June 15 - June 21, 2020

June 17, 11 a.m.: A message from Dr. Janice Ristock, Provost and Vice-President (Academic), on Critical Course Information, Student Ratings of Instruction, Limited-Access Policy

Critical Course Information: 

For the Summer term instructors were asked to prepare a short statement on their course essentials, including technology requirements, so that students can select courses with a greater understanding of the expectations and needs of the course they are considering.   

For all Fall term offerings, we are asking all instructors to provide critical course information using a revised and abbreviated ‘Critical Course Information’ form.  The information will be included in the Syllabus Section of the Class Schedule and will be available to students as they select their courses.   Fall term offerings are posted on June 19th and the first cohort of students in Fort Garry programs will begin registration on July 13th.  Therefore, it is imperative that instructors submit their Critical Course Information as soon as possible but not later than July 2nd.    

Student Ratings of Instruction (SRI):    

On May 13, 2020 Senate approved a revised method for Student Ratings of Instruction (formerly SEEQs).  This SRI instrument will be used in the Summer term through UM Learn. The full SRI software system will be fully launched in the Fall term.   

Limited-Access Policy: 

As a reminder, Senate Executive approved that Section 2.5. (a) of the ‘Repeated Course’ policy be suspended indefinitely.  This section stipulates that any student who has voluntarily withdrawn from, or received a final grade in, a course is prevented from repeating the course for the immediately succeeding three consecutive terms.  The suspension of this policy will not disadvantage any student who withdraws or performs more poorly than hoped under the current exceptional learning conditions. 

As we progress through the Summer term and prepare for the Fall term, I want to thank all of you for your extraordinary efforts to ensure that students can successfully continue their studies. 

June 1- June 7, 2020

June 6, 4:00 p.m.: A message from Lynn Zapshala-Kelln, Vice-President (Administration)

Dear Colleagues,

We have successfully completed spring term, after the most significant disruptions in our history, and we are at a place now where we can make decisions for our 2020/21 budget. Though we continue to live in challenging and uncertain times, we have much to be proud of when we consider UM’s remarkable contributions to the success of our students, our province, and to global public health.  

Last week, President Barnard shared with you the details of our 2020/21 provincial operating grant. I encourage you to please read that message if you have not already. In light of these changes to our core funding as well as the many financial implications of the global pandemic, we are pursuing opportunities for cost saving measures while supporting the critical work we continue to do.

As part of these efforts, the President’s Executive Team will be participating in the Vacation Purchase Plan (VPP) by purchasing five days off. This means that we are each taking five days without pay, and spreading the cost of these days over the remainder of the fiscal year. Details of the program can be found here. Many staff throughout the university are already familiar with VPP and have participated, but the program has been expanded for this fiscal year in response to COVID-19. This year, as each unit pursues appropriate budget reductions, we are encouraging all who are eligible and willing to consider purchasing VPP days.  

The VPP program remains optional – no one will be required to participate and you must discuss with and receive approval from your supervisor about your plan.

Thank you again for your continued resilience, patience and support throughout this incredibly stressful time.

Lynn Zapshala-Kelln, B.Admin, CPA CGA
Vice-President (Administration)

May 25 - May 31, 2020

May 28, 8:30 a.m.: A message from Dr. David Barnard, President and Vice-Chancellor, on operating grant

Throughout my twelve years as President of the University of Manitoba, I have continually been inspired by the resilience of this institution – the resilience of our faculty, staff and students. My time as President has seen research breakthroughs, innovative growth, apologies and progress, as well as challenges, disagreements and disruptions. Whatever we have faced, we have faced it together, united by our commitment to our mission, vision and values.  

In March, confronted with a global pandemic, we entered into perhaps the most challenging chapter of our story so far. The level of disruption to our work has been unprecedented, and the lack of clarity has caused angst and anxiety for our university community.  

A significant contributor to that uncertainty resulted from direction we received from the provincial government to find savings at our institution to support frontline services. This conversation began on April 14 with a request from the Province for all public sector institutions to present plans of immediate savings of 10, 20 and 30 per cent. This was a challenging exercise, but UM presented a plan to the Province as requested and waited for feedback.  

The period of uncertainty while we waited for clarification from our largest funder has been challenging. During that time, many units have moved forward with temporary staff reductions in response to work shortages and based on the expectation of a reduced operating grant. 

We respect that this has been a challenging time for everyone in Manitoba, including for our government. We have appreciated the frequent updates from Minister Eichler and Department officials as pieces of information have become available. We understand that the conversation has been evolving rapidly. We are thankful now to have additional information to share with our community on our 2020/21 operating grant. 

On Monday, May 25, 2020, the University of Manitoba received our annual operating grant letter from the Province of Manitoba confirming a five per cent reduction ($17.23 million) to our provincial operating grant funding. As I shared with you on May 13, we were expecting a permanent one per cent cut to our operating grant and a one-year cut of four per cent. The letter did not layout the reduction in this way; the letter speaks to our funding allocation for this year alone. Additionally, what we were not expecting was that the letter announced the creation of a one-time Transitional Support Fund to help offset the impact of these reductions. The Province has allowed for up to $17.23 million to the University of Manitoba through this fund with the requirement that we submit proposals to the Province for approval. The funding is available for specific purposes: to support costs associated with orienting programs towards labour-market demands, ensuring high quality education through new and enhanced online materials and tools, and/or addressing unanticipated changes in enrollment and other challenges due to coronavirus. The allocation is not guaranteed. 

What does this mean? Our guaranteed provincial operating grant for 2020/21 has been reduced by five per cent, however, the potential provincial operating grant available to us, with conditions, is equal to our 2019/20 operating grant. We have been asked to continue working with the Department of Economic Development and Training to provide proposals for the funds by September 15, 2020.  

Ultimately, this means that we do not have certainty on the total amount of operating grant funding we will receive from the Province in 2020/21. As well, we know the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in work disruptions, revenue losses, and increased costs. Going forward, we should expect that budget reductions will be required, and we will continue to review how best to address these challenges.  

The University of Manitoba appreciates ongoing investments in the critical work we do to support student success, recognizing that our commitments to excellence in teaching and research are crucial to Manitoba’s economic and social prosperity. Government and the University of Manitoba are aligned in our desire to ensure UM graduates are prepared to make robust contributions in our changing economy.  

Certainly, UM has already demonstrated our commitment to meet labour-market demands and we continue to advance industry-academia partnerships throughout the institution. Our faculty members, and our Centre for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning, have done an outstanding job creating new and enhanced online materials and are continuing to do so for the fall term. We know that a university education provides graduates with the problem-solving, leadership, communication and collaborative skills that best prepare them to lead and thrive in a post-covid world.  

As we work together to address the challenges presented to us by COVID-19, I am certain that our resilience will, once again, see us through and that we will continue to demonstrate our unmatched contributions to this province and its people.  



May 11 - May 17, 2020

May 14, 2:00 p.m. - A message from Laurie M. Schnarr, Vice-Provost (Students) re: Fall Term, key dates

Dear students,

I hope you are well and enjoying the early days of spring, despite the unusual circumstances we are navigating together.

As many of you know, yesterday we announced the University’s plans for Fall Term. At the forefront of our considerations are the safety and well-being of the UM community, and our ongoing commitment to deliver an educational experience of the highest quality for our students. In keeping with public health and government directives, we will be offering the Fall Term primarily remotely, with the exception of a very small number of courses that require in-person delivery. Students will know in advance of registration which courses will be held in person, so you can make informed course selections.

While we are all disappointed that we will not be together in person in the Fall, please know that we are exploring every avenue to deliver a robust student experience virtually. We are working in collaboration with UMSU, UMGSA, teaching and learning experts, and the faculties to develop plans that promote student learning, engagement and academic success. This includes opportunities to connect with faculty, other students in your courses and programs; counselling, academic advising and career supports; clubs and much more. Stay tuned for further details as our plans evolve!

Here are some key dates to be aware of: 

  • June 15: Registration for Fall and Winter Terms opens for Bannatyne campus programs 
  • July 23: Registration for Fall & Winter Terms opens in Aurora for returning students  
  • September 9: Fall Term classes begin 
  • November 9-13: Fall Break Week
  • December 12-23: Fall Term exam period
  • January 5-15, 2021: critical in-person activities, such as labs, associated with some courses offered remotely from September through December 2020 will take place during this period
  • January 18, 2021: Winter Term 2021 classes begin

We understand that you will have many questions about the Fall Term, and we will do our best to answer those on our webpage here. If you still have questions, please direct those to an academic advisor in your home faculty/college/school. I will continue to keep you updated as decisions are made, including information about residences, access to campus buildings and facilities, textbooks, and more. As decisions are made, your health and safety and your academic success are our top priorities. We will continue to do all that we can to support you in this transition to remote learning; to ensure that you have opportunities to connect in meaningful ways; and to fully engage you in your learning experience. When the time is right and it is safe to do so, we will reopen buildings and resume in-person operations. We are eager to return to campus, as I know you are too!

All my best,


Laurie M. Schnarr, MA
Vice-Provost (Students)
Student Affairs
Office of the Provost and Vice-President (Academic)

May 13, 2 p.m.: A message from Dr. David Barnard, President and Vice-Chancellor, on changes to provincial operating grant

Throughout this challenging and uncertain time, I have committed to provide as much information as possible as soon as possible. I recognize and respect that the lack of clarity we have been dealing with as a community contributes to angst and anxiety during what is already a very difficult time in our world.

Today, I am sharing with you what we know right now. Though we continue to wait for written confirmation on provincial cuts to our operating grant, we have decided to share what we have been told by the Minister of Economic Development and Training, Ralph Eichler.

  • We understand that the provincial government will reduce UM’s 20/21 operating grant by 5 per cent or $17.3 million.
  • This includes a 1 per cent cut that we expect will be ongoing, and a 4 per cent reduction that we have been assured is for this year only.

We have already had to make some difficult decisions as we respond to work disruptions, revenue losses, and increased costs resulting from the global pandemic. We must continue to work together now to address additional pressures put on our budget as a result of this significant cut. The President’s Executive Team has been developing several budget scenarios to address this new reality, and we are committed to moving forward with a thoughtful, measured approach. Some of the tools we are considering include:

  • reducing discretionary spending,
  • hiring deferrals,
  • voluntary workweek reductions and
  • layoffs.

I continue to emphasise to government and our community that UM has always been and will continue to be central to Manitoba’s economic and social success. Post-secondary education will be crucial to the post-COVID-19 recovery, and our critical work continues as demand for post-secondary increases during these uncertain times. You, our faculty and staff, continue to do exceptional work in the midst of this pandemic and the challenging budget constraints.

