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Academic Leadership Team – Message to Students re: COVID-19 | March 13, 2020

Dear FIFSW students,

This morning University of Toronto President Meric Gertler sent a message to the University of Toronto community to update you on the University’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

While the risk of COVID-19 is currently low to the University community, the President’s message provided an overview of a number of measures that are being taken to help interrupt the chain of transmission in the wider community, thereby protecting vulnerable individuals and ensuring that our health care system will not become overburdened.

As you will have read in that message, all in-person courses across U of T’s three campuses will be cancelled and teaching will be provided through other means.

All FIFSW instructional courses will be moved online effective Monday, March 16 and continuing until the end of classes on Friday, April 3. Instructors will be adjusting assignments as necessary to allow you to complete your courses online and will soon be in touch to let you know the plans moving forward for their class.

The University is not closed. Libraries, residences, food services, health & wellness centres, athletics and recreation facilities, and other public spaces will remain open. The University will soon be sharing a list of FAQs to explain the rationale behind these differential responses.

The University has also taken the following actions:

  • All University-sponsored learning programs abroad have been cancelled.
  • It has been recommended that non-essential travel be reconsidered and that discretionary events be cancelled or postponed.

In addition, the University has created a webpage to inform members of its community with up-to-date messages and to provide a clearing house of authoritative information. We have also linked to this from the homepage of the FIFSW website. The U of T webpage also provides answers to Frequently Asked Questions, including what you should do if you have flu-like symptoms or if you have traveled to an affected region.

Our practicum office has also sent information to students and field instructors on FIFSW’s Field Education Plan for Interruption of Practicum.

Members of the FIFSW community who have questions, are encouraged to contact appropriate faculty member below:

Master of Social Work:
David Burnes, Associate Dean, Academic, and Associate Professor

Eileen McKee, Assistant Dean, Field Education

PhD program:
Lin Fang, PhD Program Director, and Associate Professor

David J. Brennan, Associate Dean, Research, and Professor

We would like to assure you that U of T has been monitoring the situation closely and further updates will be provided as necessary. As the President indicated, the University has been liaising with other post-secondary institutions and sector organizations, including Toronto Public Health and our own U of T public health experts.


Dexter R. Voisin, Dean & Professor

David Burnes, Associate Dean Academic

David J. Brennan, Associate Dean, Research

Lin Fang, PhD Director

Eileen McKee, Assistant Dean, Field Education