A message from the president: Fall 2021 plans
CMU planning for mostly in-person classes and campus life this fall
Dear CMU Students,
Summer greetings from CMU! We very much look forward to welcoming you on campus for 2021-22 in early September.
Here's to announce that CMU is moving ahead with plans for mostly in-person classes and campus life this fall.
- In sum, we anticipate about 90% of CMU classes happening in person, and 10% online. Also, there will continue to be some hybrid extensions of in-person classes for students who are not able to attend in person for COVID-related reasons. Please direct any questions on the fall to Charlie Peronto, Dean of Student Life (cperonto:@:cmu.ca).
What makes it possible and safe to be on campus together in fall 2021?
1. The Province of Manitoba is opening up throughout the summer as progress towards vaccination goals and low COVID-19 test positivity rates continue.
- The Province has established a 4-3-2-1 plan for reopening. This plan indicates the following Labour Day goals: 80% first and 75% second provincial vaccination rates for persons age 12 and up and low COVID-19 levels. Provided these goals are met, provincial orders are set to be altered such that all services, facilities, and business reopen, with limited restrictions in some cases. Currently the Province is tracking ahead of schedule on its vaccination goals, and anticipates lifting the current two-metre physical distancing requirement by the start of September classes. This most likely scenario enables CMU to move ahead with a high proportion of in-person education classes and other activities this fall, even as these plans can be adapted should further pandemic conditions of concern arise.
2. The CMU learning community has a proven track record in honouring the safety, health, and well-being of all.
- Sometimes I describe the story of COVID-19 during 2020/21 at CMU as "blessedly boring." There was no outbreak and no known transmission of COVID-19 on campus amongst those who live on campus or those who commute in for the day. That's an amazing record. The shared commitment of CMU students, staff, and faculty in following protocols to keep one another safe was stellar. We anticipate that some mask wearing and possibly some physical distancing will continue to be required in fall 2021. We also are confident that the CMU learning community will come through in following any necessary steps to stay safe. (We also suggest that good habits of frequent handwashing continue.)
3. The rate of vaccination of the CMU learning community is high.
- We have taken a voluntary anonymous survey of faculty and staff. 95% have indicated that they are vaccinated, and we know that not everyone participates in voluntary surveys (even amongst faculty and staff!). So, the total number of staff and faculty vaccinated may be approaching 100%.
- We will be setting up a voluntary anonymous survey of students in early fall. Our anecdotal knowledge at present indicates very high vaccination levels amongst students as well.
4. CMU will continue to follow all protocols from Manitoba Health.
5. Campus housing has room for isolating when needed.
- CMU will continue to hold protected spaces for students who live on campus to self isolate when needed due to COVID-19 symptoms. Please note that quarantine requirements may change in fall as the pandemic subsides and moves into endemic conditions.
On COVID-19 vaccination
1. In keeping with Canadian law, CMU is not mandating vaccines for any students, staff, or faculty. CMU will not request access to the protected health information of any member of the university community in order to attend classes and other activities on campus.
- Please note that the Province of Manitoba requires proof of double vaccination for entry to indoor restaurants, arts, sporting, and other locations and events.
2. In keeping with the overwhelming consensus of scientific and health authorities globally, CMU views vaccination as a safe and necessary way to stop the transmission of COVID-19 and to protect the health of the population. As such, CMU sees vaccination as a social responsibility and an expression of care for others.
- CMU requests that all members of the CMU learning community consider being vaccinated against COVID-19. All students, staff, and faculty are encouraged to discuss any reservations about COVID-19 vaccination with their physicians.
3. CMU will assist with access to vaccination for those who unable to receive vaccination prior to arriving at CMU in September. This applies to domestic and international students. Some international students are coming from countries where the vaccines that have been approved in Canada are not available. The Province of Manitoba permits all international students to book vaccination appointments as soon as they arrive in the province.
Return to community
I find it helpful to think about the fall as "returning to community" rather than "getting back to normal." Collectively our lives have experienced a major shock through changes to how we live. It's tough to shift our thinking from, "We need to stay apart," to "It's safe to be together." As we learn to trust what is good in being together we have opportunity to return to some things and change others. We look forward to returning to community with your voice in the mix as we learn together what that means and as we foster the safety, health, and well-being of all.
Summer joys and see you soon!
Dr. Cheryl Pauls, President
Canadian Mennonite University