UPDATED COVID-19 | March 23

News

For latest updates see: http://www.mcgill.ca/coronavirus
Published: 13Mar2020

 

Update March 23, 2020

 

Dear members of the McGill community,

As health authorities increase the volume of COVID-19 testing, we are, unfortunately, seeing an increase in the number of cases confirmed in the McGill community and the greater Montreal area—including an outbreak of COVID-19 at The Neuro. It is particularly concerning when the virus reaches vulnerable populations, but The Neuro took swift action to test those who have been exposed. The Direction de la santé publique (DSP) is now contacting others who may have been in contact with the affected individuals. Hospital and institute staff have been asked to severely limit, or halt, activities during the next 48 hours, and access to the facility is being strictly controlled.

It is upsetting when the situation hits close to home and affects people we care about. I share your concern and apprehension, and join with you in supporting those who are affected by the situation.

I assure you that the University closely assists the DSP in its investigation of positive cases. As per the DSP’s contact tracing protocols, they take the responsibility to communicate directly with anyone who could potentially be a contact. I understand the desire for as much information as possible during such disquieting times, but it is important that we respect people’s privacy and privacy laws; therefore, the University cannot divulge personal health information about our students, staff or faculty.

If you have tested positive, are awaiting test results, or are self-isolating, please follow the instructions for submitting a self-declaration form. The form is an important tool for safeguarding the health and safety of our community, and restricting the outbreak in the general population. The form is treated with strict confidentiality.

Here are today’s other developments relating to COVID-19:

Student services

Though our campuses may be physically closed, many McGill resources for students are still available remotely:

  • The Wellness Hub is running programming for students during this challenging time, including a COVID-19 Emotional Support Group and a “Zen in 10” mindfulness meditation. Check their website for full details.
  • Check out the Student Services website for a detailed list of services that continue to operate either online or by phone during this period of campus closure.
  • If you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed due to the circumstances, or if you’d like to address a mental health concern, don’t hesitate to reach out to Keep.meSAFE, a remote mental health counselling service offered in conjunction with SSMU and PGSS. This service allows you to chat with a licensed mental health clinician by phone, video call, or secure mobile chat and can be accessed 24/7 in over 60 languages, regardless of where you are in the world. Get started by downloading the MySSP app for iOS or Android.
  • For students adapting to learning remotely, Teaching and Learning Services has put together a suite of new online resources for students that can help you stay on track during challenging times.

International students

International students who are still in Canada, but wish to return home, should contact their home country consulate to obtain the necessary information and instructions.

Shuttle bus service

Starting Wednesday, March 25, shuttle bus service will be suspended between the downtown and Macdonald campuses. This measure is in accordance with the latest directives from the Quebec government. The community will be notified when service resumes.

Social distancing is hard, especially when we’re feeling stressed or scared or lonely. It is a cruel irony that we need our friends and family now more than ever. Technology can do wonders for breaking the isolation; even something as simple as a phone call can lift the spirits on a difficult day. Although it’s essential that we stay in touch, it is crucial that we respect the government’s ban on in-person gatherings and continue to take key hygiene precautions. As a result, all McGill in-person events, on or off campus, are cancelled until June 5. These measures are the only ways we can “flatten the curve” — and the sooner we do that, the sooner we can get back together.

When you have questions, please check the McGill coronavirus page. We are doing our best to update the page with new information, including daily video updates from my colleague Chris Buddle and other senior administrators. If the webpage FAQ does not answer your questions, please write to COVID-19.info [at] mcgill.ca.

Thank you for reading. I hope you are staying healthy and well.

Sincerely,

Fabrice Labeau

Deputy Provost (Student Life and Learning)

on behalf of the University Emergency Operations Center

 


Update March 22, 2020

Dear members of the McGill community,

I hope you are getting a chance to enjoy the sunshine – while also practicing social distancing, of course. These days, the news can be overwhelming, and it is important that we don’t overlook the sources of our happiness. We all need to take our small pleasures when we can.

Regarding COVID-19, I have some important news to share with you following today’s press conference by the Government of Quebec.

Quebec universities and educational institutions closed until May 1

Earlier today, the Government announced that all educational institutions, including universities, will remain closed until at least May 1. McGill will now extend the reduced level of on-campus activities, which had been originally set for two weeks ending March 30, as we continue to follow government directives. We understand that you may have questions about what this extension means. We are working with the government and other Quebec universities to get further clarity and will communicate as soon as we can, likely within the next few days.

As communicated earlier, all courses that can be taught using remote instruction will be available starting on March 30. There will be no in-person classes and no in-person sit-down examinations for this term; the term will not be extended; students will not be required to be physically on campus for the rest of the Winter 2020 term.

I remind you that the summer semester will proceed through remote instruction, and that McGill is still actively recruiting students from across the world for the Fall semester.

Ban on indoor and outdoor gatherings, with exceptions to maintain necessary functions and activities at work

The Government of Quebec has tightened the rules concerning social distancing. The new government decree bans indoor or outdoor gatherings except in specific circumstances. A gathering is defined as a group of two or more people.

Activities currently approved to be carried out on campus are exempted from this ban at this current time. Employees and students who work on campus with approval are expected to maintain a distance of two metres from other people, as much as they possibly can. We ask supervisors to look at reorganizing workplaces as needed to respect this two-metre social distancing, and to seek guidance from their own supervisors or Chairs where this is not possible.

Residence dining is now take-out only

The Premier also announced today that restaurants must close except for take-out service. All food service locations on campus are closed. Residential dining halls remain open with limited hours of service. Take-out meal service is offered but the seating areas are closed.

