Research will be the first portion of the Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS) that will ease back into the workplace from the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although working from home remains the preferred option for research, the ramp up will follow phase one of the research recovery plan from the university’s vice-president research; practical solutions for research workplace arrangements from the Faculty’s vice-dean, research, as well as the plans made by each principal investigator to follow Public Health directives including physical distancing and appropriate personal protective equipment.

Jonathan Bramson, vice-dean, research, anticipates FHS labs will be opened by June 1.

Meanwhile, this week FHS graduands will have a virtual celebration of their convocations. On May 20 for the School of Nursing and May 21 for other FHS graduands, the registrar’s office is sending each student a personalized video and link to a microsite via their McMaster email. There will be video messages from the university chancellor, president, the FHS dean and vice-president and the valedictorian as well as tributes from faculty and alumni.

“We do want this to be a special time for our graduands, despite the circumstances of the pandemic,” said Paul O’Byrne, dean and vice-president of the Faculty.

The Faculty's Computer Services Unit and FHS’ new Continuing Professional Development Office, along with University Technology Services  (UTS) and the McPherson Institute across campus, are working together to ensure instructors have access to the systems and the direction needed to develop online learning.

Senior Faculty academics and administration are meeting with their colleagues across the campus, setting the principles as well as the operational details for the reopening of the university, which only happen following provincial directives. There are subcommittees looking at the details to support health and safety protocols, human resources issues, wayfinding signage and building exit and entry strategies, cleaning, security and parking along with access to libraries and other university facilities. 

The university's HR COVID19 website has been updated to provide the latest health and safety guidance documents  for all managers, including a new webpage at https://hr.mcmaster.ca/resources/covid19/workplace-health-and-safety-guidance-during-covid-19/ with details on the recovery plans. 

“This remains a very fluid situation and I greatly appreciate everyone's flexibility, conscientiousness, creativity and patience,” said O’Byrne.