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 [updated Nov 20, 2020]

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.

What is the latest information regarding the winter term?

On November 202, 2020, UofT President Meric Gertler announced a change to the start date of winter term classes in January – a change that will affect and, we hope, benefit most members of the University community, including all of us at the Faculty of Information. (If for some reason you have not yet received a copy of the President’s letter you can find it here.)

At the Faculty of Information, we have decided to act in line with the vast majority of UofT Faculties and shift the date that classes start from January 4 to January 11. This will not affect the end of term, which remains April 19, 2021. Nor will it affect the February Reading Week, which remains February 15-19, 2021. Basically, everything that happens in class will just be taking place a week later than originally planned. For more information, please see the Dean’s Message on this change.

How will Faculty of Information courses be delivered in the winter?

All winter 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.

Originally, the Faculty planned to hold the fall term entirely online and offer a small number of courses in person during the winter term, but that has changed due to the public health situation in Toronto. As of November 2020, all winter courses will be offered remotely.

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?

There is no academic requirement for Faculty of Information students to be present in Toronto for either the fall or winter terms. 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 may be 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 courses remotely. Equity and fairness to all students must also be considered.

Is the Bissell Building open?

If you have to visit the Bissell Building, please contact chris.scammell@utoronto.ca. 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.

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.

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

All fall and winter term courses in the Faculty of Information will be delivered remotely.

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.

In response to changes in restrictions at provincial, national and municipal levels, the Faculty has implemented a process for approving in-person placement activities. Please contact the Careers Office if you have any questions: careers.ischool@utoronto.ca.

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 & Winter enter Canada and come to U of T?

The best place to keep up with the latest information on Canada’s entry requirements for international students is the dedicated UofT page here.

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 teaching staff

Virtual Inforum

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: