Monday, March 23, 2020

Message from the President: A New Normal For the Next While

March 23, 2020

Good morning everybody,

Hope you had a great weekend and were able to take some time off on the heels of one of the most challenging weeks in our history. We came through as a community, but we are not out of the woods yet. This situation will last a while and our next challenge will be to settle into this new normal as well as we can.

How long exactly it will last is difficult to predict, but federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu very clearly expressed that: “This is not about two weeks of social distancing, this is about months of social distancing,” and warned that “more and more stringent measures” could be put in place to keep people in their own homes.

Organizations locally and nationally are suspending large in-person gatherings. Notably, the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, scheduled to take place in London, ON, from May 30 to June 5, will move online. Events worldwide, like the Cannes Film Festival and the Glastonbury Festival, are also being postponed or cancelled. The largest gathering of them all, the Tokyo Olympics (July 24 – August 9, 2020), is drafting contingency plans, and this morning it was announced that Team Canada will not send athletes to the games, should they be held.

At this time events are officially suspended at Carleton until April 30. The COVID-19 Steering Committee is currently considering to extend this period at least through May. The next big decision concerns our spring Convocation (June 8-12, 2020), and we will be looking at all options for postponement over the course of the week.

Our great decanal team and the academic leadership in each department are strategically adapting course offerings for the summer 2020 term at Carleton, which will be offered through online and other methods of distance learning. Available courses will be posted on Carleton Central on April 6, 2020, and registration will open on April 16, 2020. The summer term will start as planned on May 4, 2020.

In the same vein, we can expect that most members of our community will continue to work from home for the next while. We must all find ways to adapt to this situation as comfortably as possible and, while everyone’s situation is different, these Top Ten Tips for Employees Working Remotely offer useful high-level advice.

We must all contribute to broader societal efforts, and Carleton is answering the call of the federal government to identify stocks of personal protective equipment and supplies from laboratories that might help the health system cope with this crisis. We are also working with partners to propose innovative solutions to address potential shortages of essential equipment.

As always, any questions not answered by Carleton’s COVID-19 information website and its FAQ section should be forwarded to covidinfo@carleton.ca.

Please ensure that the information you read and share online comes from credible sources like Ottawa Public Health, the Ontario Ministry of Health or the Public Health Agency of Canada, as the spread of misinformation poses a significant risk to the health and safety of our community.

On a positive note, we are heading into spring and will soon be able to take advantage of warmer weather. For now, we just need to settle into this new normal and take it one day at a time.

Have a good day everyone,
Benoit

Benoit-Antoine Bacon
President and Vice-Chancellor

Monday, March 23, 2020 in , , , , , , ,
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