It is at this point that we must remain focused on our shared mission and vision. Together, we support groundbreaking research, student success and impactful community engagement. Our critical work continues, despite disruption, and we must continue to collaborate and adjust if we are going to succeed in the face of these challenges.

As we move forward, I remain committed to share accurate and timely information with our community. Thank you for your ongoing commitment and resilience.



May 13, 1 p.m.: A message from Dr. Janice Ristock, Provost and Vice-President (Academic), on Fall Term 2020

I am writing today to provide information on Fall Term 2020.

I remain incredibly grateful to our faculty, staff and students for their ability to adjust to this unprecedented situation. Careful consideration and planning has gone into determining the best possible experience we can offer our students while supporting the health and safety of our community.

Though we are not able to return to a ‘normal’ Fall Term, I am pleased to share that:

  • The University of Manitoba will offer a robust Fall Term through remote learning with some in-person exceptions;
  • We will provide students with the preparation that they need to be successful in this remote learning environment;
  • We will commit to a safe return to campus when the time is right; and
  • We will ensure that our community’s health and safety are at the forefront of all of our decisions.

The University has approved a plan to deliver all possible courses for the Fall Term by remote learning. In rare cases, and with approval, some courses may be delivered in person. In these very exceptional circumstances, we will identify the protocols that need to be in place to accommodate these few exceptions. Students will know this in advance so that they can make informed course selections.

To help support these changes, Senate Executive has approved an extension of the Fall Term for optional in-person critical instruction as determined by Faculties for the period January 5 to 15, 2021. This will ensure that all students (local or international) will be able to begin and complete their studies without having to be physically present for the period of September to December 2020.

Important dates for you to know:

  • September 9: Fall Term classes begin
  • December 12 – 23: Fall Term exam period
  • January 5 – 15, 2021: Fall Term extension for critical in-person activities
  • January 18, 2021: Winter Term classes begin

We will continue to communicate further details with you, our students, and our community as efficiently as possible. Updates and answers to FAQs will continue to be posted on this page.

On behalf of President Barnard and the entire Presidential executive team, thank you! We sincerely appreciate the adjustments that faculty, students and staff have made to conclude the Winter Term, launch the Summer Term and prepare for Fall. Together, we realize that although it is different; the strength of our students, the resilience of our staff, and the passion of our instructors and faculty will carry us through.

Thank you,

May 11, 11:30 a.m.: Message from Dr. Janice Ristock, Provost and Vice-President (Academic), re: Fall Term, Winter Term academic schedule; employer support for hiring students

I am writing to provide you with an update regarding the revised 2020 Fall and 2021 Winter term academic schedules:  

Fall and Winter Term Academic Schedules: 

As we have discussed, based on current COVID-19 restrictions, you are advised to prepare to deliver all possible courses by remote learning.  To support this, on May 6th Senate Executive approved a revision to the Fall 2020 and Winter 2021 academic schedules.   

The Fall term will conclude with a period in early January 2021 (5th to 15th) during which essential in-person activities associated with courses offered in Fall term could be completed.  This may include critical in-person instruction and experience important for student safety and understanding as they proceed in their programs of study.  Use of this period by any Faculty is optional. 

As a result of this extended Fall term, the start of Winter term will be delayed by one week.   

Critical dates for Fall and Winter terms are as follows: 

Fall Term 2020  

-           September 9:  Classes start 

-           December 12 – 23:  Exam Period 

-           January 5 – 15, 2021:  Fall term extension for in-person activities   

 Winter Term 2021  

-       January 18:  Classes start 

-      April 19 – May 1:  Exam Period 

The proposal and revised academic schedule can be viewed here.   

On a different matter, career services has prepared an extensive list of employer wage subsidy and tax rebate programs.  These programs will support the hiring of a student for summer, co-op, or internship placements.  



April 27 - May 3, 2020

May 1, 12 p.m.: A message from Laurie Schnarr, Vice-Provost (Students), re: grading options, registering for Summer Term, Fall Term, EDI at UM

Dear Students,

We have received much in the way of good news this week as active cases of COVID-19 in Manitoba continue to decrease and some restrictions are lifted. Congratulations – our hard work is making a difference!

Now that exams are finished, many of you are looking ahead to your Summer and Fall Terms. Let me assure you that although campus may be closed right now, your university is open – and will remain open – to fully support your education.

As you know, it was announced several weeks ago that all summer term courses would be offered online – either in the usual Distance Education (DE) format (commencing May 4) or as Remote Learning courses (beginning June 1). I am highly encouraged by the number of students who have already registered to take DE courses – your eagerness to continue your studies inspires us all.

In this communication I have a few updates and reminders to share:

Consider your grading options. Students have four grading options for courses completed in the Winter Term 2020 and courses that spanned both the Fall and Winter Terms 2019-2020:

  1. You can keep your letter grades as they are.
  2. You can keep your letter grade but have it excluded from your GPA.
  3. If you receive a letter grade that you aren’t happy with, you can opt to have a “P” appear on your transcript instead. A number of faculties have created quick reference information to help you understand the different grading options, you can read about those here.
  4. You can voluntarily withdraw from the course.

You will have until 11:59 pm on May 10, 2020 to decide which grading option is best for you. To make your choice, log into UM Learn and follow the instructions. Courses that have final grades in Aurora will be added to your record overnight, so if your grades aren’t there yet check back again the next day. If you receive a final grade after May 10th you have 10 calendar days to request a change through your home faculty.

Registering for Summer Term Remote Learning Courses. To help students who wish to get ahead in their studies, we will be offering an extensive list of Remote Learning courses for the Summer Term. The complete list of course offerings will be made available on Aurora on May 4th. You can register for courses that begin on or after June 1 starting on May 19. (Registration is already open for Summer Term Distance Education courses and Masters/PhD Re-Reg thesis courses.) Check the Registrar’s Office website for more information.

Fall Term. The University of Manitoba is committed to delivering an educational experience of the highest quality and will do so in the Fall semester. We are monitoring Public Health and Provincial government directives and are actively exploring a range of course delivery methods, with the health and safety of our campus community at the forefront of our planning. Further details about modes of course delivery in the Fall will be communicated in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!

Sharing your voice. The University’s EDI Task Force wants to hear about your experiences with equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) at UM. I encourage you to take the time to share your feedback though this survey so we can ensure that UM is a place where all students, staff and faculty feel recognized, valued, respected and treated fairly.

We are regularly updating our new COVID-19 website with dedicated information for students. Please check in often!

Enjoy the break between terms, and be sure to take some time to celebrate your tremendous accomplishments this year. Keep safe everyone.

All my best,

Laurie Schnarr

April 20 - April 26, 2020

April 24, 5:00 p.m.: A message from Laurie Schnarr, Vice-Provost (Students) re: Summer Term, text books, Sport and Recreation Fee, grade options, government financial resources, Fall Term, new webpage for students

Dear Students, 

Congratulations on completing Winter Term final exams and assignments. 

To those of you who have fulfilled your final academic requirements and are poised to graduate, well done!! We know that the transition to remote learning and assessment has had its challenges. Your flexibility and determination in meeting the goals you set for yourselves have been inspiring. Outstanding work Bisons!! 

I have a few updates and reminders for you today: 

Summer Term. Please remember that we have two registration periods:  a) Summer Term Distance Education courses - registration opened April 20 and courses begin May 4th and b) Summer Term remote learning courses - registration opens on May 19 at 9:00 a.m. The remote learning schedule, which will include an extensive list of courses, will be available to view starting May 4. 

Other important dates: 

May 15: Last day to drop/add Summer Term Distance Education courses 
May 4-19: Students are able to review the full schedule of Summer Term course options 
May 19: Summer Term registration opens at 9 am 
June 1: Summer Term remote learning courses begin 

Please see the Registrar’s Office website for all important dates for the Summer Term. 

Textbooks. Librarians are working with instructors to source electronic versions of textbooks for Summer Term 2020 courses.  In those cases where this option isn’t possible, textbooks can still be ordered online through the University Bookstore, which has established a materials pick-up procedure that allows for physical distancing, at both the Fort Garry and Bannatyne campus locations (see the Bookstore website for details). More concrete information about textbooks will be provided in subsequent updates. 

Sport and Recreation Fee. The Sport and Recreation Fee will not be applied to tuition for Summer Term. You don’t have to take any action. 

Grade options. Now that you’ve completed your term (yay!), it is time to learn more about the new grading options. Beginning May 1, you can elect to apply grading options until May 10. To better understand these options and how they apply to each faculty, please visit this website and speak to an academic advisor if you have questions. More details on how to apply the various grading options will be communicated to you next week.  

Government financial resources. The Government of Canada announced the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB), which provides up to $1,250/month over the summer (May to August) to eligible post-secondary students, including part-time students, those who are set to begin their studies in the summer or fall, and recent graduates. Students with dependents or with disabilities will be eligible for an additional $500/month. Students will be able to apply for this benefit in the coming days and weeks. More information on these enhanced resources can be found on our COVID-19 website under Government Resources, or by visiting the Government of Canada student grants website

Fall Term. No one knows exactly what the world will look like in a few months’ time. We are exploring all possibilities for the Fall Term, and planning for every eventuality. Once details become more certain, we will be sure to inform you of how we plan to help you continue your education this fall. Rest assured, the University will be operating and you will be able to continue your studies. 

New webpage for students

We recognize that during this time many students are experiencing additional pressures, including financial, employment, housing, food, or increased caregiving responsibilities. We are continuing to provide supports, programs and services even though we are not physically located on campus. The new umanitoba.ca/coronavirus/students is your gateway to the most up-to-date information and resources on and off-campus. This webpage will be updated regularly, as new information emerges, so check back often. 

Please enjoy this break between terms, stay well, and enjoy the warm weather! 

All my best,  

Laurie Schnarr   

April 23, 8:30 a.m.: Message from Dr. Janice Ristock, Provost and Vice-President (Academic), re: Fall Term, Winter Term grading declaration process, grading and voluntary withdrawal, textbooks, resources to support remote learning, important dates

The Academic Planning Working Group has been working to prepare for the launch of the Summer Term and is exploring options for the Fall Term given the need to prepare for the continuation of remote and online learning.  

I am writing to provide you with some important updates: 

Fall Term: 

For Fall term, it is important to begin preparing to teach all classes possible using remote methods.  The progression of the pandemic situation and the guidance provided by National and Provincial health authorities may allow some in-person classes to go ahead in Fall, so it is also necessary to prepare for this possibility as well. Regardless of the mode of delivery, Fall Term will begin as planned on September 9, 2020. 

