Dear members of the McGill community,

As you may have read in our message on Sunday evening, the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the city has prompted the Government of Québec to move Montréal to a Level 3 or an orange zone. This message will outline what will and will not change in terms of McGill’s activities on campus as a result of this new designation.

Currently, the government is focusing primarily on restricting social activities, which have been the main source of transmission, in orange zones. At the press conference on Sunday evening, the government asked people to minimize travel between orange and yellow zones: for example, between the island of Montréal (an orange zone) and Laval (a yellow zone). Today the government clarified that the restriction is primarily for social activities. Employees are allowed to travel to work, and students to study, even between different coloured zones.

From the information we have received so far, Montréal’s designation as an orange zone requires us to change very little in how we are currently operating. However, given the growing number of cases in Montréal, the University has decided to scale back certain in-person activities.

Both the McGill senior administration and the Québec Ministry of Higher Education are committed to prioritizing critical learning and research activities, as well as providing support to students who are on campus. In general, where we are seeing a strong demand from students for in-person services and activities, we will maintain them. Where demand is limited, we will move back to being fully online for the time being.

Some employees who can perform all of their duties from home have been coming into campus, either because they prefer to work in the office or to provide support to their colleagues. We are asking unit heads to reassess, and to bring only those people to the University who:

  • need to be on campus to perform their job functions, or
  • provide student services and activities with strong in-person demand, or
  • conduct essential research or research that needs to be performed on campus, or
  • are teaching in person.

What will change

  • Events, including previously approved events, are now limited to a maximum of 25 people. New event requests will be considered on an exceptional basis.
  • Study Hubs will operate at reduced capacity.
  • Certain student services will return to a fully online format. Information will be available on the relevant student services and faculty websites over the next few days.
  • As detailed above, supervisors may ask certain staff who have been coming to campus to resume working entirely from home.

What hasn’t changed

  • In-person teaching activities planned to be on campus will continue.
  • Essential research and research that cannot be done from home can continue on campus.
  • Student residences will remain open.
  • Staff who cannot perform their duties from home will continue to work on campus.
  • The Student Wellness Hub, which has been experiencing strong demand for in person appointments, will maintain its on-campus activities.
  • Service Point will remain open for students who need ID cards.
  • Many Athletics and Recreation offerings will be maintained on both campuses, including access to the Memorial Pool and fitness centres, some in-person courses, limited intramurals, and services provided by the Sports Medicine Clinic.

The situation continues to evolve, and we may see further changes to our operations in the next few days. We urge you to continue to follow public health directives, particularly in limiting social activities and gatherings. It is a tough time for everyone. But together, we can help each other stay resilient. We can help to keep our friends, our family and our community healthy.  Stay safe and keep well.


Fabrice Labeau

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