Satisfactory / unsatisfactory options

We realize students have many questions related to the S/U options for courses that were announced on Friday and they are eager for more information. We are currently working on implementation plans, and we are also committed to providing students additional academic measures for this term. More information will be coming to students sometime in the coming week, including details from their own Faculties about how these options will apply to individual programs.

While we await further details, we have provided answers to some common questions about the S/U option on the FAQs page of the Coronavirus website.

I know that some people may be getting weary of hearing certain messages repeated frequently. The danger is that we become complacent about the very measures – especially hand washing and social distancing – that are crucial to ensuring our safety.

We should reflect upon the responsibility each one of us has to protect ourselves and the people around us. I know how challenging this new reality is – at every level of our daily lives. But we must remain vigilant and remember that every action we take today may help protect a life tomorrow

For more information, please consult McGill’s coronavirus page. We are doing our best to update it with new information throughout the day. If you have any questions not covered by our FAQs, write to COVID-19.info [at] mcgill.ca.

Please take the time to enjoy the sunshine and to connect with your loved ones.

Fabrice Labeau,
Deputy Provost (Student Life and Learning) on behalf of the University Emergency Operations Center


Update March 21, 2020

Dear members of the McGill community,

Like you, I am closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation and its impact on the world, our country and Quebec. Rest assured, we are working with government officials and health authorities to devise and employ measures that best protect the health of our people while maintaining University operations.

Today, I have information to share that is particularly relevant for McGill students and faculty who may be trying to get back to the University from outside Canada.

For Canadian citizens stranded abroad

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced today that the Government is working with other countries to arrange commercial flights to bring stranded Canadian citizens back home.

If you are a Canadian citizen who is currently stranded abroad, please register with Global Affairs Canada, if you have not already done so. The Government will then be able to reach out to you and inform you of possible flights.

 

Please note:

· The flights are commercial flights, so passengers will be expected to pay for their tickets

· Canadians arriving from abroad will be in isolation for 14 days

· No one exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 will be allowed on one of these flights.

If you are not able to access one of these emergency flights, the Government is offering assistance to citizens through Canadian consulates, as well as a loan of $5,000.

 

If you need to contact the Government, you can do so in the following ways:

Email:

· sos [at] international.gc.ca

· Emergency contact form

Telephone:

· Call the nearest embassy or consulate

· +1 613 996 8885 (call collect where available)

· Toll-free numbers in some countries

Exemptions from travel restrictions

Yesterday, the Government of Canada provided an update on exemptions to travel restrictions put in place to stem the spread of COVID-19.

International students who held a valid study permit or had been approved for a study permit when the travel restrictions took effect on March 18 are now permitted to travel to Canada.

As well, the newly introduced exemption is also applicable to individuals on temporary work permits who may have been stranded abroad.

Please note that study permit applicants who were approved after the travel restriction took effect on March 18, are not exempt from the air travel restrictions and will not be considered ‘essential’ travel at a land border.

The government says it expects to announce the implementation of these exemptions early next week (the week of March 23). You can read the full release on the Government of Canada website.

If you are an international student or an individual on a temporary work permit who is trying to get back to McGill, please do not try to travel to Canada immediately. The government advises that you should wait until early next week.

Student Services
Now that McGill is moving into long term planning for remote instruction, Student Services will look to expand its virtual services accordingly. It will take time to understand what is needed and how to implement services for students in this new way, but please be assured that this is our priority.

For more information, please consult McGill’s coronavirus page. We are doing our best to update it with new information throughout the day. If you have any questions not covered by our FAQs, write to COVID-19.info [at] mcgill.ca.

As always, I encourage you to keep yourself and your loved ones safe by washing your hands thoroughly and frequently, and by practicing social distancing. Please remember, however, that while we need to avoid unessential physical contact with others, we also need to connect with one another more than ever. Use social media, electronic devices – even your old landline – to reach out to friends and family during these difficult times.

Thank you for your continued patience and dedication. Stay safe.

 

Fabrice Labeau

Deputy Provost (Student Life and Learning)

on behalf of the University Emergency Operations Center


Update March 20, 2020

Dear members of the McGill community,  

As the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve, our main concern remains the health and well-being of our community, on and off campus. We are taking decisive, informed action to limit the spread of the virus while ensuring the continuity of University functions. Thanks to you and your efforts, the University remains operational.  

One of the most important tools we have at our disposal is communication. In the early days of this crisis, when the situation was extremely fluid, myself and others updated the McGill community every day, sometimes twice a day. As the situation stabilizes these updates may lessen in frequency. Rest assured that we will keep you informed of every significant development. 

Below please find the most recent updates of operational matters of concern to members of our community. 

Employees with a weakened immune system, a chronic condition or aged 70 years or older 

Public health authorities recognize that the COVID-19 virus presents a higher risk to those with a weakened immune system, a chronic condition (such as diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, etc.) or aged 70 years or older. 

Hence, we are requesting these employees to complete the Self-assessment form available in the Employee menu of Minerva following which they will be contacted to document their situation.

Supervisors who are made aware that an employee falls into one of these three categories, must request that the employee complete the Self-assessment form in Minerva, and remain at home until the health risk diminishes according to public health authorities. When feasible, the employee will be asked to work remotely.

Facilities Management and Ancillary Service (FMAS) 

FMAS will continue to provide infrastructure services and support for approved research and activities on campus, and to help them do so we ask that researchers/Investigators fill out the following questionnaire.

Student travel, student intake 

In keeping with government directives, McGill has suspended all student travel outside Canada for internships, student exchanges, international mobility programs, competitions or conferences. All international outbound student travel for academic activities scheduled for Summer 2020 is cancelled, and McGill will not be accepting any new incoming international students for exchange or study abroad activities until further notice. 

Summer and Fall semesters  

As I mentioned in yesterday’s communiqué, the summer semester will go ahead through remote instruction. We are still actively recruiting students from across the world for the Fall semester, and are confident that we can deliver high-quality learning.

Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory option  

Because of the exceptional circumstances, the normal protocol for the Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) option is suspended for Programs and courses which are not already graded on a Pass-Fail basis.

For this term, all students, whether undergraduate or graduate, may exercise the S/U option for their courses, provided that doing so would not run counter to any requirements, timelines, or policies set by their respective programs of study or external accreditation bodies.

Courses for which the S/U option is exercised will not be calculated in a student’s GPA but will contribute to credits completed. Courses for which the S/U option is exercised this term may count toward a student’s major or minor requirements, and courses for which the S/U option is exercised this term will not count toward the maximum number of credits that a student may designate as S/U (i.e., up to 10 per cent of total degree credits).

The date by which students may exercise the S/U option is May 22, 2020, reflecting that students’ grades are known by this time. The deadline for selecting a Withdrawal from a course in Minerva has been extended to April 15, 2020 (effective Monday March 23). This will result in a student receiving a notation of “W” on their transcript for the course in question, which means it is excluded from any GPA calculation or to credits completed.

Working remotely, cybersecurity 

As most people are working from home, we want to remind you to consult IT’s guidelines for remote work, as new information has been added to help ease your working remotely transition. 

We also ask you to take security precautions as described in the Working Remotely Checklist. During volatile periods such as this, cyber attackers will try to exploit the situation by manipulating users through phishing email attacks. We encourage you to monitor the McGill IT Security Alerts, as they are updated regularly. Please exercise caution with all emails; take the time to read our tips on how to spot malicious emails, and how to report them. 

Virtual Private Network 

As so many people are working or studying from home, some services such as McGill’s Virtual Private Network (VPN) have been quite busy and occasionally unavailable. IT has been working hard to resolve the issue and the VPN is more stable. If you would like to check the status of IT services, please consult the System Status page on the IT Services site. 

For more information, please consult McGill’s coronavirus page. We are doing our best to update it with new information throughout the day. If you have any questions not covered by our FAQs, write to COVID-19.info [at] mcgill.ca

Thank you again for your partnership, your courage, and your support as we face this challenge together. I wish you continued strength in your work and studies, and good health for you and your loved ones. 

Fabrice Labeau 
Deputy Provost (Student Life and Learning) 
on behalf of the University Emergency Operations Center 


Update March 19, 2020

Dear members of the McGill community,

The measures we are taking to fight the spread of the COVID-19 virus are having an impact on virtually all our activities across McGill. I feel that we are making good progress, though I know many questions and issues remain. We are doing our best to resolve outstanding problems, and I ask for your patience and understanding given the complexity of the challenge.

Please find the latest updates and developments below.

Travel restrictions

Earlier today, Premier François Legault asked Quebecers to avoid unnecessary travel between regions in the province in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. In a separate news conference, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he expects new restrictions on non-essential travel at the Canada-U.S. border to take effect Friday night.

We are seeing increasing limitations being placed on non-essential travel. We cannot predict what restrictions may arise in the future and how long they may last, even within Canada. Therefore, we strongly encourage students, even those who live within Canada, to seriously consider returning home if you are able to do so and if you feel it is safe.

Students will not be required to be physically on campus for the rest of the Winter 2020 term; this means that there will be no in-person classes and no in-person sit-down examinations for this term. It has also been confirmed that the term will not be extended.

As a reminder, staff should cancel all University-related travel if they have not already done so.

Summer and Fall semesters

Looking to the future, we are trying to adapt all our activities to our new reality. We can confirm that the summer semester will go ahead through remote instruction. We are still actively recruiting students from across the world for the Fall semester, and are confident that we can deliver high-quality learning, whether remotely or in person.

Student accounts

In order to lessen the stress and anxiety as a result of the unfolding challenges of COVID-19, interest and late payment fines on outstanding student accounts will be waived until further notice. Similarly, the fee assessment for the Summer term will be deferred until further notice.

Reporting possible exposure to COVID-19 and self-isolation

We wanted to clarify the process for supervisors in terms of reporting possible exposure. If one of your team members reports to you that they are required to self-isolate, are awaiting test results, or have tested positive, please ensure they fill out the self-declaration form for staff available on the COVID-19 website.

One of the keys to minimizing the spread of COVID-19 is documenting and tracking people who become ill or who have come into contact with the virus. This important tool will safeguard the health and safety of employees and restrict the outbreak in the McGill community and the general population.

It is important that people who are ill, have been exposed to COVID-19 or are awaiting test results self-isolate immediately as per the government of Quebec’s guidelines for home isolation.

Call for personal protective equipment

Yesterday afternoon, the Quebec government issued a call to local universities for spare personal protective equipment to help protect health workers on the COVID-19 frontlines. The equipment includes masks (surgical or N95), gloves and visors. The request was disseminated among the heads of relevant faculties and units who, in turn, forwarded it to individual PIs.

If you would like to contribute unused protective equipment and have not received direction from your faculty or department, you can find instructions here.

Once again, I want to thank you for your efforts individually, as teams and as part of the McGill collective. We are facing a great challenge, made even more difficult because many of us are now working in less than ideal situations.

But, thanks to your perseverance, we are moving forward.

For more information, please consult McGill’s coronavirus page. We are doing our best to update it with new information throughout the day. If you have any questions not covered by our FAQs, write to COVID-19.info [at] mcgill.ca.

Fabrice Labeau
Deputy Provost (Student Life and Learning)
on behalf of the University Emergency Operations Center

For more info: www.mcgill.ca/coronavirus


Update March 18, 2020

Dear members of the McGill community,  

I am writing to share the most current information regarding the measures McGill is taking to help combat COVID-19, minimize the impact to our community and maintain our operations. I am really encouraged by the incredible efforts I am seeing every day as we work through this challenging situation.   

