COVID-19 Updates

COVID-19 Update from the Faculty of Medicine
Information

Information

During this time of uncertainty in regards to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us are worried or scared. This is a stressful time for everyone. Please take the necessary health precautions but also take care of your mental health. Reach out to friends and family and look after yourself and others. Social distancing is not equal to isolation. 

If you feel anxious, scared or have any other mental health concerns, please contact the Faculty Wellness Program by phone at 613-562-5800 x 8507 or by email at wellness@uottawa.ca.

Here are some additional ways you take care of your mental health and well-being in the face of uncertainty.

The situation is evolving rapidly and we ask that you please visit the uOttawa coronavirus website as well as the Faculty’s special website dedicated to COVID-19 updates for further updates.

May 27

The purpose of this communication is to specifically reach out to you and let you know that the Faculty of Medicine and the Office of Graduate and Postgraduate Studies are here to support you in your efforts to both work from home and to return to on-site research. The Faculty of Medicine, Research Institutes and affiliated Hospitals have begun planning to undertake  a progressive and phased approach to return to research. Heath and safety is the priority above all other considerations as we restart research operations. Details of these plans will be communicated to you and the research community as soon as possible. More information on return to research for Roger Guindon Hall and Peter Morand sites can be found at the Research Office COVID-19 webpage (https://med.uottawa.ca/research-innovation/updates-regarding-covid-19). The affiliated institutes will be sharing their specific plans with their staff and trainees.

It is very important to us that we hear from our trainees. We encourage you to reach out to us if you have concerns about returning to your research laboratories, feel in any way that you are unable to fulfill your work duties from home, or for any situations that create additional challenges for you. To this end, we our encouraging you to reach out directly to your Program Directors or the Vice-Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies to discuss any challenges you may have.

Below is a summary of the current updates on changes to the graduates programs due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as important dates and general information. The situation is evolving rapidly and we ask that you please visit the uOttawa website as well as the Faculty’s special website dedicated to COVID-19 updates for further updates.

Current program changes (as of May 26, 2020, until further notice):
Thesis oral defences (PhD and MSc; all programs)

Defences will go forward as planned via videoconference. The candidate, supervisor(s), examination committee members and the chair of the defence will all participate at a distance. Candidates may choose to postpone their defences with no penalties.

Transfer exams (BCH, MIC, CMM and NSC graduate programs)

These exams will be held online via videoconference. The candidate, supervisor(s), and members of the examination committee will all participate at a distance. The transfer exam must be successfully completed before the end of the 5th term. Students wishing to postpone their transfer exams should contact their program director.

Comprehensive exams (BCH, MIC, CMM and NSC graduate programs)

These exams will be held online via videoconference. The candidate, supervisor(s), and members of the examination committee will all participate at a distance. The exam must be successfully completed before the end of the 6th term. Candidates may choose to postpone their defences by 1 term with no penalties.

Comprehensive exam (EPI PhD program)

Those students who have registered to write the comprehensive exam for the PhD program in epidemiology in September, 2020 will be contacted by the examination committee in the coming weeks with information about the format of the exam.

TAC meetings (all programs)

TAC meetings will go forward as planned via videoconference.

Graduate courses

All courses will be delivered online for the summer and fall terms.

Work related travel

Prohibited until further notice.

Funding/admission scholarship support
Stipend

Stipend will be maintained following the Faculty of Medicine stipend policy.

Admission scholarship/Graduate Studies scholarship

No announcement has been made by the University regarding a possible extension of the admission or graduate studies scholarships.

Tuition/ancillary fees
Tuition fees

Tuition fees remain the same for the spring/summer term. Tuition payment deadlines have been pushed back.

Ancillary fees

Ancillary fees have been reduced for the spring/summer term.

No announcement has been made by the University regarding the tuition/ancillary fees for the fall term.

Important dates
  • June 19: Last day to submit a thesis for evaluation and receive a 100% financial credit for the spring/summer term.
  • July 17: Last day to submit a thesis for evaluation and receive a 50% financial credit for the spring/summer term.
  • August 31: Last day of the spring–summer term to submit a thesis without having to enrol in the fall term.
  • October 2: Last day to submit a thesis and receive a 100% financial credit for the fall term.
  • November 6: Last day to submit a thesis and receive a 50% financial credit for the fall term.
  • December 22: Last day of the fall term to submit a thesis without having to enrol in the winter term.
Contact information

March 27, 2020

Please take note of the changes to Spring 2020 Convocation Ceremonies.


March 25, 2020

In the context of the COVID-19 crisis, many of you may be wondering how your assignments and exams will be submitted and assessed at the end of the term.

You may also be concerned about the impact of the current situation on your ability to write your exams and submit remaining assignments.

The Faculty of Medicine is aware of these concerns and has therefore adopted a series of exceptional measures, in the context of a broader social and public health environment that is equally exceptional. These measures are intended to reduce the pressure and tensions that are burdening all of us currently, while ensuring that you can complete your courses, meet your academic milestones and obtain your diploma in a timely manner.

These measures were discussed and approved by the TMM and graduate program directors. Rest assured that we all desire to support you through these difficult times.

  1. Professors who teach courses with a written assignment (example: essay, take home exam) with a submission date before the end of the session and before the exam period are strongly encouraged to accept late work without penalty for at least 7 days after the scheduled submission date.
  2. The Faculty will offer to each student, after receiving the final alphanumeric mark, the possibility of choosing between the alphanumeric final mark or a final mark of Satisfactory / Non Satisfactory (S/NS), for each of their courses. Please note that a S/NS score has no impact on your cumulative average for the previous session, either upward or downward.

