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University of Waterloo planning for on-campus learning in the fall

The university is putting together plans with international students in mind as they may have travel issues if they attempt to return to Waterloo for school. Ahmad Fareed Khan / Global News

The president of the University of Waterloo says his school is hoping to return to in-classroom learning for the fall semester.

Feridun Hamdullahpur issued a letter to students on Wednesday that noted how eager staff and students were to return to a semblance of normal campus life.

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“The recent news of an increase in the number of vaccines across Canada is giving us reason for new hope,” he wrote.

“It is with that sense of hope that I am pleased to announce that we are planning to deliver significantly more an in-person learning, work and research starting in the Fall 2021 term.”

The University of Waterloo president says his school has developed a flexible plan in an effort to make that a reality.

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“We are optimistic that on-campus activity can happen in person with a staged and strategic return to campus,” he said.

“Our goal will be to create as many on-campus experiences as possible starting September.”

A memo on the school’s plans from James Rush, vice-president, academic and provost, to the senior officials accompanied Hamdullahpur’s letter.

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“At the institutional level we must support integration of plans for overall feasibility and interdependence,” Rush’s memo said. “We are currently developing scenarios to help guide this.”

He pointed to limited class sizes as an example as the school expects social distancing measures to remain in place.

”I believe that confirming our intentions now to move towards in person learning means we have the time to plan for the people, processes, technologies, and spaces we need to prepare for and deliver these novel approaches,” Rush said.

He said the school is also putting together plans with international students in mind as they may have travel issues if they attempt to return to Waterloo for school.

Rush expects many of the school’s employees to slowly return to school in the coming months in a safe way as they attempt to prepare for the fall semester.

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“During this planning phase it’s important for our community to know that our goal is to return to as many in-person campus activities as will be possible this fall,” he said.

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