Earlier this week, the Government of Quebec announced that Universities would soon be permitted and encouraged to begin implementing additional in-person academic activities for students. This is in light of diminishing rates of COVID-19 in the province, and with a mind to supporting students’ mental wellness and sense of community connection. McGill has since received additional clarity from the Ministry of Higher Education concerning the exact parameters of this implementation.
Starting Monday, February 8, the University will gradually begin offering the Tier-2 in-person academic activities that were previously developed in collaboration with Faculties as part of the Winter semester planning process.
This announcement will cover:
- Scope of Tier-2 academic activities
- Rollout timeline
- Community safety/procedural mask requirements
1. Scope of Tier-2 academic activities
Tier-2 in-person activities are not full courses or compulsory elements of courses—rather, they are optional, in-person activities that complement students' learning, and give those in the Montreal area the opportunity to engage face-to-face with their instructors, TAs and peers. These activities may include tutorials, seminar courses, conference sections, and possibly some laboratory activities or lectures.
It is important to remember that participation in in-person Tier-2 activities is not mandatory. Students can choose whether to be present on campus to participate, and remote alternatives will be available.
Tier-2 activities will vary according to Faculty and program. Students will hear directly from their Faculty and instructors about the opportunities that will be available to them in the weeks ahead. Students will also be notified about other in-person opportunities, such as on-campus spaces for small group work, as these options become available. Study Hubs for individual study will continue to be available.
This gradual implementation of in-person academic activities will involve an increase in on-campus presence of some teaching staff, as well as some staff members in student-facing services. In general, the current working arrangements of other staff will not be impacted.
2. Rollout timeline
The rollout of Tier-2 in-person activities will be gradual, to allow the time necessary to implement and communicate plans. As per the Government directives, some Tier-2 activities will be available as early as Monday, February 8. As with all University planning since the beginning of the pandemic, the Tier-2 rollout will be contingent on the evolving public health situation.
3. Community safety/procedural mask requirements
In order to allow for these increased in-person activities—while continuing to ensure the health and safety of all participants—the government will now require that procedural masks be worn when in any indoor shared space on campus. This directive will also come into effect on Monday, February 8. The University will provide the necessary procedural masks to all students, Faculty, staff and visitors entering our buildings. More information about procedural masks and distribution locations is available here.
Along with these new mask requirements, previous safety measures will continue to be enforced. Our campuses and teaching spaces are set-up in a way that is fully aligned with community safety and wellbeing, and our planning for Tier-2 activities has been done carefully, with full attention to public health directives. The health and safety of our community remains our top priority. During the past months, we have successfully initiated necessary Tier-1 in-person research and teaching activities, and delivery of critical student services. Together, we have shown that through well-considered directives and conscientious individual efforts, we can safely increase activity on our campuses.
Thank you to everyone who collaborated on the extensive Tier-2 planning process. Next week, our community will be able to take advantage of your hard work and careful preparation, as we begin a welcome new chapter in safely expanding our students’ campus learning experience.
If you have any questions about Tier-2 activities that are not answered above, please write to covid-19.info [at] mcgill.ca.