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Important : Resumption of distance learning activities and other information

March 19, 2020

Dear Université de Montréal student:

We hope that you are well and that you and your loved ones are bearing up under with the stress of this extraordinary situation. Your university is with you under these circumstances, which have no precedent in our society’s recent history.

We have several important pieces of information to share with you, including the resumption of distance learning activities. Please read these directives carefully. Much of what follows is also of interest to teachers and administrative and support staff.

Resumption of teaching activities

  • All in-person teaching activities remain suspended until further notice.
  • Starting Saturday, March 21, teaching activities that can be conducted in distance-learning mode – and only those teaching activities – can resume. “Distance learning” refers not only to online classes but to all forms of instruction other than in-person teaching.
  • The first session after the resumption of instruction must not be devoted, in whole or in part, to an exam, test or submission of an assignment.
  • IMPORTANT: To find out which courses are resuming on March 21, students should check their UdeM email inbox (@umontreal.ca) or Studium. The faculties will inform students through these channels of how classes will resume in distance-learning mode.
  • STUDIUM: Students will find in Studium information on technological and other tools that could be useful to them in their courses, and on the support that will be available to help them complete their semester remotely.
  • ATTENTION: Course content posted online by teachers, recorded or not, is subject to the same intellectual property rights as content provided in class. Reproducing and disseminating it in any way whatsoever without express authorization is strictly prohibited and could lead to disciplinary action.
  • In this time of severe stress, some students may require psychological support. Students can call the Aspiria 24/7 psychological helpline made available by ASEQ, the student health insurance plan, at any time. While it is closed for the moment, the UdeM health and psychological consultation centre (CSCP) is following, by e-mail and phone, the people it has already treated. The CSCP team is also working to make online psychological sessions available to students who need help. We will let you know as soon as the service is available.

Relaxation of rules concerning studies and admissions

  • Changes to dates and weighting of evaluations. Due to the special circumstances, teachers may, if necessary, make adjustments to the dates and/or weighting of evaluations for the Winter 2020 semester without consulting students. 
  • Course withdrawals. The deadline for dropping courses that had not been completed by March 13 is extended by two weeks.
  • Absence at a test. As of Thursday, March 26, students who need to be absent at an evaluation will have to report it by filling out a new form available on the Centre étudiant. From the time this form is available until the end of the Winter 2020 semester, students will not be required to submit a document attesting to the reason for their absence. The form will be automatically forwarded to the program head for approval.
  • Students with disabilities. Many students with disabilities require accommodations for test-taking. We encourage teachers to be flexible with evaluation procedures for these students. The Disability Support Service can assist you if needed.
  • Teacher evaluations. Student evaluation of teaching is cancelled for the Winter semester.
  • Possible extension of the semester. The end of the Winter 2020 semester is still set at April 30. Our goal remains to complete as many courses as possible by April 30. However, we are aware that some educational activities, such as placements and lab work, cannot be done remotely and they may therefore be extended. We are giving ourselves until May 22 to complete all courses, and if necessary some could even be extended beyond that date. 
  • Registration for Fall 2020. Registration for the Fall 2020 semester on the Centre étudiant will open on April 16 instead of April 2.
  • Thesis defence and comprehensive exam. As previously announced, thesis defences will be conducted remotely until further notice. For this purpose, participants are encouraged to use the technological tools available to the academic community. The University will be flexible in applying the rules if a thesis defence has to be postponed. The same instructions apply to the oral section of the comprehensive exam.
  • Research design and ethics committee. Assessment of research design and research protocols is subject to the same rules as courses. Activities resume next week. Please contact the secretary (TGDE) for your program to confirm the date. As well, the ethics committees will continue meeting remotely. Submissions must be made as scheduled.

General Information

  • The University remains open and staff are on the job. However, in accordance with government directives, much of the work continues to be done remotely (telework).
  • Open or closed? For health reasons, many university services for students and the public are closed. To find out which university services are open and which are closed, see the list.
  • Starting tomorrow, Friday, March 20, access to the buildings will be restricted. Only the main entrances will be open.
  • The libraries are closed and will remain closed until further notice.

Please bear in mind that, in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus, it is very important to keep gatherings to a minimum and to follow the social-distancing guidelines recommended by public health authorities.

