May 13, 2020 - Update on the coronavirus

Dear members of the McGill community,

As the week marks the return of some McGill researchers to campus, following the Quebec government’s directive to allow universities to gradually resume certain research activities, I would like to take this opportunity to discuss Phase 1 of the research phase-in, and to share information about other developments relating to McGill operations.

Research phase-in

We hear the phrase “We’re all in this together” frequently, and our individual actions truly have a direct impact on the well-being of the greater population. Resuming on-campus activities is a gradual process. We are deliberately proceeding prudently in order to follow strict directives from public health authorities and ensure the safety of the community, which includes having to wear proper personal protective equipment, such as masks, if maintaining 2-meter physical distancing is not possible. As per recent public health recommendations, individuals may wish to wear a mask at other times.

Please note that only McGill employees who have received authorization to work on campus are permitted on McGill premises at this time. All other employees must continue to work from home. As we gradually resume these activities, staff who may be asked to come back to work on campus will receive advance notice from their supervisor in due time. I appreciate that you are eager to get back to your research projects, and I’m grateful for the patience and understanding that you have shown.

If you have received permission to work on campus, please remember that you are required to read and abide by the University’s on-campus research directives for facilitating a safe and efficient transition. McGill’s mandatory directives can be found on the University’s coronavirus webpage and include training videos on topics such as preventing transmission, wearing protective equipment, maintaining physical distancing, and keeping the working environment clean. The website also includes protocols and procedures to follow if someone develops COVID-19 symptoms, and for reporting safety non-compliance.

Researchers whose activities will be ramping up can now place their orders for initial provisioning of personal protection equipment and disinfectant through the internal store created on the McGill MarketPlace. The catalogue of items may be found when searching for the keywords “McGill Personal Protection Stockroom.”

As on-campus activities slowly resume, access to Phase 1 buildings (Strathcona Anatomy & Dentistry, Wong, Maass Chemistry, Pulp & Paper, Macdonald-Stewart Raymond Complex, Barton and Parasitology Institute) will be closely monitored. Deliveries will be centralized in hubs. McGill Environmental Health and Safety will conduct regular rounds to check adherence to safety protocols, and expanded cleaning protocols will be observed.

The Emergency Operations Centre (EOC), along with the Research Planning Group, continues to coordinate with individual faculties in determining access to labs based on a number of factors, including: building and room capacity, coordination of shared facilities, a lab-by-lab prioritization and planning of research activities, assessment of the viability of implementing physical distancing and compliance with other preventative measures, as well as the research activity priorities established by the Quebec government.

As the list of research activities authorized to resume is finalized, researchers and support staff will be contacted by their supervisors to ensure they understand the safety measures put in place.

We are only at the beginning of Phase 1, and we may still be a few weeks away from being able to begin Phase 2. As we move forward with our first phase, the University will continually monitor progress and the full conformity with the aforementioned directives. We will evaluate the protocols enacted in re-opened buildings, employee mandatory compliance with the University’s safety directives, the continued availability of personal protective equipment, and the outcomes of McGill Environmental Health and Safety inspections. This is a learning process, and we are adapting according to experience. The start-date and the estimated overall ramp-up time for Phase 2 will depend on how Phase 1 goes.

Health Sciences training

In anticipation of the Fall semester, the University is continuing to work on potentially allowing some in-person, on-campus training (e.g., clinical skills labs and simulation centres) for students in Health Sciences programs. Participants in any such approved activities will be required to follow the directives for preventing the spread of COVID-19 on campus.

Parking on campus

Staff and graduate students who have been authorized to return to campus can continue to park for free until further notice, but must complete the COVID-19 suspension period parking registration webform. Anyone parking on campus who is not registered with Parking and Transportation Services, including permit holders, will be ticketed. Only exterior lots are open. If you already hold a McGill parking permit, you will be assigned to your regular lot, or, if you normally park in a garage, to the nearest exterior lot. As more staff and students gradually return, employees who have been parking on campus may be relocated. If you are part of this group, Parking and Transportation Services will contact you.

Please remember that it is everyone’s individual role to be responsible for others. I hope you and your loved ones are healthy and in good spirits. Ça va bien aller!



Fabrice Labeau 

Deputy Provost (Student Life and Learning), on behalf of the Emergency Operations Centre

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