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Plans underway to gradually reopen research labs

Read a message from members of Concordia's leadership team
April 30, 2020
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By Anne Whitelaw, Paula Wood-Adams and Roger Coté

Dear Concordians,

Earlier this week, the Government of Quebec gave universities the go-ahead to start the necessary analysis and planning to resume research activities that had been suspended since mid-March due to COVID-19 response measures.

At Concordia, this partial reopening relates to research labs only and will be subject to a gradual approach.

The continued health and safety of the Concordia community remain our first priorities. As such, we are working with the Government of Quebec, public health authorities, the city of Montreal as well as public transit commissions to develop an approach centered on the respect of social distancing norms and on the protection of all.

The Government of Quebec has also authorized universities to resume their infrastructure construction projects at the pace they deem appropriate. As a result, Concordia’s Facilities Management team will be working with our general contractors on the reopening of worksites where possible.

Not all research labs will reopen at once

Concordia’s Office of the Vice-President, Research and Graduate Studies and the Vice-President, Services sector are working together closely to establish a schedule and sequencing of research lab reopenings that is gradual and staggered.

As part of the planning process, workforce needs are being assessed and additions to the list of essential service personnel required to work on campus may be made.

It should be noted that priority will be given to those labs funded by external granting agencies, for which time-sensitivity is an issue.

More details to be provided in the coming weeks

As we have done throughout the pandemic, we will adhere scrupulously to all public health directives and carefully consider the sanitization and subsequent use of shared spaces such as stairs, elevators and eating areas.

In addition, our aim is to ensure that the resumption of research activities is as sustainable and as environmentally focussed as possible.

As you can imagine, this is a complex process so we ask for your patience as the necessary preparations and logistics planning are finalized. We will provide further information as soon as we are able to.

In the meantime, no researcher should assume their lab is reopening unless they have been contacted by the Vice-President, Research and Graduate Studies.

Campuses remain closed

As a reminder, Concordia’s campuses remain closed until the end of August, meaning that all summer courses – including all instruction and exams – will be delivered online as previously announced. Services to students including library services continue to be accessible online.

Employees currently working remotely will continue to do so until further notice.

Access to campus continues to be limited to those essential services personnel designated by their supervisors to keep the university operational, and a restricted list of researchers who have been granted exemptions by the Vice-President, Research and Graduate Studies, because of the nature of their work.

Unfortunately, lockers and offices continue to remain inaccessible.

As a reminder, on-campus events previously scheduled through to the end of August – except for day camps, for which government guidelines are expected shortly – have been cancelled.

Planning for the fall semester is underway

A working group led by the Vice-Provost, Innovation in Teaching and Learning, and including members of each faculty, the School of Graduate Studies, the Library and the Centre for Teaching and Learning, IITS and K1 will be taking the next few weeks to explore a range of scenarios for implementation in the fall semester.  

In our planning, we anticipate that the delivery of fall semester courses will be online. We recognize the importance of taking into account the various realities that departments and members of our community may be dealing with. We are particularly sensitive to the challenges our students are facing -- whether in Quebec, across Canada or internationally.

As we work towards providing our students with the best educational experience possible during these unpredictable times, we will be prioritizing the health and safety of students, faculty members and staff as we assess best pedagogical practices at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. 

The working group will be conveying its recommendations in the coming weeks regarding the delivery of courses, labs, studios and tutorials in all disciplines to ensure that faculty will be able to begin preparations for fall teaching as soon as possible.

Thank you for your support and dedication. Keep well, and take care of yourselves and your families.

Sincerely,

Anne Whitelaw
Interim Provost and
Vice-President, Academic
Paula Wood-Adams
Interim Vice-President,
Research and Graduate Studies
Roger Coté
Vice-President,
Services



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