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Classes, exams and placements

All in-person classes have been cancelled as of 11 p.m. Friday, March 13. Students have now heard from their instructors to find out how the remainder of their courses will be managed and grades assessed so that they can complete their credits within the normal timeframe of the winter term. 

McMaster is scaling back operations at the university and focusing on required services that protect health and safety, and that help our students complete their term.

No in-person final exams will be held at the end of this term. Instructors have now communicated with students to let them know how the remainder of their courses will be managed and grades assessed so they can complete their credits within the normal timeframe of the winter term. These solutions will vary from course to course.

You can also find exam information on the registrar’s office COVID-19 page

Please note that all career and co-op teams at McMaster are working remotely and are available to support students and employer partners.

These Co-op and Internships FAQs, developed by McMaster’s career and co-op offices, will answer many student’s questions.

Please reach out to your faculty career and co-op offices if you have specific questions related to your individual co-op or internship term:

 

 

The registrar’s office has a COVID-19 information site that they update regularly. It deals with academic questions like due dates, deadlines, course withdrawal and other academic concerns, as well as admissions, exam schedules and registering for the spring/summer semester.

Spring term will begin on May 4, 2020, the regularly planned spring start date. Summer term begins June 22, 2020. Courses will be offered in an online virtual classroom format, but no face-to-face classes will be available. Further information about three-semester programs with clinical placements and courses with studio, field or lab experiences will be communicated when more information can be provided.

To help students as they transition to online coursework for the remainder of the term, the University is providing a range of technology supports and advice, primarily through University Technology Services (UTS) and the MacPherson Institute. This helpful link outlines the range of tools and supports available: https://registrar.mcmaster.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Summary-of-IT-support-available-to-students.pdf

 

McMaster is requiring that all research that does not meet specific criteria be shut down by Tuesday, March 24 at 5 p.m. For more details, please read the March 20 update from the VPR’s office.

Graduate students should speak with their supervisors if they have questions. As well, McMaster’s Research and Innovation office has provided a list of FAQs for researchers.

Ensuring students finish their year and that those in their final year are able to graduate, and reducing the students’ stress is of paramount importance.

While face-to-face classes have ended, students have now heard from their instructors with information on how the remainder of their courses will be managed and their grades assessed so they can complete their credits within the normal timeframe of the winter term. These solutions will vary from course to course.

On campus

McMaster’s campuses remain open, but social distancing measures requiring as many of us as possible stay home and limiting gatherings to fewer than 50 people creates new impacts for the university. Our focus will be on required services that protect health and safety, that help our students complete their term and that support essential services.

Students in residence have now checked out of their rooms, except for those with exceptional circumstances. Ongoing residence updates may be found here: https://housing.mcmaster.ca/stayhealthy/  

The Customer Service Desk is available during the normal university business hours of Monday to Friday, 8:30-4:30 at (289) 683-2153 or at ext. 24740, or on email at clerks@mcmaster.ca.

Athletics and recreation facilities, the McMaster Museum of Art and the Planetarium are all closed to visitors and participants. 

Mills, Thode and Innis libraries will be closed as of 5:00 pm on Wednesday, March 18th. All library services for students, faculty and staff will continue online. The library has provided a list of online resources to support online and distance learning.

The Health Sciences library is also closed until further notice.

New provincial rules to ensure that as many people as possible stay home to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 are a reminder to the university community that only those employees whose work is required to be maintained and considered essential should be on campus. All others who are able to work from home should do so. Employees are reminded to check with their supervisor if they have any questions.

Services covered under the new essential work directives include residences, research that is identified as essential, animal facilities, the production of radioactive isotopes at the nuclear reactor and the maintenance, cleaning, technology and other support staff required to keep these areas running.

While we are encouraging the McMaster community to practice physical distancing and avoid coming to campus where possible, security staff remain on campus. The Security Dispatch is available 24 hours a day. Please contact security in the normal manner if on campus at 88 from an internal phone, using the SafetyApp link or calling 905-525-9140 ext. 24281.

Mills, Thode and Innis libraries will be closed as of 5:00 pm on Wednesday, March 18th until at least April 7. All library services for students, faculty and staff will continue online. The library has provided a list of online resources to support online and distance learning.

The Health Sciences Library facility is closed, but a full range of services are available, including reference, consultation, education, interlibrary loan, and e-resource troubleshooting. Please see its Q&A page or contact hslib@mcmaster.ca.