Remote instruction 

Academic Planning for remote instruction and remote course delivery is proceeding well, and Faculty Deans, Chairs/Directors and instructors are now in full planning phase to ensure their courses are adjusted for remote instruction. More information will come as it is available. 

Out-of-town students 

Some out-of-town students have been asking if there is any need for them to remain, or whether they should go home. There will be no in-person classes and no in-person sit-down examinations for this term. It has also been confirmed that the term will not be extended. As such, students will not be required to be physically on campus for the rest of the Winter 2020 term. 

If you cannot return home at this time, please know that your health and wellbeing is at the top of our minds. Students in residence who have any questions and individual considerations, please contact  housing.residences [at] mcgill.ca  

IT Services 

As so many people are working or studying from home, some services such as McGill’s Virtual Private Network (VPN) or WebEx have been quite busy and occasionally unavailable. IT is aware of the problem and is working hard to resolve the issue. If you would like to check the status of IT services, please consult the System Status page on the IT Services site. 

Mail delivery 

The downtown Mailroom is receiving and sorting mail daily. Delivery, however, is now by request only. If your unit is present on campus and wishes to continue to receive mail delivery, please contact info.mailservice [at] mcgill.ca. Otherwise, all mail received during the suspension period will be held and delivered when normal activity resumes. 

Health and social distancing 

I would like to remind everyone again that in order for the measures to stop the virus that we are collectively taking to be effective, we must all commit to following them. Please continue to practice proper  health precautions, including washing your hands often and covering your mouth and nose with your arm when coughing or sneezing.   

I know that at a time like this we all want to be close to our friends and loved ones. However, I would ask you to connect with and support each other while at the same time practicing social distancing. This means limiting close contact with people and especially avoiding crowds. This practice helps reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading within the community, thereby protecting our most vulnerable members. 

Should you develop a fever, cough or begin to have difficulty breathing, you should:   

  • isolate yourself from others as quickly as possible   
  • immediately call the Quebec Government’s Coronavirus line at 1-877-644-4545   
  • describe your symptoms and travel history   
  • follow the instructions of the health care professional carefully  

As a reminder, we have developed a self-declaration form to document illness or possible exposure to COVID-19. Employees in such situations must fill out the form. Further instructions can be found on the McGill coronavirus website.  

We continue to do our best to post the most recent updates on coronavirus page of the McGill website. If you have any questions that cannot be answered by our FAQs, please write to COVID-19.info [at] mcgill.ca

I understand that some people are feeling uncertain because the situation is changing so rapidly. I feel it too. I am doing everything possible to protect myself and the people around me, and I hope you are too. Please take care of yourselves and your loved ones.  

Fabrice Labeau 
Deputy Provost (Student Life & Learning) 
on behalf of the Emergency Operations Centre 

For more info: www.mcgill.ca/coronavirus


Update March 17, 2020

Dear members of the McGill community,

These are challenging times for all of us, especially those members of our community whose family and friends are most affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. 

I would like to thank our faculty for their hard work in transitioning classes to be delivered remotely, as well as our principal investigators who have begun the delicate process of ramping down their research projects. Thank you to staff for adjusting to remote working, and to those who are maintaining necessary functions on our campuses. And thank you to our students for the patience and understanding they have shown in the face of the unprecedented uncertainty that has interrupted their studies. I am grateful for your commitment to McGill and the broader community as we adapt to these uncertain times.

The priority of McGill leadership remains keeping our community healthy and, in so doing, helping to minimize the spread of COVID-19, while maintaining necessary operations. 

We have been preparing for this for over a month, monitoring coronavirus developments around the world, in Canada and Quebec, and developing strategies to address the situation as it evolves. Our planning has been guided by the recommendations and directives of government public health authorities, and, in every step along the way, we have put the health and safety of the McGill community first. I am writing to recap some important information and to share some new updates.

As you know, McGill has suspended all classes for the next two weeks and employees are encouraged to work from home whenever they can. The University is committed to helping contain the propagation of COVID-19 by “flattening the curve.”  To promote social distancing, we are implementing measures to have fewer individuals on, or commuting to, our campuses, while maintaining necessary functions and activities.

We are dedicated to ensuring that all courses that can be taught online will be in an online format starting on March 30. Additionally, there will be no in-person sit-down examinations for the Winter 2020 term. I know that preparing for these adjustments is a major undertaking and I greatly appreciate the professionalism and determination of everyone involved in making this happen – especially under such trying circumstances. 

Here are the most recent updates on McGill’s operations:

Deliveries of services or goods

Staff who are expecting deliveries during the suspension period should reach out to their suppliers to coordinate deliveries. If you are not on campus, please cancel the delivery or arrange to have the goods delivered to an alternate location. Staff who are authorized to be on campus to provide necessary functions will need to ensure that they are present to receive deliveries of services or goods. Security agents are not authorized to accept deliveries. 

Building access

Members of the community may need to access buildings, in order to carry out necessary functions, pick up necessary equipment to work from home, and ramp down research activities. If you are normally able to get into your building during weekends and after hours, you will be able to access it during the suspension period. If you cannot normally access your building after hours, you should contact the Area Access Manager (AAM) for your unit. A list of AAMs can be found here. If your AAM is not available or cannot grant you access, please contact Physical Security Systems at systems.security [at] mcgill.ca or at 514-398-4562. Make sure to have your McGill ID card with you at all times.

Upon leaving your respective areas, we ask that you take a moment to check that:

  • The windows are closed and doors are locked
  • You have all your belongings
  • Any necessary equipment and appliances are turned off or unplugged – for example, space heaters should be unplugged, but refrigerators should remain operational
  • Any remaining valuables are locked away

Casual administrative staff  

All academic and administrative staff, including casual and work-study employees who were scheduled to work over the two-week suspension period, will be paid. Casual and work-study employees, please consult theinstructions on the McGill coronavirus FAQs.

