COVID-19 at McGill: Resources and Updates

The following is an accessible version of our summary of the effects of COVID-19 on the McGill community. The article published on Saturday, March 14 can be found here. Updates from the following dates can be found here: Sunday, March 15; Monday, March 16; Thursday, March 19; and Saturday, March 21.  Our editorial regarding our responsibilities as a community can be found here.

This information was last updated on Tuesday, March 24, at 4:30 p.m.

Is something in this article out-of-date? Let us know at news@mcgilldaily.com

Essential Information 

  • Quebec and Canada Regulatory Updates
    • A drive-thru testing centre for COVID-19 is opening in Downtown Montreal
    • Canada is shutting the border to most non-Canadian citizens
      • The exceptions to this include Canadian permanent residents, the immediate family members of Canadian citizens, diplomats, and air crews
    • Workers on visas, international students (“who held a valid study permit or had been approved for a study permit when the travel restrictions took effect on March 18”), and temporary foreign workers are exempt from the ban
      • Study permits that were approved after March 18 will not be considered “essential” travel
    • The US and Canada are prohibiting non-essential travel between the two countries
    • Those in Quebec who have been advised to self-quarantine for 14 days can receive a weekly payment of $573 from the provincial government
    • Any person showing symptoms of COVID-19 will not be permitted to enter Canada
      • Air operators have been instructed to prevent any person with symptoms of COVID-19 from boarding a plane
    • The Canadian government will financially support Canadians abroad by providing loans of up to $5,000
    • Canadians will be permitted to file taxes until June 1 this year, instead of the usual deadline of April 30
    • All “non-essential” businesses must close for the next three weeks
    • Restaurant dining rooms, shopping malls, and schools are to be closed until May 1
      • Restaurant take-out service is permitted
    • Gatherings of any size are banned, barring a few exceptions
      • Montreal police have been granted the power to forcefully disperse crowds, and people may be fined or arrested by the police
    • All employees (in both the private and public sectors) in the health and education systems who have returned from other countries must self-quarantine for 14 days
    • The province has said that all who have returned from other countries should self-isolate for 14 days
    • They have also requested that those with flu-like symptoms self-quarantine for 14 days
    • All visits to public senior homes, long-term care facilities, and hospitals are banned
    • The province has requested that those who are elderly or immunocompromised avoid all non-essential travel outside their homes
  • McGill Updates
    • Students will not need to stay in Montreal for the rest of the term
    • McGill, as well as other Quebec universities, will be closed until May 1
    • Students and staff who “have tested positive, are awaiting test results, or are self-isolating” should follow instructions for submitting the online self-declaration form
    • Per the Deputy Provost, “Academic Planning for remote instruction and remote course delivery is proceeding well
    • All in-person exams will be cancelled, and the academic term will not be extended
    • With all possible classes, instruction will move online beginning on March 30
      • The University is currently “evaluating alternatives for […] situations” in which remote instruction is not possible
    • All undergraduate and graduate students will be able to use the S/U option for all of their courses
      • Courses that are taken S/U can go towards student’s major or minor; they will not affect GPA but full credits completed will count towards their degree
      • The deadline to use the option is May 22, at which point McGill says grades will have been released
    • The deadline for withdrawing from courses has been extended to April 15; effective Monday, March 23.
    • A full list of adjusted academic measures for the Winter 2020 term is available here
    • The summer semester will go ahead remotely with no in-person examinations; all academic activities, conferences, internships etc, that include international travel have been suspended
    • Per the Deputy Provost, “All academic and administrative staff, including casual and work-study employees who were scheduled to work over the two-week suspension period, will be paid
    • All interest or late-fee payments on outstanding student accounts have been suspended until further notice.
    • Students should expect to hear from their instructors about expectations for online instruction and remote course structure
      • Instructors will have the ability to adjust course outlines for the remainder of the term due to section 3.2.3 of the Student Assessment Policy 
    • Spring convocation has been cancelled; the University is exploring other options to commemorate this year’s graduates
    • MSERT’s services have been placed on hold indefinitely  
      • MSERT recommends that students call the COVID-19 hotline (1-877-644-4545) if they are experiencing flu-like symptoms 
    • Campus libraries and athletics facilities have been closed 
      • Online library services will still be available to students
    • All McGill in-person events, on or off campus, are cancelled
    • All classes, assessments, and exams have been cancelled for two weeks beginning on March 16 (except thesis defenses)
    • All non-essential research has been halted or postponed
    • Student services will remain available via phone and online after the extended weekend (which is until Monday, March 16)
      • A full list of available services and hours can be seen here
      • Online resources for remote learning are available here
    • Food services outside of select residences on campus will close (see information on residences below)
    • The McGill shuttle bus service will be suspended beginning Wednesday, March 25

