TST COVID-19 Updates

During this evolving time in the midst the COVID-19 pandemic, the Toronto School of Theology will post updates and resources below as they become available. Check back often for additional information. As of March 18, 2020 the TST building is closed until further notice. (Additional information will be posted here when it is known.)

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A Message for May 2020 and November 2020 Graduates:

We deeply regret that the parchments for TST member schools for graduates in May 2020 and November 2020 have been delayed due to conditions related to COVID-19. We anticipate that the delayed parchments will be available and ready for distribution in May 2021. Any graduate needing a verification of credentials can request a letter from their college registrar. We appreciate your patience and understanding.

Pamela Couture
TST Executive Director

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TST Conjoint Degree Students with COVID-19 or Cold / Flu-like Symptoms:  See important information in the University of Toronto Updates section below.

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Fall 2021 Return to Campus

The Toronto School of Theology community eagerly awaits our post-pandemic return to campus. Our primary organizing principle is to provide access to classes and extra-curricular opportunities that allows students to make progress with their degrees and engage with their fellow students and college communities. While we expect improved public health conditions in 2021-2022 due to vaccine rollout in the coming months, we anticipate continued need for some level of remote delivery in response to public health constraints.

In light of this, the Member Colleges of the Toronto School of Theology are planning for the following:

  • To provide for a variety of delivery methods in Fall 2021 and Winter 2022. Some Member Colleges will provide remote access to most courses, while others will plan for in-person courses as public health conditions permit.
  • To work with students, including those who anticipate healthcare-based practicums, to fulfill curricular requirements in appropriate ways.
  • To communicate decisions about the scope of remote access for future academic terms in consultation with the University of Toronto and public health directives.
  • To program in-person co-curricular, worship, and community life activities as public health conditions permit.
  • To work with our librarians to make research access available.

For graduate students:

  • TST Academic Council approved the following with respect to residency requirements for all graduate students:

“Graduate students who participate in classes delivered remotely as a result of the COVID pandemic measures and maintain academic connections with the TST and their home college through electronic communication meet the program requirements as stated in sections A7.1.2 and A6.5 of the GCTS Conjoint Degree & DMin Handbooks.”

  • TST graduate cohort courses TSJ5001H, TSJ5021H & TSJ5022H will be delivered remotely in Fall 2021. (TSM5020H & TSM5022H for Summer 2021.)
  • Member colleges will offer a variety of in-person courses to enhance the campus experience for students in Toronto, as public health conditions allow.

These unusual circumstances have created the opportunity for renewed ecumenical engagement as students access a range of course and co-curricular offerings across the Member Colleges. Students may:

  • Use the searchable course catalog to find courses, which will indicate the delivery method by the section code: 0101 (in person), 9101 (remote delivery), 6201 (online-synchronous) and 6101 (online-asynchronous). 
  • Subscribe to the social media feeds and e-newsletters of the Member Colleges to keep abreast of opportunities to build community.

Click on a topic below for further infomation. / Read how TST graduates and students have responded to COVID-19 here.

Please find below frequently asked questions that are specific to Toronto School of Theology (TST) students taking courses with our member colleges. This page will be updated as more information comes available. We encourage you to check back often.

Campus Services

What offices are open? Who should I contact if I have questions?

TST, Member Colleges, and University of Toronto buildings have been closed to the general public since March 2020.  

The TST and Member College Offices of the Registrar and the TST Graduate Centre for Theological Studies can be accessed via phone, email and teleconferencing. You can access contact information through the College Registrars & Admissions Staff directory 

Your College Registrar’s Office continues to provide academic and financial advising and other registrarial support remotely. 

There may some disruptions to University of Toronto services that TST conjoint students normally have access to or changes to operating times. We recommend that you check directly with each service and continue to monitor the  University of Toronto’s website for updates.  

Will I be able to access the U of T libraries?

Effective April 23, 2021, due to public health regulations, University of Toronto Libraries' curbside pick-up and scan and deliver services have been temporarily suspended until further notice.

Connectivity Issues

Should you experience any connectivity issues related to online learning (i.e., difficulty accessing Quercus from home), please contact the St. George Campus - Information Commons Help Desk.

For online learning minimum technology requirements, visit the related Office of the Vice President, Students resource

Accessibility

I am registered with Accessibility Services. Can I still access accommodations for my class?

Please continue to consult your Accessibility Advisor as required. Accessibility Services can be reached through their main office line at 416-978-8060 and by email: accessibility.services@utoronto.ca.

