COVID-19 (novel coronavirus): Updates, Resources and Information

In this section:

Student Relief Fund

COVID-19 Student Relief Fund heading with picture of student shaping heart with their hands

Lakehead University's President and Vice-Chancellor, Lakehead University Student Union and the Alumni Association have launched the COVID-19 Student Relief Fund to help students impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.

Bursaries will assist with travel and living costs based on available funds and students' demonstrated financial need.

Current Progress
$98,101.00 raised by 370 supporters

Learn more about the Student Relief Fund and Donate Apply for assistance


See below for previous updates from Lakehead University regarding the COVID-19 situation.

July 8, 2020 – Faculty and Staff COVID-19 Awareness Training

As we continue our transition back to campus, the health and safety of our Lakehead community is at the forefront of our planning efforts.

A critical component of a safe return to campus is a shared understanding of proper measures to protect the health and safety of everyone. To this end, a brief course focused on an overview of COVID-19, health and safety guidelines, and infection control measures, has been developed. This course can be found on the main page of your myCourselink (D2L) portal, titled "Covid Awareness Site".

If you do not see the "Covid Awareness Site" listed on your course dashboard in D2L, you can self-register. Navigate to Self-Registration: Academic Support and Training on the dashboard and choose the course from the options.

All staff and faculty are required to review this course content and complete the attestation prior to returning to campus. 

For those who are currently on-campus, please complete this prior to your next shift/return to campus.

For any content related questions, please contact the below:

Ursula MacDonald, Manager, Health, Safety and Wellness
807-343-8010 ext. 8671

Tiffany Moore, Lab Safety Officer
807-343-8010 ext. 8806

Shannon Scott, Human Resources Partner (contact for Orillia)
705-330-4010 ext. 2011

Supervisors, please reach out to these contacts for course completion verifications for your department(s).

Thank you for your ongoing dedication in supporting a safe campus environment,

Adam Shaen, CHRL, MBA, MSc
Associate Vice-President
Office of Human Resources 


June 22, 2020 – Update on Fall 2020 Term Delivery 

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In addition to this resource, the Course Timetable for the 2020/21 academic year has been posted for students to review and begin  course planning.

The delivery mode for Fall 2020 has been outlined for each course.

As we confirm more details, information on Winter 2021 course delivery will be added.


May 15, 2020 – Message from the President (Fall 2020)

Fall 2020 at Lakehead University

As we head into the May long-weekend, we turn some monumental corners:  the recent end to a semester that won’t soon be forgotten, springtime temperatures that beg us to go outside, the start of our spring/summer session, and now news about what we should expect in the fall.

September at Lakehead University has always been a time of celebration and beginnings. This fall will be no different as we welcome students, faculty and staff to the start of our 55th academic year. A year of celebration, but one tempered by the global realities that challenge each and every member of our Lakehead community.

As I write this, I must acknowledge that this fall will differ from our previous experiences at Lakehead University in many ways. As Lakehead welcomes students to start the 2020/21 academic year in September, we will continue to operate in an environment shaped by the ongoing global pandemic. We will do so with a focus on prioritizing the health and well-being of our students, faculty and staff as we continue to deliver a high-quality educational experience.

At all stages of our operations, we will adhere to the advice of our local health authorities and guidelines set by the Canadian and Ontario governments. Recently, the Province of Ontario began announcing steps to reopen certain types of businesses and gradually lifting restrictions with a focus on health and safety in Ontario’s communities. While the timing of this reopening phase evolves, Lakehead’s planning for Fall 2020 is influenced by these guidelines. 

Lakehead University is planning for primarily-online and alternative delivery models of courses in Fall 2020.

The Lakehead Approach

Lakehead remains committed to high-quality remote and alternative forms of program delivery and, where possible, in-person experiences such as research labs, experiential learning opportunities, and select courses that can be modified to ensure a high quality and safe learning experience. We understand that our learners have unique needs — now more than ever — and commit to offering educational opportunities designed to provide the Lakehead experience to our students with the same focus on exceptional, inclusive learning that is the foundation of our University. Our Faculties are assessing individual programs and working to build an environment that continues to fulfill our academic mission in teaching and research. As these program plans are unveiled, more information will be shared to assist students in making informed decisions and course selections.

