Everyone has questions about the impact of the province’s stay-at-home order which began Jan. 14. For the McMaster community the answer remains relatively simple: since our university is already working and learning remotely, with very few people on campus, the impact is minimal. Stay the course.
The majority of university faculty, students and staff should continue to remain at home for their work and their studies, with only essential in-person work and academic programs being carried out on campus.
The new provincewide restrictions, put in place under the province’s State of Emergency to curb the rising trend of COVID-19 cases, are largely emphasizing the need for everyone to stay at home except for essential reasons.
There are a number of extra steps the university is taking to ensure the footprint on campus remains limited to what’s essential. Supervisors are reviewing existing approvals that allow employees to work on campus or in offices for exceptional circumstances to ensure they meet the requirement for what’s considered essential. Similarly, those leading research projects are being asked to find ways to reduce their group’s on-campus occupancy.
“It is incumbent on us to take every reasonable precaution to limit the risk to McMaster and our broader community and to do our part to help the province manage this pandemic,” Karen Mossman, vice-president, research, said in an update.
Staying safe on campus
Those whose essential work requires them to come to campus need to adhere to strict protocols.
Anyone coming to campus or a McMaster facility must complete the provincial COVID-19 screening tool no more than one hour in advance of coming to campus and send confirmation of passing the screening to a supervisor, faculty member or instructor or key contact at the university.
The province has strengthened its face mask protocol and requires that every person wears a face mask when they are in any indoor areas of an organization or business. Wearing a face mask is now recommended outdoors when you can’t physically distance more than two metres.
Those who are working on campus are reminded to remain vigilant about the safety rules at all times, even while on breaks and in between shifts. The province has identified greater risks in workplaces for transmission during breaks where people gather together and may forget about the importance of mask-wearing, physical distancing and other safety measures.