Parking

McGill has decided that employees who are required on site in order to perform their work will be offered free parking throughout the COVID-19 suspension period. Please consult the instructions on the McGill coronavirus FAQ page to request temporary parking. 

Hazardous Waste Management

To try to keep staff on campus at a minimum, Hazardous Waste Management (HWM) will not pick up biomedical waste and chemicals directly from laboratories. As research personnel are working to ramp down research on campus, they should put these materials into the waste room, where HWM will collect them.

Reporting possible exposure to COVID-19

We have developed a self-declaration form to document illness or possible exposure to COVID-19. Employees in such situations must fill out the form. Further instructions are available on the McGill coronavirus website.  

Support

Professional counselling and advice for a range of issues are available for staff through the Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP).  If you need to talk to someone, I encourage you to make use of the program.

For students, Keep.meSAFE, a mental health counselling service offered to students in partnership with SSMU and PGSS, 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. 

For more information, please consult McGill’s coronavirus page. We are doing our best to update it with new information throughout the day. If you have any questions not covered by our FAQs, write to COVID-19.info [at] mcgill.ca.

In closing, I would like to thank you all once again for your dedication to McGill and to each other. When I think back to what life was like just two weeks ago, I am amazed at how quickly and profoundly it has changed. I am sure you all feel the same. Please take care of yourself and provide whatever support you can to your colleagues and fellow students.

Fabrice Labeau
Deputy Provost (Student Life & Learning)
on behalf of the Emergency Operations Centre

For more info: www.mcgill.ca/coronavirus


Update March 16, 2020

Dear members of the McGill community, 

As we learned in today’s press conferences by both the federal and provincial governments, our leaders are adopting more stringent measures in order to minimize the spread of the COVID-19 virus, including closing the Canadian border to most foreign nationals. 

McGill understands the need to support these efforts by adapting to the ever-evolving situation in a quick and decisive manner. The University fully supports the government’s decisions and is committed to helping contain the propagation of COVID-19 by “flattening the curve.”  To promote social distancing, we are implementing measures to have fewer individuals on, or commuting to, our campuses, while maintaining necessary functions and activities.

As we are finalizing our preparation for the continued operation of the University, we have some important developments to share with you.

At this time, we can confirm that there will be no traditional in-person sit-down examinations for the Winter 2020 term. As well, the term will not be extended.

We are currently in the process of making arrangements in relation to the final exam period that will best ensure the health and safety of the University community while aiming to minimize the impact of any adjustments on pedagogical outcomes. We will communicate further about this in the coming days. We are exploring alternatives such as online take-home exams.

As we have stated in previous communiqués, all classes (in-person  and online), teaching labs, exams, assignments and other forms of assessment are suspended for two weeks – except thesis defenses.  Instructors may hold some open office hours/Q&A sessions online, but have been asked not to impart new materials/assignments during such communications.

We are committed to ensuring that all courses that can be taught online will be in an online format starting on March 30. By next week, instructors will contact students about how teaching will resume after the suspension period, and any possible adjustments to modes of assessment.  

Equally important, the federal government announced important travel restrictions. Foreign nationals, except American citizens, with work and study permits who are presently abroad will not be allowed re-entry into the country after March 18. Members of the McGill community currently abroad who are foreign nationals, and who wish to return to Canada, are urged to make travel arrangements immediately.

Please see the  coronavirus page  of the McGill website for the most current information.     

If you have any questions, write to  COVID-19.info [at] mcgill.ca.     


Update March 15, 2020

 Dear members of the McGill community,    

We are writing to share some details about what the next two weeks will look like for McGill students, faculty and staff as the University follows the  Quebec government’s  decision to temporarily close  all schools and universities.  It is important to note that the situation is extremely  fluid  and this two-week closure may be extended; thank you for your understanding as we navigate these uncertain times together.   

 The University fully supports the Quebec government’s decision and is committed to helping contain the propagation of COVID-19 by “flattening the curve,”  so that health services do not collapse under the resulting patient load. To promote social distancing, we are implementing measures to have fewer individuals on, or commuting to, our campuses. 

  We understand that this situation can be extremely stressful, both in people’s personal lives and in their academic and professional careers. While we  can’t  completely assuage this anxiety, we hope that providing clear communication regarding McGill’s operation in the coming weeks will help clarify the situation.   

     Teaching and assessments  
While academic activities lie at the core of McGill’s mission, they are being suspended  in light of  the government directive.  All classes (in-person  and  online), teaching labs, exams, assignments and other forms of assessment are suspended for two weeks – except thesis defenses.  Students with thesis defenses  are asked  to contact their supervisors to discuss possible alternatives.  Some  limited online instruction will proceed with critical disciplines in the Faculty of Medicine.

 Be assured that we are committed to ensuring that all courses that  can be taught  online will be in an online format  starting on  March 30. The goal is to ensure that as many students as possible are able to  complete most, if not all, of their academic term remotely. Alternative formats for final examinations  are also being explored  so that the examination period will not involve in-person sit-down examinations on our campuses. We recognize that this will not work for some courses and programs, and for some students, and we are therefore evaluating alternatives for these situations.

 During the next two weeks, instructors will contact students about how teaching will resume after the suspension period, and any possible adjustments to modes of assessment.  

  Research  
We realize that a ramp down of on-campus research may represent significant hardship for those involved in certain research projects that are in progress. Unfortunately, due to the current crisis and the importance of preserving the health and safety of our community, the  government's  and McGill's default position is that all non-essential research activities on campus must be postponed or halted in the short term. Ultimately, we must accept that the current COVID-19 situation is a unique emergency that requires exceptional measures that will inevitably have important impacts on everyone's work. McGill is in communication with funding agencies to address the resulting issues. 

