COVID-19 Update: Academic considerations and new travel information
McMaster continues to monitor developments around COVID-19. The University’s preparations and response is coordinated by its Crisis Management Team which began meeting on the coronavirus in January.
The University looks to Global Affairs Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada along with public health agencies in Ontario to guide its decisions in working to maintain the health and safety of campus.
The risk of contracting COVID-19 in Canada is still considered to be low.
McMaster classes and activities continue to run as normal.
Academic Contingency Planning
Classes and academic programs are continuing as usual at McMaster. As the university continues to monitor the developing COVID-19 outbreak, it is important that faculty members and instructors consider their options to expand the ways they provide course programs to students.
The university provides faculty, staff, and students with many options for incorporating online methods of teaching that facilitate access off campus, complement in-class teaching, and enhance the learning experience.
The MacPherson Institute, UTS, and Campus Classroom Technologies are here to support those wishing to explore these alternative methods of delivery. We want to provide supports that will allow you to be flexible in the face of unexpected events.
This type of preparation is part of the Business Continuity Planning the university recommends every unit undertakes to be better prepared for any events that may impact the day-to-day functioning of the university. A business continuity guide and workbook is available here.
Technology to help deliver academic programs
There are a number of technologies available to help you in your planning. There are also many people able to help you arrange orientation, consultation or support to use these technologies.
- Echo360 – For livestreaming or pre-recording your lectures
- MacVideo – For pre-recording your lectures directly in Avenue to Learn
- Microsoft Teams – For livestreaming, use of back channels for Q&A or follow-up conversations, collaborative work, virtual office hours, and pre-recording of lectures, introduction & explainer videos.
All campus community members currently have access to Microsoft Teams
- Contact UTS at firstname.lastname@example.org for support on how to set-up Microsoft Teams
- Contact Christa Morrison, Digital Pedagogy Specialist at email@example.com for support for how to use Microsoft Teams with your teaching
- WebEx Meetings -For web and video conferencing to hold real-time lectures, virtual office hours, meet with groups of students or for students to collaborate with one another in small groups.
- Support available by request athttps://avenue.mcmaster.ca/support/with 24/7 support from WebEx at 1-866-229-3239
- Avenue to Learn – The above technology can best be leveraged with our institutional Learning Management System, Avenue to Learn
- If you currently do not have a course shell, you can request one at http://avenue.mcmaster.ca/course/course_request_check.php
- If you require additional support with Avenue this is available at https://avenue.mcmaster.ca/support
Updated travel information
Public Health has provided additional information for travellers.
Iran is now at travel risk level 4. The advice from Global Affairs Canada is to avoid all travel to Iran.
Anyone who has returned from Iran or Hubei province in China in the last 14 days should stay at home and avoid close contact with others, including those in their home, for a total of 14 days from the date they left Hubei province or Iran. Contact Hamilton Public Health Services within 24 hours of arriving in Canada.
Returning travellers from Mainland China, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Singapore and South Korea in the last 14 days should self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days after leaving China, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Singapore or South Korea. Contact Hamilton Public Health Services if they develop any symptoms.
Anyone with severe illness should seek immediate medical attention by calling 911 and inform paramedics of their travel history.
If your university travel plans have been cancelled
Some international conferences are being cancelled changing travel plans for McMaster faculty and staff.
When booking travel please consider the risk of cancellation or the need to change your itinerary. It is recommended that you book airfare or other travel arrangements that includes the flexibility to change your plans.
Costs due to travel cancellations associated with the COVID-19 will be a reimbursable expense from the department or research account.