McGill Admin Town Hall: Planning for Fall 2021

Image by Picasa, courtesy of Creative Commons

On April 20, Christopher Buddle, Associate Provost (Teaching and Academic Programs) and Fabrice Labeau, Deputy Provost, Student Life and Learning, hosted a virtual Town Hall meeting to explain what Fall 2021 will likely look like for students and staff. There were over 1000 viewers in attendance.

The bottom line, which was reiterated several times throughout the event, is that students will be expected to be in Montreal in the Fall. The administration wants to encourage as normal of a McGill experience as possible.

The bottom line, which was reiterated several times throughout the event, is that students will be expected to be in Montreal in the Fall.

The administration stated that they are about 60 percent complete with their planning for the Fall semester, and as such, the  Town Hall focused on  the most realistic scenario will be, noting it may change in accordance with public health guidelines. However, the administration does not plan on changing the outlined class schedule over the summer, and course registration will still begin early June.

The most realistic scenario for Fall 2021 is that most buildings will have a few entrances unlocked where students will not need to swipe an ID card to enter the building, nor will they likely need special access. People will be expected to only enter the building if necessary, which includes classes, and there will likely be safety ambassadors patrolling the building to ensure that students respect these expectations.

Most lectures that are fewer than 150 students will likely be in-person, while larger classes will consist of recorded lectures and in-person conferences, labs, and seminars, which are usually much smaller. About 30 percent of staff will initially be on campus, succeeded by a progressive and tiered return of all staff over the course of the fall semester. What this will mean more specifically for students will be communicated by their respective departments later this spring.

Most lectures that are fewer than 150 students will likely be in-person, while larger classes will consist of recorded lectures and in-person conferences, labs, and seminars, which are usually much smaller.

Exams will most likely be remote for the Fall semester, unless there is space availability or instructors choose to host smaller exam sessions. There will most likely be no exams at the Fieldhouse. There will, however, be a potential for the implementation of assessment hubs, much like current library study hubs — designated quiet spaces for students to take midterms or finals.

Library study hubs, however, will return to a more normal implementation, where study hubs would not require advanced booking, but not all floors of the libraries will necessarily be open. There will also be supervised flex spaces within faculties at each of the four sectors of the downtown campus, and one at MacDonald (Mac) campus, where students will be allowed to spend time in between classes indoors. The Mac campus shuttle will likely be completely operational.

Both residence and non-residence food services will likely be open, but it is unclear whether there will be available dining space or only take-out options.

Residences are expected to be fully open, with student bubbles maintained at both hotel-style residences and traditional halls. However, unlike this year, student bubbles will be larger —possibly an entire floor rather than just the occupants of a single room. This, however, has not been officially decided, and is subject to change.

Residences are expected to be fully open, with student bubbles maintained at both hotel-style residences and traditional halls. However, unlike this year, student bubbles will be larger.

Student services will also likely be fully operational, though they will be favoring pre-scheduled appointments. There will likely be limited athletic activities.

As for non-academic events like Frosh, the administration is not yet sure which activities will be possible, as non-academic activities are not top priority.

Currently, the administration does not believe they will be requiring students and faculty to be vaccinated in order to come to class, as there isn’t currently a vaccine mandate from the provincial or federal government. Yet, the administration expects that most people will have had at least one dose by the time they return to campus, with at-risk individuals likely having had two doses. 

“We’re not planning in a vacuum,” explained Buddle. “We are in very close contact with scientific experts both within our own community and externally. We are also in constant communication with public health authorities and the ministry of education.” The administration plans to use the same guidelines as the government if the vaccine mandate changes for in-person activities and gatherings.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.