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September 8, 2020

 

Dear OISE Students, Staff and Faculty,

 

Welcome (back) to the academic year 2020/21 and to the many opportunities ahead! As we adjust to the realities of the global pandemic, we will need to look after ourselves and one another, and take steps to sustain the health and wellbeing of the community. We will need to be adaptable, understanding and patient, given that almost all members of our community are working and learning from home.

 

At the same time, we will continue to provide our students with an exceptional experience, to study and explore some of the most pressing issues of our age, and to contribute to broader educational and societal change. In that spirit, I want to bring your attention to a message I sent on Friday regarding OISE’s commitment to addressing anti-Black Racism and Scholars Strike events being organized for September 9th and 10th. As one of our contributions to this initiative, an OISE Teach-in on “Scholars and Educators for Black Lives” has been organized for Wednesday, September 9th at 4:30 p.m. (via this zoom link) and features Sandy Hudson, who will speak to the realities of anti-Black police violence in Toronto and across Canada, to ignite actions by participants to take a stand, and not stop until all Black people can live with safety, freedom, rights and justice. This is a free, public, educational event.  I encourage everyone to participate in the educational programming being offered over these next two days in support of the elimination of racial violence and discrimination. 

 

Please take a moment and review the following information carefully, as there are several important details to be aware of as we start the year.

 

OISE Together Hub

While the challenges of COVID-19 will have a tremendous impact on the semester, you can expect our full commitment to community-building, high-quality learning, transformative research and health and wellbeing. We don’t have all the answers, but we are committed to ensuring that students, faculty and staff are supported during these uncertain times. To keep up with some of the latest developments, be sure to bookmark OISE Together Hub

 

Remote Working and Learning

The OISE Leadership Team continues to support an approach where the default for most members of the OISE community will be to work and learn remotely. We are doing our part to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and to sustain the health and safety of our community and the community at large. Even so, we recognize that there are some essential and exceptional circumstances where onsite access to the building may be necessary and appropriate, while minimal. Note OISE Building hours for such minimal entry will be 7am to 8pm Monday to Friday, and 9am to 8pm Saturdays and Sundays.

 

Access to 252 Bloor Street West Building

OISE faculty, staff and students who require onsite access to the building will need to follow certain steps that are outlined on the OISE Chief Administrative Officer website

 

Individual Access (one person)

​Please book a time slot to come into the building via MS Booking Tools for Building Access. When you arrive on site, you will need to sign-in to the building using an online form, accessed with a QR code or weblink. You will need to sign-out from the building when you leave using a similar method. OISE Security is available to assist with this process if needed.

 

Meeting Access (more than one person)

Any onsite meeting that includes more than one person, will need to be pre-approved, booked and coordinated. Such requests will need to be assessed as to whether they are essential and also to consider building capacity ​along with various social distancing requirements. You will need to obtain departmental/unit pre-approval from the business officer/manager to book and coordinate these arrangements. Note that if approved, all persons will need to sign-in to the building using an online form, accessed with a QR code or weblink. They will need to sign-out from the building when leaving using a similar method. OISE Security is available to assist.

 

CAO Website and Entry Video 

Please take a moment and look over the information found on the Chief Administrative Officer COVID-19 website.  You will find a range of material including the MS Booking Tools for Building Access, a helpful video of what to expect when you enter the building, and a range of information on building protocols. Once again, the default is remote activity, but where onsite access is necessary, the arrangements noted above should be followed.  Also, we acknowledge that the situation is fluid and that we will need to adapt as necessary

 

Masks

You would need to wear masks in all common areas in the building. Please review the UofT Policy on Non-Medical Mask or Face coverings. UofT is providing non-medical masks but please do not make a special trip to campus for the sole purpose of picking up your mask. 

 

OISE Students should review the instructions for picking up student masks here: https://www.utoronto.ca/utogether2020/where-to-pick-up-face-mask

 

OISE Faculty and Staff can pick up their masks from OISE Security when you are on-site, between the hours of 10am to 1pm. You will need to provide your UTORID for mask pickup. 

 

UCheck 

The University has introduced a self-assessment web portal, UCheck, that allows faculty members, librarians, staff and students to complete a quick and thorough self-assessment before coming to campus. As of today, UCheck is available for the U of T community at ucheck.utoronto.ca on computers, smartphones, and tablets. We highly encourage all individuals to use UCheck every time they plan to be on campus to help keep our community healthy and safe. More details and FAQs on how to use UCheck are available at utoronto.ca/utogether2020/ucheck.

 

Dean’s Office Activities 

The Dean’s Office will support a number of activities during this year, including the Provost’s Review of OISE and a wrap up of the external review of OISE programs from last year. We will conduct eight faculty searches that we know will attract a great number of applications. As always, OISE governance committees will be busy in activities associated with research and program innovations and renewal, and our Climate Action Committee will be hard at work. Together with our anti-racism, Black, and Indigenous community scholars and leaders, we are working to bring about change and to ensure that OISE is a place that is welcoming and supportive of everyone. 

 

Staying Connected and Informed

As most of us continue to work and study remotely, it will be even more vital to find effective ways to stay connected and informed. The Dean’s Office will again utilize direct email to all OISE students, staff, and faculty, for Dean’s Community Updates. Our Inside OISE e-newsletter will resume distribution and our OISE Communications team will continue to develop and deliver engaging and timely news and information via the OISE websiteOISE Together Hub, and via our social media channels. 

 

I wish you all the best for a healthy, happy, and productive year!

 

Take care,

Glen

Glen A. Jones, Ph.D.

Professor and Dean