Accessibility staff are available to answer your questions and help you to arrange telephone or Skype appointments with Accessibility Advisors, learning strategists and their adaptive technologist. In addition, the volunteer notetaking program continues to run. Volunteer notetakers continue to take notes online and to upload to the notetaking portal. 

Special updates for students registered at Accessibility Services can be found at: www.studentlife.utoronto.ca/as/covid-19-updates

Fall and Winter Session 2021-22

What's happening with Fall 2021 and Winter 2022 classes?

TST Member colleges have committed to provide for a variety of delivery methods in Fall 2021 and Winter 2022. Some Member Colleges will provide remote access to most courses, while others will plan for in-person courses as public health conditions permit.

Some programs require applied, practical, or other placement-based activities that must be delivered in person. Program and Field Placement Directors at the colleges will be communicating directly with their students about how to fulfill those requirements.

Will I have to live in Toronto to complete my courses?

Graduate students who participate in classes delivered remotely as a result of the COVID pandemic measures, and maintain academic connections with TST and their home college through electronic communication, meet the program requirements as stated in sections A7.1.2 and A6.5 of the GCTS Conjoint Degree & DMin Handbooks. Students in basic degree programs should consult with their college of registration. International students should check with their college registrar regarding restrictions on how much of their program can be taken outside of Canada.

Will any classes be taught only in-person?

Some programs require applied, practical, or other placement-based courses that can only be delivered in-person. Program and Field Placement Directors at the colleges will be communicating directly with their students about how to fulfill those requirements. Some regular courses may also only be offered as in-person. Use the searchable course catalog to find courses, which will indicate the delivery method by the section code: 0101 (in person), 9101 (remote delivery), 6201 (online-synchronous) and 6101 (online-asynchronous).

Will classes that start online switch to in-person if restrictions change?

No. Fall 2021 and Winter 2022 courses that start out as as remote delivery or online will not switch to meeting in-person partway through the term, even if public health guidelines change. Likewise, Y courses offered that start as remote delivery or online in September will remain online throughout the academic year (i.e., through April).

What if I start out enrolled in an online course and then I decide I want to come to Toronto partway through the Fall 2021 or Winter 2022 term? Will I be able to switch to the in-person version of the course?

No, students will stay enrolled in the same section of the course.

The online or remote delivery  course I want to enrol in is full, can class sizes be increased if they’re offered online?

Instructors and their TST College will decide which capacities work best for their courses. Although an online learning environment doesn’t have the same physical restrictions as a classroom, many other instructional factors may constrain the course capacity. The goal of all instructors and academic units will be to ensure that students experience a learning environment that supports their success in achieving the course learning objectives. You can contact the registrar of the college that owns the course to see if additional spaces can be made available or if there is a waiting list.

How will online and remote delivery courses be delivered?

Quercus (q.utoronto.ca) is U of T’s official learning management system, and most online course activities and assessments will be delivered through this platform. Students access Quercus using their UTORid and password. Specific courses may use other platforms to deliver activities and assessments. More information will be provided to students enrolled in the course through the course syllabus. The University of Toronto has provided recommended minimum technical requirements for accessing online learning, which we encourage students to review as they prepare for the Fall 2021 and Winter 2022 terms.

Will I have to attend online lectures/tests/final assessments at a specific time? If I do, what if I’m in a different time zone and the lectures/tests/final assessments are in the middle of night for me. Will there be accommodations?

Course listed on the TST website as online – synchronous will have parts held in real-time, which means you need to be available with Internet access during the posted course times to be virtually present for lectures, discussions, or other class activities. Courses listed as online – asynchronous allow you to learn the material (e.g., watch recorded lectures, participate in class discussion groups) and complete the assessments for the course at times that fit your personal schedule.

Instructors and their TST Member Colleges will carefully decide whether to offer their courses synchronously or asynchronously, with the goal of ensuring that the required course learning objectives are met. Because some course learning objectives may require certain activities to be synchronous, students in other time zones should consider the schedule of synchronous classes carefully when planning their course enrolment and should not expect alternative scheduling options. Students who have registered accommodations through Accessibility Services should consult with their Accessibility Advisor for guidance.  

Fees

Will there be any reductions of tuition fees and/or changes to payment deadlines?

