Dear Members of the University of Saskatchewan community,
As we head into month three of working and delivering classes remotely, I want to acknowledge how thoughtful, responsive, and resilient members of our campus community – students, staff, and faculty – have been during these uncertain times. I would like to use this message to focus on some important updates for everyone, and particularly for our students.
The next several months are going to be challenging for many families facing difficult financial decisions as a result of the pandemic. Knowing that tuition is a significant investment for students, last week we announced a tuition freeze for the majority of our programs for the upcoming year. Our hope is that by maintaining tuition at the current rates for the fall and winter terms, we can reduce some financial pressures for many students and their families.
Even with tuition rates remaining unchanged, we are staying focused on program and delivery enhancements to ensure that students continue to receive a world class education at the University of Saskatchewan. The method of program delivery this fall and winter — whether in-class, remotely or a blend of both—will not change the high quality and value of a USask degree.
The immense planning effort continues to determine how this upcoming academic year looks. This is a complex and multi-layered initiative, knowing that it will not be business as usual. Being thoughtful, deliberate and diligent will help us get this right, based on guidance from the provincial government and our healthcare professionals. A Pandemic Recovery Team (PRT) has recently been formed, consisting of cross-campus representatives, with the mandate to lead the planning for September, best positioning USask to deliver successfully on our academic and research missions for students during these extraordinary times.
The spring term (already underway) and the upcoming summer term are both being delivered remotely, and, working closely with the province, we expect to be able to announce our initial plans for the fall term tomorrow. We hope this will help our students and faculty in starting to plan for September. The health and safety of our students and staff will be the priority as we remain focused on delivering our world class academic programming and research.
For the Class of 2020, I recognize that the news about our spring convocation ceremonies being postponed is disappointing for many of you. From the moment the postponement was officially announced, we have been working hard to make new plans to honour our graduating students. Although we are prevented from celebrating your achievements in person this June, you will be receiving your parchments and we will celebrate in other ways beginning later this month. I invite you to watch my update video to spring 2020 graduands for more details.
At some point in the future, we do plan to invite all our Class of 2020 graduates back to campus to have the opportunity to cross the convocation stage in person, celebrating your accomplishments with your family and friends. We know how important this is to you. We will continue to update everyone as plans are finalized in the coming months. I encourage you to visit the spring graduation page on a regular basis for updated information.
In closing, I am grateful for your continued support and flexibility during this most challenging time in our university’s history. While COVID-19 has created tremendous operational and financial challenges for us in delivering on our academic and research mission, I have great confidence in the decisions we are making to emerge as an even stronger university in the post-pandemic period.
President and Vice-chancellor
University of Saskatchewan
As a community it is critical that we support each other and remain respectful during what is a difficult time for all of us. Please follow all guidelines and take all precautions to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 in our community.
How you can help our students during the COVID-19 pandemic: https://alumni.usask.ca/news/2020/covid-19-how-you-can-help-our-students.php
For the latest developments and information about the University of Saskatchewan's response to COVID-19, please go to www.usask.ca/updates.