 

 

  • Food, Service and Aid Resources
    • Midnight Kitchen’s food bank in St.Henri will remain open and will be distributing grocery bags; students must still register via their website
      • The collective is also currently working with student groups and individuals to deliver cooked meals to those self-isolating, details to come
    • Mutual aid Facebook group – you can request or offer assistance with grocery, supplies, medication delivery (etc) as well as find answers to specific questions/information or other requests for aid
    • Academic accommodations and peer support – SSMU University Affairs has set up a google form to request information on academic accommodations and an email for general COVID-19 related support requests (student.coronavirus.relief@gmail.com)
  • Health Care Resources
    • The Wellness Hub will offer limited remote services starting Monday, March 23. Students can also speak to a nurse about general health concerns that are not related to cold or flu symptoms
      • To make an appointment or to speak to a nurse, students can call 514-398-6017
      • The Wellness Hub’s online programming is available here
    • All pre-booked appointments for two weeks (starting on Monday, March 16) have been canceled
    • International students with Blue Cross can access Maple online to access family doctors, specialists, sick notes, and more
      • You can get a prescription through this service, as well as a diagnosis or sick note
      • You have to pay a fee to access Maple, but Blue Cross should refund you within three business days
    • International students can submit claims to Blue Cross online, either on the website or the app
      • To sign into Blue Cross with international student insurance for the first time, your policy number is created by adding two zeros to the beginning, putting your international student insurance contract number in the middle (available on Minerva), and adding three zeros to the end (EX: 00xxxxx000)
      • Your Blue Cross identification number is created by typing your McGill student ID, and then adding two zeros to the end (EX: xxxxxxxxx00)
    • International students under McGill’s Blue Cross plan have COVID-19 testing and treatment fully covered
    • Jean Coutu offers prescription renewals on the phone, mobile app and on their website
      • You just need your prescription number, and it can be delivered
    • SSMU is offering the online service “Keep.meSafe” to all its members, free-of-charge at this time
      • Per SSMU this service offers “24/7/365 immediate and unlimited access to licensed counsellors through telephone and mobile chat, even when travelling abroad”
      • AND “in-person counselling appointments with hundreds of licensed counsellors in the City of Montreal, with minimal wait times”
      • Undergraduate students received instructions on how to set their account up in an email from SSMU on Thursday, March 12

 