As we continue to deliver our academic programs and student services, we are maintaining tuition at planned levels within the MTCU guidelines. These planned levels include annual increases necessary to sustain and strengthen our commitment to investing in high-quality academic programs as well as student supports. Our faculty members, instructors, and staff are using the opportunities of the online learning format to expand students’ experience in new ways. Our goal is for students to continue to have transformative learning experiences under these new conditions.

Will there be any changes to incidental fees and payment deadlines?

Incidental fees are for support services and programs that contribute to the student experience and student well-being. Depending on which services, programs, and physical spaces can operate within public health guidelines in Fall 2021 and Winter 2022, some fees may be reduced or eliminated, such decisions will be made prior to Fall and Winter registration opening. Incidental fees are a compulsory part of all students’ tuition, and the amount of these fees is set on the understanding that all students will contribute to the cost of these services.

The COVID-19 situation has made it more difficult for me to afford my education. What can I do?

We recognize that many students are facing exceptional financial pressures because of COVID-19. We encourage students who are facing financial hardship to contact their college registrar’s office to inquire about the possibility of need-based bursary support. A list of provincial and federal government programs is available in the UofT Funding Opportunity Directory. Please note that TST students are not eligible for the UofT specific bursaries and programs.

If I start my Fall or Winter term courses and am not doing well because of the online format, can I get a refund?

Students enrolled in the PhD, ThD, DMin and MA in the Fall/Winter 2021-22 term pay a program fee, which is a flat fee that does not change as courses are added or dropped.

Students who are enrolled in Basic Degrees and Certificates and the ThM for the Fall/Winter term pay course fees, which are assessed based on the number of courses in which they are enrolled. These students can obtain refunds if they drop one or more courses by specific dates.

Visit our Fees & Refunds page for more information. More specific information for 2020-21, including refund schedules, will be available in July. Students can also consult with their college registrar’s office for more advice about refunds and dropping courses. Please note that dropping courses may impact your full-time status and eligibility for OSAP and other funding.

Other

How will I get my TCard and access to my UofT email?

New students started to have access to their U of T email accounts and could enable their UTORids in June. You do not need a UofT email or UTORid to enroll in courses or pay your fees, and you can continue to access ACORN with your JOINid and password. Please visit the TCard website for more information.

Verification of Illness Form and Extensions

TST is following the UofT in temporarily suspending the need for a doctor’s note or medical certificate (i.e. Verification of Illness Form) to document any medical-related absence from academic participation in your program. Instead, conjoint students must register absences due to medical reasons on the ACORN Declaration of Absence tool. Non-conjoint students must inform their college registrar of the days missed. Please note that the normal College/TST extension forms are still required for all extension requests, and the deadlines for form submissions remain the same. Extension requests can be “signed” by the submission of an email from your utoronto address stating “Attached here is the form [insert name of form]. Please accept this email as indication of my signature.”

Memos

Following the University of Toronto Libraries lead, due to public health regulations, effective April 23, 2021, curbside pick-up and scan and deliver services at TST member college libraries have been temporarily suspended until further notice.

TST conjoint degree students with COVID-19 or cold/flu-like symptoms:

The University of Toronto is working to address concerns related to COVID-19. 

Everyone has the ability to help reduce the impact of COVID-19 on our community. The most effective things you can do are:

  • Wash your hands frequently with warm water and soap for at least 15 seconds and use alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Sneeze or cough into your arm or sleeve, not into your hands
  • Stay home if you feel unwell
  • It is important to continue to check travel and public health advisories and the University of Toronto’s website as this is an evolving situation.

Since you should stay at home if you are unwell, the University is temporarily suspending the need for a doctor’s note or medical certificate for absences because of cold or flu-like symptoms, or due to self-isolation requirements. Instead, you will need to record these absences through the Absence Declaration tool on ACORN. The tool can be found in the ACORN Profile and Settings menu. You should record each day of your absence as soon as it begins, up until the day before you return to classes or other academic activities. The University will use this information to provide academic accommodation and to monitor overall absences.

Absences for other illnesses should continue to be documented through the Verification of Illness (VOI) form. (This can be found in the EM Forms module.)

While the University will make every effort to provide needed academic accommodation, you are responsible for meeting course requirements as determined by your instructors.

IMPORTANT: Please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions on COVID-19.

To receive emergency messages from the University on your mobile device, we encourage you to provide additional contact information in the UTAlert system.

The University’s primary concern continues to be the health and safety of all members of the University community. Please continue to check the University’s homepage for updates on U of T’s COVID-19 preparations.

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