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March 25, 2020 – 8:30 a.m.
Good morning everyone,
I’ve been writing daily since March 11 and I would like to thank everyone for taking the time to read these morning updates. For the first time today, I don’t have anything new or particularly urgent to report, and that may be a sign that things are starting to stabilize a bit – for the time being.
Our three COVID-19 committees (Steering, Operations and Academic Continuity) are still meeting every day, with most members joining in remotely. However, our agenda is starting to shift from those crucial first decisions that were needed to adapt on a grand scale, to increasingly specific and operational matters.
That being said, a number of important decisions remain to be made this week, notably on our new building access protocols, the postponement of Convocation and other internal events through June, and alternative grading options for students. We expect to have clarity on these matters by the end of the week.
On a personal note, I would say that after 14 very intense days I’m starting to feel a bit worn down, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. Now that the adrenaline rush of having to quickly adapt has passed, many of us may find ourselves physically and/or emotionally exhausted. This is entirely normal and to be expected from time to time over the course of regular life, and almost unavoidable in these stressful times. I would encourage each and every one of us to take extra steps to make sure we all take special care of ourselves and each other.
At the first opportunity, let’s all virtually reconnect with those loved ones we miss. Let’s all make an extra effort to be mindful of our physical and mental health. Let’s all engage in the activities that bring us peace and joy, and make sure we recentre ourselves as we head into the end of term and exams.
I would like to remind everyone that it is still possible for all members of our community to seek support. For students, our Health and Counselling Services remain open virtually and are continuing appointments by telephone and video conferencing. Undergraduate students also have access to free counselling services through Empower Me. As many students returned home across Canada to study remotely, we have provided a list of provincial support resources to support your mental health and wellbeing no matter where you call home. Faculty and Staff can access the free 24/7 confidential services offered by Carleton’s Employee and Family Assistance Program by calling 1-877-725-5676 or online on the myfseap.ca portal.
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.
As we continue to flatten the curve in Ottawa and nationally, please stay home as much as possible and continue to follow social/physical distancing guidelines. If you are looking for a good read and a new way to learn about some of our colleagues (Hello Kim Hellemans and Andrea Chandler!), you can have a look at the Carleton Life Books Series.
Have a good day everyone,
President and Vice-Chancellor