COVID-19 – Information for Students


To all of our graduate and undergraduate students, in response to the current set of circumstances we find ourselves in, the Faculty has made some important updates and changes in order to ensure that everyone can get through with the best possible academic outcomes based on your own unique situation.

The government of Canada has provided their plan to support Students and Recent Graduates Impacted by COVID-19 To help students access all the various funding resources, the University has put together a comprehensive list: https://www.viceprovoststudents.utoronto.ca/covid-19/funding-opportunity-directory/.

You may also wish to review all other funding resources put together by the Canadian government here: Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan

Please review the Faculty’s FAQ on the 2020-21 academic year here: https://ischool.utoronto.ca/are-you-looking-for-coronavirus-covid-19-information/

Fall term 2020

As the COVID-19 pandemic situation continues to evolve, the Faculty has determined that Fall term classes will be delivered remotely. There might be some instructors that want to meet with students in person, if possible, and health restrictions allow; however, this is still being looked at on a case-by-case basis. Even if there were to be any in-person activities at all, the instructors will ensure that all students that can access the class content remotely, as to not negatively impact anyone’s learning experience.

Connecting for remote learning

The University of Toronto, has outlined the minimum technical requirements (computer specifications), recommended accessories, internet connection and frequently asked questions about learning remotely.

International students in areas with internet content restrictions, or who are working remotely on sensitive research, may require access to the University’s general purpose virtual private network (VPN). If you do require the VPN to connect to university resources, please see this page for more information and instructions.

Please note that the VPN does not provide or enhance connectivity to the internet, and will not assist with connectivity issues caused by the recent general increase in web traffic.

Cybersecurity considerations at home: Access the University’s Remote Security Matters page to learn more about creating a cyber secure home.

Reserving social-distant study spaces on Campus

The Wallace Room in the Gerstein Science Information Centre has been configured as a space for students needing access to wifi and/or a computer, and will be available for booking as of June 18. The space will be open for two sessions per day: 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., and 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m., with the hour in between designated for cleaning and disinfecting of key touchpoints and areas.

The layout and workstation reservation process have been designed to comply with current public health guidelines regarding room capacity and physical distancing; no single workstation will be used by more than one person per day. Students will log in with their UTORid to reserve a time slot online; the space itself will be access controlled and there will be no access to other areas of the library.

As this space, and similar spaces across all the campuses, open for use, they will serve as pilots for re-entry to on-campus activities.

 

Residences for Fall term 2020

Residence is an important part of the university experience and we’re excited to be welcoming students to campus this fall. If you applied to live in residence, your experience will be a little different than what you imagined, but our goal is to make your residence life as fulfilling as possible and to support you every step of the way.

Individuals seeking graduate housing or student family housing are invited to refer to the following websites for more information: St. George CampusGraduate House and Student Family HousingUTMGraduate and Medical Housing and Family Housing. 

The Vice-Provost office has also created an FAQ: https://www.viceprovoststudents.utoronto.ca/covid-19/#ResidenceFall2020. 

Absence Declaration tool 

  • Students should record all cold or flu-related absences, as well as self-isolation absences, through the ACORN Absence Declaration tool and contact Sherry Dang.
  • A verification of illness form is not required.

SUMMER CO-OPS, PRACTICUMS AND INTERNSHIPS

INF3902H Cooperative Education Placement II

In light of the pandemic, the co-op criteria has been altered to allow for greater flexibility for students and employers alike.  There are 2 significant changes:

  1. The Faculty is allowing remote-only placements to count towards a co-op placement.  Some employers have onboarded students remotely and may continue in that format, if needed. 
  2. The minimum placement duration has been reduced from 12 weeks (360 hours) to 8 weeks (280 hours).  This means that a placement could potentially start as late as July 15, ending on the Friday of the Labour Day weekend, and count toward the co-op course.  This is true for both remote and in-person work placements.

INF2173 Information Professional Practicum

The Practicum course will move forward accepting only virtual placement opportunities. The final date to choose a placement or submit a pre-approved Practicum placement is June 12, 2020.

Students will complete 105 hours towards their chosen project virtually anytime from May-August.

Though there are multiple and continuous recruitment efforts underway, placements are not guaranteed in light of the pandemic.