Residence, International Student, Students Abroad, and SSMU Service Updates

  • Residence Information Updates
    • Students in residence are strongly encouraged to return home as soon as possible if they are able to do so
    • Students’ leases will be canceled on the day that they leave
    • Students in residence must practice social distancing; this means:
      • All in-person events are suspended
      • All residence gyms are closed
      • Guests are not permitted in residences
    • “Smoking in the halls, irresponsible alcohol consumption, vandalism, and misuse of fire prevention and safety equipment” are not allowed in residence
    • Students are asked to limit the number of people in the elevator at any given time
    • Residence Life programming is suspended until further notice
    • Floor Fellows are mandated to stay on duty in residence
    • Students in residence have been told that McGill will not ask anyone to leave campus
    • Those who are advised to self-quarantine in residence will be provided an isolated space to do so
      • If you have been told to or have decided to do so, email housing.residences@mcgill.ca – self-reporting ensures that you will still receive services
    • No parties, events, or other gatherings are allowed in residence, including in private rooms
    • Common spaces are not open to residents
    • For external food deliveries, students must meet the driver outside of their residence hall, next to the main entrance of their building
    • Members of McGill security have broken up “gatherings of any kind” in common spaces and told students to go back to their rooms
    • Dining areas in residences are closed, but students can get take-out
      • Food halls are operating on reduced hours, and Douglas Hall’s is closed
    • Funds left in students’ mandatory meal plan will be extended to a rollover plan
      • Saver meal plan balances will be fully refunded
    • All residences will remain open until at least the end of the lease
      • For all residences except Solin Hall, this is April 30, 2020
      • Solin Hall leases end on July 30, 2020
  • Students Abroad
    • Students in the only countries that had been previously classified as “Level 3” (“avoid non-essential travel”) by the Canadian government – Iran, Italy, and China – as of Friday, March 13, had been recalled by McGill
    • Students in countries that had been labeled “Level 1 and 2” were told they would receive more information in the next few days
      • They were also told they were encouraged to return home if concerned for their safety, and if they did, McGill Abroad had instructed them to inform their host institution, as well as McGill, and to ask the former about remote studying options
    • On Saturday, March 14, the Canadian government announced that all countries outside of Canada are to be classified as “Level 3” 
    • Per the above travel advisory from the Canadian government, all students abroad are recalled immediately
      • According to an email from McGill, students must determine their own steps for re-entry to the country they return to
    •  On the evening of March 14, McGill asked these students to return to their home country
      • For those who are international students without Canadian citizenship, McGill says they should return to their home country, and not Canada
    • If students choose to return to Canada, McGill asks them to check in with International Student Services to “verify [their] status”
      • McGill reminds these students that if they return to Canada, they may not be able to leave due to “increasing travel restrictions” 
      • Any person returning from anywhere outside Canada is asked to voluntarily self-quarantine for 14 days
      • McGill advises study abroad students to determine the steps for re-entry and quarantine for whichever country they travel to
  • International Student Updates
    • Treatments and testing for COVID-19 are fully covered under international students’ Blue Cross health insurance
    • McGill’s Scholarships and Student Aid office can offer some emergency financial aid for either travelling or living expenses
    • McGill sent out an email stating that “all student travel outside Canada for internships, student exchanges, international mobility programs, competitions or conferences is suspended until further notice” on Friday, March 13
    • They also said that intake of new international students will be suspended for the time being
    • The exact status of future and incoming international students is unclear at this time
    • McGill has said that they are “still actively recruiting students from across the world for the Fall semester”
    • International students still in Canada who would like to return home should contact their consulate
  • SSMU Service Updates
    • According to SSMU President Bryan Buraga, updates to McGill’s campus closures as of March 14th do not have an effect on SSMU services. The information below remains accurate and unchanged
    • Walksafe will be closed (SSMU alternative: McGill Security Services)
    • SACCOMS will be closed (SSMU alternative: Montreal Sexual Assault Centre)
    • Midnight Kitchen’s meal pick up programs are closed, however their food bank in St. Henri remains open (see above)
    • The Eating Disorder Resource and Support Centre & Peer Support Centre will be closed (SSMU alternative: Keep.meSafe)
    • Queer McGill will be closed (SSMU alternative: Montreal LGBTQ+ Community Centre)
    • The Union for Gender Empowerment will be available by email at ugecollective@gmail.com
    • SSMU’s office, 3471 Peel St., and 680 Sherbrooke will be closed
      • SSMU Services and ISGs located there are requested to temporarily suspend their services for this period of time

 

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article stated that SSMU President Bryan Buraga’s understanding was that incoming international students’ would not be able to attend in the upcoming fall semester until further notice. He has contacted us to let the Daily know that there is no indication that the suspension of international student intake will extend to the fall.