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COVID-19 Updates

Day 3 of RTA online seemed to go fairly well. This was because of all the hard work of the instructors and your willingness to adapt to the current situation. Thank you for making this work.

We know that challenges will continue to arise, but we hope that we can help as you try and continue your studies against the backdrop of this life-altering global pandemic. Many instructors have been forwarding concerns but others have reported that students are reluctant to reach out. We are not too busy to respond and your concerns are not insignificant.

If you are facing urgent financial need due to a loss of income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, please reach out to Donna, Angela or myself. We may be able to provide some assistance.

The rest of my message highlights on-campus developments. Even if they seem to be of varying relevance to you personally, please read through them so you can offer dependable information to your friends and peers.

Take care and be safe.

Dr. Kathleen Pirrie Adams


RULA—Online Access, Laptops, and Remote Internet Access

In addition to RTA’s support to students in need of laptops or remote internet access, the Library is now offering similar support. Students can request a laptop loan and remote internet access lending by sending an email request to access@ryerson.ca, opens in new window.

The Library building is now closed but the Library continues to provide access to ebooks, e-journals, databases, and streaming services remain available 24/7. Reference and research help is available through virtual reference, opens in new window, email, opens in new window, and through online appointments are also still available.

Students with items currently on loan may keep them until further notice. Fines will be waived.

For more information about services and resources visit:
https://library.ryerson.ca/blog/2020/03/covid-19-library-services-and-operations-update/, opens in new window


Building Closures & Collecting Belongings

The RCC facilities have now been closed. Students should not be on campus unless absolutely necessary. However, students who need to collect belongings from campus should contact Ryerson Security at 416-979-5040 or security@ryerson.ca, opens in new window to make arrangements. The security team is more than happy to accommodate students.


Office of Student Records

OSR has now adjusted its systems to allow for online authorization. Please speak with Donna or Angela about how to submit your requests. Here are links to most of the relevant forms:
· PDF filePlan Change, opens in new window
· PDF fileTimespan Extension, opens in new window
· PDF fileWithhold Add/Release, opens in new window
· PDF fileIncomplete Grade Update, opens in new window
· PDF fileException Grade Revision, opens in new window
· PDF fileAcademic Standing Revision, opens in new window


Culture from your bedroom

We will be starting to host some online RTA events and activities next week. We’re thinking along the lines of the Stay At Home Festival, external link, opens in new window.


Posted: March 16, 2020

Me again...

Equipment Distribution Centre (EDC)


The EDC will be closing its doors as of 12 pm (noon) tomorrow (Tuesday, March 17th). After that, you will no longer be able to borrow EDC equipment, with the possible exception of laptops.

Our technical staff has been hard at work alongside the FCAD EDC team to ensure we're able to accommodate the large number of laptop requests we've seen already. We'll continue to do our best to accommodate as many needs as possible with the limited resources we have left.

If you have need of a computer or need help in securing a reliable internet connection, please reach out to rtalabbies+support@ryerson.ca as soon as possible.


Studios, Computer Labs, Makerspace

All other facilities will also be closed as of 12 pm (noon) tomorrow (Tuesday, March 17th). If you want to retrieve any of your personal belongings from these spaces or your lockers, please do it tomorrow. If you are not able to do so or prefer to stay off-campus you will be able to retrieve your personal belongings once the University is reopened.


Virtual Office

The physical office will be closed for the foreseeable future and the staff working remotely. All staff will be keeping regular office hours online and you can expect similar response times as normal. Donna and Angela are available for online advising using google hangouts and everyone can be contacted by email.

Aneesh (Tib)erias Murali, Lead Finance & Administration
<amuralim@ryerson.ca>

Angela Cheng, Student Affairs Assistant
<angela.cheng.ryerson.ca>

Donna Morrison, Lead Academic & Outreach Coordinator
<dmorrison@ryerson.ca>

Erin Kjaer, Communications & Events Coordinator
<ekjaer@ryerson.ca>

Lesley Salvdori, Manager of Production & Facilities
<lsalvadori@ryerson.ca>

Paula Letang-Loblack, Program Assistant
<pletang@ryerson.ca>

Shawn Haswell, Manager of Operations & Administration
<shaswell@ryerson.ca>


Please stay safe.

