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COVID and Fall 202I FAQ

Due to the many questions received about the Fall 2021-2022 academic year, we have grouped the answers to the most frequently asked questions on the Fall 2021 School year FAQ page. Find the answers to the main questions asked below:

  • When will Campus Saint-Jean reopen?
    Campus Saint-Jean follows and applies the guidelines established by the University of Alberta. While the campus services are fully functioning virtually, no date has yet been set for the reopening of the buildings.
  • What courses will not be offered online?
    Almost all the courses will be offered online - only certain courses will be offered face-to-face: list of face-to-face courses.
  • Will budget cuts result in course cancellations?
    No, all the displayed courses will be insured, except in the event of the number of students being too low
  • When will the classes return to face-to-face?
    Until the end of the 2020-2021 academic year, the majority of courses will be offered online. Please read the Provost's message below for more information.
  • How will the student housing work - including Résidence Saint-Jean Residence?
    We have not yet received any information on the use of the Residences. If the rooms are individual, the kitchens are shared; this can present a challenge in terms of social distancing.
  • What to do for accommodation? Should I be looking for accommodation and wait there for the start of the school year?
    We unfortunately cannot advise you on this subject, not knowing exactly how the Back to school will unfold at this stage. We can only indicate that if there is no accommodation at the start of the school year, it will probably be more complicated to find accommodation during the year.
  • How can I access Bibliothèque Saint-Jean?
    University of Alberta Libraries is in the process of partially and gradually reopening their facilities. For now, if the Library remains closed, some services are available online. More information on the Libraries website.

For more info, please visit the University of Alberta's Registrar's Office.


Message from the Provost, May 18th, 2021:

Dear faculty, staff, and students -  

While we look forward to welcoming many of you back to our campuses for the Fall 2021 semester, it is possible that at least some students won’t be able to join us in person this September, whether because of travel or health restrictions, or for other reasons. Faculties are actively preparing and planning to mitigate the impact on students who are not able to attend in person for the Fall term, in ways that make sense for their programs, taking into account that professional and accredited programs have unique requirements, and with full regard for student, faculty, and staff safety.  

We very much hope that most of our community will be able to come to campuses in the fall, but we are also planning how best to support those for whom this will not be possible. Some students may have already heard from their Faculty about plans for the Fall, should they not be able to attend in person; others will hear more details soon.

Faculties and other units across the University are working to ensure that instructors have access to the supports and services they need during another unusual semester to mitigate impacts on them, notably through the Centre for Teaching and Learning, Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research, Dean of Students, and the Registrar’s Office.

In the meantime, should you have any questions about this, please contact your Faculty. They will connect you with other supports if necessary.

We continue to be amazed by, and grateful for the profound engagement and collaboration of students, Faculties, instructors, and administrators in supporting our collective success and well-being. We are planning for a safe and productive Fall semester, and will continue to keep you posted.

Steven Dew

Provost and Vice-President (Academic)


Message from the Provost, February 23rd, 2021:

Dear U of A students, faculty, and staff,

Over the past weeks we’ve heard from our public health experts and policy makers about the next steps we need to take towards COVID-19 recovery. I’ve heard from many of you, too, encouraged by recent progress and keen to hear about the university’s plans for the Fall 2021 semester as you consider options in the months ahead. Today, I’d like to bring you an update on our current planning status and the approach we will be taking for the U of A’s 2021-22 academic year.

Welcoming back the next phase of our on-campus community

While a complete return to normal from the COVID-19 crisis is unlikely by September, we plan to welcome a significantly increased number of our university community members back to our campuses this autumn. We are optimistic that Alberta’s expanded vaccine rollout and anticipated steps forward will provide the atmosphere we need to safely offer face-to-face undergraduate and graduate courses, research, and related support services across all of our campuses. These, plus some public health controls, such as masking policies, physical distancing limits, travel restrictions, are likely to make this possible. 

Larger spaces for smaller classes

We expect to continue with a combination of in-person and remote course delivery, with increased in-person and blended learning that take full advantage of classroom spaces across our campuses. Academic planners, faculty organizers, and instructors are currently working with campus health and safety experts to assess all classroom, lab, studio, research, work-integrated learning opportunities, and student service possibilities for the fall. This planning may determine that larger classes will be offered online or through simultaneous remote and in-person teaching, while smaller classes will have the opportunity to attend in-person. Our class size limits will be determined by Alberta’s indoor gathering limits, related public health restrictions, and the university’s risk assessment.

Guided by safety, sustainability, and student support and success 

Over the next two months, as we look at possibilities for the 2021-22 year, university planners will be guided by the following principles: 

  • Protecting the health and safety of students, faculty, and staff.
  • Supporting continuity in the delivery method of classes throughout the term to ensure course progression and completion.
  • Supporting student program completion and program progression.
  • Supporting equity of access for students, regardless of where they are located or the resources they possess.
  • Making sustainable choices.
  • Focusing on the student experience by maximizing in-person learning and continuing to improve online learning experience; where possible, in-person learning will be prioritised for first and second-year undergraduate students, smaller graduate classes, students completing their programs, and courses that cannot be taught remotely.

Fall 2021 registration begins mid-May; course delivery format available by April 26

To help students make the best decisions for their courses, we’ve taken the exceptional step this year of delaying our Fall 2021/Winter 2022 registration to start mid-May. By that time, students will know their anticipated course schedules and locations as the delivery formats of courses will be available in Bear Tracks by April 26. May registration dates will be sent directly to students in April.

Flexibility is key—for you and for the university community

During the pandemic, circumstances can still change quickly—for travellers, gatherings, and close contacts. It is important that we continue to be prepared and ready to adapt as necessary at the individual, group, and community level. Throughout 2021-22, we will continue to offer academic support and accommodations whenever possible for remote and isolated students. We will also explore equipping more classrooms with the ability to offer simultaneous remote and in-person teaching. And finally, we will be as responsive as possible to evolving public health restrictions, including measures relating to travel, gathering in groups, and physical distancing. As public health measures continue to be opened up, we will make all efforts to continue to grow our on-campus community in 2021-22. By January 2022, if not sooner, we anticipate being back to our regular campus routines.

My thanks to all of our students for your continued patience and determined commitment to your academic careers during these trying times. And, my gratitude to our academic planners, faculty organizers, instructors, and tremendous support community, as they take on this extraordinary planning challenge over the next couple of months.

At our heart, we are a campus culture and community. Shared learning, teaching, working, and living spaces and experiences remain integral to the university and the U of A experience. We are one step closer to being together in classrooms, conference rooms and on campus again.

Steven Dew

Provost & Vice-president (Academic)

Additional Fall 2021 and Winter 2022 information will be posted on Campus Life and COVID-19 Response websites and distributed to U of A students and employees as it becomes available. 

Fall 2021 FAQs for students