Winter Term Grading Declaration Process: 

The Winter Term alternative grading declaration process is being finalized and will be launched next week. A webpage has been developed to assist students in making informed decisions. During the declaration process students will be directed to this website and asked if they have consulted with an advisor before confirming their grade choice. 

Grading and Voluntary Withdrawal: 

I am confirming that the temporary grading options and other accommodations approved by Senate Executive to address the disruption to Winter Term caused by the pandemic do not apply beyond the end of Winter term.  

The Voluntary Withdrawal dates for the Summer Term are as approved Senate Executive on April 1, 2020 and students will be graded in accordance with our regular Grade Point Averages Policy


Please ensure that instructors are reaching out to Librarians as they plan their summer courses. Librarians are available to help instructors find an electronic version of textbooks, or suitable alternatives, for Summer Term 2020 courses. Instructors are encouraged to fill out a request form available here and a librarian will follow-up. 

In addition, the University Bookstore is open online and has developed a materials pick-up procedure that adheres to physical distancing protocols for both the Fort Garry and the Bannatyne campus locations.  Please continue to monitor the website for details.   

Information/Resources to support Remote Learning: 

The Centre for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning (CATL) has prepared an information hub to support successful teaching and learning experiences in a remote environment. This page includes guidance for deans, department heads and instructors including how to determine appropriate online course offerings, how to develop and deliver online courses, how to prepare for online exams, and the minimum technology requirements for students for remote learning. Please consider these resources as you prepare for the Summer and Fall Terms.  

CATL has also prepared a Contingencies for Teaching webpage specifically for instructors.  This includes short micro-lesson videos on topics such as how to build course and best practices in preparing online exams.  Please ensure that you share these resources with your faculty and instructors. 

Instructors can reach out to TheCentre@umanitoba.ca for support and guidance. 

Important Dates: 

May 4 - Distance Education Summer courses begin 

May 4 to 19 - Students are able to review Summer Term Course options 

May 19 - Summer Term Registration Opens 

June 1 - Summer Term Begins 

Thank you. 

April 21, 10:30 a.m.: A message to students from Dr. David T. Barnard, President and Vice-Chancellor

Dear students, 

As we reach the mid-point of our Winter Term exam period, I want to take this opportunity to thank you. Thank you for being resilient and persevering to finish your courses at such a difficult time. Thank you for asking for help when you need it, and for offering your help to others when you are able. Thank you for your patience as the University of Manitoba adapts to new ways of providing the services and supports that you rely on.  

Despite the circumstances, we are as committed as ever to ensuring you have an outstanding student experience by finding new ways of teaching, learning, and coming together as a community.   

Good luck on your exams, and know that we are here to support you however you need.  

If you haven’t already, I encourage you to visit our COVID-19 webpage where you will find resources to help you through the end of term. 



April 20, 10:30 a.m.: A message from Dr. David T. Barnard, President and Vice-Chancellor

Good morning, 
Last week, the Government of Manitoba asked all post-secondary institutions to engage in significant cost-saving measures as Government responds to the financial impact of the COVID-19 crisis. The University of Manitoba’s executive leadership is working to produce a plan for government that looks at options for expenses and temporary workload reductions from May 1 – August 31, 2020. We are working with our union partners to present a plan that shares the impact in an equitable way while ensuring we are able to continue the important and meaningful work we do to create a positive student experience.  

The University will submit its plan to government on Tuesday, April 21. We look forward to government accepting our plan, but we must wait for that acceptance before we can begin implementing the plan or sharing it with our community more broadly. 

We recognize this is a difficult time for everyone. Although many things are uncertain at the moment, let us remain clear in our knowledge that our work to support UM’s mission, vision and values remains critical to the success of this institution and this province. As I stated in my message last week, UM has always been and will continue to be central to Manitoba’s economic and social success. We are committed to supporting efforts to address the immediate request for resource reallocation, but also look to our critical role to bring Manitoba and its people into a prosperous future. 

Thank you for your contributions – as well as your patience – during this time especially. 



April 13 - 19, 2020

April 14, 5:00 p.m.: A message from Dr. David T. Barnard, President and Vice-Chancellor

Good Afternoon, 

During the last few weeks, the university has – indeed, the world has – experienced unprecedented change in the way we do our work as we faced the challenge of trying to slow the spread of COVID-19 while remaining operational. 

Today, as reported in the media, the Government of Manitoba met virtually with university leaders and other public sector employers to discuss the severity of the economic challenges facing our province as a result of the global pandemic. In response to this crisis, the government is asking us all to “row together” to ensure public resources can be allocated to support essential services to the greatest extent possible.  

UM is committed to support these efforts while remaining committed to our mission, vision and values. We will work with the provincial government and our union partners to do our part. By next week, we will bring forward options intended to maintain the essential work of ensuring student success and maintaining critical research activities, especially research related to COVID-19, while responding to government’s request for us reduce our expenditures in a way that we have not had to consider since I became President in 2008. 

These are uncertain times for all of us and we are working to provide as much clarity as quickly as possible. I appreciate your continued patience and hard work. As our province’s largest and only research-intensive university, UM has always been and will continue to be central to its economic and social success. We are committed to supporting efforts to address the immediate need for resource reallocation, but also look to our critical role to bring Manitoba and its people into a prosperous future. 



April 5 - 12, 2020

April 9, 8:30 a.m.: Message from Dr. Janice Ristock, Provost and Vice-President (Academic), re: voluntary withdrawal date, summer term registration

Dear Deans,
At the meeting of Senate Executive on Wednesday, April 8th, the following was approved:
Voluntary Withdrawal Date:
You will recall that in Academic Bulletin #1 (below) the Voluntary Withdrawal date was revised to April 13, 2020.  Today, Senate Executive approved a further extension of the voluntary withdrawal date to May 10, 2020, for courses taught in the 2020 Winter Term, including spanned courses scheduled over the 2019 Fall – 2020 Winter Terms.  This will allow students more time to consider their decisions and to consult with academic advisors.  In addition, this date also aligns with the date by which students are required to declare their grading preferences.   A COVID-19 webpage for students provides detailed information and resources.   
Students who may have recently voluntarily withdrawn from courses can request re-entry to courses through normal faculty/college/school processes and the decision to accept the request will be at the discretion of the faculty/college/school, as per usual.  
Summer Term Registration:
Registration for Summer Term Distance Education courses and Masters/PhD Re-Reg thesis courses starts on April 20, 2020 at 12 noon. Registration for Summer Term courses that begin on or after June 1 starts on May 19, 2020.   A final schedule of the summer term offerings will be available to students by May 4, 2020. 

I continue to be inspired by your leadership and adaptability to meet these unexpected needs.  I would like to acknowledge the outstanding work of faculty, instructors and staff who have carried us through the close of the Winter Term and  on to the exam period.  So many have stepped up and taken on these challenges with diligence and thoughtfulness.  I know that many of you have made sacrifices and I hope that you will have some down time over this long weekend. 

April 9, 8:30 a.m.: A message from Laurie M. Schnarr, Vice-Provost (Students)

(revised April 29)

Dear Students,
As we approach the long weekend, I want to thank you for your efforts thus far in adhering to social distancing directives. Current case numbers in Manitoba do not mean that we are out of the woods though. On a holiday weekend when you would normally spend quality time with close friends and family outside your household, I urge you to remain true to our ultimate goal – flattening the curve – by avoiding gatherings and maintaining social distancing measures. I know you’ve got this!
Although I am providing more updates in this communication to you, I am encouraging you to maintain your focus on preparing for exams, and to take advantage of the many resources that have been developed to help you. We have extended the deadline for making decisions on final grades to give you the time and space you need to make your decisions thoughtfully when the time comes to do so.
I continue to be immensely proud of how you have adapted and persevered over the past few weeks. I know the resilience you have shown will continue to serve you well throughout the exam period and beyond. Well done.
Final exam supports for students. As you prepare for the upcoming exam period, there are several resources, supports and tips to help you navigate online exams. Please visit our new webpage for invaluable information and details on how to report any issues you might have.
New Voluntary Withdrawal date. Students enrolled in Winter Term courses and those spanning the Fall and Winter Term, now have until May 10, 2020 to voluntarily withdraw. The previous deadline was April 13.
Extra time to consider your grading options. Last week, I announced that all students (except those in the Faculty of Law) can choose to receive a “pass” grade instead of a letter grade for all Winter Term and spanned courses completed by April 2020. You now have until May 10, 2020 to make this decision. More information can be found here. To help you make the right choice for your personal situation, I encourage you to reach out to an academic advisor in your home faculty/college/school.
Support for students with visas and study permits. In our new academic reality, it may be a challenge for some students to maintain the credit hours required for their visas and study permits. The University is in close contact with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada to find a solution. The Registrar’s Office will include a summary of scheduling and academic policy changes ESTABLISHED in response to COVID-19. This document will be included with confirmation of enrolment requests made on/or after May 4, 2020. UM continues to work with IRCC and we will update you as soon as we have further information. Please reach out to the International Centre to connect with an International Student Advisor if you want to discuss your individual situation.
Summer Term registration. Registration for Summer Term Distance Education courses and Masters/PhD Re-Reg thesis courses starts on April 20, 2020 at 12 noon. Students wishing to register for Summer Term courses that begin on or after June 1 can do so starting May 19, 2020A schedule of courses that will be offered in the revised Summer Term will be available on May 4, 2020. Check the Registrar’s Office website for academic schedule dates and financial payment deadlines.
Quick answers to your questions. We have reorganized our Student FAQ webpage to make it easier for you to find the information you need about deadlines, grades, student supports and more. Please bookmark this page, and visit often.
Follow @umstudent on Instagram. From Q & As with academic advisors to takeovers on yoga and meditation, this account is a key resource for students to stay connected and up-to-date on all the latest university news and resources.
Please continue to take care of yourself physically and mentally during this final stretch of the Winter Term. I am sending you all good wishes for a restful holiday weekend and a successful exam period ahead. 
All my best,
Laurie Schnarr

March 29 - April 4, 2020

April 2, 2:30 p.m. - A message from Laurie M. Schnarr, Vice-Provost (Students) re: Student Emergency Fund, student parking refund, grade exclusion, pass grading option, student supports and services

Dear Students,  

As we enter the month of April, it has been almost two weeks since all buildings closed on campus and you began to self-isolate. As a Manitoban and a proud member of the UM community, I want to thank you for your efforts, and those of your family and friends, to ensure the safety and well-being of others during this really challenging time. None of us thought that we would be ending the academic year in this way. I commend you for your patience, your flexibility and your resilience. 