Faculty deans will shortly send out detailed steps to take as well as the process that allows you to request an extension or exemption from the ramp-down.

Graduate Students who have questions related to the continuation of their research activities in this context should contact their Graduate Program Directors and/or the Associate Deans at  Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.   

Workplace  
As per clarifications from the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, McGill will remain operational for the duration of the two-week suspension, beginning on Tuesday, March 17, but only necessary functions and activities  will be provided on campus.  

  Unless otherwise notified, employees are to work remotely whenever possible for the duration of the two-week suspension period. Supervisors will contact employees to determine which functions will be maintained over this period, who is to perform their duties, and how. We ask everyone to adjust tasks, set priorities, and redistribute work as they are able.  

  •   Employees are asked to consult  IT’s  guidelines for remote work at  www.mcgill.ca/it/work-remotely, where guidance is provided under “Meeting & Collaborating Remotely.”   
  •   Academic and support staff are asked to use the following tools:  
  • Zoom will soon be available to all instructors for teaching and learning activities   
  • MS Teams is currently available to all employees for all collaborative work (web conferencing, chat, etc.)   
  • WebEx will soon be available to employees for all Web conferencing needs.    It  has been decided  not to use Skype as the product is nearing end of life. 

All academic and administrative staff, including casual  and  work-study  employees who were scheduled to work over the two-week suspension period, will be paid.

Health  
Once again, we strongly encourage people to continue practicing proper health precautions, including washing their hands often and covering their mouth and nose with their arm when coughing or sneezing.   

 Should you develop a fever, cough or begin to have difficulty breathing, you should:  

  • isolate yourself from others as quickly as possible  
  • immediately call 1-877-644-4545  
  • describe your symptoms and travel history  
  • follow their instructions carefully 

If you have decided or been advised  to self-isolate:  

  • All students: report your situation to your student affairs office or your department.  
  • Students living in residence: report your status by contacting Student Housing and Hospitality Services at housing.residences [at] mcgill.ca. Self-reporting will ensure that assistance is provided  to you and services are maintained.   
  • Employees: report your status by contacting your immediate supervisor.  

Note: Rest assured that this information will be treated confidentially. 
  
Student Services will remain in operation but by phone and online. The Wellness Hub  will be closed over the coming week and will move to online operations. 
   
Students will continue to have access to a number of health services. Students have virtual access to doctors via the  Maple app. Moreover,  Keep.meSAFE, a mental health counselling service offered to students in partnership with SSMU and PGSS, 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. 
  
  Libraries
All McGill libraries are closed until March 30. Online library services will still be available during this period.  Please note the following:

The Library is offering a retrieval service for research print materials from downtown libraries. Only items that can normally circulate can be requested via a form that will be accessible on the Library’s homepage and FAQ page.   Materials from Macdonald Campus Library are not available  at this time.   Physical items placed on course reserves will not be available at this time.   Reference services will be moving online for the next two weeks: Chat, email or text a librarian  from Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. starting Monday, March 16.   A link to a FAQ page outlining the Library’s contingency plan will be available on the Library’s homepage on Monday, March 16.   

Services 
All McGill Athletics & Recreation facilities are closed until March 30.   
Food services will remain open with regular hours of service in all residential dining halls (except Douglas Hall), Starbucks, Premiere  Moisson  and  Twiggs at Macdonald campus. All other food service locations on campus  will be closed.  
McGill’s shuttle service between the downtown and Macdonald campuses will operate on the same  reduced schedule  as per reading week.

The  University  will  continue to update the  community  as the situation develops and following further government instructions. 

Please see the  coronavirus page  of the McGill website for the most current information.     

If you have any questions, write to  COVID-19.info [at] mcgill.ca.     

Christopher Manfredi, Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) 
Yves Beauchamp, Vice-Principal (Administration and Finance)  


Update March 14, 2020

To clarify how McGill will be affected by the Quebec government’s Friday, March 13 announcement that all schools and universities will close for the next two weeks.

We are committed to helping our community in containing the propagation of COVID-19. In this context, we are working to promote social distancing to reduce the number of individuals who are physically present on our campuses or using public transport to come to our campuses.

All classes, teaching labs, exams and other assessments are suspended for two weeks – except theses defenses. We will continue to work on resuming most teaching and other academic activities online by the end of this two-week period. Instructors will be in touch with students during this period to prepare for resuming academic activities.

As per clarifications from the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, McGill will remain operational during the two weeks, but only necessary functions and activities will be provided on campus. Where possible, employees will be expected to work remotely, unless otherwise notified. Supervisors will reach out to employees with instructions and next steps. IT’s guidelines for remote work can be found at www.mcgill.ca/it/work-remotely. All academic and administrative staff, including casual employees who were scheduled to work over the period, will be paid.

Food services in residences will remain open. Some food services on campus will be closed, while others will remain open but with reduced hours.

Research activities that can be carried out off-campus (not including field work research) will continue; all non-essential on-campus research activities should ramp down, with exceptions as authorized by Deans. Research involving in-person interaction with human subjects should be discontinued or postponed with the exception of certain hospital-based work as per hospital rules.

McGill’s shuttle service will operate on the same reduced schedule as per reading week.

Student Services will remain in operation but by phone and online. The Wellness Hub will be closed over the coming week, and will move to online operations.

Students continue to have access to a number of health services. Students have virtual access to doctors via the Maple app. Keep.meSAFE, a mental health counselling service offered to students in partnership with SSMU and PGSS, 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.

All McGill libraries and athletics facilities are closed until March 30. Online library services will still be available during this period, and requests for library research materials will be accommodated as much as possible. 