Student life

For the months of March, April and May interest and late fees will not be applied to the student account and financial blocks will be removed. This means that students with an outstanding balance will be able to enrol for the spring/summer term before paying their account in full and the University will not be collecting interest or charge late fees for the next three months.

Students who may be experiencing financial emergencies as a result of the COVID-19 situation can find support and resources through the Registrar’s Office. Students can seek financial assistance to help with money for food, rent, university, travel or other expensesVisit the Registrar’s Office website for an online chat with a Student Services Professional between the hours of 10-3 p.m. Monday to Friday.

Students in residence have now checked out of their rooms, except for those with exceptional circumstances.

Ongoing residence updates may be found here: https://housing.mcmaster.ca/stayhealthy/  

 

Residence updates, including move-out instructions, can be found at this webpage: https://housing.mcmaster.ca/stayhealthy/  

McMaster is committed to providing financial consideration for your shortened stay in residence if you fully and properly checked out by Saturday, March 21, 2020 at 4 p.m. This includes students who have already properly checked out of residence. Details regarding residences fees and meal plans will follow in the coming days. Please follow these steps to ensure that you have properly checked out of residence.

If you have flu-like symptoms and have recently travelled internationally, call Hamilton Public Health. If you are feeling unwell but have not been travelling, call your healthcare provider or the Student Wellness Centre.

As it is also influenza season, you may want to keep the following items on hand as a precautionary measure:

  • Over-the-counter medication to reduce aches and fever (e.g., acetaminophen or ibuprofen)
  • Cough medicine and throat lozenges
  • Any prescription medicines you take
  • A thermometer (non-mercury)
  • Tissues
  • Hand sanitizer (should contain at least 60% alcohol)
  • Disinfecting wipes or cleaning products to clean your shared and personal space
  • A water canteen or bottled water, and juice

Students have now moved out of residence, except for those in exceptional circumstances.

To keep those still in residence safe and support social distancing the following changes have come into effect:

  • There will be a No External Guest / Visitor Policy for all students.
  • Common rooms, game rooms and other large residence spaces will be closed to discourage group gatherings.

As well, over the past few weeks, we’ve enhanced our standard cleaning processes in residence buildings, increased the number of times per day high traffic areas are cleaned and have switched to hospital-grade cleaning products.

We’ve added additional hand sanitizer stations in building entrances and will continue to share important preventative health information with you via digital screens, social media, and direct communications. With good hygiene practices, you can help keep yourself healthy.

As well, working closely with Public Health, we have a plan in place if someone in residence tests positive for COVID-19.

Students, faculty and staff in a health science setting should contact the coordinator of their placement for more details.

The Registrar’s office and Student Services remain open Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For information on OSAP, Auradata, student accounts and student services, please visit their website.

If you are a student who needs support, please consider using the self-service options.

International Student Services offers support for international students, and can answer questions about how COVID-19 might affect your visa, travel plans or housing. They can be reached at (905) 525-9140 x24254 or staplesa@mcmaster.ca. Please be advised that they are dealing with a large volume of calls and emails, and will respond to everyone as soon as possible.

 

The federal government has introduced an exemption on travel restrictions for international students who hold a valid study permit or had been approved for a study permit when the country’s travel restrictions first took effect last week. The government has not yet announced when the exemptions will be in place, but it is expected to be sometime early this week.

For ongoing support, international students should contact International Student Services at (905) 525-9140 x24254 or staplesa@mcmaster.ca. Please be advised that they are dealing with a large volume of calls and emails, and will respond to everyone as soon as possible.

Admissions work continues. Learn more about the admission process at the registrar’s office COVID-19 web page.

The Admissions office has turned off the applicant telephone support line, but has assigned more staff to respond to your questions on Facebook and Twitter.

Convocation is an important part of the university experience but this spring, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the need for social distancing, convocation ceremonies at McMaster will need to be different this year.

In order for students to celebrate convocation in place of McMaster’s normal spring ceremonies, online celebrations are being planned with an in-person ceremony to be scheduled at a later date.

We recognize that Convocation is an important and special event for graduands, our award recipients and their families, and we are actively developing plans for both the online and in-person celebrations.

Please note that while the ceremony is changing, this will not change the timing of when you graduate and the conferral of degrees for graduands. Those eligible to graduate will be granted their degree on time.

More details will follow as they are determined.

As of March 15, the federal government has urged all Canadians currently outside the country to try to return to Canada while travel options are still available.

McMaster students are eligible to use International SOS, a 24/7 support service that helps with medical and security issues while travelling abroad on university business. International SOS also provides country-specific email alerts so that users can be sent relevant information directly. Log in with your Mosaic ID or learn more about iSOS.

