Home COVID-19 Timeline: Two years of COVID-19 at Ryerson University

Timeline: Two years of COVID-19 at Ryerson University

From the original campus closure to reopening, and all the Zoom University in between

by Katherine Newman

On March 13, 2020, Ryerson University moved all classes online, and shortly after, the school shifted to only essential services. Today, two years later, the campus is almost fully reopened. Classes are in person again and Toronto is almost back to normal. 

March 13, 2020

Ryerson transitions all classes to online platforms due to the increasing threat of COVID-19. The university cancels all sanctioned travel by students and staff until further notice and asks all community members to self-isolate for two weeks when returning to the country. All discretionary events until May 1, 2020 on and off campus are postponed or cancelled. Residences and food services remain open. 

March 18, 2020

As Ontario Premier Doug Ford announces a state of emergency, the campus moves to essential services. Residents of Pitman Hall, the Daphne Cockwell Complex and the International Living/Learning Centre are asked to move out as soon as possible. Students and staff are asked not to return to campus unless under exceptional circumstances. 

Ryerson University tweets that they have moved to essential services effective March 18, 2020. (@RyersonU)

March 25, 2020

Undergraduate and Chang School students are offered the option to have a pass/fail mark on their transcript for winter 2020 classes or to keep letter grades. Students were told they may also drop credits past the designated drop date without academic penalty. Certain dates for graduate students in the Yeates School are also extended. 

March 27, 2020

Spring convocation is postponed until fall 2020. All convocation ceremonies were later moved to digital platforms and additional virtual events such as coffee with president Mohamed Lachemi and chancellor Janice Fukakusa, were offered.

Ryerson University moves their convocation ceremony online during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Ryerson University YouTube)

April 3, 2020

A financial-relief fund is established to support students experiencing financial hardship due to the pandemic. According to Ryerson News, individual applicants were eligible to receive $750 to cover loss of employment, expenses from moving to online learning, early lease terminations and other exceptional circumstances. 

Sept. 1, 2020

Most classes and services remain online during the 2020-2021 academic year. A small range of services open for student-use including residence halls, dining, the library, the Mattamy Athletic Centre, and others, remained open. 

May 4, 2021

Part of the Daphne Cockwell Science Complex is converted into a pop-up vaccination centre to service downtown residents. Members of the Ryerson Medical Centre and health-care workers, as well as individuals from the Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing helped to administer vaccines to those eligible based on the provincial guidelines. 

A pop-up clinic is started in the Daphne Cockwell Science Complex to administer the COVID-19 vaccine in May 2021. (@RyersonU)

July 21, 2021

The Fall 2021 semester is designated a ‘transitional’ semester. Certain classes, chosen by faculties and programs, are offered with in-person options that have a limited capacity. More services and events return and staff and faculty begin planning ways to continue opening up campus.

Aug. 17, 2021

Ryerson announces the schedule for a virtual and in-person orientation week to start off the transitional Fall 2021 semester. A mix of events are offered for on-campus and online students including zoomba, a talent show and online gaming. This is one of the first Ryerson events to be hosted in person since the pandemic began.

Ryerson University continues to provide updates on closures and campus activities throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. (@RyersonU)

Aug. 27, 2021

Ryerson requires proof of vaccination for students coming to campus and later asks all students, faculty and staff to provide proof of vaccination. Documentation is submitted through the RyersonSafe app, along with daily health screening for people coming to campus, required as of July 28

Sept. 17, 2021

Ryerson University announces that athletics will return to campus in the Fall 2021 semester. This also means the opening of the Mattamy Athletic Centre and the Recreation and Athletics Centre. Recreational programs and clubs, intramural sports, competitive and varsity sports are all authorized to start again while following COVID-19 restrictions. 

Feb. 28, 2022

After a transitional start to the Winter 2022 semester, the school announces that by the week of Feb. 28, classes will return to in-person learning. This is the largest scale return to campus since the beginning of the pandemic and multiple health and safety measures remain in place, including proof of vaccination, COVID-19 screening and masking.

Katie Newman was a reporter with On The Record during the Winter 2022 term.

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