Although buildings on campus are closed, please remember that we are still offering services virtually, by telephone, and online to support you in ending the semester successfully.   

Today, I am sharing several important updates and information regarding resources available to you. 

The university and its donors are pleased to offer the COVID-19 UM Student Emergency Fund, which will provide emergency financial support to students. These one-time, non-repayable, direct-deposit funds are available to full or part-time students registered in the 2019/20 academic year who meet the criteria. For more information about eligibility and how to apply, click here.  

The University will be refunding all student parking permit holders for the April portion of their parking permit. You do not need to take any action to receive this refund. If you paid by credit card, the refund will be returned to the card used to purchase the permit. If you paid by cash or debit, the University will issue cheques. Due to the large volume, please be aware that it may take some time to process all the refunds.  

If you receive a failing grade in Winter term 2020, it will be automatically excluded from all UM GPA calculations. Failing grades will appear on your transcript but will be identified as having been excluded from UM GPA calculations due to the COVID-19 situation. Failing grades will be considered for admission purposes.  

Students, except for those in the Faculty of Law, can choose whether or not to receive a “pass” grade instead of a letter grade. This option will apply to all Winter term or spanned courses that you complete by April 2020.  Students must have achieved a letter grade of D or higher to exercise this option. If you choose this option, the “pass” designation will appear on your transcript, but will be flagged with a notation that you made this decision due to the COVID-19 situation. The “pass” option ensures your grade is excluded from ALL GPA calculations. However, it is important to note that course grades of “pass” will not normally be used to satisfy prerequisites. You should not choose this option if your program specifies a grade of C or higher is required for courses counted towards the degree. Consult your faculty advising office for further information. 

You will have until May 10, 2020 to choose the “pass” option for final grades of D or higher, or to exercise the previously approved option to exclude a course grade from UM GPA calculations. The process to do so is still being determined, but will be communicated as soon as possible. Once final grades are available on Aurora you will be able to make this choice. 

For help in understanding these options and how your choice will impact you, contact an academic advisor in your home faculty/college/school.  For questions about how excluding a grade(s) or choosing a Pass (P) will affect your eligibility for admission into your target program, please contact an academic advisor from that faculty/college/school or contact the Admissions office

To recap, you can choose either the standard approach to letter grades or two alternative grading approaches for each individual course completed in Winter term 2020, except for students in the Faculty of Law. These are your options: 

Standard Approach: You can accept the letter grade you received. This is the default grading approach and your letter grade will be used in GPA calculations. 

Option 1: You can accept the letter grade received, but have it excluded from your UM GPA calculations. Your letter grade will appear on the transcript, with a note that you chose to exclude it from UM GPA calculations. 

Option 2: You can choose to receive a “pass” grade if you receive a grade of D or higher. No letter grade will be recorded on your transcript and a note will indicate that you chose this approach. The “pass” grade will be excluded from UM GPA calculations, which is the normal way “pass” grades are treated at UM.  These pass grades will have no letter grade equivalent. 

Regardless of the choice that you make with respect to course grading, you must meet all existing admission, prerequisite, progression, degree, and graduation policies and requirements that may apply to you

  • within your existing program of study and current Faculty, and 

  • to be eligible for admission to, progression within, and graduation from, any other programs in any faculty in the future.  

For students using Student Accessibility Services, please note that although in-person visits are no longer happening, staff are still available to offer support.  

  • Accommodation support staff will continue to ensure class content is ready for you. 

  • If you have booked a mid-term test or final exam for the winter term through the SAS scheduler, the SAS Exam Centre staff are contacting your instructors.  They will work with you and your instructor to figure out any online test or exam accommodations. 

If you have any questions, please contact your Accessibility Coordinator directly, or contact the general office at 204-474-7423 or staccess@umanitoba.ca

The Academic Learning Centre continues to provide academic supports. All Academic Learning Centre supports are available online including individual tutoring (in writing, content study skills), supplemental instruction sessions, and workshops. Click here to make an appointment and for more information. 

Indigenous student supports. All staff are available to help with student inquiries. Please check the website of the office you want to contact for details on how to access their services or contact their staff. Indigenous student advisors are available for phone appointments and/or to answer questions via email. Elders at UM are also available for support via email or phone. To book an appointment with an Elder or advisor, call 204-474-8850 or email isc@umanitoba.ca

International student support. We understand that the current situation is particularly difficult for you. Do not hesitate to ask for information and support through a private and confidential conversation with an International Student Advisor by e-mailing the International Centre Reception Desk at international@umanitoba.ca with your name and student number. You will then have the option to have your questions answered by e-mail or a Zoom meeting.   International students can also contact these offices for additional support: Student Counselling Centre, Student Advocacy and Case Management, and Spiritual Care by calling or emailing these units directly to determine the best way to access their services. 

You can find more UM news about COVID-19, including FAQs for students, on this page, which is updated as new information becomes available.  

Please continue to keep yourself and others safe by following Manitoba Health directives about avoiding non-essential trips, maintaining physical distance of two metres even while outdoors, hand washing and coughing/sneezing etiquette. We may not be with you in person but we are with you in spirit every step of the way. You’ve got this, Bisons! 

I will continue to communicate regularly about new information as this situation evolves.  

Laurie M. Schnarr, MA
Vice-Provost (Students)
Student Affairs 
Office of the Provost and Vice-President (Academic)
208 Administration Building
Winnipeg, MB R3T 2N2
Tel: 204.474.6919 

April 2, 12:30 p.m.: A message from Dr. Janice Ristock, Provost and Vice-President (Academic) re: approaches to grades, grading declaration process, exclusion of grade, student scholarships, Support from libraries

At the meeting of Senate Executive on Wednesday, April 1st, the following was approved: 

Three Approaches to Grades in Winter Term 2020: 

On March 25th, Senate Executive approved the temporary revision to the Grade Point Average Policy, (section 2.3) for Winter Term 2020 in order to allow for an optional approach to GPA calculation.  Subsequent to this many U15 institutions began to introduce additional alternative grading approaches which were further explored by the Academic Continuity Sub-Committee.  On April 1, 2020 Senate Executive approved a second option where students can elect to receive a pass/fail grade.  

The three approaches to grades are now as follows:  

Standard Approach:  Accept the Letter Grade received:  This is the standard grading approach approved at the UM and represents the default grading approach for students.  The grade will be used in GPA calculations.  

Option 1:  Accept the Letter Grade received but exclude it from the UM GPA calculations.  Letter grade will appear on the student’s transcript with a notation indicting that the student chose to exclude it from their UM GPA calculations due to the COVID-19 situation. Grades excluded in the calculation of the GPA will not be used in calculating GPA for the purpose of program progression and/or overall graduation GPA requirements.  However, letter grades will continue to be used to satisfy UM pre-requisite requirements for entry into other courses, or admission to other programs, and to satisfy any other program requirements. (APPROVED BY SENATE EXECUTIVE; MARCH 25, 2020) 

Option 2:  Choose to have performance assessed as ‘Pass’ or ‘Fail’:  In this scenario no letter grade will be recorded or retained.  A notation will be used to indicate that the student chose this approach.  ‘Pass’ grades will be available only if the original letter grade is ‘D’ or higher and will not be included in the UM GPA calculations.  (APPROVED BY SENATE EXECUTIVE; APRIL 1, 2020) 

Regardless of any choice made with respect to course grading, students will remain obliged to meet all existing admission, prerequisite, progression, degree, and graduation policies and requirements that may apply to them.  It is vital that students understand the implications of their choices both for meeting prerequisite, progression, degree, and graduation requirements within their existing program of study and current Faculty, and for requirements for admission to, progression within, and graduation from, any other programs in the same or a different Faculty which they may wish to pursue in the future.  (For example, a program may require a grade of B or higher as a prerequisite for enrolment in a subsequent course and would not accept a grade of "pass.") 

I am recommending that each faculty immediately prepare a communication plan (including website preparation) for their students to ensure that course, program, and Faculty requirements are clearly specified so students may take these into account in making their grading choices.  We want to ensure that students have all the information to make an informed choice that best supports their continued academic success.  To support this coordination of effort, The Centre for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning will be establishing a webpage on their website that will host links to each of the faculty-specific pages and provide some over-arching advice for students.    

Alternative Grading Approaches: 

Grading approaches for Winter Term 2020 courses will be restricted to those approved by Senate Executive as of April 1, 2020 and as described above.  In other words, we will not be considering further alternative grading approaches. 

Grading Declaration Process:   

The automatic default for grading is the standard approach.  Students electing either Option 1 or 2 must do so by May 10, 2020 by which time they will have received their standard letter grades. The process to declare grading options is being finalized by the Registrar's Office.  Students are STRONGLY encouraged to contact an academic advisor before making a choice of either Option 1 or 2.   

F Grades: 

Senate Executive approved that any failing grade received by a student for Winter Term 2020 will automatically be excluded from all UM GPA calculations.  Such grades will be notated on the transcript as having been excluded from UM GPA calculations.   

Student Scholarships: 

Regardless of which grading option students choose, their award eligibility will not be affected:  If a student keeps their letter grade these grades will be taken into account as usual. If a student decides to exclude a grade from the GPA calculation it will also be excluded from an award GPA calculation. Finally, if the decision is made to choose a Pass, this notation will not be included in an award GPA calculation. In each of the last two options the courses where an alternate grade option was selected will still count toward minimum credit hour thresholds when determining award eligibility. 

Support from the Libraries: 

The Libraries continue to provide collections and services online

Books, Course Packs and The Bookstore (Summer Term 2020):  

Instructors are requested to submit course materials requirements to the Bookstore as soon as possible.  Important information to note:  

  • Textbooks; Print copies:  All major publisher warehouses, with the exception of Oxford Press, are operational at this time, and filling orders.
  • Textbooks; Digital:  Where possible, we are including digital options in our course materials listings.
  • Course Packs; Print or Digital:  The ability of the Bookstore to print course packs may be limited.  We will attempt to secure, but cannot guarantee, digital reproduction rights.
  • The BookStore is available for consultation by email, phone, and through our Web Adoptions platform.
  • The Bookstore continues to investigate methods by which students may be able to pick-up their course materials.
  • Finally, Instructors for are encouraged to consult with their subject liaison librarian for help identifying alternative or online versions of course reserve materials and readings.   

