USask Winter Term update: Return to campus planned for Feb. 7

On January 18, the Pandemic Response and Recovery Team (PRT) provided a winter term update indicating that temporary precautionary measures would remain in place until February 7.

Based on the current state of the fifth wave of the pandemic, we are writing to confirm that in-person learning and research activities will safely return to campus beginning February 7 as planned for the start of winter term. 

The PRT and the President’s Executive Committee (PEC) consulted with many university partners and heard feedback from faculty, staff and students prior to making this decision. We’ve also closely monitored the pandemic situation on campus, within the province and beyond. This decision has been guided by recent and encouraging factors, including the levelling off of new positive cases, levels below prior peaks in COVID-19 viral load detected in wastewater, and high uptake of COVID-19 vaccine boosters by our campus community. Also, 99 per cent of the campus community who plan to be on campus are fully vaccinated. These factors, along with the current health and safety protocols in place, give us confidence in a return to campus on February 7.  

There may be some exceptions or specific circumstances that will require some academic program activities to remain remote for the time being. If those circumstances emerge, messages will come directly from the college or school to provide further details.  

Staff who can work remotely and have been doing so should continue to for now and are asked to connect with their people leader to discuss a strategy and timeline for returning to working on campus. Extracurricular activities that are not directly associated with teaching, learning and research and have not been previously approved by the PRT will be phased back to in-person by February 21 with strict adherence to verification of full vaccination and other health and safety measures. 

As we return to increased in-person activities we remind everyone, that, in addition to the health and safety measures in place, we all have a vital part in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and its variants. This includes: 

  • Being fully vaccinated and expecting all members of the campus community to obtain their vaccination booster shots as soon as eligible.  If appropriate, please update your booster vaccination status by February 7; 
  • Wearing a required 3-ply single-use mask on all USask campuses and in all work locations at all times; 
  • Staying home if you are feeling sick (even if it isn’t COVID-19 or you are not sure) so you do not spread any illness and not coming to campus until you are symptom free for 48 hours; and 
  • Using rapid test kits to test yourself prior to any gatherings in person with others (rapid testing kits can be confirmed here). 

If required, we also know we will be able to manage, mitigate and respond to situations to minimize disruptions.

If you have any questions or would like more information, please visit covid19.usask.caor consult the FAQ. We appreciate your patience throughout these challenging times and your ongoing commitment to ‘Protect the Pack’. We look forward to resuming increased on-campus activity starting next week. 

Regards, and stay well, 
USask Pandemic Response and Recovery Team