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March 19, 2020 – 8:40 a.m.
Good morning everybody,
Yesterday, through various alternative modes of instruction, teaching staff and students connected and resumed our march towards the successful completion of the winter semester. We’re not out of the woods yet – far from it – but we have crossed an important threshold.
To all instructors and students who engaged in learning activities yesterday and to those who will do the same today, I want to recognize your creativity and courage. It is likely that some glitches and unexpected issues arose or will arise in that first class – and that’s ok. The key will be to continue to adjust in real time, with compassion and self-compassion, and to learn together how to best do this.
I am inspired by the acts of generosity and care that I see across our community and city. Just yesterday our colleague Rosemary O’Hearn, the fantastic Executive Assistant to our Provost Jerry Tomberlin, selflessly offered to postpone her imminent retirement until after the current crisis has passed. Thank you Rosemary – you are amazing!
Decisions continue to be made in real time. Earlier this week, our Vice-President (Research and International) communicated our plan for the continuity of research support services. New guidelines and procedures are being devised on a broad array of issues, including enhanced cleaning, the handling of campus mail, Human Resources processes, and perhaps most importantly the need for a flexible and compassionate approach to managing academic accommodation for the remainder of the Winter Term.
And as I mentioned yesterday, the Academic Continuity Committee is carefully considering how to best proceed for the summer semester, given that registration is currently scheduled to open on Thursday, March 26. We will be communicating decisions on this important topic tomorrow.
Plans are also being made to hold both Board of Governors and Senate meetings online at their normally scheduled times so that the critical governance decisions and oversight can proceed.
Please ensure that the information you read and share online comes from credible sources like Ottawa Public Health, the Ontario Ministry of Health or the Public Health Agency of Canada, as the spread of misinformation poses a significant risk to the health and safety of our community.
In closing, can we all make sure that we all take the time to ask ourselves and each other how we are doing, and that we never hesitate to both ask and offer help to one another? Social distancing does not have to mean social isolation.
Have a good day everyone,
President and Vice-Chancellor