Skip to content

Winter 2021

What will the winter term look like?

The winter 2021 term at DLSPH will be a continuation of the fall term — remote learning for the vast majority of courses.

  • In-person meeting time will be prioritized for:
    • Classroom activities that can only be conducted in person, such as laboratory exercises
    • High-stakes evaluations (e.g. in-person exams, presentations)
    • Community building activities (e.g. student group work, course office hours, small social gatherings)
  • The nature of all in-person activities will be informed by public health safety requirements.

Also check out:

Even if DLSPH offers in-person activities, I don’t want to take transit. What are my options?

We understand that even if public health measures are relaxed this fall allowing for larger in-person gatherings, many students are uncomfortable taking public transit. There will be a remote option available for all required courses offered this fall.

Are DLSPH buildings open?

The Health Sciences Building, at 155 College Street, houses the majority of DLSPH faculty,  administrative offices and University and Divisionally owned classrooms.

The building is currently closed except for a very few purposes.

At this time, all administrative offices including the graduate offices of Public Health Sciences (PHS) and the Institute of Health Policy, Management & Evaluation (IHPME)  are operating online only. We will inform you by email as soon as we are able to reopen.  In the meantime, the graduate offices are fully staffed and equipped to meet all your needs online in a timely manner under the direction of the PHS Graduate Coordinator Prof. Olli Saarela and IHPME Graduate Coordinators Profs. Whitney Berta and Aviv Shachak. PHS students, please contact Whitney, Alanna or Scarlett at grad.dlsph@utoronto.ca with any questions or concerns. IHPME students, please contact aviv.shachak@utoronto.ca.

The Gage Building at 223 College St., houses the Occupational and Environmental Health Division. This building remains locked, with access provided on a needs basis.

Where Can I Study and Spend Time on Campus?

Many campus libraries are partially open, such as Robarts, Gerstein, with study spaces available on designated floors. Food service locations have indoor seating with physical distancing — stay tuned for information on outdoor dining options! More information on campus spaces here.

How are courses being redesigned to reflect remote delivery?

We have built infrastructure to support faculty and instructors in the redesign of their courses. Instructors offer remote courses using synchronous or asynchronous strategies and web‐based learning technologies, such as pre-recordings, video-conferencing, online collaboration tools, or self-directed learning modules.

For instance, the Introduction to Public Health Sciences course was redesigned to accommodate a large class using a condensed (5-day), remote format. This course is critical for welcoming the incoming cohort, and introducing new students to our School’s values, culture and the community, so it will also prioritize rapport building activities and linking students to new and existing supports and resources

When will I find out about the structure of my winter courses?

Please contact the course instructor for more detailed information about course mode of delivery.

Will there be any opportunities for on-campus learning?

The University is committed to providing as much in-person time with peers and instructors as possible. We are exploring ways to build community among students and instructors, and maximizing time that we can spend together, while observing public health guidelines.

How much flexibility is there for students balancing multiple commitments (school, childcare, caregiving, etc.)?

 We know many students are experiencing disruptions to their work-life environment, including caring for children or other family members. To support students, we are adjusting coursework by:

  • Asking instructors to think about student workload as they redesign their courses.
  • Providing a remote option for every required course offered this fall.
  • Adapting courses that rely heavily on in-person class time to be responsive to public health requirements.
  • Recording synchronous class time so learners can re-watch lectures on their own time.

We also encourage students to develop a work rhythm and workload that is realistic and sustainable for their individual context. DLSPH is committed to student success and providing appropriate supports when possible.

What supports are in place to help students?

Just as faculty need supports and training on new methods of delivery, so do students. We know that many students have limited exposure to online learning environments so we have created two supports:

  1. DLSPH Helpdesk

The DLSPH helpdesk is available to answer IT and educational technology questions. Students can send an email describing their issue and requesting help to helpdesk.dlsph@utoronto.ca.

  1. Student Focused Online Trainings

Starting in August, DLSPH will offer students focused online training sessions on topics such as:

  • Tips for Effective Online Learning
  • Introduction to Zoom
  • Introduction to Blackboard Collaborate
  • Introduction to Teams
  • Effective group work – virtually
  • What is turn-it-in and ways to prevent academic integrity problems
  • Participating online

DLSPH does not offer a course on something I’d like to learn about. What should I do?

A number of critical issues have emerged recently that have a significant impact on public health not only in Canada, but globally. The COVID-19 pandemic, anti-Black racism, and economic recovery are three important areas that many learners may wish to study. Where we don’t have existing courses on these topics, interested students can work with a faculty member to design a reading course or research course.

Click here for guidelines for reading and research courses.

I have a disability (temporary, intermittent or permanent) and I may need help. Who should I talk to?

Students with temporary or on-going disability should connect with the U of T Student Life Office as soon as possible to ensure accessibility adjustments are in place before the winter term begins . Accessibility Services provides services and supports for learning, problem solving and inclusion.

Will I still be able to participate in a practicum placement?

Yes. Practicum placements are a vital component of all our MPH programs at DLSPH. In-person practicum placements were suspended for the first four months of the COVID-19 pandemic. During the suspension, most students were able to convert their placement to remote participation. The increased demand and activity in public health also meant that some programs had more placements than students.

Will tuition feed be affected?

U of T has reduced non-tuition incidental fees that go to student services and recreation programs for the summer session and will consider similar reductions for the fall.  No changes have been made to planned tuition levels as academic programs continue to be delivered through alternative means.

