March 26, 8:30am
Good morning everyone,
Yesterday was a day of major announcements from all levels of government. Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu invoked the Quarantine Act to impose a mandatory 14-day self-isolation order on travellers returning to Canada. Here in Ottawa, Mayor Jim Watson declared a state of emergency in the city, which allows for the deployment of emergency operations in a more nimble fashion, and also enables the city to more easily buy medical equipment.
The province unveiled Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19 (March 2020 Economic and Fiscal Update). Ontario announced $17 billion to support the health care system, the economy, and communities. This comes exactly one week after the federal announcement of an $82 billion COVID-19 emergency response package. The scale of these investments is a measure of the size and scope of the challenges we face as individuals and as a society
My previous messages focused on our situation here at Carleton. Today, I would like to take a broader view of the situation and express support, on behalf of our Carleton community, for all the people, locally and globally, who are facing difficult times. As I write this, there are more than 3,400 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada (688 in Ontario) and there have been 36 deaths (13 in Ontario) from the virus. Globally, we are nearing half a million cases, and deaths now exceed 21,000. Our hearts go out to all those who have lost loved ones and those who are dealing directly or indirectly with this illness.
Many in the broader community are also worried about their livelihoods. In the last week alone, almost one million Canadians have applied for unemployment benefits.
Here in Ottawa, across the country and around the world, people are facing severe hardship during this crisis, and we must all give thought as to how we can assist, as individuals and as an institution. As a starting point, Carleton has completed a full inventory of all our health equipment and supplies, and as of today we have gathered all items in two campus locations in preparation of donating what is needed to local and national health-care organizations. I would like to thank everyone involved in this effort.
On another note and as mentioned previously, the Provost and the Academic Continuity Committee have been hard at work this week on the matter of alternative grading options for students. This important work has now been completed and will be submitted to Senate for consideration and approval. We expect to be in a position to make an announcement tomorrow afternoon.
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.
As always, I am grateful that you take the time to read these morning updates. Stay safe everyone and have a good day.
President and Vice-Chancellor
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