March 20, 2020
Dear Members of the McMaster community,
When the world is fundamentally shaken, what do we need to do?
That question had to be answered by all of us – in every hour, of every day this week. I have witnessed truly outstanding commitment to our students, to the important work that happens at the University, and to each other.
I cannot tell you how proud I am of our institution.
I am one of the more recent additions to the McMaster community. I came because of McMaster’s reputation for excellence and its long history of creativity and innovation. What I perhaps hadn’t fully realized until now is what enables those things to happen.
Quite simply, it is our people. I have seen countless examples this week of people coming together, putting their own needs aside, and working together across the University to find solutions to problems they never expected to face, and questions they never expected to have to answer.
Together, McMaster faculty, instructors, TAs and staff made sure that students will be able to complete their courses this term. The need to make such a significant shift at an unprecedented speed was a challenge successfully met and you have my deep appreciation.
While most of you are now working from home and finding new ways to get the job done, there are many others who need to be on campus to help students move out of residence and make sure those who remain have nutritious food and all of the health and other supports they need. Many of you are helping our hospitals take care of patients. UTS experts are keeping our systems going and cleaners and maintenance staff are keeping our campus safe. Others are making sure payroll runs and that the applications of students hoping to come to McMaster next year are still being managed.
While some researchers, graduate students and research staff are safely closing down research projects to support social distancing and the ability for additional staff to work remotely, others are leading the country in the battle to understand and fight COVID-19 on every front.
The pandemic is a reminder of the importance of research, evidence and facts. It reinforces that the students we train to work in healthcare, public services, business, public policy and other sectors are the people we all need to count on to do the right thing and to care for our communities and families.
Together we are meeting the challenge. But this is just the beginning.
We don’t know what will happen next or how long it will take to get through the pandemic. Getting back to normal is not going to happen quickly and what normal is will likely be redefined forever. Such uncertainty only adds to the stress and complexity we are all facing.
My commitment is that we will continue to make the best decisions we can, even in circumstances that are changing in ways and at a speed that would have been unimaginable just a short time ago.
I ask that you continue to support each other, take care of yourself and your family. Please remember that you are part of a broader community and that we all need to look out for each other, especially those who are most vulnerable in such difficult times.
My heartfelt and ongoing thanks to each of you for all that you contribute and for being an important member of the McMaster community.