year

The FAQs below apply to the Faculty of Information. Further information on university-wide policies can be found here and at the links included in some of the answers below.

How will Faculty of Information courses be offered in the fall?

All fall term courses in the Faculty of Information will be delivered remotely for the entire term.

Students facing health or travel restrictions will be able to learn and participate remotely while those in Toronto may well be able to take part in some non-mandatory face-to-face activities although the latter will depend on the decisions made by public health authorities.

What about courses which have components that cannot be delivered remotely and where physical presence is required?

We believe that in all cases we can find a way for students to achieve the learning objectives without being physically present.

Is there any requirement for students to be physically present in Toronto in the fall?

There is no academic requirement for Faculty of Information students to be present in Toronto for the fall term. When deciding whether to be in Toronto or not, students need to consider their personal circumstances.

What will be the impact (if any) of not being able to participate in any face-to-face activities that are offered?

Instructors who choose to offer face-to-face activities must ensure that there is a way for students who are not able to attend in person to complete fall courses remotely. Equity and fairness to all students must also be considered.

Is the Bissell Building open?

Yes, but access is restricted. More details can be found here.

Will classes be synchronous, meaning will students need to attend in real time?

The vast majority of classes are designated synchronous meaning there is a requirement/expectation that students make themselves available at the designated time. It is important for students to check the timetable to verify whether a class is designated synchronous or asynchronous.  While most instructors are doing what they can to make recorded versions of their lectures available, watching a video is not the same as attending and participating in class. While we understand  that we have students in different time zones, it was simply not possible to accommodate all time zones with the required synchronous aspects of the courses.

What will happen in the winter term?

During the winter term all required courses will have a remote option. This means no student will be prohibited from completing required courses because they cannot be on campus for a required course or in-person activity.

The winter plan also calls for a small number of elective courses and INF1005/1006 Information Workshops to be offered in person without a remote option. These courses and workshops will only be available to students who are on campus, but there will still be a wide range of remote elective courses for those who can’t attend in person.

The Faculty will only offer these in-person courses if it is safe to do so and if it can meet all public health, government and University of Toronto rules and guidelines. If the rules change at some point during the term and it is no longer safe to meet in person, the in-person sections and courses will transition to a remote delivery model.

Information about the delivery mode for courses and course sections is clearly indicated on the recently released timetable for the 2020/21 academic year. (Please review the “Legend” tab of the Table View or the information at the bottom of the Weekly Calendar View.)

Will there be a reduction in tuition and other fees?

Tuition fees are set by the university. At present, there are no planned reductions to tuition fees as there has not been any reduction in the cost of delivering courses.

Non-tuition incidental fees that go to student services and recreation programs are being provided at a reduced fee so that students can continue to have access to supports including Health and Wellness, career centres and academic support offices. More information about the range of programs and services available to students and details about the fee reductions can be found here.

Will co-op placements, internships and other work-integrated-learning opportunities be affected by the pandemic?

Work-integrated-learning opportunities have indeed been and will likely continue to be affected. For example, in response to the pandemic, the co-op placement requirement was reduced to 8 weeks (280 hours) from 12 weeks (360 hours). The Faculty has also allowed remote-only co-op placements.

The Careers office is working hard to identify opportunities that allow employers to host students remotely and many students are already participating fully while working from home. Unfortunately, however, there are some work integrated learning opportunities have been cancelled or postponed as a result of the pandemic. In response, the university has created more opportunities for co-op students, many of whom are working on pandemic-related initiatives.

Can international students who want to study on campus this fall enter Canada and come to U of T?

We understand that you may be concerned about regulations and expectations around entry into Canada in the Fall. Currently, Federal Government policy is that the following students are eligible to enter Canada with a non-discretionary reason and should request a letter from their registrar:

  • Returning or newly-admitted international students with a study permit approved on or before March 18, 2020
  • Returning or newly-admitted students traveling directly from the United States to Canada with an approved study permit regardless of study permit approval date or citizenship

Please be assured that you can begin your program through online courses if you are living outside of Canada.

