A return focused on health, safety and wellness
After three weeks with students back on campus for labs, clinics, and studio work and the return last week of students taking first year courses, the university is welcoming the return of the majority of undergraduate and graduate students beginning February 7th.
The university has implemented a multi-layered health and safety approach including providing free Level 3 surgical masks, improved ventilation for all classrooms and lecture halls, a mandatory vaccine policy for all students, faculty, staff and visitors , required daily screening through MacCheck and additional health and safety training and cleaning.
To ensure this transition is as safe as possible and to reduce the spread of COVID-19, McMaster will continue to listen to our community, adhere to any new provincial safety guidelines and continue to build upon our safety strategy:
- McMaster’s vaccination mandate requires that all students, staff and faculty members are fully vaccinated or have received an approved exemption on human rights grounds to attend a university site. The current definition of fully vaccinated is two doses of an approved vaccine, as per provincial guidance. Non-McMaster community members are also required to show proof of vaccination.
- We encourage our community to get their third dose as soon as they are able, based on availability and eligibility criteria. Bookings are available in Hamilton through the city’s Public Health website.
- McMaster University hosted two Public Health walk-in vaccination clinics on campus in mid January. A mobile vaccine clinic (GO-VAXX mobile) will be on campus on Feb. 10. Students can also book vaccination appointments through the Student Wellness Centre. View our website for more information, including a Q&A on boosters with Dawn Bowdish, an immunologist and professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences.
Daily Screening with MacCheck
- MacCheck must be used for daily health screening before coming on site. A green check mark in MacCheck means you are clear to attend a McMaster site that day. MacCheck screening is aligned with the current provincial screening tool.
- Students may be asked at show MacCheck at key locations, including student service areas. More information about where MacCheck clearance may required can be found here. Supervisors are asked to monitor Mosaic to ensure employees are cleared to attend a University property.
Need to self-isolate?
- Follow the provincial government’s current guidelines for isolation.
- View the province’s COVID-19 Self-assessment Tool if you have been exposed or have symptoms of COVID-19 to learn if self-isolation is required. Specific instructions are included in the screening tool if you are required to self-isolate.
- Learn more about what supports are available to students, faculty and staff who need to isolate.
- Masks are required in all indoor spaces. The University continues to follow current provincial requirements for masking.
- To help ensure that people feel as comfortable as possible, the university is offering Level 3 surgical masks free of charge for all students, faculty and staff, for those who wish to use them. Learn where to get these masks and read advice from our masking experts about the strong efficacy of surgical masks and why a well-fitted mask is of utmost importance.
- General information on masking can be found here.
Testing and Reporting
- The University announced last month that it will be providing free rapid antigen tests to employees in critical campus areas, including tests to frontline staff and instructors, supporting the key operational, in-person learning, and research needs of the university.
- In alignment with new provincial guidelines, the Student Symptomatic Testing Centre on campus can provide appointments only for healthcare students, students in clinical placements, or students who identify as First Nations, Inuit or Metis.
- Anyone who has received a positive PCR or rapid test and has been to a McMaster location in the last 14 days is strongly encouraged to use the self-reporting tool in Mosaic. McMaster’s COVID-19 Case Tracker includes all positive cases reported to the university through Mosaic.
- Back to Mac COVID Training is required for all students, faculty members and staff coming to campus, either for the first time or if you had not been on campus during the pandemic. The training provides education on how to do your part in preventing COVID transmission.
Ventilation and Cleaning
- McMaster takes ventilation seriously and continually looks for ways to update our ventilation plan to adopt industry guidelines and best practices. McMaster has enhanced ventilation for in-person learning this winter, ensuring all lecture theatres and classrooms on campus meet a minimum six equivalent air changes per hour (eACH), which is considered ideal by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Healthy Buildings for Health guidelines. Learn more about McMaster’s ventilation plan on our website. This list (last updated January 28) indicates which classrooms and lecture halls on campus meet 6 eACH and actions taken.
- McMaster’s intense cleaning plan involves cleaning high touchpoint surfaces on an increased frequency schedule, hand sanitizer and wipes in public areas, disinfecting classrooms nightly and public washrooms twice daily at a minimum. Learn more about McMaster’s cleaning plan our website.
The Ontario Ministry of Colleges and Universities provided direction to all universities and colleges on physical distancing requirements for the Fall and Winter terms.
- Physical distancing requirements are not required for indoor instructional spaces. (e.g., classrooms, laboratories, libraries, in-person experiential learning etc.).
- Physical distancing continues to be required in all other indoor non-instructional spaces on campus, including offices, athletics, cafeterias, hallways, and other areas.
As some of us are returning to campus after a long time away, please familiarize yourself with where the fire extinguishers and pull-stations, fire exits, and first aid kits are in your area. Health and safety inspections should be completed before returning to work areas, if not completed already.
Please visit the Back to Mac website for more information about health and safety measures on campus, including vaccination, testing, reporting, cleaning, ventilation, masking and screening.Back to Mac Updates, Faculty and staff, Health, Students, Uncategorized