This story has been updated as of 6:47 p.m. ET, Oct. 14, to reflect new information.
Students and faculty will head back to the classroom full time this winter as Ryerson University plans to move its classes to in-person learning starting in January, On The Record has been told.
School of Journalism interim co-chair Gavin Adamson confirmed this information to On The Record, saying that this would be the plan for the journalism school.
In an email sent to journalism staff and faculty late Wednesday, Adamson said the administration is planning for a full return to classes because “that’s how they’ve been directed by the province.”
In a statement released late Thursday, a university spokesperson said Ryerson has been planning a full return to campus in January “for some time now.” However, she said the university has not decided on its plans for the winter semester.
“While some faculties and programs are starting to identify their processes, the university is still working through the details and no official decision has been made about the winter term,” said Karen Benner, Ryerson’s associate director of communication.
In his email to faculty, Adamson said masking and vaccination requirements would remain in place next semester, but social distancing requirements would be dropped.
He added staff and faculty would not be responsible for “checking or policing” everyone’s proof of vaccination.
Other changes would allow faculty to request to stay off campus, and breaks between classes would be extended by 10 minutes to allow time for the airflow in classrooms to be “flushed.”
Adamson’s email to faculty also states that students could lose a term if they stay off campus “for reasons not related to health” because there are no obligations to offer online versions of all courses.
However, programs will offer some online-only sections in bigger classes if there is a high enough student demand.
In another email, sent to journalism students on Thursday, Adamson said: “As a j-school, we plan to accommodate students, staff and faculty as much as possible. We’re aiming to include online and hybrid options for those who require them.”
Adamson said capacity limits for classes would rise, from the current restriction of 50 per cent to 100 per cent in the email sent to students Thursday.
Adamson said students, staff and faculty should expect more details and answers to their questions about this major change as soon as possible.
He added that the journalism school would be sending out FAQs soon and a survey to students, asking for their thoughts about returning to campus full time.
Benner said that future decisions about the return to campus would follow public health protocols and government directives.
“As we’ve seen, public health and government guidelines continue to change as the pandemic evolves. We will continue to keep the community informed and hope to have a more detailed update in the next few weeks,” she said in her emailed statement.
Elena is an award-winning investigative journalist for the Investigative Journalism Foundation. She is the former editor-in-chief for On The Record and has done multimedia reporting for several news organizations, including the Canadian Press, Globe and Mail, Timmins Daily Press, North Bay Nugget, 680 NEWS, and Pressed News. Elena has also written freelance pieces for Maclean’s, the Welland Tribune, Niagara Independent and The Eyeopener. She holds a Master of Journalism degree from Toronto Metropolitan University and an Honours Bachelor of Journalism degree from Humber College Lakeshore. Elena is also a bilingual, self-published author who is passionate about public interest journalism and press freedom.