Coronavirus (COVID-19) update: Working on campus, cleaning procedures

March 28, 2020  —  Uncategorized

The following message was sent to the McGill community on behalf of Fabrice Labeau, Deputy Provost (Student Life and Learning), on March 27

Dear members of the McGill community,

Information is one of the most powerful tools we have at our disposal during this difficult period. I encourage you to stay abreast of new information coming from trusted sources and to share accurate information with one another.

That being said, I know very well the feeling of COVID-19 overload, which can sometimes leave us feeling anxious and powerless. Be sure to take a break from the coverage.

Please remember that even during these challenging times, there are many facets of daily life that we still control. This includes how we tend to our emotional, social and physical well-being, and how we care for our family, friends and community. Don’t forget to go for walks, curl up with a book, phone a friend, play board games with your family.

Here is the most recent information I have for you concerning McGill’s COVID-19 measures.

Directives for units working on campus during the reduced on-campus operations period

While the University has moved much of its operations online, and many of its staff and faculty members are working from home, necessary operations are still being conducted on campus.

On March 22, the Quebec government issued a ban on gatherings, with exceptions for work-related gatherings, for which, as much as possible, social distancing principles must be applied. Please keep in mind the following guidelines for units doing  on-campus work during this period:

  • Respect a two-metre distances while working. Rearrangement of work environments (e.g. spacing out occupation of cubicles, using currently unoccupied offices, etc.) or tasks (e.g. ordering sequentially tasks that are usually done concurrently) may be required.
  • As much as possible, employees should not enter in physical contact with each other. Tools or devices that are used by several employees will need to be cleaned between shifts. This may mean developing mandatory protocols for beginning and end of work periods (e.g. cleaning of shared tools, protocol for entry/exit to avoid crowding physical areas, etc.).
  • Employees must practice proper hand washing and coughing etiquette.
  • Individuals who have symptoms (cough, fever, difficulty breathing) must not come to work and should consult a healthcare professional.
  • In cases where the configuration and scheduling of work cannot be modified to accommodate a two-metre distance between employees, the unit director or chair has to send a specific proposal for the continuation of the work to Emergency Operations Center (EOC) for discussion of potential accommodations. No work should be started under such conditions without prior approval from the EOC.
  • The EOC will form a subcommittee to examine such cases, propose work accommodations, and, only in exceptional circumstances, approve work that does not comply with the two-metre distancing requirement.

Everyone, regardless of whether they are working at home or on campus, should follow these guidelines to protect themselves from COVID-19.

Cleaning procedures

McGill’s Building Services team has put in place a stringent cleaning protocol to help reduce exposure to the COVID-19 virus. All high-touch surfaces, from toilets and sinks to drinking fountains and handrails, among many others, are cleaned daily using a disinfectant cleaning product. The surfaces are also regularly checked using testing kits to ensure high-touch surfaces are kept to the highest sanitary level possible.

I would like to take this time to thank members of our custodial team for their efforts. Your hard work is keeping our community safe.

COVID-19 resources for graduate students

The office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies remains operational with staff working remotely during campus closure. The GPS website has a dedicated page that provides important updates on activities and announcements.

Travel exemptions now in place

In my email of March 21, I mentioned that the Government of Canada would exempt most  international students and temporary foreign workers from border restrictions. These exemptions are now in place. If you’re eligible, you can now travel to Canada. You can get complete information on the Government of Canada’s website.

People returning to Canada should remember that there is a strict 14-day quarantine in effect, which means they must isolate themselves from contact with friends or family. As well, McGill cannot provide housing for their quarantine period.

International students

I recommend that international students who are not back in their home country contact their country representatives (embassy, consulate, high commission) both to register and to verify what services may be available to them.

Student financial aid

Students with urgent and immediate financial concerns relating to travel, living expenses or to access remote learning (internet or equipment related), may apply to McGill’s Scholarships & Student Aid Office for In-Course Financial Aid. This is a bursary and loan program for Bachelors, Masters or PhD students based on demonstrated financial need.

Changes to employee  requirements to use the self-declaration form

As of tomorrow, it will have been 14 days since McGill shut down on-campus activities except for necessary functions. Since the COVID-19 virus is thought to have a maximum incubation period of 14 days, the possible exposure to the members of the community has been reduced. Therefore, we have modified the processes surrounding the self-declaration form for staff, starting March 28, 2020:

  • Employees who are required to work on campus to provide necessary functions: please complete the self-declaration form if you are unable to come into work because you need to self-isolate.
  • Employees who are required to work on campus and who have a weakened immune system, a chronic condition or are 70 years old and older: you should remain at home and must send an email to disability.hr@mcgill.caThe Disability Management unit (HR) will contact you to document your condition.
  • Employees who are not working on campus: you no longer need to complete the self-declaration form if you need to self-isolate.
  • Employees who have received a clinical diagnosis of COVID-19: you must complete the Confirmation of Illness form and send it by email to disability.hr@mcgill.caThe Disability Management unit (HR) will contact you to document your condition.

I know these are stressful times, but the best way to alleviate anxiety is to stay educated. Consult the McGill coronavirus page, which we are continuously updating with new information and FAQs. If you have a question that isn’t answered on the FAQ, please write to COVID-19.info@mcgill.ca.

And don’t forget to take some time for yourself today. Do the things that give you purpose, make you happy and connect you with others.

Sincerely,

Fabrice Labeau

Deputy Provost (Student Life and Learning)
on behalf of the University Emergency Operations Center

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Article courtesy of The McGill Reporter

Article courtesy of The McGill Reporter