School Closures in Southern Ontario

Freezing rain and icy conditions have caused many schools and businesses in Southern Ontario to close today.  The University of Waterloo has closed its campuses in Waterloo, Kitchener, Stratford, and Cambridge in the interests of safety for all those who attend and work at the university.  I fully support the decision to close the university as the conditions in the Kitchener-Waterloo region are hazardous.

The decision to close the university is always a difficult one.  While safety is very important, closures do have some negative consequences.  For example, a large job fair was to be held today at RIM Park that many students planned on attending.  This job fair has now been cancelled.  You can read more about the job fair and its cancellation on the P4E Job Fair event website.

Personally, I was scheduled to help deliver an important seminar tonight to help prepare our fourth year students for two upcoming entrepreneurship competitions, the Norman Esch Entrepreneurship Awards for Capstone Design and the Palihapitiya Venture Creation Fund.  This seminar will be rescheduled but given scheduling constraints, the competition deadlines will likely remain the same making the coming weeks even more challenging for our students.  Thankfully, our 4th year students are very good at dealing with challenging schedules.

The University of Waterloo has a set of weather closing guidelines that guide the decision to close the university campuses.  This policy was last revised in December 2016 following consultations with the campus community.  For students, staff, and faculty of the University of Waterloo, the most important takeaway is that a notice of a campus closing or remaining open in severe weather will be posted on the university’s homepage by 6:00 am.  An image of the closure notice on the university’s homepage is shown below.


Examinations are cancelled and subject to rescheduling.  Assignment submission deadlines postpone to the same hour on the next business day on which the university is not closed.  Co-op interviews and employer information sessions are cancelled and rescheduled, if possible.

Of course, there are some positive outcomes of a school closure.  For many students, it is a much needed break from a busy time of the term.  Many students are currently preparing for midterms and assignment deadlines.  This unexpected time, if used wisely by students, can really help make the term more manageable.  Using time wisely does not always mean working on studies.  Getting rest and relaxation can sometimes be as important as studying in a busy term.

For applicants, school closures might also present an excellent opportunity to finish completing your Admission Information Form and to conduct your online interview using Kira Talent.  Many applicants have not yet completed their online interview.  As of this morning, only 20.7% of all applicants to Waterloo Engineering have completed their interview.  4.8% of all applicants have not even opened the e-mail asking them to complete their interview.  If you have not yet received an e-mail, check your e-mail spam folder to see if it was mistakenly filtered out of your inbox.  Also, make sure your e-mail address is listed correctly on your application.  We will send out additional e-mail reminders as the deadline for completion approaches on March 1st.

Today is also a great day to find out more about the University of Waterloo and Waterloo Engineering.  It might be a great day to make plans to attend the March Break Open House on March 9th.  If you plan on attending, remember to register online.  I will be at the March Break Open House to answer your questions about admissions and our engineering programs.