Never before have so many changes been made in one week to the education, research, clinical and administration operations of the Faculty of Health Sciences and the university.

Everyone has been impacted by the need to respond to the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"This remains an extremely dynamic situation and will likely remain so for some time," said Paul O'Byrne, dean and vice-president of the Faculty of Health Sciences. "I have been thoroughly impressed with the competence and professionalism being shown by all. We have stellar faculty, staff and students." 

At McMaster University all in-person classes and exams were ended March 13 and, where possible, faculty and instructors moved to other means of communications to ensure student programs will be completed and evaluated. 

Major moves were made to increase social distancing. 

All discretionary events were cancelled until the end of April, and athletics and recreational facilities, and the university's museum of art and planetarium were closed until at least April 6. Students were asked to leave McMaster residences.

As well, library facilities were closed, with services available online. 

The university remains open, however, employees have been asked to work from home if their role allows. 

As Mohawk College has closed all of its facilities, and the School of Rehabilitation Science moved to working from home, the Institute for Applied Health Sciences building was closed. 

At the Faculty of Health Sciences all group sessions and tutorials were moved online, and all clinical placements for students were cancelled, at least in the short term. Medical residents and fellows are working in hospitals and other clinical settings. 

Hospitals began restrictions on visitors and, to preserve capacity, postponed elective surgery and other non-emergency clinical activity. Hospital entrances were restricted and screening put in place. 

The Canadian borders began to close for the most part, and people returning from international travel have been told to self-isolate from home for 14 days, with those without symptoms able to work from home if possible.

Directives were given to wind down some of the research at the university.

More information may be found at the university's website https://covid19.mcmaster.ca or on the websites for Hamilton Public Health Services; Public Health Ontario or the Public Health Agency of Canada.

"We are all in this together," said O'Byrne. "As a team we will resolve any issues that arise, and ensure our operations run as smoothly as possible."