Dr. Kathleen Pirrie Adams

Posted: March 16, 2020

Hello Everyone,

This is a time of great uncertainty and insecurity. Everyone at Ryerson in RTA is doing their best to encourage social distancing and self-isolation while providing support for those who want to continue their studies online. Some of us have worries about loved ones who are older or have compromised immune systems. Others have financial pressures, difficult family dynamics, or preexisting anxiety or depression. Whatever the circumstances, our responses to this global health crisis will vary from person to person, and from day-to-day. Each of us is unique and will have an individual experience of and response to this situation.

For some students, continuing with classes and assignments may prove difficult, perhaps even impossible. For others, the opportunity to connect with classmates, maintain a sense of routine, continue working on projects or test some new approaches to learning, will have obvious value. In some cases, classes will provide a welcome respite from the large-scale events that can seem overwhelming. Everyone has their own threshold and will respond in ways that work for them.

Your instructors are also grappling with anxiety, uncertainty, and their own personal circumstances. None of them would have wished for this. They are all doing their best to make the transition to online delivery work as best it can. For the classes that ran live online today, there was about 85% attendance, which instructors found a heartening validation of their efforts. They are making adjustments to the courses and trying to be as flexible as possible. If you have individual needs or suggestions about a particular course, please discuss them with your instructor

If you are experiencing increased anxiety as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic or the University's decision to transition to online courses, or you know someone who is, please remember that you can find support through a number of channels.

In FCAD you can reach out to Alanna at the FCAD Student Success Centreaskfcad@ryerson.ca, opens in new window

At Ryerson, you can contact Marcia Boniferro, the Coordinator, Student Case Management mboniferro@ryerson.ca |  416-979-5000 ext. 544358 in Student Affairs. Or, call the Student Care Office at 416-979-5195 to request counseling by phone.

For counseling support after hours, please call one of the following:
Ontario's Post Secondary Student Helpline Good2Talk 24/7/365 at 1-866-925-5454
The Gerstein Centre at 416-979-5200
The Distress Centre of Toronto at 416-408-4357
Anishnawbe Health Toronto Mental Health Crisis Line 416-360-0486

For students with accommodations, these continue to apply within the new context. If your accommodations involve accessibility provisions, you may want to remind your instructor that they should take these into consideration.

In the interest of expediency and to avoid clogging the medical system, we are telling instructors to waive the usual requirements of the Academic Consideration Request procedure. Students will not need to submit the medical forms usually required for academic consideration. Just reach out to your instructor and let them know what you need.

Take care of your health and be kind to the members of your community.

Dr. Kathleen Pirrie Adams

Posted: March 14, 2020

Hello Everyone,

Thank you for your patience as we pulled our plan together for transitioning our classes online. More than 85% of your teachers indicated that they could be ready to continue classes on Monday so most of your RTA courses will continue next week online. Many have spent the last 36 hours or so adjusting assignments, content and deciding the most appropriate platform for delivery.

You will receive a message from each class instructor within the next day indicating whether the class will run, and if so, how the class will run. You may also receive information about how the assignments will be adjusted.

Some academic courses may run pretty much according to the original plan. Production courses, however, may be subject to some major revisions. In fact, some classes may not be ready to run this coming week. Please continue to be patient and know that your instructors in production courses are as disappointed as you that this health crisis has temporarily upended the norms of those production courses.

There may be some variation from class to class but many instructors will be using Zoom or D2L (or a combination of the two.) If you are not familiar with Zoom we have prepared a startup guide for you, which you can access google docgoogle dochere, external link, opens in new window, external link.

