Dear members of the McGill community,
The COVID-19 lockdown has changed so much about McGill life. Spring Convocation, for one, usually draws thousands of smiling faces to our campuses. In-person events may be cancelled, but the pride we all feel in the Class of 2020 is stronger than ever. While we know there’s no replacement for crossing the stage, McGill University will celebrate our graduates’ achievements in a very special way. Tomorrow and Friday, we will mark this once-in-a lifetime occasion with a series of virtual Convocation ceremonies — and everyone is invited to join the celebrations online. I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to our 2020 graduates, and to thank everyone who has worked so hard to make this unprecedented celebration happen.
Here are updates and reminders about other developments this week:
As you may have heard, this week Quebec’s Ministry of Education and Higher Education issued some new information about in-person teaching for the Fall semester. Although this will not change how McGill has been planning for principally remote delivery of courses and programs for Fall, the University continues to plan for some in-person activities that may gradually increase over time. McGill will keep the community updated as the situation evolves and the Ministry announces more information.
Last week, I mentioned that the gradual resumption of select on-campus research activities is progressing well. Starting next week, the University will start Phase 3 of the ramp-up activities. As with the previous phases, Phase 3 will be deployed over the coming weeks under a strictly controlled environment, following public health authority directives, to ensure our community’s health and safety. Throughout the 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.
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.
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.
Thank you for reading. Stay safe.
Deputy Provost (Student Life and Learning), on behalf of the Emergency Operations Centre