MSL3000H MMSt Internships

After much consultation with both external and internal stakeholders, the Program has developed two contingency plans to support the Internships:

  • Summer 2020
    • We will continue to offer the Internship course during the summer of 2020, adjusting the expected length of the Internship to a minimum of 8 weeks (~35 hours/week, for a total of 280 hours). We hope this 4 week reduction sets a more realistic expectation.
    • Students who are able to complete the full 12 weeks will be permitted to do so as the 8 week length is a minimum.
    • Given the current restrictions in Canada, only remote placements are possible.
  • Fall 2020/Winter 2021
    • Student who may be unable to continue with a Summer Internship are encouraged to contact the Careers Officer as the Museum Studies program will offer a modified internship option during the Fall 2020 and Winter 2021 terms, where students will be eligible to complete paid or unpaid positions for a minimum of 280 hours, over the course of two terms.

Summer 2020 Courses:

Summer 2020 courses will be delivered remotely.

Our current timetable is available online and we are working to add additional courses because we are expecting an increase in demand for the summer courses.

To give us a better sense of the potential the demand for summer courses, so if you’re planning to enrol into Summer course(s), please complete this 1 question survey.

Depending on the survey results, we might look to expand course sizes and course offerings to accommodate additional students

The dates for the summer term/s are as follows:

  • First Session – F (May 4 – June 15), Exam week: June 16 – 19
  • Second Session – S (July 6 – August 17), Exam week: August 18 – August 21
  • Full Session – Y (May 4  – August 17)(no classes from June 29 – July 3 as it is the week of holidays; midterm assessments should be scheduled for the week of June 16-19), Exam week: August 18 – 21

We will continue to update the online timetable as more information becomes available. As always, do not hesitate to reach out the Student Services Team (inquire.ischool@utoronto.ca) with any questions.

Summer courses & tuition

All our Summer courses will be delivered remotely (as opposed to in-person). You’ll be eligible to enroll into 1.0FCE of Summer courses starting at 6am on April 1st, and able to enroll into another 1.0FCE on April 8th (details)

Full-time students will be able to enroll into a maximum of 2.0FCE of Summer courses, and part-time students will be eligible to enroll into a maximum of 1.0FCE of Summer courses.

If you are wondering about Summer tuition fees (or the lack of) – please review the details on Summer Tuition Fees, and also learn how you can apply for OSAP funding over the Summer (for domestic students).

Virtual Inforum:

A Virtual Inforum space has been created in Quercus. All iSchool students have been enrolled in the course. We know the Inforum was an important hub for the iSchool community and so we have created a space in Quercus to run programming and share resources in an effort to keep our community connected and well supported.

Take a look at our Play Well resources, participate in a student-led online writing group, access library services and supports, explore a collection of libraries and museums from around the world and much more.

If you have not received a notification of enrollment please email inquire.ischool@utoronto.ca and we will help get you on.

Emergency Grants:

If you find yourself in financial hardship due to the COVID-19 situation (or any other emergencies), please know that the Faculty and University is here to help.

For graduate students:

For undergraduate students: You can apply for an Emergency Assistance Grant.

Fall-Winter Payment Deadlines & Monthly Service Charge Billing

Monthly service charge fee billing for unpaid 2019 Fall – 2020 Winter and 2020 Summer session fees will be suspended for the months of April to August 2020.

Students will still be required to pay the prior session fees by the Fall-Winter Pay or Defer to Register deadlines in August.  This will allow the student to be eligible to get a tuition deferral (register without payment) or to pay the Minimum Required Payment displayed on the ACORN invoice to complete registration for the Fall-Winter session.

Monthly service charge fee billing will resume on September 15, 2020.

Accessibility Services

We received an update for our students from our embedded accessibility advisor, Alexa Quach.

Managing upcoming deadlines of Winter term assignments:

We understand that students might be experiencing additional stress and challenges during this time. If you are unable to meet upcoming deadlines of assignments, that first point of contact is your instructor.

If your situation will negatively impact most of your courses, please do connect with Sherry Dang via email sherry.lin@utoronto.ca, on what your options might be going forward.