Supporting our Students

As we plan for Fall 2020, Lakehead is working to ensure that the necessary supports are provided for our students, particularly those experiencing financial challenges, or who need extra advising, counselling or wellness supports.

In addition to our own supports, the Government of Canada recently announced a $9 billion economic response to the COVID-19 pandemic that includes the Canada Emergency Student Benefit to be delivered by the Canada Revenue Agency.

Finally, the Province of Ontario has announced that its Ontario Student Assistance Program loans will not require payments from students and no interest will be charged between March 30 and September 30, 2020. Payments students make during that period of time will be applied to paying down the principal of their respective loans.

Health and Safety

While we are all looking forward to a return to campus, it is important to stress that health and safety remains our first priority as we continue to ensure that our plans and approach are consistent with provincial public health guidelines. 

Our Lakehead COVID-19 Transition Committee will lead consultation and engagement with stakeholders across the University. The decisions Lakehead University will make in the coming months will be guided by information from our local health authorities while complying with national and provincial laws, guidelines and directives.

As the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve, we will adapt our decisions and preparations in order to provide a safe and healthy learning and working environment for our students, faculty and staff. In this new environment, we must be prepared to adopt new habits of social and physical distancing, hand hygiene, and will have to adapt to the evolving advice and guidance from our Health Units and governments.

Stronger, Together 

Over the past months, every member of our Lakehead community has faced and overcome a variety of personal, and study- or work-related challenges. As a University community, we have united, continuing to deliver high quality programming, and focusing on student success. 

During this time, we have seen an amazing display of innovation, collaboration, resilience and endurance at all levels of the University. Our campuses have remained secure, clean, and welcoming to those students who still call our campuses home. Many Lakehead services have transitioned to virtual environments to ensure continuity of programming, student financial aid and wellness supports. We have advanced COVID-19-related research and worked to support our local health care system.  

Lakehead continues to be an integral part of the Thunder Bay, Orillia and regional communities. As such, we have not lost sight of the key educational partnerships we have in Simcoe County and Northwestern Ontario and the strength of these collaborations in building a network of opportunities for learners across the region. We will also continue the important community service and research programs in place and look to expand our relationships as our communities strive to address the challenges of our COVID-19-impacted world.  

We have been through a lot together in these last eight weeks. 

Looking ahead, I am excited to see how Lakehead can continue to create enriching experiences this fall. I know I speak for all of us at Lakehead when I say we look forward to ongoing engagement as we look towards Fall 2020.


Thank you and be well,

Dr. Moira McPherson
President and Vice-Chancellor
Lakehead University


May 11, 2020 – Beginning the Spring/Summer Semester and Updates

To new and current students, welcome to the spring/summer semester at Lakehead University! And congratulations to those of you who recently wrapped up your 2019-2020 academic year.

We are excited to have fully launched the semester and are looking forward to delivering high quality programming and supporting your Lakehead student experience.

Construction resumes on Athletics Expansion Project

Over the past week, there have been clear indications that Ontario is preparing to slowly and carefully open sectors of the economy. On May 1, the Ontario government announced that certain businesses and workplaces are able to reopen as long as they comply with public health measures and operate safely during the COVID-19 outbreak. Those permitted to return to work include some essential construction projects, including our Thunder Bay Campus’s Athletics Expansion project. Construction will resume this week.


Lakehead University continues to Support Health-care Providers

In recent weeks, members of our University community have demonstrated support for health care providers in Thunder Bay through PPE collections, the manufacturing of PPE parts, and related research. Lakehead University and our Hospital recently signed an agreement to provide temporary accommodations for hospital staff who need such accommodations outside of their family home. Those who would like to be considered for offsite accommodation must contact Occupational Health & Safety.

