Summer 2020

What’s happening with practicum placements?

International Placements: The University has cancelled student activities outside of Canada until August 14, 2020.

All remote (work from home) placements can continue forward as planned.

All in-person practicum placements have been suspended until at least July 6, 2020 to align with U of T Medicine and the Toronto Academic Health Sciences Network (TAHSN). Students are asked to discuss with their supervisor about work continuity and whether in-person placements can be converted to remote participation. There are two situations where this an exception can be made to the suspension:

In-Person Practicum Placements with “Essential Research” at the University or TAHSN hospitals are permitted to continue in-person research projects if the student agrees and with permission from the Associate Dean Academic Affairs. Please note that “essential research” refers to COVID-19 projects that have been specifically approved as such by the hospitals or University. Research is not deemed essential only by virtue of it occurring at sites that are considered “essential service providers.”

Students with paid in-person placements who want to participate in-person can request an exception from the suspension. Please complete the in-person practicum placement exception form to request a review of your placement and send to Dionne Gesink (dionne.gesink@utoronto.ca).

What courses are offered this summer?

We are conducting a situation analysis to determine whether additional courses need to be offered this summer to compensate for practicum placement credit deficits. Additional elective courses were posted and advertised on April 20, 2020 to allow students time to learn about the course and enrol. Dates to remember:

April 20, 2020:

Click here to see all PHS summer courses open for registration.

Please contact the following faculty for information on IHPME summer courses open for registration:

Professional Programs Contact: Tina Smith tina.smith@utoronto.ca

Research Programs Contact: Whitney Berta whit.berta@utoronto.ca

May 4, 2020 – Final date to enrol in May-to-June or May-to-August session courses.

July 6, 2020 – Final date to enrol in July-August courses.

What financial aid resources are available to students?

On April 22, the Federal Government announced nearly $9-billion of support for students and new grads affected by COVID-19.

Click here for more information.

The University of Toronto also provides support to students experiencing immediate financial hardship via the School of Graduate Studies’ emergency loan or emergency grant. SGS is usually able to pay out emergency loans within 24-hours and emergency grants within one week.

Emergency Loan: Loan applications are processed on an ongoing, continual basis throughout each academic session. Applications need to be submitted to the SGS Graduate Awards Office by 2 pm in order to be evaluated. A decision will be released within two business days upon receipt of the complete application by SGS.

Click here for more information.

Emergency Grant: Grant applications appear to be ongoing (Fall, Winter, Summer). All of the applications will be reviewed and decisions will be communicated within two weeks upon receipt of a completed application (including all support documentation). Emergency Loans may be approved in the interim. The decision will be communicated via the student’s official U of T email address unless reasonable alternate arrangements of notification are requested.

Click here for more information

Students anticipating intermediate or longer-term financial need can apply for several awards offered by the University. Note that the application requirements and processes for these awards are specific to each award, and that some of these awards apply to Research Program and Professional Program students.

In the event students do not qualify for these awards, PHS will consider offering financial aid to those with demonstrated need who are confronting program progress delays attributable to COVID-19-related disruptions. Applications for these funds will be considered on a case by case basis. Students are asked to prepare, and to send the following to Vinita (awards.dlsph@utoronto.ca):

  • The OSOTF form.
  • A brief description of the delay, its relationship to the COVID-19 pandemic, and anticipated impacts on the student’s program completion timelines (to the best of their ability).
  • List of other sources of financial assistance applied for.

For all questions or concerns related to Financial Aid Resources, please contact Vinita (awards.dlsph@utoronto.ca).

Additional links to University of Toronto Awards/Scholarships & Additional Financial Aid/Assistance Resources:

The School of Graduate Studies website provides links and advice on Financial Aid: https://www.sgs.utoronto.ca/awards-funding/financial-aid-advising/

School of Graduate Studies Awards: https://www.sgs.utoronto.ca/awards/

Financial Aid: https://future.utoronto.ca/finances/financial-aid/

Click here for more information.

Fall 2020

What will the fall term look like?

DLSPH Instructors are redesigning courses for the fall to ensure high quality education, a supportive learning environment, and a positive student experience. Instructors will decide if their courses are offered using remote only or hybrid designs. Hybrid courses will offer a combination of remote and in-person teaching structured in a highly flexible way to accommodate in-person meeting, should it become available. The University is committed to providing as much in-person time with peers and instructors as possible. Key points to note:

  • A remote option will be available for all courses, recognizing that students may not be able to attend in-person sessions for a variety of reasons.
  • 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.

How are courses being redesigned to reflect remote delivery?

We are building infrastructure to support faculty and instructors as they redesign their courses and prepare for the fall. Instructors may 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 is being 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 fall 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 prepare for the fall?

Just as faculty need supports and training on new methods of delivery, so do students. We know that many students are coming into DLSPH without recent exposure (or with 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

We are also building a student-focused online learning website to provide supports for incoming students. It will include information, such as: technical support, helpdesk, student training calendar, forms, etc.

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 in recent weeks and months 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. We do not have existing courses on these topics; however, 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 fall 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 fall?

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.

By the end of June, the DLSPH Office of Research will identify common barriers to conducting research and help co-create 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 fall 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 for the fall term. 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.

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.

More Questions?

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.