Some of the options are also outlined in more details below:

  • accommodations within the term (by working with your instructors and your circumstances for the best outcome within the term)
  • selecting up to 2 Winter 2020 courses as CR/NCR (you’ll be able to retroactively request for that in June 2020)
  • course drop (students have till April 25th to drop a Winter term course without academic penalty)
  • coursework extensions (students are eligible to request to extend their deadline(s) to complete assignments into the Summer sessions)

Opting CR/NCR for a course or two (MI, MMSt and CDP students):

In line with that change in policy from SGS, the Faculty of Information will allow each student to elect for up to two courses from the Winter 2020 term to be graded on a CR/NCR basis (i.e. instead of a letter grade for a course, you will receive a CR/NCR in its place).

Due to the governance processes, students will be able to retroactively request a CR/NCR with Student Services in June 2020, after the policy has been formally approved. 

Update June 4 2020:

For MI, MMSt and CDP students who wish to select a passed course to be reflected as CR or a failed course to be reflected as NCR:

  • You may select up to 1.0-credit (typically equivalent to two 0.5-credit courses) from Winter 2020 to be reflected as CR (for a passed course) or NCR (for a failed course) directly on ACORN.
  • This option will be available from now to June 30th.
    • The CR/NCR option is dependent on specific graduate unit offering the course. We have made all of our MI (INF Master level courses) and MMSt (MSL) courses available to be selected. However, this does not mean all other graduate level courses are available for this option.
    • If you took an external course, you may wish to check with the offering graduate unit on whether their course(s) can be selected as CR/NCR.
  • Choosing an external course to be reflected as CR/NCR will also count towards your quota of 1.0-credit.

Please note this option is only available to Winter 2020 term courses. You can follow this CR-NCR step-by-step guide to select a course or two to be reflected as CR (if you passed the course) and NCR (if you did not pass the course).

In the event that a student has selected more than 1.0-credits, we will choose the two lowest grades to remain as CR/NCR, and revert the rest to earned letter grades.

If you have any questions on this process, please connect with Sherry Dang via email.

Course Drop:

We have extended the drop deadline of Winter 2020 term courses (without academic penalty), for this term, to April 25, 2020. This means that you can drop a course (or courses) through ACORN yourself, without having to go through an Add/Drop form.

Although students are able to make this course drop on their own through ACORN, we strongly encourage you to check in with us on all available options before following through with the drop. All queries can be directed to Sherry Dang, sherry.lin@utoronto.ca.

Coursework Extensions:

As always, students with extenuating circumstances are eligible to request for coursework extensions if they need extension to assignment(s) beyond the end of the term. All such requests will be reviewed by the Committee on Standing at the end of the term. Given the COVID-19 situation this semester, the Committee on Standing will definitely take into consideration the circumstances that students have been in this term in reviewing extension requests.

Please connect with Sherry Dang, sherry.lin@utoronto.ca, if you have any questions about the process, or wish to chat about your options.

Library Services

Update [May 12, 2020]: A message from Lari Langford – Head, User Services at Robarts Library
For graduating students with concerns about returning books, fines, and release of transcripts:
  • Borrowing privileges continue to September 30.
  • Books currently on loan, with due dates after February 1, were updated to due date of July 1, 2020.  This date will be moved again, as we have a better idea of when we may reopen the libraries; there is no need to renew books as renewal will actually turn back the due date, to 2 weeks or 6 weeks from the renewal date.
  • Current loans will not prevent graduation, whether overdue or not.
  • Outstanding bills for fines or lost books will not prevent graduation.
  • Online payments are possible for all overdue bills; students with lost book bills or lost books that are not yet billed for should be referred to Lari Langford.  I need to make it possible for the payment to be accepted online, to facilitate the lifting of holds on transcripts.  Again, only the release of transcripts is blocked by fines over $25.00 or overdue/lost books.
  • Fines accrued prior to February 1, 2020 or loans that were due before that date are not included in our adjustments and will need to be paid;  but they still do not impact graduation, only release of the official transcript.

Student Services Advising Appointments:

Even though campus is closed, Student Services is fully operational online and here to support you. If you would like to book an advising appointment please make your request through inquire.ischool@utoronto.ca.

The University would like to hear from you if you have any questions or experiencing any issues.

Returning Fobs

Graduating students who wish to return their fobs while offices remain closed without access, may return by mail to:

Faculty of Information, University of Toronto
Claude Bissell Building
140 St. George Street
Toronto, ON M5S 3G6