Dear Learners, Instructors and Staff Colleagues,By now, hopefully everyone is aware of the emergency measures put in place by the government and by McGill University in response to the outbreak and spread of the COVID-19 or Coronavirus. Please note that our first and foremost priority is to ensure that everyone stays as healthy and safe as possible. We are working hard to ensure the best quality of educational experience for all – learners, instructors, and administrative staff. Equally importantly, we must maintain a healthy and safe work environment for our team.
As Dean of Continuing Studies, together with all School of Continuing Studies colleagues, I take these responsibilities extremely seriously. We are a family, a community during good times and difficult ones such as these.
You have received many communications in recent days. We are currently working on a list of FAQs (frequently asked questions) for the community and will post these as soon as possible. Please note that since this is a very fluid and continuously evolving situation, we may not have all of the answers right away and in some cases may need to adjust our responses at a later date. For now, please take note of the following key facts:
- By order of the Quebec Government the University has cancelled all classes and associated activities through March 29, 2020. Exceptional arrangements for a handful of special non-credit courses are being communicated on a case-by-case basis. If you have not been contacted, your classes are cancelled.
- All other operations will continue as much as necessary to maintain continuity but with staff working remotely. All non-essential activities may be postponed or cancelled. All public events are cancelled for now.
- All assignment deadlines are postponed. According to the University directive students are not expected to submit work according to pre-established deadlines that were communicated prior to March 13th (for example, in course syllabi). Students are free to consult with their instructor(s), discuss amongst themselves, continue to read on their own if they wish. Instructors are welcome to continue to keep office hours virtually.
- As indicated in the University directive, instructors will work closely with their Director, Area, Program, or Course Coordinator to adjust course content and schedules, assignments and assessments as needed to accommodate a compressed schedule, and new course outlines will be communicated to learners no later than March 24th. Instructors also are asked to send updated course syllabi/outlines to the Director of the relevant unit.
- Instructors can rely on our instructional support services, peer mentors, and other resources throughout the faculty, as well as McGill’s TLS, for assistance and guidance during this transition.
- The Winter term will end as planned by April 14th, 2020. It will not be extended. Information regarding next steps, including graduation, will be forthcoming.
- There will be no in-person final examinations for Winter term 2020. We are working closely with our instructors to develop alternative assessment plans and will communicate these alternatives by March 24th.
- All advising and other essential services provided by SCS Client services or other units within the School of Continuing Studies will shift to an online or telephone format. There will be no in-person advising or registration, including for MCLL. Our goal is to maintain continuity of functions and activities as much as possible but to do so remotely.
- During this two-week time frame, unless otherwise notified, all personnel will work remotely to the extent possible. Staff should consult with their supervisors for any questions they might have regarding remote work or requirements for continuity of functions for their particular role and unit. Individuals unable to work from home should communicate with their supervisors to make special arrangements.
- Please note that any instructor or administrative staff member who is feeling ill should take sick leave and/or, as appropriate, contact 1-877-644-4545 if they are concerned about COVID-19 related symptoms and maintain social distance or self-isolate.
- Our international visiting learners are receiving advice from their respective host units.
- If you are a learner and have any questions at all, please reach out to Client Services and we will be sure to relay your questions to the appropriate person: info.conted [at] mcgill.ca /1-514-398-6200. Instructors and administrative staff: please reach out to your immediate supervisors and/or unit heads for any questions you might have.
I have established a small emergency planning task force to assist me with communication flows and planning for our entire School community. This taskforce is meeting daily and includes: Carola Weil, Dean; Sue Laver, Interim Associate Dean, Academics (and Director, MWC); Inna Popova, Director, CPD Non-credit; Gianna Giardino, Manager, Client Services,; Sinikhiwe (Niki) Maphosa, Director of Administration and Finance; Jean-Paul Remillieux, Director, Instructor Services and Educational Technologies, and David Kynan, Acting Director, Marketing.
In addition, the Executive leadership group of the School is communicating regularly to ensure coordination and timely responses across the School. Together we are working to find answers and resolve all questions as they arise as quickly as possible.
Thank you very much for your patience and understanding as we navigate the challenges of the coming days and months. We will post FAQs and provide you with links to additional resources. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to visit mcgill.ca/coronavirus/faqs for more information.
Carola Weil, PhD
Dean of Continuing Studies