Hamilton’s McMaster University announces plans for students, staff to return to campuses
Published January 6, 2022 at 10:28 am
Hamilton’s McMaster University announced its plans for students and staff to return to in-person learning in the midst of province-wide COVID-19 restrictions.
The university is planning to have all classes delivered virtually for the week of Jan. 10, with the exception of some clinical programs.
“We will incrementally offer more hands-on learning to our students in alignment with the latest government and public health measures,” reads a statement on the McMaster University website.
Beginning Jan. 17, undergraduate labs, studios, clinical, and “other high-priority hands-on learning and experiential activities” will be in-person, “with limited exceptions.”
McMaster says instructors will share information for in-person learning through Avenue to Learn no later than Jan. 10.
Beginning Jan. 31, all level-one undergraduate courses will be in-person — “giving students who have had limited opportunity to interact and spend time on campus the opportunity to adjust,” the statement reads.
“More than half of our first-year students will be living in residence as of January 14.”
All graduate courses offered at the Ron Joyce Centre will also begin on Jan. 31.
Starting Feb, 7, all in-person classes begin for all students.
“The principles the university introduced at the beginning of the pandemic continue to guide our decisions,” reads a joint letter from David Farrar, President and Vice-Chancellor and Susan Tighe, Provost and Vice-President.
“We remain focused on the health, safety and wellness of our community and the need to focus on our academic and research programs. We also want to ensure that we are supporting our broader community and our healthcare colleagues.”
McMaster has told employees that those who can do so, will continue to work remotely as it gradually returns to university locations over time.
Starting Jan. 17, employees who support student and academic activities will return on a limited basis.
“As occurred throughout the fall, areas can determine how to best manage staffing levels to provide needed services while following physical distancing guidelines and minimizing staffing wherever possible,” the statement reads.
Beginning Feb. 7, hybrid work plans across the university originally developed by units to start in January will begin to be implemented. The transition will occur throughout the month of February.
“We recognize that there will be challenges for our community at home and on campus over the next few weeks as the pandemic continues and more people are required to isolate, manage their own health and care for family,” said Farrar and Tighe. “We are committed to being as flexible as possible as our community navigates through this latest phase of COVID.”
The Ontario government is expected to provide an update Thursday (Jan. 6) on the deployment of rapid antigen COVID-19 tests in the province.
The update comes a day after the federal government said it will distribute 140 million rapid tests across the country this month — four times the amount handed out in December.
On Wednesday, a number of stricter health measures — including widespread business closures and a temporary return to online schooling — took effect in Ontario.
The province has also directed hospitals to pause non-urgent surgeries due to skyrocketing COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations.
As well, a group of hospitals in the province urged pregnant people to get vaccinated against the virus, pointing to the recent hospitalization of several infants infected with COVID-19.
Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children, McMaster Children’s Hospital, the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario and Kingston Health Sciences Centre issued a joint statement Wednesday, saying six babies under the age of one had been admitted since mid-December.
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