Dear members of the McGill community,

Our campuses usually become much quieter during summer but, of course, there is nothing “usual” about the year we are having. Indeed, even though the vast majority of us will continue to work remotely for the foreseeable future, our campuses are becoming increasingly livelier, relatively speaking. Here are this week’s updates on progress and developments relating to McGill’s continued operations during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Research ramp-up Phase 2

We are nearing the end of the second week of Phase 2 of the gradual resumption of select on-campus research activities, and I’m pleased to report that those activities are progressing well.

Phase 2 continues to be deployed under a strictly controlled environment, following public health authority directives, to ensure our community’s health and safety. Throughout the ramp-up process, the University is conducting ongoing assessments of public health and government directives, adherence to the protocols enacted in re-opened buildings, the availability of personal protective equipment (PPE), and the outcome of the Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) inspections.

Starting the week of June 22, Phase 3 will begin with the following:

  • Burnside Hall
  • Duff Medical Building
  • Frank Dawson Adams Building
  • Irving Ludmer Psychiatry Research and Training Building
  • McGill Genome Centre
  • Redpath Museum research areas (museum will remain closed to the public)
  • All Macdonald Campus facilities that have not already reopened

Working on campus

To help facilitate the safe return of those select employees who have been granted permission to work on campus, the University has developed a practical quick reference guide that you are asked to consult before coming to campus for the first time.

If you have been authorized to work on campus, please remember that you are required to read and follow the mandatory directives, including a strong recommendation from public health authorities to wear a face covering especially when two-meter physical distancing is not possible, and watch training videos for preventing the spread of COVID-19.

The disclosure of exposure or illness is essential for safeguarding health and safety, and limiting transmission in the McGill community. Prior to entering any McGill building, all employees (including student employees) and students must complete, on a daily basis, the Minerva self-assessment form.

On-campus activities

Although only approved necessary activities are currently allowed on campus, the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) is beginning to look at selectively authorizing some on-campus operations and practical teaching activities that cannot be carried out remotely. To help this process, it has published a framework for the gradual resumption of activities on campus, which include key elements to consider (for example, prioritizing work from home when efficient, and determining which activities require physical distancing, physical barriers and/or PPE), the approvals required for various types of activities, and the corresponding directives.

The EOC has also published directives for the resumption of other on-campus activities, not relating to teaching, research or construction. These directives include a summary of required approvals and an outline of what information must be included in a proposed resumption plan.

Please note that EOC authorization will depend on whether an activity can comply with safety directives, as well as the prioritization of the resources required to plan and operate the activity.

Student Life & Learning

We are excited to see that we are getting a very strong signal from our newly admitted students confirming their acceptance to join the thousands of already-registered returning students in the fall. It is a great demonstration of the confidence and trust our community has in our ability to deliver our academic programs and courses throughout the Fall term, as well as in the planning and work being done by the academic leadership and staff all across the University to examine possibilities for on-campus student life and learning activities, which will respect careful safety protocols. We know that a lot of students are planning on being in Montreal in the Fall, and many of our newly admitted students are looking to book their spots in our residence halls.

The University recognizes that the McGill experience is about more than classrooms and academics, so we are actively working on building student engagement initiatives to strengthen connections among our student community. We are working closely with students to plan and develop virtual welcome and orientation activities for incoming students, as well as initiatives for preparing returning students for a virtual environment. Proposed initiatives include:

  • A one-stop-shop landing page for engagement and student connections
  • Peer-to-peer engagement allowing students to network
  • Connecting incoming students with returning students and recent grads to get a good taste of the McGill experience
  • Virtual student communities for diverse student populations
  • Forming virtual interest groups and activities, wellness, art hives, etc.
  • Experiential learning opportunities including community engagement and work experience
  • Virtual engagement activities in combination with in-person activities as restrictions are lifted

Fall 2020 student fees

Last but not least, the University has defined principles governing non-tuition fees for the Fall 2020 semester: individual non-academic services, ancillary fees, course-specific fees and program-specific fees.

Thank you, as always, for your time and dedication. I hope you are keeping healthy and in good spirits.


Fabrice Labeau

Deputy Provost (Student Life and Learning), on behalf of the Emergency Operations Centre