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Health, Well-Being and Renewed Potential: Welcome to Fall 2021 at UTM

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Photo by Nick Iwanyshyn

September brings fresh energy and enthusiasm. I always enjoy seeing the campus come alive, teeming with renewed potential. Our plans for the fall build on that sense of optimism while also recognizing the challenges that remain: we’re thrilled to welcome you safely for the 2021-2022 academic year, both on campus and online.

In navigating the pandemic’s uncertainty, we continue to collaborate with the experts at Peel Public Health; to adapt our practices as context demands; and to implement science-backed measures in all aspects of our operation. Our 12-step plan for a safe return to campus prioritizes the health and well-being of all our community members, enabling us to offer a rich and vibrant educational experience safely.

As we gradually return to in-person activities, our campus experience will continue to look a bit different than usual. All people who come to campus must submit proof of COVID-19 vaccination through UCheck. Those with a university-approved vaccine exemption, or those waiting for their second dose, will participate in our rapid screening program. Masks will still be required indoors; many courses and activities will continue online. We will continue to implement our safety policies, which help to ensure the welfare of students, faculty, staff, librarians and the broader community. We all share the responsibility for keeping one another safe.

With these measures in place, we look forward to connecting in person wherever possible and to strengthening a renewed sense of camaraderie. A vibrant, creative, diverse and supportive community, UTM is a place where ideas – and people – flourish and grow. Whether you are new to campus or returning, I encourage you to explore the many opportunities available at UTM for connection: join student groups and clubs, use library and study spaces, participate in hands-on learning experiences, access the many supports in place to help you succeed, and make time to forge lasting friendships.

The pandemic has changed aspects of our operations, but it has not changed UTM’s commitment to constructive progress. Even as we devoted time, resources and expertise to the unprecedented challenge of COVID-19, we also remained steadfast in our commitment to empowering healthy, connected communities. As we collaborated to host Peel’s first COVID-19 mass vaccination clinic, we also collaborated to create the Novo Nordisk Network for diabetes care. We continue to develop additional resources for student mental health; and we continue to strengthen our Campus Master Plan, with a focus on Indigeneity, ecology and sustainability. Over the fall semester, we will host a number of UTM conversations, which will inform our first formal campus-wide strategic framework.

I look forward to meeting you – on campus or online – and working collaboratively to build the best possible future: both for UTM and for the communities we serve.

Alexandra Gillespie
Vice-President & Principal
University of Toronto Mississauga