Breaking: McGill Plans Remote Instruction for Fall Semester

Photo: Evelyn Dom

Following the cancellation of in-person classes for the Winter 2020 semester, Professor Christopher P. Manfredi, the current Provost and Vice-Principal, updated the McGill community this morning as to the plans for the Fall 2020 semester, which will be instructed “primarily through remote delivery platforms.”

The email reinforces that classes will be starting as scheduled in the first week of September, but adds that the semester will not begin with in-person instruction. McGill’s classes have been instructed remotely since mid-March, and had previously been scheduled to remain as such until the end of the Summer term. “Students and their families can be assured we are planning for robust and high-quality teaching, even if the modes of delivery will be modified for this term,” Manfredi wrote.

This latest announcement acknowledges the importance of extracurricular activities and on-campus gatherings for the McGill community, stating that as the current health crisis improves, student activities will be able to resume in accordance with changing public health guidelines. Manfredi also suggested that some student life activities will be moved to an online format in the fall to allow for the participation of out-of-province and international students. 

We are planning for robust and high-quality teaching, even if the modes of delivery will be modified.

Some international students may want to return to Montreal, despite this plan for remote instruction. For international students whose study permits are soon to expire, Quebec has automatically renewed the CAQ (Quebec Acceptance Certificate) from April 30 until December 31, 2020. According to Quebec’s Ministry of Immigration, Francization and Integration (MIFI), this automatic renewal process will “simplify the renewal process for federal-level study permits for these students,” as the CAQ is a prerequisite for obtaining a federal study permit. The MIFI also explained that the decision was taken to avoid penalizing those who were forced to remain in the province for longer than intended due to the pandemic.

Despite the decision to hold the Fall semester remotely, McGill already has chosen to open several labs for COVID-related research as of this week, in fields such as health, natural sciences, agriculture, forestry and engineering. The university is facilitating “a slow and steady approach” toward reopening buildings, while complying with provincial government directives to prioritize research activity.

Manfredi emphasized that the university’s primary considerations are health and safety, while encouraging community-building. “We will be actively exploring opportunities that will allow those students who are in Montreal to be able to convene together to learn and to engage socially, given how crucial this is to the university experience,” he wrote, adding: “Our commitment is to allow new students to initiate, and returning students to continue without interruption, their respective program of study principally through remote learning platforms.”

This is a developing story and will be updated accordingly. 

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