We encourage you to visit the Urgence UdeM website regularly. Important: our FAQ will be updated later today to reflect the new information in this announcement.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us at urgence@umontreal.ca or call the government’s COVID-19 general information line at 1 877 644 4545.

Coronavirus update

March 16, 2020

Dear Member of the Université de Montréal Community,

On March 13, the Government of Québec declared a health emergency. I would like to update you on this unprecedented situation, which is evolving hour by hour, and to inform you of the latest measures that the University is implementing to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

Return to work

We are asking staff to resume work starting tomorrow, Tuesday, March 17, but to work remotely in order to limit the spread of the virus. We will thus be able to start preparing for next steps.

In our discussions with government officials over the weekend, we were told that institutions of higher education must continue functioning while keeping physical presence on campuses to a minimum.

Some UdeM employees may be asked to report to the campus to perform their duties: managers will contact the employees under their responsibility to determine what tasks they will be assigned and how those tasks are to be performed. We are asking managers to be flexible, particularly with regard to work-life balance.

We remind employees who must work on campus of the precautions they should take and the social-distancing guidelines they should follow. You may use the outdoor parking lots on UdeM’s main campus free of charge if you wish to avoid using public transit.

All UdeM employees will continue to be paid.

Suspension of activities

As previously announced, all educational activities, including exams and assignments, are suspended for the time being. We are aiming to resume teaching activities on Saturday, March 21 at the earliest, but only by distance learning or other means that do not involve in-person teaching. There will be no classroom instruction, even in small groups.

I would remind you that all cultural and sporting activities, conferences and talks are cancelled or postponed. Libraries, food services, the CEPSUM and all clinics are also closed, with the exception of the veterinary hospital, which is operating in emergency mode. The residences remain open and the buildings on our campuses remain accessible.

The end-of-term challenge

Over the next few days, we will focus our efforts on preparing to transition to distance learning or other means that do not involve in-person teaching for the remainder of the semester. In collaboration with teaching staff, we will identify and implement transitional measures to make the end of the semester as smooth and of as high a standard as possible.

Our IT and teaching support services are working with faculty teams to support teachers who need help adapting their teaching methods. The goal is to enable all our students to complete the semester in accordance with our institution's standards.

Many workplaces – particularly in the health and social services system, which is so critical at this time – are waiting eagerly for our future graduates. We must make sure our students can join those institutions and support their current staff as soon as possible.

To students

Like staff, students are asked to refrain from coming to our campuses until further notice. We encourage students to regularly check their @umontreal.ca email inbox and to use any other means previously agreed upon with their teachers to receive instructions.

Return to Canada

UdeM is asking members of the university community to follow the Government of Canada's recommendation, issued on Saturday, for Canadian travellers to return home as soon as possible. Students who are currently abroad for study purposes should consult the Séjour à l'étranger section of our FAQ for instructions to facilitate their return to Canada.

Closure of research laboratories

Research teams are asked to immediately cease all in-person activities until March 27 inclusively. Research laboratories must close; only activities essential for maintenance of the research facilities and work on experiments that have already begun and are deemed vital may continue.

Research efforts aimed at responding to the COVID-19 threat will continue unabated but must comply with social distancing guidelines. Animal care activities are also considered essential and will be maintained.

Stay informed

This grave and unprecedented situation is causing members of our community considerable stress and I want to assure you that we will do everything we can to deal with it. I thank our teams, who have been working tirelessly for weeks to find solutions to the issues we face. Their determination and dedication are a testament to our community's resilience.

We encourage you to visit the Urgence UdeM site regularly. Only important messages of general interest are being sent by e-mail. Additional information is posted only on the website, which is being updated continuously. In the event of absence related to COVID-19 or for any other human resources matter, we advise staff to go to Mon Portail UdeM. You can write to us with any questions or concerns at any time at urgence@umontreal.ca.

In closing, I want to reiterate our determination to weather this storm together with you. Every day, I see the solidarity in our community and I am grateful to all of you for it.

Guy Breton
Rector

Coronavirus update

March 13, 2020

Dear Member of the Université de Montréal Community,

The University is suspending all teaching activities until further notice, in accordance with the government decision announced earlier today. The suspension includes both in‑person and online classes. For student placements, instructions will be sent tonight to department heads, who will contact the students.

We want to reassure our students about the remainder of the semester. The University is currently assessing all options so that teaching can resume, either remotely or by another method that meets both the demands of this exceptional moment and academic requirements.

