Dear Members of the Queen’s University Community,
Many people are wondering about our expectations and plans for the Fall term, so I hope the following observations will be helpful and encouraging. The key message for everyone is that the imminent roll-out of mass vaccinations is giving rise to a new optimism, and despite some immediate and continuing COVID-19 challenges, we can all look with justification towards a brighter future. Because of what our public health experts are predicting, in fact, the university is planning for a resumption of in-person activity in September.
Members of the administration, students, staff and faculty have been meeting regularly to discuss how we can bring people back to campus. There are of course still many things unknown, but we are hopeful that by the time classes resume in September, most of the restrictions will be lifted and our daily operations able to return to a condition much closer to what prevailed prior to the pandemic. As we have done throughout the last year, we will continue to work with local public health, and follow whatever guidelines they and the province provide. Keeping our community safe and healthy is integral to all our planning for the future.
Our first priority lies in fulfilling our academic mission and to this end, bringing our students back into classrooms. Our research activity has also been significantly impacted by the pandemic, so we are looking to see it renewed and expanded. As we plan, we are mindful of what will be required to support faculty and students while ensuring that no one’s health is at risk. Our current planning includes flexibility for staff with a gradual return so that we can be ready to support in-person teaching and learning in September. It is likely that there will still be some restrictions in place at that time, but while these may impact our ability to host large gatherings and certain events, we believe they will not prevent our academic program moving forward.
I know that this has been a difficult time and the ups and downs of the pandemic have taken a toll. At Queen’s, we have nevertheless done an exceptional job weathering the challenges and uncertainties, and I believe the worst will soon be behind us. Together, we will regain much of what we have lost, and I believe we will be better and stronger for it.
Principal and Vice-Chancellor