Stages of reopening are guided by Provincial recommendations and guidelines, but USask may decide to move more conservatively in some areas to ensure the health and safety of students, faculty and staff.

USask is currently in Stage 3 of reopening.

Context

The Province of Saskatchewan has released its “Re-Open Saskatchewan” plan; the first phases of this plan involve resuming certain aspects of the economy and allowing only smaller group gatherings. The timing of any further phases of re-opening is unknown, and depend largely on continued favourable results from vigilant monitoring/testing. Within the Plan, there is no specific reference to post-secondary institutions. Given the size and scale of much of USask’s activities and operations, any return to campus will necessarily be cautious and gradual. 

USask is now moving through the next phase of pandemic response and planning, with constant and close adherence to provincial health guidelines. Attention now turns to the planning and coordination of increased on-campus activity, development of an implementation plan for a ‘hybrid’ (primarily remote) fall term, and ongoing daily operational monitoring. Further directives from the provincial government regarding the post-secondary sector may emerge in the coming weeks and may necessitate the re-assessment of our limited return to campus plans.

To provide operational leadership and expertise, and indicative of the university’s gradual and necessary shift from COVID-19 crisis response to response and recovery, a Pandemic Response and Recovery Team (PRT) has been constituted, reporting to the PEC (President’s Executive Committee), and engaging with all members of the university community, including students and faculty.

Mandate

The mandate of the PRT will be to:

  1. Lead the preparation of a feasible, principles-based implementation plan for a “hybrid” (primarily remote) approach to Fall 2020;
  2. Plan for and coordinate increased on-campus activity during an otherwise remote Spring/Summer 2020 term, with close attention to Provincial Health recommendations, COVID-19 monitoring, risk mitigation, internal and external communication, and the university’s emergency management procedures and protocols.
  3. Continue day-to-day pandemic-specific operational duties consistent with the university’s emergency management procedures and protocols.

PRT Composition

Reporting to the PEC (President’s Executive Committee), and engaging with all members of the university community, including students and faculty, the PRT will include representation from each of the University’s major portfolio areas including teaching and learning, research, finance and resources, communications and stakeholder relations. Additionally, representation from the Crisis Operations Team (COT) will facilitate the continuance of day-to-day operational duties related to pandemic response. The PRT will be chaired by Darcy Marciniuk.

Pandemic Response/Recovery Team (PRT)
Darcy Marciniuk AVP Research Research; Chair of PRT
Dion Martens Director, Research Services & Ethics Research
Patti McDougall Vice-Provost, TLSE Academics and Students
Preston Smith Dean, College of Medicine SHA Liaison, Deans’ Liaison
Cheryl Carver AVP People & Resources Finance and Resources
Wade Epp AVP Services Operations
Rob Kliewer Manager, Safety Resources Health and Safety/COT
Gord Hunchak AVP Strategic Communications & Chief Communications Officer (CCO) Communications
Shari Baraniuk [Chris Gaschler] AVP Information and Communications Technology & Chief Information Officer (CIO) ICT
Dara Hrytzak Chief of Staff, Office of the President PEC link

The PRT will be supported by an Advisory Hub which will provide timely strategic advice and input, review documents, and bring expertise from aspects of the institution that may inform and/or facilitate the development of the fall implementation plan.

Advisory Hub members will include:

  • Sara Daniels (Government Relations)
  • Chelsea Willness (Governance)
  • Jackie Ottmann (Indigenous Engagement)
  • Ken Wilson (Faculty Relations)
  • Dena McMartin (Institutional Planning and Assessment)

Scope

  • Identifying and implementing mechanism(s) to monitor the status of the COVID-19 pandemic and the university's recovery and response.

  • Processes to coordinate the transition from current state to the primarily remote Fall scenario for academic mission/teaching and learning; discovery mission/research, finance and resources, communications and stakeholder engagement, and governance.

  • A “transition strategy” that allows swift and responsive return to prior or other phases (i.e., reduction of activities) should events require such action.

  • Communication strategies and timelines.

  • Identifying stakeholders/partners and a process for informing them of our plans or actions in advance, when required.

Principles

Principles that will guide planning, decision-making, and implementation include:

  • Value, protect and support our people.
    We will seek and implement the best guidance possible for the health and safety of our students and employees; and ensure the return of people to campus will be done in a conscious, careful, and methodical way. We will strive to minimize financial hardship to employees when contemplating reward and employment strategies; and ensure that all legal and regulatory obligations are fully considered.

  • Deliver the academic, research and service missions of the University of Saskatchewan.
    We continue our important academic, research, and community engagement work as the University the World Needs.

  • Support Student Success
    We prioritize students’ academic progress and supports and strive to minimize adverse impacts to their academic progress. Decisions will consider the mitigation of financial hardship to students, including the consideration of federal and provincial programs available directly to students.

  • Ensure the University of Saskatchewan’s long-term excellence and financial sustainability.
    We are responsible not just for the university’s success today, but for its long-term sustainable future, and will actively seek opportunities to improve the way we deliver on our mission. COVID-19 will have a significant negative impact on the university’s financial situation on a one-time, and ongoing basis. Significant and immediate actions are required that support long-term cost reductions and revenue enhancements to protect the university’s longer-term financial sustainability and reputation.

  • Engage and Contribute.
    We will effectively contribute to the province’s efforts to respond to the rapidly shifting public health situation and the province’s recovery, while also contributing to the global efforts to address the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Communicate and consult with our community. 
    We will share and seek input regarding our CoVID-19 status, plans, and actions around increased activity with internal and external.

  • Acknowledge Impact.
    We recognize and appreciate that the decisions the university makes and the actions taken may have an impact on our external communities. We are committed to factoring that impact into the ongoing decision-making in our approaches to increasing activity.

Questions?

 Email: covid19@usask.ca