 

McMaster has ended all undergraduate and graduate student international travel for McMaster-related activities.

As of March 15, the federal government has advised all Canadians to avoid non-essential international travel and is urging Canadians travelling outside the country to try to return to Canada while travel options are still available.

Students choosing to return to campus should follow all of the travel warnings and guidance provided through Global Affairs Canada.

Students who are currently travelling for university related activities also have access to International SOS, a 24/7 service that provides assistance and information to travellers. Log in with your Mosaic ID or learn more about iSOS.

McMaster has ended all undergraduate and graduate student international travel for McMaster-related activities.

As of March 15, the federal government has advised all Canadians to avoid non-essential international travel and is urging Canadians travelling outside the country to try to return to Canada while travel options are still available. This applies to exchange students as well.

Students who are already on exchange or doing field work or have a placement in another country should be in touch with their university supervisor to discuss their concerns.

Students choosing to return to campus should follow all of the travel warnings and guidance provided through the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Students travelling for university-related activities also have access to International SOS which provides assistance and information to travellers on university business. Log in with your Mosaic ID or learn more about iSOS.

Faculty and Staff

The university now requires that all McMaster research that does not meet specific parameters be closed down by Tuesday March 24 at 5 p.m.

This applies to any research that requires people to be in laboratories or in any group setting. Research by individual researchers that can be conducted remotely, such as online interviews, and follows all social distancing guidelines can continue.

Research will be allowed to continue if it:

  • Is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic – this includes related research in areas across the university
  • Involves clinical trials or intervention studies with patients who need to be monitored
  • Must be maintained for health and safety reasons
  • Must be continued for ethical reasons, such as some animal studies

Essential research services that need to be maintained include:

  • Core facilities that support research outlined above
  • Critical equipment monitoring or servicing
  • Cleaning and maintenance that support the essential research programs
  • The care of fish, animals or plants, in coordination with the Central Animal Facility

Full directives can be seen in the VPR’s latest update from March 20, 2020.

For more information, please go to Research and Innovation’s FAQ page

 

All areas of the university should ensure that any employees who can work from home are able to do so. Supervisors will help find ways that services can be maintained online or on the phone.

There are a number of technological supports available to help facilitate working remotely, or to enable connectivity without the need for group gatherings. Further information about such tools is available as part of the IT Continuity Tools & Services.

Update: HR has more information and resources on their Working Remotely webpage.

Supervisors should reference the updated Supervisor Guide that offers helpful advice for what they need to know about COVID-19 and the workplace. You can find it, along with other resources, on the Human Resource Coronavirus Update page.

Update: HR has additional resources for managing a team remotely, and is updating their Working Remotely resource webpage regularly.

As always, if you are ill, you’re encouraged to stay home and use the sick time provisions applicable to your employee group (e.g. your collective agreement or policy).

If you are a supervisor, please review the Step by Step Guide to Addressing COVID-19 Exposure.

Learn more about staying healthy.

Phishing has become a significant problem in the current situation. Please be extra diligent when dealing with email and vigilant about not opening any attachments or files that may be cause for concern. You can find more advice at the Office of the CTO’s website.

Mail Services continues to provide service to campus. Contact Mail Services if you want to have your mail/courier packages held at Mail Services. Mail can either be picked up at the Campus Services Building or you can make arrangements to have mail for your department packaged and mailed to an individual off-site.

With the decision from the Ontario government to close all publicly funded schools across the province for two weeks following March Break, many private schools and daycares are doing the same. We understand the challenges this may create with child care.

During this time, McMaster will support flexible work arrangements if viable, and encourages employees to discuss their needs with their supervisor.

Employees are not to bring their children into the workplace, as per Risk Management Manual 113: Children in the Workplace.

If you are concerned about someone in the workplace who is ill and exhibiting flu-like symptoms or have concerns about safety in your workplace, please speak with your supervisor or manager.

As of March 15, the federal government has advised all Canadians to avoid any non-essential travel outside of Canada and is urging all Canadians currently outside the country to try to return to Canada while travel options are still available.

McMaster faculty and staff are eligible to use International SOS, a 24/7 support service that assists with medical and security issues while travelling abroad on university business. International SOS also provides country-specific email alerts so that users can be sent relevant information directly. Log in with your Mosaic ID or learn more about iSOS.

As of March 15, the federal government has advised all Canadians to avoid all non-essential travel outside of Canada and is urging all Canadians currently outside the country to try to return to Canada while travel options are still available.