March 22-28, 2020

March 26, 8:30 a.m. - A message from Laurie M. Schnarr, Vice-Provost (Students) re: Summer Term registration, GPA calculation, graduation parchments, academic supports, international student supports, de-stress

Dear Students, 

As we continue to navigate the many changes in our lives arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, I want to remind you that the University of Manitoba is here to support you. While in-person contact is severely restricted during this time, staff in our counselling office, advising centres, health services, spiritual care, and faculty offices remain available either online, by email, or by both means. Please refer to this page for details. Remember – we are here for you and want you to succeed. 

Today, I want to share some new updates and reminders. 

Summer Term Registration.  

  • Registration for Distance and Online courses and Faculty of Graduate Studies Re-Registration and Thesis courses that begin May 4th will open on April 20th.  

  • We recognize that many students are hoping to make decisions about summer courses soon. We are actively working on this and will share information regarding Summer Term courses (which will be offered online or through means other than face-to-face) beginning June 1 as soon as those details are finalized.  

  • Registration for all courses beginning on or after June 1 will begin May 19th.   

You can choose to include or exclude grades in your GPA calculation. For any course completed at the University of Manitoba in Winter Term 2020, you can choose whether or not to include a grade received in your GPA calculation. This option will apply to all Winter Term 2020 courses or spanned courses that you completed over the Fall 2019-Winter 2020 Terms for which a standard letter grade is received (A+ to F).  

 Grades excluded in the calculation of your GPA will not be used in calculating GPA for the purpose of program progression and/or overall graduation GPA requirements. However,  course grades will continue to be used to satisfy UM pre-requisite requirements for entry into other courses, or admission to other programs, and to satisfy any other program requirements. Grades will appear on your official transcript, but will be flagged with a notation that the course was excluded from the GPA calculation due to the COVID-19 situation.  

Parchments will be mailed to spring 2020 graduates. Please check your address in Aurora, and update if needed, as this will be the address we will use to mail your parchment

Take advantage of academic supports. Though our campuses are closed, we are still here for you. Many student services are offering phone, email, and/or video appointments, including: academic advisors, Academic Learning Centre, Libraries and Student Accessibility Services. To book an appointment with an Elder in Residence, email isc@umanitoba.ca or call 204-474-8850. 

International students, please reach out. We understand that the current situation is particularly difficult for you. Do not hesitate to ask for guidance and support through a private phone or email conversation with an international student advisor at 204-474-8501 or international@umanitoba.ca. The Canadian government also has advice and information on their website, updated regularly. 

Be mindful, socialize and de-stress. Making time for yourself is important during these uncertain times. Free, daily mindfulness meditation is being offered through the Faculty of Social Work to help us all restore and reconnect. We have also compiled advice from UM experts on how to reduce anxiety and be productive during our time away from others. Lastly, although gyms are closed, there are exercise options you can use at home. For example, the UM’s Recreation Services is posting workouts on its YouTube channel. I encourage you to take advantage of these helpful resources. 

You can find more UM news about COVID-19, including FAQs for students, on this page, which is updated as new information becomes available. 

Please keep yourself and others safe by staying home. Avoid non-essential trips and keep a distance of two meters from others, even while outdoors. These efforts will help us get through these challenging times safely together.  

All my best, 

Laurie Schnarr 


March 25, 7:30 p.m.: A message from Dr. Janice Ristock, Provost and Vice-President (Academic) re: GPA calculations, Summer Term registration, graduation parchments, student supports, resources for exams and academic integrity

At the meeting of Senate Executive on Wednesday, March 25th, the following recommendation was approved: 

Students can Choose to include or exclude Grades in GPA Calculations: 

Pursuant to Senate Executive’s approval of a temporary revision to the Grade Point Average Policy, (section 2.3), students will be allowed to choose whether or not to include a grade received for any course work completed in Winter Term 2020 in any GPA calculation used at the UM (i.e., cumulative grade point average, degree grade point average, sessional grade point average, and term grade point average).   This option will apply to all courses using standard letter grades (A+ to F) scheduled in the Winter 2020 term or spanned courses scheduled over the Fall 2019-Winter 2020 terms.   

Faculties/Colleges/School that wish to bring forward alternative grading schemes for its courses may do so by presenting a formal proposal including rationale and expected impacts to Dr. Todd Mondor, Deputy Provost, for review and consideration by Senate Executive. 

Grades excluded in the calculation of the GPA will not be used in calculating GPA for the purpose of program progression and/or overall graduation GPA requirements.  However, course grades will continue to be used to satisfy UM pre-requisite requirements for entry into other courses, or admission to other programs, and to satisfy any other program requirements.  

Grades will show on an official transcript but will be flagged with a notation that the course was excluded in the GPA calculation due to the COVID-19 situation.   

The process of student declaration is being finalized and will be communicated separately.   

Summer Term Registration: 

Registration for Distance and Online courses and Faculty of Graduate Studies re-registration and thesis courses that begin on May 4th will open for registration on April 20th.   

We continue to finalize offerings for the Summer Term 2020 courses which will be offered online or through alternative means.  Registration will begin on May 19, 2020 for Summer Term courses that will be offered on or after June 1.   

Graduation Parchments: 

Parchments will be mailed to Spring 2020 Graduates.  Students are beingbe asked to check their address in Aurora student and update if necessary. 

Student Supports:  

Many student services are offered by phone, email, and/or video appointments, including: academic advisors, Academic Learning Centre, Libraries and Student Accessibility Services. Students requiring support by an Elder-in-Residence can email isc@umanitoba.ca or call 204-474-8850.  International students may contact an international student advisor at 204-474-8501 or international@umanitoba.ca. The Canadian government also has advice and information on their website which is updated regularly. 

Laurie Schnarr, Vice-Provost (Students) will send a communication to all students about these decisions 

Reminder: Important Resources for exams and academic integrity 

The Centre for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning provides on-line and virtual ‘in-person’ resources for instructors as they continue to teach, and as they create examinations. All of these resources can be found at: https://centre.cc.umanitoba.ca/contingencies-for-teaching/  Also, instructors can contact The Centre with specific requests by sending an email to: TheCentre@umanitoba.ca and one of The Centre’s experts will contact them.  

Please share this information widely with all faculty, instructors, staff – particularly academic advisors - and students in your Faculty/College/School.    This and future bulletins will be posted on the University’s COVID-19 website.     

March 25, 12:45 p.m.: Message from Louise Simard, Acting Dean, Faculty of Graduate Studies

A message from Louise Simard, Acting Dean, Faculty of Graduate Studies

FGS staff are working from home and will continue to conduct business as best as possible under these circumstances. Because of this new distance-working mode, some areas may experience delays. We ask for your patience but be assured that your requests will be addressed based on priorities and time-sensitivity.

Oral Examinations scheduled prior to March 31, 2020 - updated information

  • Until further notice, all examinations scheduled prior to March 31, 2020 (Thesis Proposal, Candidacy, Thesis Defence) must be held and attended virtually and must be closed.

  • Until further notice, FGS approvals for video/telephone presence is not required for all examinations scheduled prior to March 31, 2020. FGS is available to facilitate upcoming Ph.D. Thesis examinations where possible.

  • For Ph.D. thesis defences, it is the responsibility of the Advisor/Unit to ensure that audiovisual equipment runs smoothly throughout the examination. Any challenges encountered should be documented on the Final Report Form regarding the outcome of the examination. Please indicate if the examination was not able to proceed and requires rescheduling.

  • Chair packages are being sent electronically. Please note that they will not include programs; if students wish to request programs as keepsakes, they may do so by emailing Kasey Morgan at Kasey.Morgan@umanitoba.ca. Programs will be made available once access to campus is restored.

  • The Final Report Form should be signed electronically (see attached document on how to sign a PDF) and submitted electronically to FGS.

  • International students: If you are concerned with potential delays in completing your program due to the above adjustments, we encourage you to contact an Advisor at the International Centre (IC) to discuss some important considerations. You can reach an Advisor at the IC by sending an email, with your full name and student number to international@umanitoba.ca.

Oral Examinations scheduled beyond March 31, 2020 - updated

  • FGS will work with units regarding any oral Ph.D. thesis examinations scheduled after March 31, 2020. Students fulfilling their program requirements will be eligible to graduate at the next graduation date.

  • International students: If you are concerned with potential delays in completing your program due to the above adjustments, we encourage you to contact an Advisor at the International Centre (IC) to discuss some important considerations. You can reach an Advisor at the IC by sending an email with your full name and student number, to international@umanitoba.ca.

Spring Convocation 2020 Spring convocation 2020 has been cancelled; however, students fulfilling their program requirements by March 31, 2020 will be eligible to graduate in June 2020. The University is working on alternate plans for a celebration at the appropriate time in the future.

Registration The Registrar's Office has indicated that registration for GRAD 6000, GRAD 7020, GRAD 7022, and GRAD 8020 will be open in April. Check umanitoba.ca/coronavirus and umanitoba.ca/registrar for the most up-to-date information.

Progress Report Form - updated information

  • FGS requires that each graduate student complete the "Progress Report Form" normally due June 1. This review provides an excellent opportunity to document achievements, develop a plan to address deficiencies and establish expectations/goals for the coming year. As in-person contact and on-site presence has virtually ceased, this will also provide an opportunity to discuss expectations while working from home.

  • While we encourage submission of the Progress Report Form for June 1, we are extending this deadline to July 1 in light of the Covid-19 crisis and the extra stresses imposed on Faculty and students at this time. The Advisory Committee meeting is to be virtual using available resources (WebEx, BlueJeans, Zoom, telephone, etc.). Electronic signatures of PDFs of the report are acceptable. Once signed by the Graduate Chair/Unit Head, please forward the forms to FGS. Progress Report Forms will be processed as they are received in the office; receiving them in bulk may require more time to complete processing.

  • Any exceptional requests can be addressed to the Dean/Associate Dean.

Awards - new information

  • The deadlines for all current internal University of Manitoba awards competitions have been pushed back to May 1, 2020; deadlines for newly advertised internal awards will be set for June 2020 and beyond where possible.

  • We continue to accept GETS applications and UMGF recommendations; however, there will be some delay in processing. We are working as efficiently as possible.

  • The Tri-Agencies have indicated the CGS-M results will not be available on April1, 2020 as planned; more information will be coming when available. The FGS awards office will accommodate extensions regarding responses so that students awaiting their CGS-M application results can make informed decisions about potential offers of admission.

Admissions to Graduate Studies - updated information

English Proficiency Testing: University Senate has approved as of March 18, 2020 to temporarily allow the use of the Duolingo English Test (englishtest.duolingo.com) for the Fall 2020 and Winter 2021 intakes, with a minimum acceptable test score of 115.

Admission Application Deadlines: The Faculty of Graduate Studies will consider accommodating Department/Unit level decisions that might impact admission timelines.