If temporary space is required, hospital staff would only be able to use the University apartment building units that are completely separated from other campus living spaces. This arrangement will not apply to hospital staff if they have been diagnosed with COVID-19, or are deemed highly presumptive as a result of work-related exposure.

The University extends gratitude and appreciation for everything frontline health-care workers are doing to manage this pandemic.


Looking forward to Fall 2020

As the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to affect universities around the world, we want to assure everyone that whatever uncertainties lie ahead in the spring and summer months, our University is keenly focused on welcoming new and returning students to Lakehead this fall. 

The safety and well-being of our community remains our top priority.  Lakehead University will continue to plan for, and deliver, all programming and operations in accordance with health and government advisories and recommendations. 

With the right plans and the right execution, we will maximize the continuity of our operations, academic programming and our students’ success. 


April 24, 2020 – Provost's Message to Students

To Lakehead University students,

I would like to take a moment to congratulate you on the completion of your courses and exams. 

This semester has seen our campuses, classrooms, offices, and each other, transformed by a pandemic that quickly changed our entire world, however we got through the semester together.

In the face of tremendous uncertainty, I was so proud to see how each of you persevered, continued to engage with your instructors, and worked hard to complete your studies and exams.

It is clear to me that the challenges we’ve contended with impacted you significantly. 

For many of you, changes to your academic life were happening while you dealt with a range of issues from moving home to concerns about technology and internet, and personal concerns for family and friends. Your resiliency has been inspiring, and I wanted you to know that I speak on behalf of many who recognize your hardships, acknowledge your achievements, and congratulate you on your successes. Be proud of your accomplishments and take a moment to celebrate as you have now completed the term.

Our faculty and staff’s commitment to you has never wavered, and we hope our existing supports, as well as those we have developed since the onset of the pandemic, have helped you overcome obstacles.

I invite you to avail yourself of the option to consider and select how your course will be graded. I encourage you to seek counsel from your program advisor on the best course of action to support your future goals. We also have a wonderful suite of spring and summer courses being offered online to assist you in furthering your academic objectives. 

If you are not returning for spring or summer courses, please enjoy your break, take the time to connect – safely – with friends and family, and reflect on our shared experience as we all plan for the future.  To that end, as we look forward to welcoming you back in the fall, I want you to know that all of our faculty and staff are hard at work to ensure you have an exceptional start to your 2020-2021 academic year. 

Congratulations again on completing your courses and exams! 


Stay safe and be well,

David Barnett
Provost and Vice-President (Academic)
Lakehead University


April 17, 2020 – Extension of Required On-site Services Model at Lakehead University

On March 19, Lakehead University's campuses transitioned to a required on-site services model that was to last until April 30, and on March 25 we announced that "until further notice, only those employees who need to be on site to sustain current operations will be able to continue to work on our campuses. All other employees, including faculty, should work remotely."

As we continue to follow the latest information, advisories and recommendations from health and government authorities, and in light of the Province of Ontario's recent announcement to extend its state of emergency until May 12, Lakehead University will remain in a required on-site services model until further notice.

As outlined in previous updates, until further notice:

  • Consistent with our update on March 25, and until further notice, only those employees who need to be on site to sustain current operations will be able to continue to work on our campuses. All other employees, including faculty, should work remotely.

  • All buildings on our Thunder Bay campus, except for the University Centre and ATAC, have been secured with access restricted to persons with cards, keys, or with assistance from Lakehead Security Services; and

  • At our Orillia campus, Heritage Place is secured; the Orillia Cafeteria is open for food service take-out only; Orillia Residence is only accessible with an access card; and Simcoe Hall is open, however limited to the first floor.


It is our responsibility to do as much as we can to minimize the risk of the spread of COVID-19. This means continuing to keep any necessary visits to our campus to a minimum unless otherwise authorized to do so.

Please refrain from gathering in groups, and exercise proper physical distancing and good hygiene practices as per health unit recommendations.

We wish all our students success in these final days of our examination period.