What financial support does the University offer students?

Students facing financial hardship are encouraged to visit U of T’s Funding Opportunity Directory. The School of Graduate Studies also has information on what to expect this fall and links to financial support programs: https://www.sgs.utoronto.ca/covid19/.

Will I be able to engage in research activities this winter?

Planning is underway at U of T to restart research activities in compliance with public health directives and guidelines and institutional considerations.

The DLSPH Office of Research is developing a plan that will meet or exceed U of T standards, in collaboration with our strong Occupational and Environmental Health (OEH) Division that is uniquely positioned to guide us in space reopening, including labs and research space.

The DLSPH Office of Research has identified common barriers to conducting research and co-created strategies to address areas that are identified as most important.

Here are the U of T Vice-President, Research & Innovation’s approaches and guidelines for Research Recovery and Re-opening:

Approach for Research Recovery and Adaptation  The Approach for Research Recovery and Adaptation outlines the process and risk assessment considerations for gradual and controlled research recovery and adaption on- and off-campus.

COVID-19 Guideline for Reopening Research  The Guideline provides strategies and the University’s requirements for making research spaces ready for re-entry or increased occupancy. 

What do international students need to know about the winter term?

U of T is working closely with the Government to ensure that international students can study even if they are not able to make it to Toronto. International students are encouraged to contact and work with experts at the Centre for International Experience.

Where can I find mental health and well-being resources?

We are intimately aware of how physical distancing, the barrage of anxiety-inducing headlines, and working remotely can have a significant impact on mental health and well-being.

We understand that many students are experiencing a heightened level of stress and anxiety and many students are also managing the additional strain of providing emotional support for others and correcting misinformation. It’s important for everyone to acknowledge that we are all doing our best to be productive under these conditions. With this in mind, we have posted practical suggestions and resources to support our community during this time on our DLSPH “Staying Well” on the Live Updates on COVID-​19 from DLSPH page.

OISE also has a fantastic, holistic wellness page that covers things, such as:

  • Breathing/the Breath
  • How to Stay Social
  • Time Management
  • Managing Screentime
  • Maintaining Healthy Routines
  • Movement and Mindfulness
  • Nutrition
  • Sleep Resources

What is Identify, Assist, Refer training?

All students, faculty and staff should consider taking the Identify, Assist, Refer training, which is a 30-minute training module designed to help students, faculty, and staff be better helpers to individuals experiencing mental health challenges. This online module was created to strengthen U of T’s systems of support for student mental health and was informed by the University of Toronto Student Mental Health Strategy and Framework. We are encouraging all students, faculty and staff to take this training.

I want to study on campus this winter. Can I enter Canada and come to U of T?

We understand that you may be concerned about regulations and expectations around entry into Canada. Currently, Federal Government policy is that the following students are eligible to enter Canada with a non-discretionary reason and should request a letter from their Graduate Unit:

  • *Returning or newly-admitted international students with a study permit approved on or before March 18, 2020
  • *Returning or newly-admitted students traveling directly from the United States to Canada with an approved study permit regardless of study permit approval date or citizenship

Please be assured that you can begin your program through online courses if you are living outside of Canada.

We will update you as quickly as possible if border restrictions change and will be pleased to provide you with a letter stating that your travel is non-discretionary should that be the case. You can request a letter of support for non-discretionary travel, from you Graduate Unit if:

  • *you lived in Canada this past year
  • *you have planned to complete a 14-day quarantine period as soon as you arrive at your final destination (note all travellers from abroad need to quarantine — the university can support you in your quarantine plan)
  • *you begin studying after you complete your quarantine
  • *you need to be in Canada for your program (for laboratories, workshops, etc.)
  • *pursuing your studies online is not an option at your school or not possible from your home country (due to internet restrictions or bandwidth limitations)

Who is currently eligible and ineligible to enter Canada with a non-discretionary reason:

Yes No
Returning or newly-admitted international students with a study permit approved on or before March 18, 2020. (If arriving from the United States see below) Yes
Returning or newly-admitted students traveling directly from the United States to Canada with an approved study permit regardless of study permit approval date or citizenship Yes
Newly-admitted or returning international students, travelling directly from the United States without an approved study permit. No
Newly admitted or returning international students travelling to Canada from anywhere except the US without a study permit approved on or before after March 18, 2020 No

For Staff and Faculty Members

Administration & Operations

Can I go into the Health Sciences Building to work in my office?

No, the building is closed to all faculty, staff and students with very few exceptions.

A handful of faculty, staff and students were designated “essential” to operations and/or research and have special access.

If you have any questions about building access, please contact Robin Hurst.

Additional Information

Don’t forget to check our website (here for public health sciences and here for IHPME)  for information about obtaining T-cards and masks, fees, and much more!

Safety
Need a refresher on campus COVID safety? Check out this short video.
Reminder: To ensure the health and safety of all members of the DLSPH community, non-medical face masks or face coverings must be worn indoors in all common-use spaces on University property. You can find the details here. Information on exemptions is here.

Illness
If you need to miss class due to illness, don’t forget to report your absence in Acorn 


Please visit the U of T Coronavirus FAQ: https://www.utoronto.ca/message-from-the-university-regarding-the-coronavirus#faq

Faculty of Medicine’s COVID-19 page: https://medicine.utoronto.ca/node/3544

Faculty of Arts and Science FAQs: https://www.artsci.utoronto.ca/covid19-artsci-student-faqs.