McMaster strongly encourages all university employees to avoid travel outside of Canada.

Costs due to travel cancellations associated with the COVID-19 will be a reimbursable expense from the department or research account.

As of March 15, the federal government has advised all Canadians to avoid all non-essential travel outside of Canada and is urging all Canadians currently outside the country to try to return to Canada while travel options are still available.

McMaster strongly encourages all university employees to avoid travel outside of Canada.

Costs due to travel cancellations associated with the COVID-19 will be a reimbursable expense from the department or research account.

Public Health officials have advised that any group gathering of more than 50 people should not be held.

At McMaster, all discretionary events of any size are cancelled until at least the end of April.

These new measures underscore the university’s commitment to operations that focus on students and learning as the COVID-19 situation evolves.

Teaching and instruction

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.

Other resources include:

  • 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 uts@mcmaster.ca for support on how to set-up Microsoft Teams
    • Contact Christa Morrison, Digital Pedagogy Specialist at morric17@mcmaster.ca 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.

The MacPherson Institute has a dedicated Instructional Continuity Site that supports instructors with technology related to online-supported learning. They are also offering ongoing consultations and workshops for instructors.

Health

Symptoms range from common to severe respiratory illnesses and include:

  • fever
  • cough
  • difficulty breathing

Many of these symptoms are similar to seasonal influenza. Should you experience these symptoms and have recently travelled internationally, avoid contact with others and call Hamilton Public Health for advice.

Human coronaviruses cause infections of the nose, throat and lungs. They are most commonly spread from an infected person through:

  • respiratory droplets that are spread when you cough or sneeze
  • close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
  • touching something with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands

 

Continue to practise good hand washing techniques and hygiene practices. This includes:

  • Wash your hands often
  • Wash for at least 20 seconds with soap and hot water
  • Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Don’t go out if you are ill

As with any virus, those with symptoms should stay home or in their residence room and do their best to avoid close contact with others. If symptoms escalate, contact your healthcare provider. Students in residence should inform residence staff. For staff, please report your absence promptly to your supervisor as is the normal practice.

Two COVID-19 assessment centres have now opened in Hamilton. These are not drop-in centres but are by appointment only. For information on how to access these Centres please go to Hamilton Public Health’s website.

Generally, a mask is not required. Surgical masks, such as those sold in pharmacies, have limited value. If you are healthy, you only need to wear a mask if you are taking care of a person with suspected COVID-19. It is important that masks are preserved for those who need them, primarily health care workers who are dealing with cases of coronavirus.

No. There is currently no vaccine to protect against COVID-19, including seasonal influenza vaccinations. However, getting a flu shot is still important, because that will reduce the number of sick people using health care resources.

Travel

As of March 15, the federal government has advised Canadians to avoid any non-essential travel outside of Canada and is urging all Canadians currently outside the country to try to return to Canada while travel options are still available.

Those who are currently out of the country are asked to follow all advice for self-isolation or self-monitoring and to contact their supervisor upon their return to Canada.

The university has ended all international travel for undergraduate and graduate students. As well, university employees are encouraged to avoid any travel outside of Canada.

 

As of March 15, the federal government is urging all Canadians currently outside the country to try to return to Canada while travel options are still available, and to follow all advice for self-isolation or self-monitoring upon their return to Canada, outlined below:

Upon return to Canada:

  • Self-isolate for 14 days after your return from travel outside of Canada. Some provinces and territories may have specific recommendations for certain groups such as health care workers.
  • Contact your supervisor, if applicable.
  • Monitor your health for fever, cough or difficulty breathing.
  • Wash your hands often for 20 seconds and cover your mouth and nose with your arm when coughing or sneezing.

If you develop a fever, cough or difficulty breathing within 14 days:

  • Continue to isolate yourself from others
  • Immediately call a health care professional or public health authority and:
    • describe your symptoms and travel history
    • follow their instructions carefully

In addition, if you return from Italy, Iran, or Hubei province (China) you will be asked to contact the public health authority in the province or territory where you live or are staying within 24 hours of arriving in Canada and to provide your contact information.

As of March 15, the federal government is urging all Canadians currently outside the country to try to return to Canada while travel options are still available.

McMaster students, faculty and staff are eligible to use International SOS, a 24/7 support service that assists with medical and security issues while travelling abroad on university business. International SOS also provides country-specific email alerts so that users can be sent relevant information directly. Log in with your Mosaic ID or learn more about iSOS.

As of March 15, the federal government has advised all Canadians to avoid any non-essential travel outside of Canada and  is urging all Canadians currently outside the country to try to return to Canada while travel options are still available.

