Video and recap: Faculty & staff town hall Aug. 11
Update, Aug. 16: The information on vaccination in this video and article is no longer applicable. For updated information on McMaster’s vaccination requirements, please go to this letter from the President and Provost and our vaccination FAQ.
At the Aug. 11 virtual town hall for faculty and staff, university leaders answered questions submitted and upvoted by McMaster community members, addressing topics like safety protocols, vaccination requirements and the return to on-campus work.
More than 100 questions were submitted in advance of the town hall and during the livestream. Participants had the opportunity to upvote questions, which informed popular topics that leaders addressed during the forum.
The town hall brought together academic and operational university leaders to share what McMaster is planning for the gradual transition back to campus.
In case you missed it, please see a recording of the livestreamed event below as well as a summary of key topics covered.
Please note that information shared during the Aug. 11 faculty and staff town hall is accurate at the time of recording. The information we share with our community will continue to evolve and be consistently updated via the Back to Mac website.
- Host: Susan Tighe, Provost and Vice-President, Academic
- Paul O’Byrne, Dean and Vice-President, Faculty of Health Sciences
- Kim Dej, Acting Vice-Provost, Faculty
- Arig al Shaibah, Associate Vice-President, Equity and Inclusion
- Debbie Martin, assistant vice-president and chief facilities officer
- Wanda McKenna, assistant vice-president and chief human resources officer
- Vaccination is encouraged but not required. But throughout the pandemic, McMaster has adapted and updated policy and procedures based on changing guidelines and vaccine availability. We will continue to be flexible and nimble.
- The university continues to monitor public health guidelines as the situation surrounding vaccine requirements evolves across Ontario.
- A reminder: the single most important contribution by staff, faculty and students to protect themselves and each other is to get fully vaccinated.
- 94 per cent of students and 93 per cent of faculty and staff surveyed have indicated that they have already received or intend to receive at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine before September. This shows how seriously our students and employees are taking the need for vaccinations.
Masks and distancing
- At present, people must be masked indoors in any setting, regardless of vaccine status, and in outdoor settings when 2 metre/6 feet distance cannot be maintained.
- This includes instructors who are teaching indoors, even when their students are more than 2 metres away.
- Exceptions are when individuals are sitting alone in a personal office with a closed door or eating in a designated area. They must put their masks back on when they’re done.
Encouraging and reinforcing safety measures
- McMaster expects that all employees will adhere to the health and safety measures put in place for the protection of the community.
- Faculty and staff are encouraged to speak with their supervisor about any specific circumstances or concerns related to following safety measures.
- If you encounter someone who is not wearing a mask or face shield, please maintain a physical distance of at least 2 metres and speak with your supervisor.
- In accordance with Provincial guidelines, anyone coming to campus will need to complete the Ontario COVID-19 self-assessment before arriving.
- While weather permits, additional spaces and seating areas have been added outside.
- There is seating in MUSC.
- There are eight employee lounges on campus, where you can take off your masks when eating/drinking. The tables in lounges and break areas are currently spaced 2 metres apart, but we also expect public health guidance on this topic will evolve and the university will continue to adjust its protocols accordingly.
Return to campus
- McMaster’s mission as a university is to deliver high-quality teaching, learning, research, and clinical care to our student and patient populations who are gradually increasing their return on-site as well.
- People in student-facing services will have more of an on-campus presence as term begins. These student-facing roles should be primarily based on campus, in person, with some remote options to enhance accessibility and service delivery.
- Faculty will have ready access to buildings and offices as of Aug. 27.
In-person, virtual and hybrid work
- Roles that are not student-facing could have some hybrid elements, especially during any gradual return to work plans. Please talk to your supervisor about individual needs and requirements.
- Supervisors have been asked to give employees as much notice as possible about a return to on campus work to allow them time to prepare and make any necessary arrangements.
- McMaster continues to encourage flexibility and compassion as employees make arrangements for changes to their work location during this transitional time.
- Recognizing the desire for flexible working arrangements, most departments and units are asked to consider learnings from the past 18 months when initiating new work arrangements, and of course engage with their teams as much as possible. The pandemic has changed the way we all operate, and McMaster is seeking to harness these lessons.
- All employees are encouraged to speak with their supervisor about specific concerns, including personal health issues.
If a faculty member needs to stop teaching in-person
- Faculty members, you know what is best for you and your students. If you need to switch from in-person teaching to remote to maintain the continuity of your instruction, your health and the health of others, please communicate as openly as possible with students and your supervisor.
- In the long term, remote options that we used over the pandemic allow our educators to enhance learning, rather than replace what we already do well. McMaster will harness the learnings from the past months to improve our offerings and increase flexibility and accessibility of our classes.
For more information, please view the recording above and stay tuned for further updates to be posted on the Back to Mac website.