Return to in-person learning arrives earlier than expected for UTM students
Students voice their concerns through petitions and meetings in response to recent announcement of in-person learning this winter.

On October 1, the University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM) announced it will be offering the majority of courses in-person this winter term in January 2022. Currently, nearly 85 per cent of courses have been switched to in-person instruction. While some students are excited for this change, others have indicated it to be rather abrupt.

More than 99 per cent of students have declared their vaccination status, prompting the transition from an online delivery mode to in-person. The university is confident physical activities, social events, and co-curricular student programs will resume at a safe and comfortable pace for both students and faculty.

Students can find updated delivery methods for their selected courses on ACORN as well as the academic timetable.  

In a recent public announcement, Principal Alexandra Gillespie of UTM mentions that the university will work closely with Peel Public Health to ensure a smooth transition. Mask policies, vaccine requirements, and the UCheck health screening system, along with other safety measures, will continue to be in effect during the winter term. 

“We have a formal responsibility to offer most of our courses on campus; any permanent changes to move classes online after the pandemic will require governance approval,” Gillespie states.

International students can seek help by connecting with UTM’s International Education Centre (IEC). The centre will offer students with one-on-one assistance and group presentations to advise them on their next steps. The IEC also offers immigration advising support for additional help.

The university recognizes that some students may be subject to quarantine for the first two weeks of the winter term and will be offering a deadline to add and drop courses by January 23, 2022. 

International students are also eligible for an International Leave of Absence, which requires documented proof for their inability to attend campus. They are able to request a leave of one term, either in the fall or winter, or one academic session for a maximum of two consecutive years. 

Further, many students have expressed their concerns in a meeting hosted by the University of Toronto Mississauga Student Union (UTMSU) earlier last week. In fact, several are calling on the university to provide more options in the winter term. 

Alex Aurica, a fourth-year student at UTM, has created an online petition demanding the choice for online or dual delivery methods in the winter term. So far, the petition has over 2500 signatures with a goal of 5000. 

With residence being filled up so quickly, many students that were expecting a full year of online courses are now facing challenges moving back to campus. Maddy Glover, a third-year student who is a don on Oscar Peterson Hall’s third floor, recognizes that this is one of the biggest problems she finds in her residence.

Completing a double major in psychology and linguistics, Glover also mentions, “I’m really nervous, but I’m also really excited to see the campus lively again.” 

The return to in-person learning has left some excited while others conflicted with managing their schedule before the winter semester. Students have made it clear to the university that it is up to the institution to provide them with adequate support in the coming few months. 

Other students who are also encountering difficulties with the transition can reach out to multiple centres at the university, including UTM’s Office of the Registrar and the Centre for Student Engagement. Both offices offer scheduled appointments through email and phone to those struggling in their academic career.

News Editor (Volume 48) | news@themedium.ca
Going into her third year, May is currently completing a double major in Sociology and Criminology. Before becoming News Editor, May contributed The Medium for two years as a Staff Writer and Associate Features Editor. One of her biggest goals is to launch a nonprofit organization that mediates humanitarian crises around the globe and that supports children living in third-world countries. When she is not writing or studying, May spends her time working with canine coaches to provide supervised fun to four-legged furry friends at Dogtopia Applewood.

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