We are continually monitoring the situation regarding COVID-19. Please continue to check this page for regular updates regarding MDC’s response to this rapidly developing situation.
March 30, 2020 – Update
McMaster Divinity College is continuing its measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 with work at home policies and online learning. We are encouraged by the flexibility of our faculty in making mid-term adjustments to their courses, students for their understanding and adaptivity, and staff for their commitment and smooth transition to working in new environments.
There is no doubt that these drastic changes disrupt our normal routines and the way we must interact with each other and can often cause uneasiness or unrest. Our community is important to us and we want to make sure that you are receiving the help you need, when you need it. We want to remind you of our online counselling service. This free and anonymous service is available to anyone and is a great resource that provides helpful tips for managing stress and anxiety and provides someone to talk with via online chat or phone call 24/7. McMaster University has also offered the following health-focused blog posts with suggestions of how to stay active and connected while practicing social and physical distancing:
Of course, we are always here for you if you are having trouble managing course load, have uncertainty about future plans, or have suggestions on how we can better serve our community during this time. We want to encourage open lines of communication and feedback. Students may send any questions or comments to email@example.com and staff and faculty may contact their supervisor at any time with comments, questions, or concerns.
As a team, we are planning for the weeks and months ahead, from the upcoming Spring term to outcomes affecting our Fall term and the events and activities that will take place. We thank you for your trust in our decision-making and covet your prayers as we navigate new waters ahead. Please know our prayers are with you and your loved ones as well.
March 24, 2020 – Update
Following the announcement by Ontario’s Premier in response to growing concern over the COVID-19, McMaster Divinity College will remain closed to the public, open only to authorized employees for essential services. All student activities including written examinations and dissertation defences will move to an online format. Our Spring Term courses will now also be held in an online format.
We recognize these new changes are difficult and bring a certain degree of uncertainty when adjusting to new processes. Please be assured we are doing as much as we can to alleviate any concerns students may raise to ensure completion of their term without interruption. We also recognize that these modifications also provide unique opportunities. Our Spring term courses are more accessible than ever to those outside our regular proximity or availability. We are encouraged by the students or individuals who choose to take advantage of these courses being offered.
The majority of our staff and faculty continue to work from home with limited access to voicemail. As such, we encourage communication by email, found at the Faculty and Administration page on our website. Cleaning services will be maintained as an essential service with mail services restricted to once per week. For emergency access to the building within regular office hours (Monday-Friday, 8:30am-4:30pm), please contact Phil Strickland at firstname.lastname@example.org or 905.525.9140 x24981.
We plan to revisit these parameters by April 9th and will continue to post updates as the situation develops.
March 17, 2020 – Update
As of March 17, 2020, MDC will only remain open for essential services. The majority of our staff and faculty will be working from home. Only very limited staff will be present in the building, and as such, we are limiting access to only our main entrance during this time. Our focus will be on helping our students complete their term and the activities required to do so. All precautions will be taken to practice social distancing where in-person meetings are necessary. All students are asked to study from home and only visit campus for a required academic reason, as advised by a member of the staff.
We plan to implement these changes until March 31, 2020, making adjustments based on the outlook of the pandemic situation.
We want to ensure our lines of communication are open during this time. Staff and faculty are most easily reached by email, which can be found on our Faculty and Administration page.
It is certainly a challenge to adjust to these new ways of studying and working but we are encouraged by the ways we have already seen our community adapting and rising to help those in need in healthcare, in pastoral ministry, and here at MDC. We pray for safety for all and look forward to being all together in our building again soon.
March 16, 2020 – Update
As we continue to obtain new information regarding COVID-19 and the recommendations from public health officials, MDC is asking all students to work from home until further notice. This includes closing all study rooms and GA Offices. In an effort to limit in-person contact, students should only visit campus for a required academic reason, as advised by a member of the staff. Doctoral defences and oral comps will take place as scheduled in an online format to reduce group gatherings, while written exams will continue in individually assigned rooms. At this time, staff will continue to maintain essential services while adhering to preventative measures.
Please check back for new developments regarding upcoming events.
March 13, 2020 – Update
Letter from the President
Important Announcement regarding COVID-19
Dear MDC Community,
In light of recent events surrounding the continuing spread of COVID-19 and as a precautionary measure, McMaster Divinity College will be cancelling all in-person (face-to-face) classes after the end of day Friday, March 13, 2020. Instead, classes will be moved to online delivery for the remainder of the Winter 2020 term.
Additionally, all co-curricular activities and events are cancelled. This includes Chapel, Theological Research Seminars, Guild meetings, Linguistics Circle, Preview Days, and student gatherings. MDC will still remain open for essential services.
Faculty members and course instructors, in consultation with the VP Academic, will be communicating with students soon regarding how courses will be administered for the remainder of the term so that courses may be completed within the scope of the current academic calendar.
We want to assure all students, but especially those in the final stages of their programs, that MDC is making it a priority to ensure students complete their courses within the normal Winter 2020 timeframe.
Students should take the following actions regarding their courses:
- Log in to Avenue to Learn and make sure that you can access all course shells for all your current courses
- Email your course instructor and cc Dr. Francis Pang (email@example.com) if you are not able to access a particular course shell
Any non-essential public events on campus are being cancelled as of Friday, March 13, 2020 as well.
Public Health Officials recommend taking appropriate precautions to help prevent infection including:
- Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance.
- Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Avoid normal forms of contact (handshaking, etc.).
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
- Maintain at least 2 metres (6 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
- Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth.
- Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.
- Keep up to date on information regarding COVID-19, especially areas where the virus is spreading. If possible, avoid traveling and large crowds, especially if you are an older person, are immuno-compromised, or have diabetes, heart or lung disease.
- If you or a relative have recently traveled to a place where COVID-19 is spreading widely, please follow public health guidelines for self-isolation.
We will continue to monitor the situation regarding COVID-19 and update you accordingly. Please continue to check this page for regular updates on this rapidly developing situation.
Stanley E. Porter, PhD
President and Dean
Ontario Ministry of Health
Government of Canada Public Health