March 16, 2020
Dear Students, Staff, Faculty and Alumni of St. Mike’s,
I write today to thank all members of the University of St. Michael’s College community for the remarkable and unprecedented efforts they have made during this important time of transition brought on by the global outbreak of COVID-19. Please be assured that we continue to work tirelessly to meet the health, safety, and academic needs of all our students and staff, not just in an effective manner, but with compassion and understanding.
Earlier this month, a working group of senior leaders was established at St. Mike’s and has been meeting regularly to develop contingency plans and adapt guidance for our campus community from trusted sources, including the University of Toronto, and local, provincial and national health authorities. I want to thank Principal and Acting President Randy Boyagoda for his leadership on this working group during my absence from campus.
St. Michael’s and the University of Toronto have undertaken many bold steps to limit the spread of this virus through social distancing, which limits the rate of transmission of this virus, protecting both our immediate community, as well as our fellow citizens across our city, our country, and the globe. These actions have included the translation of all classes and exams to on-line delivery, the cancellation or postponement of conferences and large meetings, the facilitation of students moving out of residences, and efforts to support employees through remote or adapted work. While introducing these measures, we have also sought to ensure the integrity and continuity of academic programming, student and staff support, and employee compensation. The details and duration of each of these institutional responses and resources are communicated through both social and traditional media, and can be found in one central place on the COVID-19 Response page of the USMC web site. I invite you to visit this site regularly as information is introduced and updated regularly.
These are extraordinary times requiring creativity, flexibility, and empathy on the part of each member of our community. I realize that significant adjustments are being made by everyone in order to respond to these unprecedented circumstances, and I want to express my deep gratitude for your support, resiliency, and continuous desire to ensure a safe and caring community. Please be assured of my continued commitment and prayers for the well-being of you and every member of the St. Michael’s community.
David Sylvester, PhD
President and Vice-Chancellor
The University of St. Michael’s College