Dear members of the McGill community,
I hope that this note finds all of you and those dearest to you healthy and safe.
We have just begun our ninth week since the interruption of most of our on-campus activities as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. I sense deeply our collective eagerness to get back into our campus routines, in our classrooms, offices, and research spaces. I also recognize that the uncertainty we continue to navigate is wearing and stressful, leaving many questions about academic life at McGill unanswered. I am grateful to everyone who has been working diligently throughout this period, which has allowed us to persevere in the pursuit of our academic mission.
I write today with a view to sharing information that I hope will provide clarity and reassurance about academic planning for the months ahead. In this regard, there are two main points I wish to make, both pertaining to the Fall 2020 term.
First, I want to stress that regardless of COVID-19 circumstances this September, McGill will be delivering its academic programs and courses throughout the Fall term and we will start our term as scheduled. Indeed, I look forward, with great enthusiasm and excitement, to welcoming to our University all newly admitted and returning undergraduate and graduate students this Fall. To allow our students to begin and continue their academic path no matter where they are in September, our courses will be offered primarily through remote delivery platforms. Students and their families can be assured we are planning for robust and high-quality teaching even if the modes of delivery will be modified for this term.
Second, I recognize that student life at McGill is about engagement in both academic and non-academic settings. Therefore, as our situation evolves, and as public health restrictions on social gathering are lifted, we will examine possibilities for on-campus student life and learning activities, which will respect careful safety protocols. These may include activities such as small classroom-based seminars, conferences, tutorials, workshops, or reading groups as well as various campus life and engagement activities. Keeping health and safety as our primordial consideration, we will be actively exploring opportunities that will allow those students who are in Montreal to be able to convene together to learn and to engage socially, given how crucial this is to the university experience. For those students who cannot be in Montreal in the Fall term, we will aim to replicate virtually these activities to allow maximum participation by all.
Our commitment is to allow new students to initiate, and returning students to continue without interruption, their respective program of study principally through remote learning platforms. At the same time, my team and I are working assiduously to create opportunities for students’ extracurricular engagement – through both formats that are remotely and, when possible and safe, in person – this Fall.
Given all of this, I warmly encourage all students to confirm their acceptances and registrations for Fall 2020. I realize this coming term will be different, but it will be McGill just the same, with all of its academic excellence and strength of community for which our University is known.
All my best,
Professor Christopher P. Manfredi
Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic)
May 13, 2020