Hospital partners of the Faculty of Health Sciences are beginning to implement plans for a gradual resumption of surgical and outpatient clinical services and procedures that were reduced due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Faculty is following by planning a slow, phased approach of reintroducing learners to the health care environment, ensuring faculty are ready for the learners’ return and that all public health guidelines are followed.

Non-COVID-19 research projects with approved plans incorporating the public health directives are resuming at the Faculty.

“We need to recognize that this pandemic is not over,” said Paul O’Byrne, dean and vice-president of the Faculty. “As always, the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff is of highest importance.”

For the most part, he added, Faculty people should be working from home and only coming to campus or other McMaster space for as long as required, and with permission of their supervisors.

McMaster University has directed that all classes will be online for the fall term, and first-year students will not need to be on campus. At the Faculty of Health Sciences there are some exceptions for health professional students who will have required clinical skills or laboratory courses on campus, and clinical placements in hospitals or clinical settings.

Related to the resumption of clinical services at the hospitals, both Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) and St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton (SJHH) are resuming paid parking on June 1. Those with automatic paid parking at SJHH may suspend their parking while working from home, and retain their spot, by emailing a request to parking@stjosham.on.ca . Discussions are ongoing with HHS on whether similar arrangements may be made.

McMaster Human Resources has launched a webpage, Workplace Health and Safety Guidance during COVID-19 to provide information to support planning for returning to working onsite. It includes the framework for making decisions, hierarchy of hazard control and workplace checklists and guidelines for research lab use and fieldwork.  Senior leadership approval is required for any group resuming on-site work.

The university has also relaunched its https://covid19.mcmaster.ca website with additional information.