Dear members of the McGill community,
This week brought some important announcements from the Quebec government about the gradual loosening of some restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. As we head into the weekend, I’d like to share some clarifications about how the new directives will impact our work lives in the weeks ahead, as well as other news.
While the University remains operational, members of the academic, administrative and support staff who are not already working on campus carrying out necessary functions should not report to work on campus on Monday. Pending further notice, staff are to continue working remotely from home and are not authorized to come to campus. Over the coming weeks, however, some researchers may be granted access to different buildings and labs; please see details below.
As I shared with you earlier this week, the Quebec government has authorized universities to progressively resume some research activities, in a limited manner, over the coming weeks. Research activities in the fields of health, natural sciences, agriculture, forestry and engineering are being prioritized at this time. McGill’s Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) is currently working with relevant faculties to develop the processes, procedures and protocols necessary to facilitate a safe and efficient transition, and will be providing these guidelines shortly.
As communicated earlier this week, the EOC, along with the Research Planning Group, will be coordinating with individual faculties who will take the lead in determining access to labs based on a number of factors, including: building and room capacity, viability of implementing social distancing and other preventative measures, and research activity priorities. Deans or their delegates will review and approve implementation plans and schedules within their respective faculties. Details on how such requests can be made will be forthcoming. As these plans are approved, some researchers and other employees will be granted access to a very limited number of buildings and labs by their respective faculties.
In this context, researchers who will be authorized to work on campus will be required to observe safe distancing from colleagues, and to implement an enhanced cleaning and disinfection process for their workspaces. This process will include cleaning workspaces at the beginning and end of each shift, and disinfecting high-touch areas. Details will be included in the guidelines established by the EOC. It is important to note that, contrary to some rumours, the coronavirus is not known to spread through ventilation systems or the water supply.
The Quebec government continues to monitor the situation in Montreal. As the government eventually lifts restrictions for other work-related sectors and activities, we will inform you of these details as they become available.
The recent increase in remote-working has made it even more important to protect our infrastructure from cyber threats. Starting on Tuesday (May 5), Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) will be required to connect to McGill’s Virtual Private Network (VPN), to ensure that only members of the McGill community have remote access to our internal network. You will not be able to access the VPN without 2FA. Details about how to set up 2FA are here. If you need technical assistance, you can book a live support session with IT.
Until further instructions are communicated in the near future, regular and contractual University employees who have a valid contract after May 1, including casual and work study employees who were scheduled to work, will continue to be paid.
Thank you for reading, and for your continued collaboration in navigating this unprecedented terrain. Stay safe, and I hope you enjoy the weekend.
Deputy Provost (Student Life and Learning)
4 may 2020