The Alberta Relaunch Strategy & the U of A

On April 30, 2020, the Government of Alberta announced its Relaunch Strategy. The Strategy is a long-term plan to gradually resume activities across the province while still respecting required public health measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The province outlines three main stages.

What does this mean for the U of A?

The University of Alberta will continue to respect and support all guidelines and restrictions outlined by the Government of Alberta and the Chief Medical Officer of Health throughout our province’s recovery from COVID-19.

  • 15+ gatherings still not permitted 
  • Physical distancing requirements remain
  • Spring / Summer 2020 Classes continue to be delivered remotely
  • Remote work continues where possible at least through Stage 1
  • Gradual reintroduction of on-campus research activities will begin soon
  • Some on-campus service points may be allowed to reopen soon

Many in our community are eager to get back to their study and work routines on campus. It is important to note that throughout the relaunch process our steps to increase activity on our campuses need to be cautious, gradual and methodical. As a community we need to understand that some on-campus activities may not be able to return to their regular routines until well into 2021. Our primary concern will be supporting safe learning, living and working environments for our students, faculty, staff and extended community. 

How does the Alberta Relaunch Strategy affect the University of Alberta?

Led by our Chief Medical Officer of Health, the whole province of Alberta is currently in a preliminary relaunch stage -- including the University of Alberta.

The Government of Alberta anticipates indicating start dates for more relaxed public health measures across the province in three main phases. However, activation dates will vary from organization to organization and community to community as it is considered safe to recommence activities locally and required support resources are confirmed in place. 

In the same way, the University of Alberta will follow any updated relaxed measures as closely as possible as they are announced by the Chief Medical Officer of Health, and as they are considered viable for our community. As part of our 2020-21 planning, university leaders and planners are currently determining the safest and most efficient way to recommence our on-campus activities using the informed advice of public health, pandemic, and emergency management experts. Therefore, please continue to check this site on a regular basis to learn of any changes to measures directly affecting our community.

Will anything immediately change?

The initial Government of Alberta announcement and their early actions prior to Stage 1 resulted in no immediate changes to our current community and campus status

What does Stage 1 look like at the U of A?

As outlined, the first stage changes very little for our current community and campus status. The only changes during Stage 1 will be the gradual ramping up of some research and research support activities, and the gradual re-opening of some service points on campus, such as food and retail vendors. The U of A Public Health Response Team are currently working with faculties and support units to determine the safest way to commence these activities again. Relaunching plans will include various considerations, such as if operational support requirements (e.g. custodial services, personal protective equipment, etc.) are in place. 

Additionally, the following measures remain:

  • Classes and exams will be delivered remotely for the spring and summer terms. To allow spring/summer instructors and students to most effectively complete their studies, this will not change.
  • Research currently defined as essential will continue on campus. Other research will continue remotely where possible. Members of the U of A COVID-19 response Research Impact Group are currently assessing opening additional on-campus lab research. Details will be shared with researchers and our community when they are available.
  • Only employees who are required to maintain essential services or approved research should be on campus.
  • All travel outside of Alberta not considered vital to the academic mission of the university is suspended.
  • Campus buildings remain accessible only by OneCard or key.

All on-campus and off-campus university activities will be required to follow all public health restrictions, including:

  • No gatherings of more than 15 people.
  • Gatherings of 15 people or fewer must follow physical distancing and other public health guidelines. (See U of A physical distancing workplace protocols.)
  • Attendance at businesses, facilities and events that have close physical contact will not be permitted, including: arts and culture festivals, major sporting events and concerts.
  • Pools, recreation centres, arenas, nightclubs and gyms will remain closed.

What about Stages 2 and 3?

Stages 2 and 3 will still hold significant limitations for many of our usual day-to-day on campus activities; for example, physical distancing restrictions will be maintained during all three stages. 

Given the criteria and restrictions outlined in the province’s relaunch strategy, it is unlikely the university will be able to significantly relax public health restrictions prior to September 2020. In the meantime, the gradual reopening of our on-campus activities and their possible impacts on our 2020-21 academic year is the primary undertaking of the U of A Fall 2020 Planning Group. Learn more about their process and progress.