Tree and lush green grass, at sunrise on the UTM campus

Care, Mental Wellness and COVID-19 Notifications

Wednesday, September 29, 2021 - 1:19pm
Alexandra Gillespie

To the UTM community,

Amid the ongoing complexities of this dispiriting pandemic, I wanted to reach out and share a simple message: thank you

Thank you to our outstanding students who continue to show their compassion, intelligence and resilience in physical and digital learning environments. Thank you to our dynamic faculty and instructors, who continue to make immediate and enduring impacts in their research, teaching and administrative service. Thank you to our exceptional librarians, who continue to open inclusive spaces for academic creativity, student success and communal connection. Thank you to our dedicated staff, who continue to empower our sustainable operations and enact initiatives in truth, reciprocity and constructive social change. Thank you: I feel grateful to work amid this brilliant community of care. 

I also recognize how hard it has been — and may continue to be — to care for yourselves and others amid the pandemic’s chronic strain. Many of our students care for siblings and family members in multi-generational households. Many of our employees care for children returning to inconsistently scheduled schools and for parents navigating an overburdened medical system. And many of these responsibilities, as the pandemic amply illustrates, continue to exert a disproportionate impact on members of already marginalized groups. 

In this context, as always, we owe each other an empathetic generosity: an understanding of how full our pandemic lives remain and a commitment to answer challenges with patience, kindness and support. The University of Toronto has many resources tailored for the purpose: from MySSP and the Student Mental Health Website to the Employee and Family Assistance Program and the Office of Family Care. I’ve reached out for support in the past; I encourage you to do the same.

I also encourage you to access the pandemic-specific resources that our teams continue to enhance, all designed to promote communal health, safety and flourishing: from the UTogether FAQs to the COVID-19 Dashboard to the EHS Website. For information specific to UTM, please visit the UTM Together homepage and check in for announcements on our COVID-19 Case Updates page, which will now compile notices about any positive cases on campus in a single virtual space. These resources will continue to benefit from our fulsome collaboration with the experts at Toronto and Peel Public Health, communicating the information that matters most to our community openly, accurately and accessibly.  

Our resources and communications can’t dispel all uncertainty or eliminate all challenges. But they can provide transparency; they can provide an offer to help. And they can amplify the simple message that our community deserves to hear, especially after eighteen months of pandemic suffering and fatigue: thank you. We value the time, work and intelligence that you continue to share at UTM — and beyond.