Given the Government of Canada’s advisory to avoid non-essential travel outside Canada, all McGill-related outbound international travel is prohibited. All personal international travel is strongly discouraged. Please use careful judgement when considering personal travel; restrictions imposed by other countries could delay your return to Canada. In response to the government travel advisory, McGill is recalling all students currently abroad, regardless of region. The University is asking returning students to determine and adhere to steps for re-entry and self-isolation, whether they are returning to Canada or another country, including any travel restrictions and health recommendations. Students currently abroad will receive more details soon, including information about academic accommodations.

McGill will make every effort to ensure that students complete the term as planned. The situation continues to evolve and is stressful for many people. I thank you for your understanding. I appreciate the perseverance of the community as we work through this situation in coordination with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education and Higher Education.

The University will continue to update the community as the situation develops and following further government instructions.

Please see the coronavirus page of the McGill website for the most current information.

If you have any questions, write to COVID-19.info [at] mcgill.ca.


Update March 13, 2020

Following the directive issued yesterday by the Quebec government and the director of public health, all student travel outside Canada for internships, student exchanges, international mobility programs, competitions or conferences is suspended until further notice.

Additionally, effective March 12, all education institutions are required to suspend intake of new international students until further notice.

More information to follow as the Quebec government is expected to provide further directives.

Please check the McGill coronavirus webpage for updates.

If you have questions, please write to COVID-19.info [at] mcgill.ca.


Update March 12, 2020

In order to evaluate how today’s coronavirus (COVID-19) announcement from the Quebec government will impact campus operations and academic activities, the University is suspending classes and exams on Friday, March 13. The University is also cancelling all on-campus events likely to attract more than 250 participants, effective now through to Sunday, March 15.

Other University operations are expected to be carried out normally on Friday, March 13. Employees should work from home if any of the following apply to them:

  • they are currently experiencing cold or flu-like symptoms, regardless of their travel history
  • they returned from travels abroad on March 12 or later
  • their supervisors consider that they can perform their duties from home

In order to facilitate planning, Associate Deans, Academic Chairs and Directors, as well as Associate Director-level staff and higher are asked to be reachable over the weekend.

More information to follow by Sunday.

Please check the McGill coronavirus webpage for updates.

If you have questions, please write to COVID-19.info [at] mcgill.ca.


Update: March 11, 2020

Dear members of the McGill community,

Today the World Health Organization classified the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak as a pandemic. In light of this development, I would like to assure you of our ongoing commitment to the well-being of our students, faculty and staff. 

The University continues to diligently monitor the evolving situation. Working from the recommendations of Canadian public health authorities, members of McGill’s senior administration have been meeting daily and proactively developing plans to prioritize the health and safety of the community, as well as to ensure the successful continuity of our academic mission.

Public health authorities are not currently recommending the cancellation of classes or other gatherings. As part of the University’s extensive ongoing preparedness measures, the Academic Planning Group is examining distance-learning options and alternate modes for teaching and exams. We have also taken measures to simplify academic accommodations for students who are asked to self-isolate by health authorities. As for events, it is recommended that event planners conduct a risk assessment. The Public Health Agency of Canada has published guidelines to help inform such decision-making. 

Addressing concerns relating to international travel continues to be a priority. Over the past several days, the University has recalled McGill students from China, the Daegu and Cheongdo regions of South Korea, and more recently from Italy. In addition, all McGill faculty and students in the health care fields are following travel restrictions established by the Quebec Ministry of Health and Social Services. My office continues to be in regular communication with McGill students who are currently abroad. I remind all members of the community who are considering international travel, or have recently returned from international travel, to consult the University’s coronavirus webpage.

If you have questions, please write to COVID-19.info [at] mcgill.ca.

Fabrice Labeau
Deputy Provost (Student Life & Learning)

 


Update: March 9, 2020

Dear members of the McGill community,

Please take note of the most recent travel advice from the Public Health Agency of Canada.

The Public Health Agency of Canada indicates that while the risk to Canadian travellers abroad is generally low, it will vary depending on the destination. 

More specifically, if you have travelled to Hubei province, China, Iran ornorthern Italy – which includes the regions of Aosta Valley, Piedmont, Liguria, Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna, Veneto, Friuli-Venezia Giulia and Trentino-Alto Adige – in the last 14 days, limit your contact with others for a total of 14 days, starting the day you began your journey to Canada.

This means self-isolate and stay at home. In addition, contact 811 (Info-Santé) within 24 hours of arriving in Canada.

The University’s coronavirus webpage remains the most up-to-date source of information for our community.

Inquiries should be directed to the COVID-19.info [at] mcgill.ca email address.

Fabrice Labeau
Deputy Provost (Student Life & Learning)


Update: March 6, 2020

Dear members of the McGill community,

With reading week coming to an end, health authorities are still very clear that the risk of a coronavirus outbreak in Canada is low. We strongly encourage you to continue practicing proper health precautions, including washing your hands often and covering your mouth and nose with your arm when coughing or sneezing.

As many of you are returning from travelling abroad, the Public Health Agency of Canada recommends that if, upon your arrival to Canada, you develop a fever, cough or begin to have difficulty breathing within 14 days, you:

  • isolate yourself from others as quickly as possible
  • immediately call a healthcare professional or 811 (Info-Santé)
  • describe your symptoms and travel history
  • follow their instructions carefully

If you have been travelling from China’s Hubei province or from Iran, the Public Health Agency of Canada asks that, for 14 days starting the day you began your journey to Canada, you self-isolate by:

  • limiting contact with others, including visitors
  • avoiding contact with older adults and individuals with chronic conditions or compromised immune systems
  • watching for fever, cough or difficulty breathing

In addition, you are also asked to call 811 (Info-Santé) within 24 hours of arriving in Canada to describe your symptoms and document your travel history.