Admission Deferrals: The Faculty of Graduate Studies will accommodate admission deferrals while registration is suspended or in the event that travel is prohibited, or quarantine/self-isolation is required.

We are currently working through mechanisms to best contact prospective students.

March 23, 12 p.m.: Message from John Kearsey, Vice-President (External)

The world has changed for all of us.

The disruption presented by the COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented in our lifetimes. While we face the challenges it is having on both the UM community and our personal lives, my colleagues and I are also mindful of how difficult these times are for many of our alumni and friends, their families, their businesses and organizations, their communities and neighbourhoods.

Our relationship with you—our alumni and donors—has always been based on learning and developing together. It’s been based on the generosity of time, talent and treasure. We’ve accomplished much together in supporting students, their teaching and discovery; supporting research and researchers; supporting the places that help our community thrive—labs, classrooms and gathering spaces. Thank you for that.

I want you to be assured that right now UM’s main priority is the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff, and contributing to flattening the curve. We have taken extraordinary measures to slow the spread of the virus within our community, including cancelling in-person classes and exams, finding ways to allow our staff to work from home, and, sadly, cancelling our Spring Convocation. At the same time, our faculty and staff are committed to ensuring our students finish their term and are using every innovative and creative opportunity to do so.

You can stay on top of all UM news by visiting this page regularly. Please take a moment to watch President David Barnard’s video message:



As President Barnard shared, until further notice we’ve cancelled all events planned to celebrate our students, alumni, donors, faculty and staff. But, we’re not going silent on this end.

Gratitude. It’s something worth hanging on to, especially right now.

During the first week of April, you’ll receive your alumni magazine. It’s been in the works for a while and our team made the call to finish printing and get it in your mailbox. Why? Because it’s The Gratitude Issue. This edition tells beautiful, heartwarming stories of our UM community. Around the same time, Front and Centre campaign chair Paul Soubry will share the outcome of what happens when passion and giving collide. The exceptional results of the Front and Centre campaign reflect the dedicated work of hundreds of volunteers and staff and generous commitments made by thousands of donors.

Many of you have made commitments through the Front and Centre campaign, commitments I know you want to keep and some will now be challenged to do so. That’s understandable. Let’s talk about it and figure out a way forward that supports you supporting the University into the future. Feel free to contact me directly at john (dot) kearsey@umanitoba (dot) ca. We're in this together.

Let’s stay connected.

For 10 years, I’ve been privileged to serve the University of Manitoba’s alumni and donor community. I’ve met so many of you personally and experienced your passion and love for UM and our community. Let me know if I, or members of my team, can be of any support and assistance to you.

Finally, I want to send a special thank you to our health sciences alumni who—with current faculty, staff and students—are on the front line providing the care and expertise your alma mater has helped position you for in times like this.

Take care of yourself and those around you.

With deep gratitude,

John Kearsey
Vice-President (External)

March 15-21, 2020

March 20, 4:30 p.m.: Message from President David Barnard, re: UM closing

These are challenging times. Today, Premier Brian Pallister declared a state of emergency for 30 days. We are all responsible for taking actions to slow and limit the spread of COVID-19. The University of Manitoba is taking that responsibility seriously and taking actions based on information we receive from health authorities. Thank you for taking time to read this important communication and checking in daily for updates and additions to frequently asked questions on this page.

Today, I am announcing actions that are based on working together to:  

  • protect the health of our community; 
  • ensure our students can finish their term; 
  • accommodate and support students in residence who are unable to return home; 
  • support the province’s health and wellbeing through our COVID-19 research efforts, and 
  • other time-sensitive activity. 

Effective 11:59 pm, Monday, March 23, 2020, all university buildings will be closed with only limited access to employees deemed as essential to our work for the immediate future. The general public and students who are not in residence will not be able to access buildings on campus and staff and faculty members will need keys/swipe card/identification to enter. 

All employees – unless told otherwise by their Manager/Department Head/Dean – are to work from home. If you have not already done so, please ensure conversations about how this applies to your work take place today. Anyone seeking access from Security Services will need valid University ID to gain entry if they do not have keys or card access. Please note, construction workers and contractors will still be allowed access to job sites through their respective university project managers.  

As an essential service, the Pharmacy in UMSU University Centre will remain open during regular hours from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm Monday to Friday. To access, please use the East main doors off of Chancellor's Circle on the lower level of UMSU University Centre. 

Here’s how we are planning to achieve the objectives outlined above: 


We are committed to supporting our students and minimizing any negative impact on their academic progress. As such we have taken the following steps:

  •  At this time, it is anticipated that there will be no in-person classes until September, 2020 at earliest. 
  •  All Libraries will be closed, but online resources will continue to be available. 
  • There will be no in-person exams for courses offered during Winter Term 2020. 
  • The Voluntary Withdrawal Date for Winter Term 2020 has been changed to April 13, 2020. When registering for courses in a future term, Limited Access will not apply to courses students VWed from or completed in Winter 2020. 
  • Registration for summer session has been suspended for now. A date for reopening registration is pending. Summer Term 2020 courses will begin June 1, 2020 with no in-person instruction. Scheduled designated Distance Education (DE) courses beginning in May will continue as planned.  
  •  Academic advising, Student Counselling Centre, Student Advocacy and Case Management, Student Services at Bannatyne Campus, Spiritual Care and other services continue to be available to students through telephone or email appointments and resources available online.  
  •  Students who don’t have access to computers or reliable internet in their off-campus locations are encouraged to connect with their instructors. 

Students in Residence  

The health and safety of every student living in residence is of paramount importance to the University of Manitoba. We are committed to ensuring the health and well-being of those who cannot return home. In order to do so: 

  • Effective Wednesday, March 25 at noon all students who are able to safely return home and do not have special circumstances that may warrant an exception, are required to move out of residence. 
  • For the students that remain, all residence halls, including the residence dining hall (Fresh Food Company) will remain open with some reduced or modified service levels required to improve safety. 

Faculty and Staff 

All employees, unless told otherwise, are to work from home. Managers, department heads and Deans should work with employees to support their health and well-being and to continue university operations to the greatest extent possible. This can include reassigning duties, working remotely or flexible work hours to accommodate child care or family needs. Operations, maintenance and security will be maintained while supporting the health and well-being of staff. Units are encouraged to complete a Business Continuity Plan using this template

Please visit this page for more information on telecommuting work arrangements. 


All course instructors are working remotely as they continue to offer their courses in alternate ways to ensure our students can successfully complete the term. Plans are also in place to determine which summer courses can be offered given that no in-person classes will occur.


Suspension of Most On-Campus/Field Sites Research, Scholarly Works, and Creative Activities effective Monday, March 23, 2020 at 11:59 pm. 

It is necessary to operationalize the suspension of most on-campus/field sites research, scholarly works, and creative activities during this pandemic that: i) cannot be conducted remotely; ii) cannot ensure health and safety requirements of research personnel; and iii) might introduce coronavirus (COVID-19) into a vulnerable population. 

The expectation is that researchers will continue as much research as possible remotely, but only limited research will continue in university research facilities, including off-campus research sites. Researchers who feel that they have exceptional circumstances should direct their requests to Dr. Digvir Jayas, Vice-President (Research and International) by completing this form

Sport and Recreation Facilities and programming close 

The Faculty of Kinesiology and Recreation Management suspended operations of its Sport and Recreation facilities and programming March 13. Mini U Programs cancelled the remainder of winter programs and group bookings, March 13 – April 12. Spring break camps (March 30 – April 3) are also cancelled. 

As our response to COVID-19 evolves, we continue to assess the operation of Mini U Programs’ spring and summer programs. 

Recreation Services group fitness classes and programs are cancelled. An automatic process of membership holds or extensions will occur during this suspension of operation. 

Campus Children’s Centre is closed as of March 23 
Campus Children's Centre will close in line with the school divisions. Managers/Department Heads/Deans should work with employees to support flexible work arrangements to help accommodate child care needs. 

We value the work of our entire university community. Thank you for the remarkable work you’ve done particularly in response to these challenging circumstances. Yesterday, in my video message to the community, I acknowledged how deeply we are all affected by this level of disruption to our work. I meant that, and I thank you for your understanding. We believe that what we’re communicating today will help mitigate the transmission of COVID-19, so that we can all emerge from this crisis as soon as possible.  

March 20, 4:30 p.m.: Update from Laurie Schnarr, Vice-Provost (Students)

Dear Students, 

As we navigate these uncertain times together, your University is committed to providing you with as much support and direction as we can. 

Today, I have several updates, resources and a reminder to share with you: 

Campus buildings will be closed. Effective 11.59 pm, Monday, March 23, 2020 all university buildings will be closed or have limited access to employees deemed as essential until further notice.  

Spring Convocation ceremonies are cancelled. We are following recommendations from Canadian health officials to cancel all public gatherings of 50 people or more due to COVID-19. Students who have planned to graduate will still be able to do so, as the University has made arrangements to complete the academic term and to verify completion of program requirements. We are exploring creative options to fully celebrate the academic success of our graduands. Those students will receive further details closer to the end of term. 

Distance Education Courses (DE designated). Recognized distance education (DE designated) courses already scheduled to commence on May 4th will proceed. Information regarding registration deadlines for DE courses will be communicated soon. 

Re-Entering VWd courses. The VW date for Winter term courses was changed from March 18 toApril 13.  Students who VWd between March 9 and March 16 (the date the change in the VW deadline was announced) are entitled to re-enter the dropped course if they wish. To do so, students must email (using your umanitoba email address) an academic advisor in your home faculty/college/school by Tuesday, March 24 with the following information: student name, student number, course name and CRN. Students who re-enter courses will be responsible for lecture material missed during their absence. 

Domestic students in residence must return home. To maximize social distancing and to keep students safe, Canadian residents who can return home must move out of residence by 12 p.m. Wednesday, March 25. International and Canadian students who may have special circumstances that warrant an extended stay must make a request through the residence portal. More details on moving out, refunds, and dining services can be found here

Ways to succeed at remote learning. Adapting to a new learning environment can be challenging, but it is achievable. We’ve put together some tips to help you adjust quickly. 

Take care of your mental health. It is normal to feel overwhelmed and stressed when faced with so much uncertainty. Making your wellbeing a priority will help you both academically and personally. Here are some lifestyle suggestions and people you can reach out to for help. 

Academic supports are available. Even though you may not be on campus, we are still here to support you in finishing your term successfully. Many student services are offering phone, email, and/or video appointments, including: academic advisors, Academic Learning Centre, Libraries and Student Accessibility Services. 

As previously communicated, there will be no in-person exams for courses offered during Winter Term 2020.  