If you do not have reliable access to the internet or a computer, please contact rtalabbies+support@ryerson.ca, opens in new window to discuss the options available to you.

In the interest of public safety, the studios, labs, Makerspace, and EDC will be closing. All bookings with the EDC will be canceled and you will have until Tuesday at 12 pm (noon) to return any equipment you currently have booked out. You might also want to pick up personal belongings from the school’s facilities or your lockers.

If you do need to come on campus, please observe the University guidelines about social distancing, regular hand washing, and avoiding gathering in groups.

Again, please check the Ryerson website regularly as the situation continues to evolve and the complete shutdown of facilities may become necessary.

Though we will ask you to direct your course-specific questions to your instructors, we will continue to answer general questions in the FAQ below. 

Donna, Angela, and Paula will be keeping regular office hours and can be reached by email. If you need help please reach out.

We are fortunate that there have been no confirmed cases within the Ryerson community.  However, the province has twenty-four new cases of the virus. Please be careful and use all precautions to keep yourself safe.

If there is anything I can do, please let me know. Take care.

Dr. Kathleen Pirrie Adams

Posted: March 13, 2020

Dear RTA students,

As you likely know, the University has announced that in response to the COVID-19 pandemic the remaining classes of the year will be offered online. The transition to the online delivery of courses will test everyone's patience. Please be kind to your instructors as they reorganize the delivery of content and assignments, and to yourself, as you adapt to the new platforms and expectations. We will get through this together.

The most important thing for everyone to keep in mind is that our ultimate goal is the health and safety of all students, staff, and teachers.

Our preparations this week mean that we have a pretty good handle on the delivery of academic courses. Production courses present some unique challenges but my team is working hard to ensure that these courses provide a reasonably good facsimile of the usual lab experience. But I won't try and kid you: they won't offer the same depth or detail of an in-person experience. We are currently working with faculty and instructors to see when we will be ready to make the transition. There are many elements to take into account: platforms, how to facilitate in-class discussions, how to ensure access and make necessary accommodations, and how to provide labbie support online. You can expect an update about the timeframe for the transition by Sunday afternoon.

Please give the staff and instructors time to sort things out. I will ask each instructor to send a message to students once they've determined the details of the online delivery of their class. Save your course-related questions until Monday. Thank you.

The message from the President's office also mentioned the postponement of discretionary on and off-campus events. This means we will be postponing workshops, meetings, social events, and student celebrations. To mitigate the health risk created by COVID-19, the university community is being told not to host activities that involve more than five people. In addition, university-sponsored student and faculty travel is being canceled. There will be disappointments as a result of these decisions, but I am hopeful that all of these actions will help ensure that no Ryerson student, staff or teacher becomes ill with the virus.

You will, of course, have many questions. We have set up an FAQ below where you can find answers to questions and ask new ones. We will try to answer them as quickly as possible.

I know this is very stressful for everyone—students, their parents, staff, instructors, everyone—but maintaining a respectful and supportive approach to this emergency is the best way to ensure we bring the semester to a successful conclusion. Please work with us to keep everyone safe.

To summarize:
- classes will be moving online, details will follow
- individual instructors will send messages about their classes
- people should not assemble on campus in groups
- essential services are being reviewed with details to follow about what will be available
- office staff and production staff will be working and available next week, everyone is reachable by email
- all campus events are being postponed until further notice

The situation is, of course, an evolving one so you should check your Ryerson email and the Ryerson website regularly for updates. However, I want to remind you again that at present, there have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 at Ryerson.  Let's try and keep it that way.

Take care,

Dr. Kathleen Pirrie Adams

Posted: March 11, 2020

Hello Everyone,

In light of closures at a growing number of universities—including, Stanford, Columbia, NYU, and Harvard—the administration has asked us to be prepared for the possibility of closures at Ryerson. There is currently no immediate health crisis at Ryerson.  We are, however, planning for what appears to many to be a likely eventuality.