If you are a student and have been advised to self-isolate by a healthcare professional, please report your situation to your student affairs office or your department.

If you are a student living in residence and have been advised to self-isolate by a healthcare professional, it is important that you self-report your status by contacting Student Housing and Hospitality Services at housing.residences [at] mcgill.ca. Self-reporting will ensure that assistance is provided to you and services are maintained. 

If you are an employee and have been advised to self-isolate by a healthcare professional, it is important you self-report your status by contacting your immediate supervisor.

Whether you have been travelling or not, members of the McGill community who have flu-like symptoms should call 811 (Info-Santé) instead of going in-person to the Wellness Hub or a medical clinic. Info-Santé is a free and confidential telephone consultation service available to all. Based on your symptoms and travel history, Info-Santé will advise you on the best course of action.  

Moreover, international students covered by Blue Cross have virtual access to doctors via the Maple app (getmaple.com). Fees are reimbursed by your health care plan within 72 hours. Students with other health insurance plans may also use this service, however it is not currently covered by other insurers.

We take the safety and security of our community very seriously. So far, we've taken the following steps to ensure the continuation of normal on-campus activities:

Working groups from across the University have been convened to coordinate action as new information emerges.

Posters have been placed around our campuses advising people on tips to avoid viral illnesses and transmission of viruses.

Hand sanitizer stations are being deployed around our campuses.


The University’s coronavirus webpage remains the most up-to-date source of information for our community.

Inquiries should be directed to the COVID-19.info [at] mcgill.ca email address.

Fabrice Labeau
Deputy Provost (Student Life & Learning)


Update: Feb. 28, 2020

Dear members of the McGill community,

As you may have heard, health authorities announced yesterday a presumptive case of COVID-19 in the Montreal area. It is a case of a person who recently returned from travel abroad.

Despite this, health authorities are still very clear that the risk in Canada is low, and they are not recommending any additional measures to be taken by the general public. Frequent and thorough handwashing, as well as observing appropriate cough etiquette, are still the appropriate behaviours.

Members of the McGill community who have flu-like symptoms should call 811 (Info-Santé) instead of showing up in-person to a medical clinic.

Students who have flu-like symptoms should call 811 (Info-Santé) instead of showing up in-person at the Wellness Hub or a medical clinic.

Based on personal history, Info-Santé will advise on the best course of action.  

We take the safety and security of our community very seriously. The following steps have been taken so far:

We have convened working groups from across the University to coordinate action as new information emerges.

Posters have been placed around our campuses advising students on tips to avoid viral illnesses and transmission of viruses.

Hand sanitizer stations are being deployed around our campuses.

The University’s coronavirus webpage remains the most up-to-date source of information for our community.

Inquiries should be directed to the COVID-19.info [at] mcgill.ca email address.

Fabrice Labeau
Deputy Provost (Student Life & Learning)


Update: Feb. 27, 2020

Dear members of the McGill community:

Although the novel coronavirus outbreak is accelerating in many parts of the world, the situation remains unchanged in Canada.  According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, overall risk remains low for Canadians. Currently, no case of the novel coronavirus has been reported in Québec.

The risk to international travellers is generally low, but varies depending on destination. If you are planning on travelling during the March break, or in the near future, please consult the Government of Canada’s latest travel advisories. Before leaving for university-related travel, please read McGill’s pre-travel emergency preparedness checklist.

If you do travel, it is important to monitor your health when you return to Canada. Please consult McGill’s coronavirus page for the latest updates. 

Regardless of travel plans, everyone is reminded to practice health precautions to further reduce risk of coronavirus transmission:

  • Wash your hands often with soap under warm running water for at least 20 seconds;
  • Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available;
  • When coughing or sneezing, cover your mouth and nose with your arm to reduce the spread of germs;
  • If you use a tissue, dispose of it as soon as possible and wash your hands afterwards.

McGill University continues to carefully monitor the outbreak. A group of senior administrators is actively engaged in supporting our community members’ well-being through proactive planning and preparation as this situation evolves.

Fabrice Labeau
Deputy Provost (Student Life & Learning)


Dear members of the McGill community,

You may already be aware of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), which originated in Wuhan, China. Currently, the Public Health Agency of Canada has assessed the public health risk to be low for Canada and Canadian travellers; however, it is always wise to practice health precautions to reduce your risk further:

·         Wash your hands often with soap under warm running water for at least 20 seconds;

·         Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available;

·         When coughing or sneezing, cover your mouth and nose with your arm to reduce the spread of germs;

·         If you use a tissue, dispose of it as soon as possible and wash your hands afterwards.

As a precaution, McGill students, staff and faculty who have flu symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) and have travelled to or from China in the past 21 days should inform their health care providers.

If more information pertinent to the McGill community becomes available, it will be posted on the Student Wellness Hub website. The Public Health Agency of Canada is also continuously monitoring and reassessing the public health risk—please check their website frequently for the most up-to-date information.

For McGill community members travelling abroad:

If you are currently in China or nearby regions, please review the Government of Canada’s recommendations for travellers, which include taking special health precautions and avoiding non-essential travel to Hubei Province.

Other measures you can take include:

·         Registering your travels with the Government of Canada’sRegistration of Canadians Abroad, or your home country’s equivalent; and

·         Noting the location and contact details for Canadian embassies and consulates, or your home country’s equivalents, in your host country.

If you need to contact McGill in an emergency or crisis while abroad, callMcGill Security Services at +1-514-398-3000, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. For other emergency assistance while abroad, visit theGovernment of Canada webpage on requesting emergency consular assistance.

Sincerely,

Fabrice Labeau
Deputy Provost (Student Life and Learning)

 

 

 

 

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