To all members of the Faculty of Dentistry, including learners, faculty, and staff,
Firstly, I would like to express how humbled I am by your resilience and dedication during this challenging time. We may all be practicing physical distancing to ensure our well-being and that of our community, yet it is precisely during this time that our dearest friends and colleagues remain at the front of our minds. We are a small community, and this crisis will surely bring us closer together as we all share in this struggle.
Despite the interruption to normalcy this pandemic has caused, we have much to be proud of:
Faculty operations remain fully operational thanks to support staff and their ability to swiftly shift to this new mode of work. Our instructors have successfully transitioning teaching activities to remote learning where possible, and students have demonstrated great resilience in adapting to the circumstances during this challenging time. All the while, the Faculty’s academics, dental residents, and oral health care givers continue to work on the front-line of patient care in McGill affiliated hospitals and are now deploying all the necessary measures to deal with a potential influx of patients with the virus.
Research activities have largely ramped down, yet all of our researchers have been able to continue their work remotely and moreover, an exciting collaborative research has been launched in the Faculty regarding COVID-19 and our profession.
The mandated closure of all dental clinics in Quebec during this period, including the Faculty’s teaching and outreach clinics, is an interruption that has dealt an important blow to both the clinical curriculum for our students, and the oral health needs of many patients served by the Faculty’s Service to the Community program. However, in case of emergencies, all community clinic patients are referred to hospital-based clinics where they can receive expert care during this crisis.
Rest assured, we are regularly meeting with University leadership and regulatory bodies to develop the best strategy for resuming clinical operations in a timely manner that ensures the health and safety of learners, instructors, staff, and patients. We will share more information on the suspension of clinical activities as the situation develops. For now, University campuses remain closed until further notice. The Faculty will maintain remote operational throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Secondly, it is important to recognize the myriad sacrifices made during this time, and the many challenges we face outside the Faculty. This crisis has affected both the dental profession and each of our personal lives in different but no less important ways. Although the Faculty of Dentistry may be small, we are a community that spans the globe—all of us have family, friends, and colleagues around the world, making the necessary measures of physical distancing more difficult in many cases, as well as health-related, financial or travel-related stresses. In addition to the government programs announced over the last few days, please remember that McGill offers these resources:
- Because many students are facing unforeseen expenses due to the pandemic, Principal Suzanne Fortier recently announced the launch of the McGill Student Emergency Support Fund, an emergency bursary to provide McGill students facing emergency expenses with financial support in the here and now. Please visit this page for more information on how to apply for emergency support.
- A helpful FAQ for information on Student Financial Assistance.
- All students have access to Keep.meSAFE, a mental health counselling service offered to students in partnership with SSMU and PGSS, which provides 24/7 access to licensed counsellors through telephone and mobile chat in more than 60 languages. To access this service, download the MySSP app in the Apple App Store or Google Play.
- McGill employees can contact the Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP), which is available 24/7.
For now, I encourage everyone to stay informed on the latest Governmental and University news. The University sends frequent updates to the community by email, which you can consult here, and Christopher Buddle, Associate Provost of Teaching and Academic Programs, regularly shares information and resources with video updates.
In addition, the following resources are available to stay informed:
- All University COVID-19 updates are posted here, together with FAQs and important self-declaration information.
- You can find further information in the Faculty of Dentistry’s COVID-19 FAQ.
- Preliminary resource information for instructors and students from Teaching and Learning Services (TLS) can be found here.
- I also encourage everyone setting up at home to read this article, which provides tips on promoting your musculoskeletal health.
I am grateful to everyone and proud of your outstanding efforts and collaboration—we are all in this together and have already accomplished so much in this short time. Ultimately, I am confident that this crisis will strengthen our resolve towards building a healthier future for all.
Stay safe, healthy and connected. ÇA VA BIEN ALLER!
Elham Emami, PhD
Dean & Professor