You can find all UM news about COVID-19, including FAQs for students, on this page, which is updated when new information becomes available. 

Please stay safe and be sure to continue following Manitoba Health directives concerning social distancing, hand washing, and coughing/sneezing etiquette. By looking after ourselves, and each other, we will get through these challenging times. 

I will be in touch with new information, advice, and direction as this situation evolves. 

All my best, 

Laurie Schnarr 

March 20, 2:55 p.m.: A message from Dr. Janice Ristock, Provost and Vice-President (Academic), re: SEEQs, Distance Ed courses, Summer Session courses, Spring Convocation

SEEQs: I have had some questions regarding professor-course evaluations (SEEQs).  I have suspended the requirement for course evaluations for the Winter 2020 term as outlined in the ROASS procedure Section 2.21.  I can also confirm that we will not be requiring any on-line evaluations of instructors or courses (SEEQs).

Distance Education Courses (DE designated): I am clarifying that recognized distance education (DE designated) courses, already scheduled to commence in May will continue. 

Other Summer Session Courses: summer courses originally scheduled to be taught in-person must be converted to alternate methods or cancelled.

Spring Convocation 2020 is cancelled.

This includes: May. 1, 2020 Spring Convocation Ceremony – Agriculture Diploma
May 2, 2020 Graduation Pow wow – Fort Garry Campus
May. 21, 2020 Spring Convocation Ceremony – Bannatyne Campus
Jun. 4, 2020 – Jun. 9, 2020 Spring Convocation Ceremony – Fort Garry Campus
Jun. 15, 2020 Spring Convocation Ceremony – Université de Saint-Boniface

At an appropriate time in the future, we hope to fully celebrate the academic success of our students.

Thank you,


March 19, 4 p.m.: Spring Convocation 2020 cancelled, a celebration to be held at later time

One of the greatest joys of my twelve years as President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Manitoba has been meeting the graduating students — our future alumni — as they cross the stage at Convocation to accept their degrees and diplomas.

This spring, because of the extraordinary events that have befallen the world, we will not be able to offer the opportunity to our graduands to participate in the splendour and celebration of Spring Convocation. All of us who work daily and enthusiastically to support student success – administrators, support staff, alumni, and of course, faculty – regret the need for this course of action. However, we all know, and you will understand, that it is in our collective best interest to make this difficult decision.

Regrettably, Spring Convocation 2020 is cancelled.

What I can assure graduating students is that your University of Manitoba community of supporters is already at work exploring creative options for you. At the appropriate time in the future, you will be able to fully celebrate your amazing academic successes with all the pomp and circumstance that is due you.

As I shared in my recent message to our community, we all have before us a huge challenge, as we respond and accommodate to the COVID -19 crisis. Not just our academic paths, but our entire lives have been affected. Focus on that now. We’ll support you as much as possible. And when the time comes, you’ll have the opportunity to Convocate as part of the graduating class of 2020.

-President David Barnard


May. 1, 2020 Spring Convocation Ceremony – Agriculture Diploma
May 2, 2020 Graduation Pow wow – Fort Garry Campus
May. 21, 2020 Spring Convocation Ceremony – Bannatyne Campus
Jun. 4, 2020 – Jun. 9, 2020 Spring Convocation Ceremony – Fort Garry Campus
Jun. 15, 2020 Spring Convocation Ceremony – Université de Saint-Boniface

March 19, 12 p.m.: Video message from President David Barnard

March 19, 10:55 a.m.: A message from Dr. Janice Ristock, Provost and Vice-President (Academic), re: Senate Executive approvals

At a special meeting of Senate on Monday, March 16, 2020 the Senate Executive Committee was approved to act for Senate in determining academic matters which required urgent resolution. As such, at the meeting of Senate Executive on Wednesday, March 18th, the following recommendations were approved:

Registration for Summer Term

Senate Executive approved that registration for Summer Term courses (defined as courses offered May - August) will be suspended indefinitely. A revised registration date will be determined and be communicated in due course.

Summer Courses Start Date

Senate Executive approved that summer courses (broadly defined as courses that were scheduled to take place between early May and the end of August) will begin no earlier than June 1, 2020 and be completed no later than August 31, 2020. The Registrar’s Office will be responsible for determining an academic schedule for this period.

Summer Courses

Senate Executive approved that no in-person instruction or assessment of any courses will take place until at least September 1, 2020. All instruction will take place by alternate methods until at least September 1, 2020.

Addition to List of Acceptable English Language Proficiency Tests

Senate Executive approved that Duo-lingo used as an acceptable test of English Language Proficiency (ELP) for the purposes of applying for admission for the Fall 2020 and Winter 2021 intakes. The minimum acceptable test score would be 115 which equates to approximately 7.0 on the IELTS test. This is made in order to increase the number and availability of acceptable tests of ELP at the UM because the pandemic situation has interfered with the ability of international students in some regions to access the currently accepted tests. Duo-Lingo is recognized globally as comparable to IELTS and TOEFL. It is available online so may be completed without accessing a formal test centre. Duo-Lingo has already been approved for use as an acceptable test of ELP by a number of other universities in Canada including Dalhousie, Queen’s, McGill, Alberta, Calgary, UBC, and Simon Fraser.

Limited-Access ‘Policy’

Senate Executive approved that Section 2.5. (a) of the ‘Repeated Course’ policy be suspended indefinitely. This section stipulates that any student who has voluntarily withdrawn from, or received a final grade in, a course is prevented from repeating the course for the immediately succeeding three consecutive terms. The suspension of this policy will not disadvantage any student who withdraws or performs more poorly than hoped under the current exceptional learning conditions.

Medical Notes Not Required

Senate Executive approved that students not be required to provide medical notes in support of absences from class activities/requirements and from evaluations including final examinations. Students will be required to self-declare through email note to an Academic Advisor in the relevant Faculty/College/School that they will be unable to meet their course obligations. This declaration will be treated as necessary and sufficient for the student to be afforded reasonable accommodation.

No In-person Final Examinations

Senate Executive approved that there be no in-person final examinations held for any courses offered in whole or in part in the Winter 2020 term, and that all assessments be completed by alternative means. Instructors will have the latitude and responsibility to adjust assessments as they deem most suitable and appropriate (e.g., online tests, take-home tests, new assignments, adjusted weightings of completed assessments, etc.) and to communicate these changes promptly to students and unit heads. The current exam period (April 13 to 25, 2020) will be maintained to provide a dedicated period within which online examinations may be scheduled. Faculties must consult with the Registrar’s Office regarding any intention to offer a scheduled online final examination. Finally, I had provided the notification (see Academic Bulletin #1 below) of the voluntary withdrawal date change to April 13, 2020. In addition, I suspended sections 2.6, 2.8, 2.9(f), and 2.12 of the Responsibilities of Academic Staff with regard to Students (ROASS) Procedure, effective immediately and for the remainder of the winter term. This suspension is to facilitate adjustments to courses and evaluation method by faculties, colleges and schools and to allow instructors the flexibility to make changes to their courses and their assignments. Please note the details as outlined at the special meeting of Senate on March 16, 2020.

Please share these decisions widely with all faculty, instructors, staff – particularly academic advisors - and students.

March 18, 5:45 p.m.: Update from Laurie Schnarr, Vice-Provost (Students), re: In-person exams, Summer Term registration, medical notes, VW Limited Access

Dear Students,

Thank you for your continued patience and support as we adapt to this rapidly changing environment. As I mentioned in my communication to you yesterday, I will continue to provide updates to you as decisions are made. Today there are four updates and one request I would like to share with you:

No in-person exams. There will be no in-person final examinations for any courses offered during the Winter 2020 term. Exams might be scheduled to take place online or other means of assessment may be used. Instructors will share their assessment plans with their students.

Registration has been suspended for Summer Term. Summer Term registration is currently suspended except in very specific circumstances (e.g., Graduate students who must register in the Masters or PhD Re-Reg courses; students on clinical placements). We expect that Summer Term courses will begin June 1, 2020 and we will provide you with further updates as they are available. Meanwhile, we can confirm that there will be no in-person instruction at UM until after September 1, 2020. Details concerning Summer Term registration deadlines and course availability will be communicated as soon as that information is available.

Medical notes are not required for illnesses. Medical notes are not required if you are feeling ill and are unable to meet a course requirement on time. Please email an Academic Advisor in your home faculty, college, or school to self-declare your illness in advance of the requirement, deadline or assessment and they will help address your situation.

Limited Access will not be applied if you VW. When registering for courses in a future term, Limited Access will not apply to courses you VWd from in Winter 2020. If you VW from a course, you may register without the Limited Access restriction.

IMPORTANT: If you are returning home and don’t have internet access or a computer please advise your Instructor as soon as possible.

You can find all UM updates about COVID-19, including FAQs for students that we will update as new information becomes available, on this page.

Please stay safe and be sure to continue following Manitoba Health directives concerning social distancing, hand washing, and coughing/sneezing etiquette. Your health and well-being are important to all of us at the University of Manitoba.

All my best,

Laurie Schnarr

March 17, 9 p.m.: Message from Lynn Zapshala-Kelln, Vice-President (Administration), re: Staff FAQs

Dear UM Staff and Faculty,

Our entire community has been impacted in recent weeks as measures are being taken to slow down the spread of COVID-19. This is a stressful time as we try to balance health and safety, family care and increasing social distancing.

I am sharing with you some FAQs to provide guidance on the university’s response to this public health crisis. I am sure you can all appreciate that this has been an extremely fluid situation with directives changing almost hourly. These FAQs are by no means exhaustive and we will continue to update them in the days and weeks ahead. Please continue to visit this page for further updates as they become available. Specific questions related to your personal circumstance can be directed to your Manager/Department Head/Dean. Additional questions that may inform future FAQs can be directed to umanitoba@umanitoba.ca.

As President Barnard announced in his communication of March 12, 2020, while we are working to keep the university operational, heads of units will assess options for staff to work from home. If feasible, work from home agreements will be initiated and support arrangements for the provision of the necessary tools to do so will be facilitated on a priority basis. We are being as flexible as possible to accommodate requests.

This is an unprecedented time and we are all working together to ensure both units and staff are supported. I want to thank all of you for your patience as we continue to address the ongoing changes we are all facing.


Lynn Zapshala-Kelln, Vice-President (Administration)

March 17, 4:30 p.m.: Update from Laurie Schnarr, Vice-Provost (Students), re: VW date, Winter Term, Summer Term registration, student services

Dear Students,

Thank you for your continued patience and understanding during this uncertain time. I want to reiterate to you the UM’s commitment to protecting your health and safety, and to minimizing the negative impact on your academic progress.