Notice to staff about Monday

We are informing all staff that the weekend is being extended up to the morning of Tuesday, March 17. There will be no work on Monday and employees will be paid for the day. 

Only essential services will be provided during this period, including basic animal care, IT, security and similar services. The administration will contact the employees whose services will be required on our campuses.

The University will contact staff again on Monday with instructions about work up to the end of the suspension ordered by the government. Employees are asked to check their e‑mail or the University's website late Monday for information about returning to work.

Open or closed?

The University remains open. However, many services will be closed. 

The clinics on campus that host student placements will be closed, with the exception of the veterinary hospital, which will continue to operate in emergency mode. The Centre de santé et de consultation psychologique remains open.

Starting Saturday, March 14, the CEPSUM will be closed for an indefinite period. The libraries will remain open.

We will provide a detailed list of which services are open and closed on Monday.

In this fast‑changing situation, I want you to know that we are doing our utmost to make the best possible decisions in the interest of everyone's health and safety, without losing sight of our core mission: to educate our students, support them until they graduate, and contribute to the advancement of knowledge.

The University administration continues to monitor the situation closely. We will keep you informed of any decisions and actions.

We encourage you to consult the Urgence UdeM site. You can also write to us at urgence@umontreal.ca if you have any questions or concerns. As well, the government has set up a COVID‑19 general information line: dial 1‑877‑644‑4545

Guy Breton

Rector

Coronavirus: New Measures

March 12, 2020

Dear Community Member,

The University administration has been closely following developments with the global coronavirus epidemic for the past several weeks. The management committee is assessing the situation on a daily basis, with the support of the units and our experts in epidemiology, and it is regularly updating our measures to safeguard our community’s health and safety.

In light of the latest developments and the recommendations made earlier today by Québec Premier François Legault, the University has decided to take the following five actions:

Cancellation of teaching and research activities abroad for students.

All teaching and research activities organized by the University abroad are cancelled until the beginning of the fall semester, whether or not they are in an area currently considered to be a high-risk zone. The University is in regular contact with students who are abroad for study and is assessing their return on a case-by-case basis.

Travel restrictions.

As of March 12 and until the start of the fall semester, the University is cancelling all travel by administrative and support staff outside Québec for professional reasons. In addition, the University strongly advises teaching staff not to travel to the rest of Canada or abroad. We also recommend that members of the university community avoid all travel outside the country for personal reasons. Members of the community should be aware that if they do not follow these guidelines, they may not be covered by UdeM’s medical and cancellation insurance plans.

Self-isolation after travel.

As Premier Legault announced, we are asking all staff and students who have returned from a trip outside Canada since March 12 to self-isolate for 14 days as a precaution, regardless of what country they visited. Employees returning from travel abroad should notify their manager as soon as possible. Students who need to self-isolate are asked to fill out the voluntary declaration form (GEN_COVID_19) available at the Centre étudiant under the “Formulaires” tab.

Suspension or postponement of classes with 250 students or more.

In accordance with the government's recommendation, the University is suspending all classes and other in-person teaching activities involving more than 250 students. Affected teaching staff and students will receive instructions shortly. Among other things, the various measures circulated to all teaching staff earlier this week may be implemented. 

Cancellation or postponement of major special events.

All special events involving large gatherings will be cancelled or postponed. This measure is effective as of March 13 and covers all activities other than teaching or research conducted to meet the requirements for a degree or for the purposes of a research project. The cancelled activities include, but are not limited to, graduation ceremonies, conferences, cultural activities, sports events, student celebrations, the “Les Belles Soirées” lecture series, galas, ceremonial events, etc. The purpose is to limit gatherings as much as possible, since they are vectors of virus transmission. Outside organizations planning an activity at one of our campuses will be informed that the University will advise members of the UdeM community not to attend.

These measures will remain in effect until the situation returns to normal. The University is leaving it to the discretion of the units to decide whether working meetings involving a significant number of people (e.g., faculty councils) should be held as planned, postponed or conducted remotely using technological means.  

The University administration continues to monitor the situation closely. Other measures may be announced in the coming days. We will keep you informed of any decisions and actions.

We encourage you to consult the Urgence UdeM site, particularly our regularly updated FAQ (fr). You can also write to us at urgence@umontreal.ca if you have any questions or concerns. 

Guy Breton
Rector