McMaster strongly encourages university employees to avoid travel outside Canada.

Costs due to travel cancellations associated with COVID-19 will be a reimbursable expense from the department or research account.

This is a developing situation and it is too early to know when travel restrictions nationally and globally will be lifted.

If students are unable to return to McMaster as a result of the travel restrictions, they should contact International Student Services.

Employees should contact their supervisor or Human Resources if they are affected by travel restrictions and unable to return to Canada.

The federal government is urging all Canadians currently outside of the country to try to return home.

 

To monitor the latest travel advice, check the Government of Canada’s latest travel advisories.

Upon your return to Canada from abroad:

  • Self-isolate for 14 days after your return from travel outside of Canada. Some provinces and territories may have specific recommendations for certain groups such as health care workers.
  • Monitor your health for fever, cough or difficulty breathing.
  • Wash your hands often for 20 seconds and cover your mouth and nose with your arm when coughing or sneezing.

If you develop a fever, cough or difficulty breathing within 14 days:

  • Continue to isolate yourself from others
  • Immediately call a health care professional or public health authority and:
    • describe your symptoms and travel history
    • follow their instructions carefully

In addition, if you return from Italy, Iran, or Hubei province (China) you will be asked to contact the public health authority in the province or territory where you live or are staying within 24 hours of arriving in Canada and to provide your contact information.

Government of Canada novel coronavirus information line: 1-833-784-4397

Canadians who are abroad should sign up with the Registration of Canadians Abroad service to stay connected with the Government of Canada in case of an emergency abroad.

Many countries are closing their borders to outside travellers.As of March 15, the federal government has advised all Canadians to avoid any non-essential travel outside of Canada and is urging all Canadians currently outside the country to try to return to Canada while travel options are still available.

McMaster strongly encourages employees to avoid travel outside of Canada. The university has ended international travel for graduate and undergraduate students.

Costs due to travel cancellations associated with the COVID-19 will be a reimbursable expense from the department or research account.

As of March 15, the federal government has advised all Canadians to avoid any non-essential travel outside of Canada and is urging all Canadians currently outside the country to try to return to Canada while travel options are still available.

McMaster strongly encourages all employees to avoid international travel outside of Canada. The university has also decided to end all undergraduate and graduate student international travel for McMaster related activities.

Costs due to travel cancellations associated with the COVID-19 will be a reimbursable expense from the department or research account.

Conferences and Events

Public Health officials have advised that any group gathering of more than 50 people should not be held.

At McMaster, all discretionary events of any size are cancelled until at least the end of April.

Discretionary events and activities are those that are not core to the university’s academic mission and operations. Core events and operations — like access to residences, libraries, research, food services, other services and offices — remain in place, though with some reductions in service.

It is important to assess any and all discretionary events, especially group activities, against the above criteria to determine if is necessary for them to proceed.

Discretionary events include:

  • University and student-organized events, both on- and off-campus
  • Events at McMaster that are booked and hosted by outside organizations
  • Staff engagement activities, retreats, in-person social gatherings, optional group training and development
  • Public lectures and presentations that are not part of an academic program.

Please speak with your chair, director or dean if you have questions about whether an event should proceed.

Where it is important for events to proceed, alternatives to group in-person sessions should be considered.  Leaders are encouraged to use technology (i.e. WebEx, MS Teams) to coordinate discussions within and between groups.

The cancellation applies to all discretionary events at McMaster itself and to off-campus events organized by McMaster.

To find out about refunds, please contact the organizer of the event.

Please contact the person or office that arranged your booking. If it was arranged through the university’s Conference Services department, contact them at: https://housing.mcmaster.ca/conference-event-services/contact-us/

 

This is a developing situation and it is too early to know what events may be rescheduled.

The university has cancelled all events that are not core to the university’s academic mission and operations. The restrictions are in place until at least the end of April.

As of March 15, the federal government has advised all Canadians to avoid all non-essential travel outside of Canada and is urging all Canadians currently outside the country to try to return to Canada while travel options are still available.

McMaster strongly encourages employees to avoid all travel outside Canada.

Many international conferences are being cancelled, changing travel plans for McMaster faculty and staff.

Costs due to travel cancellations associated with the COVID-19 will be a reimbursable expense from the department or research account.

Have a question that hasn’t been answered in our FAQs? Let us know, and we’ll do our best to get an answer. Contact us at daily@mcmaster.ca. We can’t answer every email, but we will consider all questions for our FAQs so please keep checking this page for updates.