Over the coming days I will be communicating new developments as decisions are made. Today there are four updates I would ask you to note:

  • The Voluntary Withdrawal date has been changed to April 13. This will allow you to consider whether you want to voluntarily remove yourself from a course after experiencing the changes to the delivery and evaluation methods that will be implemented in your courses starting tomorrow. If you choose to Voluntarily Withdraw from a course, you can do so in Aurora. It is recommended that international students discuss Voluntary Withdrawal options with an International Student Advisor at the International Centre prior to making the decision to withdraw from a course. Generally, students are encouraged to discuss your options with an academic advisor - you can find contact information on the website.
  • Winter term courses. Keep in contact with your instructors to receive information about your courses and any changes to assignments. Details about the final examination period will be available soon.
  • Summer Term registration will be suspended for now. We plan to resume Summer Term registration as soon as we determine implications for our summer course schedule.
  • Services for students. Academic advising, student supports, and other services continue to be available to students, although the method of delivery may have changed. To support social distancing, many offices are currently providing telephone or email appointments, with additional resources available online. If you plan to come to campus to visit a particular office, please call ahead to determine the best way to access help. Students who are ill are asked to not visit offices in-person.

You can find all UM updates about COVID-19, including FAQs for students that we will update as new information becomes available, on umanitoba.ca/coronavirus.

I will be back in touch soon. Stay safe and please be sure to continue following Manitoba Health directives concerning social distancing, hand washing, and coughing/sneezing etiquette. Attention to these individual actions will contribute significantly to the safety and wellbeing of people and communities during this challenging time.

All my best,

Laurie Schnarr

March 16, 4 p.m.: Update on Voluntary Withdrawal Date:

The Voluntary Withdrawal date for the Winter Term will be changed immediately to April 13, 2020.

This change is intended to allow students additional time to consider voluntarily withdrawing from courses given the changes in delivery and evaluation methods that have been and will be implemented for many courses in the coming days.


March 12 - 14, 2020

March 13, 4 p.m.: Message from President David Barnard on COVID-19

To the University of Manitoba community,

Yesterday I communicated our commitment to taking measures to protect the health and safety of our campuses and our wider community. Our top priority is doing our part to help contain the transmission of COVID-19.

In that same spirit, today I am announcing that there will be no classes on Monday, March 16 and Tuesday, March 17. The University campuses will remain open on those days, but there will no classes.

This two-day pause allows the University to prepare to move classes to alternative modes of instruction.

To be clear, as of Wednesday, March 18 there will be NO IN-PERSON CLASSES, with rare exceptions that will be communicated directly to those affected. All in-person undergraduate and research-stream Master’s and Doctoral instruction will end March 13. Instruction will be provided by other means that may include existing online platforms. This will continue through the end of the term on April 7.

For now, the voluntary withdrawal date will remain the same (March 18), as will the exam period (April 13-25). We will assess this during the “pause” and communicate further details end of day Tuesday, March 17, or sooner if available.

Our staff are working hard to keep as much of the University operational as possible. The University remains open and we are continuing to provide students with as many essential services as possible under the circumstances. Please keep referring to this page for information and updates.

As I referenced in yesterday’s communication, all non-essential events involving 50 or more participants have been cancelled or postponed.

We continue to actively encourage everyone to maintain the hygiene and social distancing protocols outlined by health authorities.

As we reflect on all the information coming our way during this challenging period, I ask everyone to demonstrate patience and understanding.

The COVID-19 threat is new to all of us; none of us have dealt with precisely this situation before. We are acting out of an abundance of caution and with the best interests in mind of this and the larger community. We are all dealing with this together. We are committed to doing our best and making the best decisions.

Thank you for your attention. Please look after yourselves and one another.


March 13, 1:30 p.m.: Support Staff Working Remotely From Home:

In order to support the university during these busy times, the IST Service Desk will be extending their hours this weekend to provide additional connectivity support for academics and those planning to work remotely.

If your request is urgent, please contact the Service Desk by Phone or Chat only. You will be answered in the order that the calls are received.

During regular operations, the Service Desk can be contacted by phone, chat, email or walk in service.

Extended IST Service Desk Hours
Phone, Chat, Walk-in at Fort Garry Campus
Friday, Mar 13 8:00 am – 10:00 pm
Saturday, Mar 14 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Sunday, Mar 15 9:00 am – 4:00 pm

Phone: 204-474-8600
Click on the link to chat online: Chat

Regular hours and other information is available on the IST Service Desk website: http://umanitoba.ca/computing/ist/help/

March 13, 12 p.m.: Message from Environmental Health and Safety Office:

Please be aware that Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) is implementing the following measures to reduce surface contact exposure to the virus:

Caretaking Services:

  • Special attention to ensure that washrooms remain stocked with soap for handwashing.
  • Disinfection of high touch surfaces such as light switches, handrails, elevator buttons, doorknobs, faucet/toilet handles, etc.
  • High traffic areas will be equipped with alcohol-based hand sanitizer stations.

Individual Office Spaces:

  • If individuals or departments wish to disinfect their own spaces, they should use disinfectants containing bleach or 70% ethanol. Health Canada states, “Environmental cleaning products registered in Canada with a Drug Identification Number (DIN) and labelled as a broad-spectrum virucide are sufficient for SARS-CoV-2”, the cause of COVID-19. The Clorox Commercial Solutions Disinfecting Wipes, available through Grand and Toy, meet these requirements and can be purchased by departments wishing to conduct extra cleaning within their spaces. Please follow the instructions on the label for effective cleaning directions.
  • Departments can purchase small pump bottles of hand sanitizer for their public spaces, if stock is available through suppliers.

EHS is also encouraging all departments, areas, units, etc to complete the University of Manitoba Business Continuity Plan Template. This is an all hazard, best practice approach for business continuity that guides preparation for work disruptions such as staffing shortages. Please prepare these documents so that disruptions to services can be mitigated or their impacts reduced.

Finally, please feel free to print and post these Cough Etiquette and Hand Hygiene signs from Manitoba Health. They are a useful reminder in public areas such as lunchrooms, large boardrooms, reception areas, etc.

March 12, 3 p.m.: Message from President David T. Barnard:

To members of the University of Manitoba community:

The University of Manitoba today is taking measures to help prevent the transmission of COVID-19 on its campuses and in the wider community, and, ultimately, to support the province’s health care system.

Our plan today is to keep the University of Manitoba open. The campuses are not closed. However, we are limiting levels of on-campus activity in order to mitigate COVID-19 transmission.

I recognize that these actions will cause disruption and inconvenience, but as Manitoba’s largest post-secondary institution with a student population of more than 29,000 and more than 10,000 full- and part-time faculty and staff, we have a responsibility to do all we can to lead the effort to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 in this province.

My colleagues and I have consulted widely with other universities and our own health care experts, and, heeding the advice of public health authorities, we have made the determination that the need to act is now, while there is still a window of opportunity to make a positive impact and to the extent possible, help protect the community.

These measures are effective immediately and will stay in place until further notice.

These changes will take many forms as they unfold, but most critically they will involve:


  • We are not cancelling classes or exams at this time.
  • Deans have been asked to work with their departments and faculty to make all course materials for the remainder of the term available online and to consider alternate assessment methods that can allow for social distancing practices.
  • The Registrar’s Office is currently working on an alternate final examination schedule that would reduce the number of students in any given exam venue to incorporate best social distancing practices.
  • With respect to summer term, we will be looking at how we can employ on-line methods.
  • Co-op and integrated learning program leads are to look at contingency plans for students involved in off-site learning opportunities.


  • University-sponsored events of 50 people or more will be cancelled or postponed.
  • Organizers of smaller events will be required to consider alternate ways of doing those events that need to proceed (e.g., not providing food, hosting in large spaces offering sufficient flexibility for social distancing, or hosting online versions of events)


  • All university-related travel should be suspended for faculty, staff and students, where possible. Specific guidelines will be developed to assist in this process.


  • All students on international placements will be advised to return to Canada. Planning is underway to address the implications for these students of leaving a placement prior to its completion.


  • Messages regarding physical contact, cough and sneeze etiquette, hand washing, the use of sanitizers and disinfectant wipe are being widely shared and circulated.
  • All employees who show flu-like symptoms must not report to work and take the advice provided by public health officials.
  • While keeping the university operational remains a priority, heads of units will assess options for staff to work from home. If feasible, work from home agreements will be initiated and support arrangements for the provision of the necessary tools to do so will be facilitated on a priority basis.


  • We continue to urge our community to follow all health and safety protocols.
  • We will update the www.umanitoba.ca webpage with new information as it becomes available.

Those are the most important measures for you to note at this time. Please pay close attention to all the announcements and details that will follow, from the institutional sources (UM homepage, UMToday, emails), as well as information from your specific units, managers and instructors.

We will continue to keep student residences open, dining operations and other services and supports, where possible.

We ask everyone to adhere to the health and safety precautions already outlined in detail in our UMToday story and public health websites. Please keep at least two metres away from one another, wash your hands carefully and regularly, stay home if you are feeling ill, and follow all proper protocols.

None of these planned actions I have shared today with you are being taken lightly. I assure you that we are making decisions that we feel are the best for our immediate and wider community, and based on sound scientific advice. UM has been a leader for decades in global public health research and community outreach. We have a responsibility now to make every effort possible to play our part in meeting this current challenge.

While we take these proactive and preventive measures, members of our UM community continue to play a key role in directly addressing the impacts of COVID-19, medically, socially, economically, and in other relevant spheres. I thank them and express here our deeply felt support for their efforts.

Please join me in working together to play our part in keeping ourselves and our community as safe and healthy as possible.

I thank you for your understanding.



David T. Barnard, O.M., Ph.D., FRSC

President and Vice-Chancellor

March 12, 10 a.m.: University message on COVID-19:

The University of Manitoba continues to closely monitor the COVID-19 (coronavirus) threat. Currently, there is one presumptive case of COVID-19 in Manitoba. The Public Health Agency of Canada identifies the risk to Canadians as “low.” Globally, and throughout North America, the number of cases has increased in the past few days. Governments and institutions are taking a wide range of responses, including reducing or eliminating travel and other measures of social distancing.

In the U.S., a number of universities are cancelling larger public events and, where possible, moving academic activity to an online format. In Canada, some smaller universities are shutting down. UM health experts, risk management professionals and administrative leaders are paying close attention to every development to make informed and responsible decisions regarding any necessary adjustments to normal practices and activities. It is critically important that you continue to read all updates for new information. Answers to commonly asked questions can be found below.