April 10, 2020 – Message from President McPherson

Good afternoon Lakehead Community,

As we launch into the long weekend I have been reflecting on the past weeks and wanted to send a few words of acknowledgment and encouragement.

Springtime at Lakehead, and indeed across the country, certainly came in like a lion, with a roaring change in how we live, work, and learn. We have all been glued to the stories unfolding about the global pandemic and absorbed with how it is affecting ourselves and those closest to us.

But members of our Lakehead community have been busy weaving stories of their own. I have witnessed how our students, faculty and staff have demonstrated in so many ways the compassion, resilience and spirit that makes us a great place to study and work, and amidst the stress and change we have much to be thankful for.

With the vast majority of us working and studying remotely, we are well on our way to completing the winter semester – a remarkable accomplishment and one that will go down in the history books at Lakehead and universities around the world!

Last week we launched our Student Relief Fund to help Lakehead students facing serious financial stress. In one week, we have raised $75,000 (and counting) from over 260 members of our internal community, and the process to allocate these funds to students in need is already underway. We are not done and have plans to double the gifts raised!

This week, Lakehead University and the Northern Ontario School of Medicine organized and collected hundreds of boxes of personal protective equipment (PPE) for health care providers in Thunder Bay, Northern Ontario, and Orillia to help with the shortage of such supplies caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. You can read the whole story in our Campus Connection.

And now, in collaboration with our talented faculty and staff across both campuses, we are launching a full suite of engaging and high-quality spring/summer term courses. Our Admissions and Orientation Teams are keenly focused on ensuring a fabulous transition for students starting their University experience or continuing their studies in the upcoming fall. 

Finally, I am thankful for the upcoming long weekend. I hope you find time to enjoy it, as well, whether it is taking a moment for yourself while studying, enjoying a good book or a walk, or ‘Zooming’ with family and friends.

My thoughts are with you. Be healthy and stay safe.



Moira McPherson, PhD
President and Vice-Chancellor


April 9, 2020 – Lakehead University Parking Fee Suspension and Credit

Thank you, students, faculty, and staff for your commitment and willingness to do what is necessary for the health and safety of our University community during the COVID-19 pandemic. In recognition of this, please be advised that effective May 1, 2020, all Lakehead University parking lots at both our campuses will be free (including metered parking spots) until further notice.

Temporary Suspension of Payments and Credits

For those of you who have parking fees deducted by payroll deduction, these deductions will automatically cease on May 1, 2020 and remain suspended until the free parking period has ended.

For those of you who purchased an annual parking permit, you will be credited a pro-rated amount from May 1 through to the end of the parking free period.  This credit will be automatically processed after the parking-free period has ended and applied to your next annual parking permit purchase. 

For more information, please contact Security Services.


April 8, 2020 – Message from President McPherson

To our Lakehead University Employees and members of our Board of Governors,

The response from our Community to our April 3rd call to support our Student Relief Fund has been wonderful! 

I am touched by those of you who have shown our students how much we care about their success. My deepest thanks to each of you who have already given. 

I urge those of you who have not yet given to consider a gift, no matter the amount, to support our students experiencing serious financial stress. Many of our students have already submitted a request for assistance through the Student Relief Fund.

Let's continue to show our students that we are here to help them.

Thank you, 

Moira McPherson, PhD
President and Vice-Chancellor

April 7, 2020 – Lakehead University Spring and Summer courses being delivered remotely

To all Lakehead University Students,

As part of our ongoing commitment to the health and safety of our students, instructors, and the wider community, and while continuing to assess and respond as best as possible to the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, please be advised that Lakehead University's  500 Internal Server Error

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Following a thorough review of our scheduled Spring and Summer courses, the majority of originally scheduled offerings will be conducted online and meet the intended learning objectives so as not to compromise your learning opportunities.

While there are very few courses that cannot be delivered remotely this Spring/Summer, we have added new courses in order to continue to provide you with a range of options.

Please see the updated Spring and Summer session timetable.

Students registered for a Spring or Summer course that will not be delivered remotely have been notified of these changes.

