As McMaster joins with the rest of Canada to increase social distancing and adopt other measures to try and slow down the spread of COVID-19, there are impacts for the university’s research community.
Vice-president, Research Karen Mossman has issued a letter to researchers confirming that while McMaster’s research is not closing down, the university does need to think about what research needs to continue at this time and how can we make sure our research staff is well-informed and know that their well-being is of the utmost importance. Researchers must also have plans in place to safely shut down their research should that become necessary.
In addition to McMaster researchers, there are also special considerations for university researchers who are located in hospital facilities as hospitals focus on reducing the number of people accessing their buildings.
The VPR’s letter can be found on McMaster’s Research and Innovation website.
Student course adjustments
Faculty, instructors and their departments are working hard to make thoughtful course and evaluation adjustments that are designed to support student success. As instructors share this information with students and TAs, it is helpful to reassure students that chairs and the associate deans’ offices will be reviewing grades at the end of the year to ensure fairness.
McMaster libraries to switch to online services
McMaster libraries will be moving all services online, effective 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 18. Although the physical facilities will be closed, the library will continue offering full online access to all collections, along with services to electronically deliver material and answer queries about physical collections. The move online, which will remain in place until at least April 7, comes in response to reduced numbers of people on campus and is part of university-wide efforts to encourage social distancing.
More details can be found on the library’s website.
Continuance of Pay
We value our people and the important work they do. The scaling back of some operations at the University will be in place until at least April 5th, but this date could change based on any developments.
McMaster is committed to ensuring that all employees will continue to be compensated for the three-week period up to April 5, 2020. More details on how this will be operationalized for all staff groups, including temporary or casual employees, will be shared with supervisors and impacted employees in the coming days.
A new manager’s update is available from Human Resources.
New travel guidelines for essential healthcare workers
Hospitals have developed new guidelines for essential healthcare workers who are returning to Canada after international travel. Designated essential healthcare workers do not need to self-isolate on their return. They now need to self-monitor and will be closely monitored while at work. The hospitals will provide additional information to impacted employees, including those that work for the university.
All other McMaster employees are to continue to follow the government’s guidelines that anyone returning to Canada from abroad must self-isolate for 14 days.
International students will be accommodated as residences close
To help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and in support of social distancing, McMaster has told students in residence to make plans to move out by Saturday, March 21 at 4 p.m. Students with exceptional circumstances, including international students facing travel restrictions and out-of-province students who need extra time to move out, can seek permission to stay longer.