We will update you as quickly as possible if border restrictions change and will be pleased to provide you with a letter stating that your travel is non-discretionary should that be the case. You can request a letter of support for non-discretionary travel, from you registrar if:

  • You lived in Canada this past year (e.g. went to high school in Canada)
  • You have planned to complete a 14-day quarantine period as soon as you arrive at your final destination (note all travellers from abroad need to quarantine — the university can support you in your quarantine plan (hyperlink)
  • You begin studying after you complete your quarantine
  • You need to be in Canada for your program (for laboratories, workshops, etc.)
  • Pursuing your studies online is not an option at your school or not possible from your home country (due to internet restrictions or bandwidth limitations)

For more details on how international students requiring study and work permits are affected, please refer to the university’s FAQs for current international students and those for newly admitted international students.

Is there financial aid available to students affected by COVID-19?

To help students access all the various funding resources, the university has put together a comprehensive list.

The Faculty of Information also has an emergency bursary fund, for which students must fill out this grant application. If you have any questions about the process or eligibility, feel free to connect with Sherry Dang (sherry.lin@utoronto.ca). Students are encouraged to outline the nature of the emergency, and how their finances have been impacted by the circumstances. Supporting documents may be requested after the application has been submitted.

The School of Graduate Studies can also provide emergency loans and emergency grants to graduate students. For undergraduate students, there are emergency assistance grants.

Students may also wish to review the government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan.

What resources are available for those coping with stress?

The university has multiple resources to assist students experiencing stress, needing health information and much more.

Do you have a question we didn’t answer?

If you still have questions, please contact inquire.ischool@utoronto.ca. We would be very happy to hear from you.

More links for Faculty of Information students

COVID-19 – Information for current students

COVID-19 – Information for incoming MI/MMSt students/applicants

COVID-19 – Information for incoming  BI students/applicants

COVID-19 – Information for teaching staff

COVID-19 – Information for Summer Instructors

Virtual Inforum

Summer 2020 courses will be delivered remotely – details

Dean Wendy Duff’s COVID-19 Messages to students (including latest May 1 message with updates on the summer and fall sessions; co-op, internship  and practicum placements; convocation; recruitment and admissions; and emergency aid)

March 27 Update: Letter from Associate Professor Cara Krmpotich for students in the Museum Studies program

March 19 Update: In case you missed yesterday’s email from UofT President Meric Gertler to the university community, here’s the link

March 17 Update: Due to the rapidly changing situation around the COVID-1​9 virus, we are going to be closing the Inforum at 5:00 pm today, Tuesday, March 17th  for the foreseeable future.

March 13 Update: The university has cancelled all in-person classes and moved to the delivery of teaching through other means beginning March 16 through the end of term, April 3.

The university asked the Deans of its professional Faculties, including the Faculty of Information, to determine the appropriate course of action taking into account their particular circumstances and accreditation requirements. Wendy Duff, the Dean of the Faculty of Information, determined that ALL courses, including those in the professional Master’s programs should move teaching online effective March 16.

The Faculty is working to ensure students in all courses and programs are able to successfully complete their academic requirements for this term. Some of the details were sent to students in a message from Assistant Dean Stephanie Rose.

Please continue to check this page the Coronavirus (COVID-19) information for the U of T community page for regular updates and links to resources. You can also expect to receive further information from the Faculty about the transition to online courses and other matters. Please be conscious that things are changing rapidly.

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Please note that as of March 12th, the university recommended cancellation or postponement of all discretionary events that are not required as part of courses and academic requirements.

While the university remains open, it encourages all students, staff and faculty members who feel unwell to stay home and follow the procedures recommended by public health agencies and their doctors.

For students, it has temporarily suspended the need for a doctor’s note or medical certificate for absences because of cold or flu-like symptoms, or due to self-isolation requirements. Instead, students will need to record these absences through the Absence Declaration tool on ACORN. The tool can be found in the ACORN Profile and Settings menu.

In addition, the Faculty of  Information currently has specific guidance concerning the following: