McMaster University says fall term to remain online

McMaster University announced Monday that their entire fall term will be online with very few exceptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We want our students and everyone at the University to be as safe as possible, to have the support they need to be successful and to be confident that our decisions are based on public health advice,” said McMaster University President David Farrar in a letter to students and faculty today. “We know there are very real concerns regarding the evolution of the pandemic in the fall term and what that could mean for the health and well-being of every member of the McMaster community.

Exceptions will include a limited number of health care professional courses, while labs and other specialized facilities will have limited access. Ferrar is asking faculty and staff to find alternative ways of delivering related programs, including redistributing courses to allow classes that need lab time to be completed in the future. Ferrar adds that students enrolling in those programs will receive additional information directly from their departments.

Additionally, McMaster will help support their community by:

  • Investing significantly in the online experience to assist faculty in developing high quality online programs that continue to provide students with opportunities to interact with each other and their instructors.
  • Ennhancing support for all students with particular emphasis on student well-being, mental health, technical assistance, and ensuring accessibility.
  • Help ensure that first-year students are welcomed into the McMaster community, and are able to find friends and mentors, we have developed the Archway program that will bring together small groups of students with coaches to create a memorable and successful first-year experience.
  • Prioritize health and safety will significantly limit the availability of residences on campus and spaces will only be available on an exceptional basis.

“Our commitment to excellence will continue to guide our work and we hope that these decisions will help all areas of the University prioritize and focus their planning for the fall term,” said Farrar. “We believe that by making these decisions now we will create as much certainty as possible for students, faculty and staff at a time when it is impossible to predict how the pandemic will unfold.”

Farrar says that despite the pandemic, enrollment for the 2020 spring and summer terms exceeded 2019 for both domestic and international students.