Dear members of the McGill community,
As the week draws to a close, I would like to take this opportunity to update you on progress and developments relating to McGill’s continued operations during the COVID-19 lockdown.
We know many instructors are now actively planning their courses for the Fall 2020 term. While it’s a big task to reimagine a course for primarily remote delivery, it is heartening to see the level of engagement in all Faculties, with hundreds of instructors taking part in webinars, or accessing other resources offered through Teaching and Learning Services. Recent additions to the list of resources include updates on assessment strategies for instructors in a remote delivery context, and Guidelines for Remote Teaching and Learning that provide advice on various topics including recording lectures, and students’ rights and responsibilities. I’m pleased to see many communities of practice already being developed within Departments and Units as well, and encourage you to do so if you haven’t already done so. Communities of practice are a valuable way to share best practices locally, and to find ways to adapt teaching and learning approaches to specific disciplines, while keeping in mind the broader principles and guidelines.
On June 1, we began implementing Phase 2 of the gradual resumption of select on-campus research activities. As with the previous phase, Phase 2 is being deployed 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 Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) inspections of the re-opened buildings, in addition to the continued careful monitoring of Phase 1. These evaluations will help determine if and when subsequent phases will be implemented.
McGill is securing sufficient quantities to ensure an adequate provisioning of personal protection equipment (PPE) to the labs where activities have resumed. Orders by the labs for these items can be placed through the new central store found on the McGill MarketPlace landing page or by using the keywords “McGill Personal Protection Stockroom.” You may notice that some items may be more costly than usual. This is due to the global demand, which originally had a major impact on prices for the items ordered the earliest. All items continue to be charged back to the labs at the same price they were paid, with no markup or service fee by central.
The majority of McGill employees will continue to work remotely for the foreseeable future. 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. On-campus activity remains strictly limited, so please limit your activities to those tasks that you cannot do remotely. If any of your tasks can be completed remotely, please do so.
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.
Principal investigators or other managers should contact their local HR advisors if they have concerns or questions regarding how to handle specific employee situations.
Only approved necessary activities are currently allowed on campus; this includes essential and COVID-19-related research activities, as explicitly approved by Deans.
As some on-campus research activities continue to gradually ramp up, McGill’s Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) has begun looking at selectively restarting other on-campus operations and practical teaching activities that cannot be carried out remotely. A list of permissible activities will be provided soon.
However, please note that any other McGill-sponsored in-person activities or events—on or off campus—are cancelled until August 21.
Although on-campus activities will remain heavily restricted and controlled for the foreseeable future, the EOC recommends that individual unit leaders familiarize themselves with the mandatory directives for the prevention of spread of COVID-19 on campus, and begin devising plans for any functions that would be required to resume on campus relatively soon. This planning will help streamline the eventual approval process.
Thank you for your continued collaboration in adapting how we work and serve the University’s mission. Stay safe, and I hope you enjoy the weekend.
Deputy Provost (Student Life and Learning), on behalf of the Emergency Operations Centre
June 8, 2020