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Ryerson University shifting to essential services on campus

By reducing the number of people on campus, we can help slow the progress of COVID-19
Category:From the President
March 17, 2020 - 5:00 PM
Ryerson quad

Effective Wednesday, March 18, Ryerson University will be shifting to an essential services model on our campus.

At Ryerson, the health and well-being of all of our community members remains a top priority. We have developed a culture of well-being, with an emphasis on creating a safe, secure, healthy and inclusive community that puts people first. Our values have long defined who we are and will always guide where we are going.   

I know that all of us at Ryerson are committed to helping slow the spread of COVID-19.

On Tuesday March 17, Premier Doug Ford declared a state of emergency for Ontario. We believe that by reducing the number of people on campus we can play our part in supporting our province and our broader community.  

Effective Wednesday, March 18, Ryerson University will be shifting to an essential services model on our campus.

What are essential services?

Essential services are those that are necessary to enable our university to ensure the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff; to preserve critical infrastructure, minimize serious environmental damage, and continue the delivery of administrative functions required to support core organizational priorities.

The following essential services are required to continue operating on campus (please note this listing may change over time and many of these units may be operating under reduced staffing levels and/or with reduced hours):

  • Community Safety and Security 
  • Computing and Communication Services 
  • Facilities Management and Development
  • Medical Centre
  • OneCard
  • Shipping and Receiving
  • SRC Activity in identified research labs 
  • Financial Services urgent payments and purchasing

Residence students in Pitman Hall, the Daphne Cockwell Complex and the International Living & Learning Centre are being asked to leave residence as soon as possible. Students will be contacted by Student Housing & Community Care concerning move out shortly. Arrangements will be made for students with exceptional circumstances who are unable to leave residence at this time. 

Information for employees

Staff providing essential services will be contacted by their department heads, who are responsible for assigning duties and making reasonable arrangements for the protection of essential staff. I am asking department heads to show flexibility, and as much as possible, sensitivity to individual needs in assigning duties for essential services.

If you are not tasked with providing essential services on campus, your work is still important to the university and you should continue to work from an alternate location. Leaders have a responsibility to determine appropriate work from home assignments to ensure the ongoing work of the university continues. If you have a role or work you feel cannot be done from home, or if you need support determining how to implement remote work assignments, please reach out to your HR partner who will be happy to assist you.

I strongly encourage all Ryerson employees to closely monitor your Ryerson email as this will be the primary means for the university to communicate with you. Employees also have a responsibility to connect regularly with their leaders on the continuation of working remotely.

As we work together during this challenging period, I want to assure you that Ryerson is committed to pay continuity. Additional details will be communicated once available. 

Can I still come to campus?

Students will not have access to campus buildings, unless required for critical SRC activity in research labs. If you need to enter a building, please contact Ryerson Security to discuss whether access may be granted under exceptional circumstances.

For employees, if you have OneCard access to a building or space, your OneCard access will be maintained, however we ask that you do not come to campus unless absolutely necessary. Please inform Security if you are entering a campus building for your safety, as most buildings will be empty.

Information about course content and exams

For our students, we know that this is a confusing and stressful time. Faculty and staff are working diligently to create alternate content delivery methods so that you can successfully complete your term. Courses will continue through alternate delivery models.

Your professors and departments will be contacting you regarding remaining course content and year end exams. Our priority is your health and well-being and a commitment that your education continues so that you can successfully complete your term.

SRC activity

SRC activity is a priority for the university. Support is available during the shift to essential services. SRC-related updates will be posted on the Research and Innovation COVID-19 webpage. Some SRC laboratory activity will be required and we want to ensure access to facilities. For public safety, only authorized personnel will be able to access the buildings and security will be onsite to provide emergency access. If authorized research personnel encounter an issue with access to their research laboratory, please contact Security at 416-979-5040.

If you have equipment in one of the affected buildings that requires access to maintain the continuity of operations and you have not previously indicated that you require access, please email so they can assess your needs and provide assistance.

Support resources

This is a stressful situation for many people and the university is here to support you. Counselling and health services are available to all community members – students, faculty and staff, should they be needed.

Students can learn more about services available to them at the Ryerson Centre for Student Development and Counselling.  

Employees can access the Employee and Family Assistance Program for resources and counselling.

For more information

For more information on the university’s response to COVID-19 including important information and resources available for students, faculty and staff, please visit

Thank you

I’d like to express my sincere thanks to staff and faculty who have been working tirelessly over the last few days to make sure our students are supported, that our courses continue to be delivered, and that the important work of our university can be maintained.

I also want to thank all of you – students, faculty, and staff – for your patience and understanding as we deal with these challenging times.  

I encourage you to monitor your email and our website for additional news and further updates.

Mohamed Lachemi
President and Vice-Chancellor

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