Step by step, the Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS) is slowly moving back into the workplace.

At this time, FHS faculty and staff are returning to the workplace only for essential work that needs to be done on site following all public health directives, then returning to home to finish the work.

With approved individual approval of ‘return to research’ plans, research projects including non-COVID-19 have restarted. With individual arrangements through their departments, instructors are returning to campus for videotaping of lectures in preparation for the fall term. Clinical services are ramping up at about 10 per cent more a week, with consideration of keeping hospital space open in case of a COVID-19 wave.

Beginning July 6, 100 students of the School of Rehabilitation Science are returning for a summer boot camp to move ahead their clinical skills, so they are ready on time for graduation. Some health professional students are slowly returning to clinical placements, and on July 1 the new class of medical residents and fellows will begin.

Because of the umbilical cord corridors between the Health Sciences Centre and the Michael G. DeGroote Centre for Learning and Discovery (MDCL), both buildings are under the same screening for entry. Both require those in the building to wear a mask unless alone in an office. Those going in must do a pre-screening at https://fhsscreening.mcmaster.ca, then enter through the screening desk at the red section of the HSC underground garage or the north door into MDCL.

Researchers of the Faculty of Health Sciences have garnered more than $30M in awards for COVID-19 research. The funds have come from a variety of sources, with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research contributing more than $20M, and the rest coming from other tri-council agencies, federal and provincial governments, foundations, private companies, and philanthropists including Charles and Margaret Juravinski.

The research also spans the gamut of health research from development of safe aerosol vaccine strategies and an at-home test for COVID-19 to measuring how the pandemic is transmitted among populations and the effectiveness of N95 masks.  

Regarding the response of faculty and staff of the Faculty during the pandemic, Paul O’Byrne, dean and vice-president of the Faculty said: “I continue to appreciate everyone’s resourcefulness in finding solutions, commitment to growing excellence and continuing patience.”