If you have any questions, please contact the Office of the Registrar.

International students with questions regarding their online course registration as related to their immigration status, please visit //

Thank you,

Dr. David Barnett
Provost and Vice-President (Academic)

April 3, 2020 – Message from President McPherson: Student Relief Fund

Dear Lakehead University Employees and Members of the Board of Governors,

In recent weeks, our Lakehead community has come together in incredible ways to face the realities of the rapidly-evolving COVID-19 pandemic. While we have focused on ensuring the delivery of vital services and ongoing education to our students through online and remote methods, and are ensuring that our residences and food services remain accessible, we know that many students are facing extraordinary challenges. Those students who are far from home and in isolation on our campuses or in our communities have had their worlds turned upside down. 

Today I am pleased to share that I, along with the Lakehead University Student Union, the Alumni Association and members of our leadership teams have launched the COVID-19 Student Relief Fund.  I am respectfully reaching out to all of our Lakehead faculty and staff, and to members of our Board of Governors, to join us in helping those Lakehead students who may be facing significant hardships due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

If you are interested in supporting the COVID-19 Student Relief Fund, please visit Lakehead University’s COVID-19 information website and click the button to donate to this Fund.

Thank you for helping to support our students in need.

We are stronger together, 

Moira McPherson, PhD
President and Vice-Chancellor



You may be eligible for relief through the new Lakehead COVID-19 Student Relief Fund. Bursaries will be awarded to assist with their travel, living and other expenses depending on available funds and students' demonstrated financial needs. Please visit Lakehead University’s COVID-19 information website and click the button to apply.


* In an effort to mitigate potential phishing attempts related to our Student Relief Fund, the above message will be the only direct email invitation from President McPherson to participate in this initiative. The donation page and students’ application for assistance should be accessed through Lakehead’s COVID-19 information website.

April 1, 2020 – Temporary Grading Scheme for Year-Long 2019/2020 and Winter Term 2020 Courses

Lakehead University recognizes the extraordinary challenges you, our students, are  facing during these unprecedented times and the impact it has had on your learning and overall well-being.

In recognition of this, the Senate of Lakehead University has approved a Temporary Grading Scheme under Exceptional Academic Measures for Year-Long 2019/20 and Winter 2020 Courses. This Grading Scheme will provide you with flexibility to account for your unique academic and personal challenges faced as well as aid in mitigating additional stressors as you work towards completing this academic year. 

For more information on the Grading Scheme and how it will work, please visit //

It is highly recommend that you reach out to Student Central ( and your Faculty Advisor/Program Chair to learn more and discuss your individual circumstances and future goals.


March 31, 2020 – Securing campus buildings effective March 31 and until further notice

In our ongoing efforts to respond to the advice, recommendations, and announcements by health and government authorities about the current pandemic, Lakehead University is taking further steps to ensure the health and safety of our campuses.

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On our Orillia campus, Heritage Place is secured; the Orillia Cafeteria is open for food service; Orillia Residence is only accessible with an access card; and Simcoe Hall is open, however limited to the first floor.

Those without cards or keys who need access to these buildings may contact Security Services to be granted entrance.

Please continue to follow updates posted on our COVID-19 information web page, and follow advisories and recommendations being shared by our regions’ health units, as well as various levels of government.

March 27, 2020 – Message to students from the Provost

Dear Lakehead University students,

Lakehead University’s priority is the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff. We are doing everything we can to assess and address options to further assist those of you experiencing challenges or difficulties during this unprecedented and particularly stressful time.

Lakehead students are able to complete their courses and examinations remotely, and our University’s residences remain open for those who are not able to travel home. In addition to emails detailing the variety of services available to you, including academic supports, Financial Aid, Food Services, and Health & Wellness Services, we continue to provide information, resources, and answers to frequently asked questions on our COVID-19 information web page.

In closing, I would like to echo President McPherson’s recent message to the University community and acknowledge your resilience in recent weeks. Everyone at Lakehead University is doing what they can to support you so that you have the opportunity to complete your program’s requirements and make