Any decision to close the University will be made centrally by the administration and, should this happen, you can expect to receive a message from Ryerson University. Immediately following, you will receive additional instructions from RTA School of Media via email. Please check your Ryerson email at least twice per day for the next few weeks.

Meanwhile, RTA is putting a plan in place for possible university closure.

To make sure that the entire office staff can successfully work together remotely, we are doing a test on Friday, March 13th. The office will be online as Donna, Angela, Lesley, Erin, Tib, Shawn, and Paula work from home. If your message is 'urgent' please make sure this is in the subject line.

Should the university be closed, it is likely that classes will be moved online, as is the case at the universities mentioned above. Should this happen, you will receive instructions from RTA about what to expect and how to proceed. At this point, your instructors should be proceeding with classes as scheduled, with the exception of a limited number of faculty who are testing online delivery this week in order to prepare a handbook for delivery classes online.

At this stage, there are no plans to cancel Exams or deliver them online. Should that change, you will be alerted.

Again, it is important to keep in mind that nothing has been reported at Ryerson yet. If the situation changes, you will hear from us immediately. If it does not, you will receive an update on our 'University Closure Preparation Plan' on Tuesday.

I remain hopeful that this will be an exercise in preparedness rather than an actual plan.

Dr. Kathleen Pirrie Adams

Below you will find some frequently asked questions. You're invited to submit questions at the bottom of the page. We will provide answers as quickly and fulsomely as possible.

In the interest of public safety, the EDC is now closed. All future bookings with the EDC have been canceled. If you have equipment, you are asked to keep it until the University returns to regular operations or until a staff member contacts you about your checkout. It is highly recommended that you follow @FCAD_EDC on Twitter, external link for updates.

Course instructors have been made aware of this change, so stay tuned for the implications as they may relate to any of your production classes. 

If you find yourself in this position, speak with your course instructor. The Ryerson Library has now made laptop Loans and WiFi Lending/Hotspots possible. Please contact them directly at access@ryerson.ca for more information and possible access.

Further information about the Library's program and updates can be found here.

RTA students needing support for accessing online course delivery and/or production software are encouraged to contact rtalabbies+support@ryerson.ca, opens in new window

Sadly, to ensure the safety of Ryerson community members and those outside it, all University events are to be postponed or cancelled, as per the President's message from March 13: "All discretionary Ryerson events on and off-campus scheduled from now until May 1, 2020 are being cancelled or postponed, including those planned by student groups.

As per the President's message from March 27, spring 2020 convocation ceremonies have been postponed to the fall for the safety of the community. Further details can be found here, opens in new window.

The exceptional team at Ryerson Student Life provides services through their International Student Support, opens in new window office. You can contact them by phone at 416-979-5000 ext. 6655 or by email at issask@ryerson.ca, opens in new window 

As per the Chair's message from March 14, each instructor will send a message to their students once they've determined the details surrounding the online delivery of their class. We anticipate that a plan for access to any specialized software required to complete course work will be amongst the details shared by your instructor. 

Software makers are being understanding through this crisis. For example, RTA and FCAD worked with Ryerson's CCS department to extend the Adobe licensing agreement to include students being able to use Creative Cloud at home for the rest of the Winter term.

Avid has made 90-day licenses available to you so you can also complete school work requiring Pro Tools from home. 

Questions about software and other technical matters can be directed to rtalabbies+support@ryerson.ca, opens in new window

For any questions related to your residence, we recommend connecting with your Residence Advisor as a first point of contact. They are in the best position to provide you with what housing and residence life plans are currently and can appropriately elevate questions that might be outstanding. 

As per the President's message posted on March 13, the University remains open, in spite of classes being transitioned to online delivery. Specific questions about your employment status and/or your workplace's operational status should be directed towards your direct report or manager. 

The University has setup a Coronavirus FAQ page, opens in new window. They have also posted President Mohamed Lachemi's announcement, opens in new window regarding the suspension of in-person classes and exams.

 
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