    Converting to S-NS can, in some cases, adversely impact your ability to obtain or continue to receive scholarships, and/or your admission to certain programs (professional faculties and graduate studies). So, when making this decision, we strongly suggest that you carefully weigh the pros and cons. For any questions, please contact grad.med@uottawa.ca.

    During the first week of April, the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Office will contact you to explain how to request an S / NS score.

For any questions or concerns about these measures, please do not hesitate to contact us.


March 23, 2020

Funding support for Graduate students and Postdoctoral fellows

Further to our communication on March 19, 2020, we wish to reassure trainees (graduate students and Postdoctoral Fellows) that their regular level of stipend/scholarship support will continue while working remotely from home in following with Public Health Agencies recommendations.

We are working with the University on sustainable solutions to maintain funding support for the months to come should this situation continues for months (more information to follow).

In the meantime, you should work with your supervisor to develop a personalized plan that allows you to conduct research remotely to the fullest extent possible (e.g., performing data analysis, literature review, modeling and computation, writing manuscripts and applications, and planning).

TMM Students

All TMM students should stay at home. This includes TMM3009 rotation students and Honours projects students. Classes are now online. Each course has made adjustments to it marking procedures to reflect this. Course coordinators have specific information about how this is being handled for individual courses.

Remote supervision

The current COVID-19 pandemic has required the university to find new ways to maintain academic activities and for thesis supervisors, students and postdoctoral fellows find new ways to continue research activities remotely.

Effective supervision of graduate students extends beyond the development of a plan to ensure continuity of research, and should include also mechanisms to promote accountability, ensure well-being, and foster community and connectiveness at a time when this is difficult to achieve.

To help you make the most of working from home as a Graduate Student or Postdoctoral Fellow, we have prepared guides for trainees and supervisors on best practices for continued research productivity during remote supervision. These guides also list available tools and resource at the University of Ottawa for remote supervision:


March 19, 2020

Further to our communication on March 18, 2020, we wish to emphasize the necessity to cease all non-essential, non-critical lab-based research on campus. By critical research, we mean urgent/critical work required for the preservation of irreplaceable samples and/or reagents as well as COVID-19 research.

All students (TMM students, PhD and MSc students, MD/PhD students and other trainees), and Postdoctoral fellows should not be coming into the workplace. They should be working from home in following with Public Health Agencies recommendations. Any work onsite must be with the intent of ramping down research activities and preparing for temporary closure.


Mars 18, 2020

Thesis oral defences (PhD and MSc; all programs)

The thesis defences will be held online starting March 20th. All members of the examination committee (including the candidate, the chair of the defence and the supervisor) will be connected online from different locations.

Candidates may choose to postpone their defences until such time as normal practices can be reinstated with no penalties. More information on the logistics of the defence to follow.

Transfer and comprehensive exams (BCH, MIC, CMM and NSC graduate programs)

These exams will be held online starting March 20th. All members of the examination committee (the candidate, the chair, the supervisor and the examiners) will be connected online from different locations.

Candidates may choose to postpone their exams with no penalties. More information on the logistics of the exams to follow.

Research in laboratories

We ask that you discuss with your supervisors regarding expectations for your immediate-term research. All non-essential on-site research activities must cease and no new experiments started as soon as reasonably possible (as instructed in our updates from March 16).

Essential experiments (e.g. animal work and cell culture) must be slowed down. Research must transition to remote research activities (e.g. data analysis, web surveys, paper writing, etc) as soon as possible.

All non-essential laboratory trainees (TMM students, undergraduates, graduates students and Postdoctoral fellows) should be working from home in following with Public Agencies recommendations. Depending on your individual project and stage of your program, this might be a good time to start writing the introduction to your thesis, reading foundational papers in your field, or conducting a literature review.

If you require remote access (VPN) to a research drive to work from home your supervisor will need to fill the following form from the Central IT in order to create account for you. Then, you will be able to install VPN and MedMapDrive and access research drives remotely.


March 16, 2020; 6:00 p.m.

Dear learners (TMM students, undergraduates, graduates students and Postdoctoral fellows),

Below is the current update on trainees’ research activities. We will send updates as the situation evolves. The most recent version of this document will be available on the Graduate Studies website.

Our objective is to ensure that all students can complete their program’s requirements without any delay while maintaining academic integrity.

Supervisors have been asked to finalize their own contingency plans (as instructed in the Faculty’s statement from March 13) and non-essential laboratory trainees and staff have been asked to stay home Monday, March 16, as a critical social isolation measure.

Starting March 17th and until further notice, all non-essential research activities should be stopped and no new experiments started. Ongoing experiments should be ramped down as soon as possible. Essential experiments (e.g. animal work and cell culture) should be slowed down if possible. All non-essential laboratory trainees and staff should work from home.

We ask laboratory staff and research personnel that remain in labs be vigilant in adhering to preventative measures such as social distancing (e.g. have no more than one or two person in at a time), good laboratory safety and microbiology practices (e.g. wearing adequate PPEs, sterilization,etc) and cleaning/sanitizing protocols. It is important that you discuss with your supervisor regarding expectations for your immediate-term research.

Depending on your individual project and stage of your program, this might be a good time to start writing the introduction to your thesis, reading foundational papers in your field, or conducting a literature review.


March 16, 2020; 9:50 a.m.

As you are likely aware, the University of Ottawa in accordance with Ottawa Public Health guidelines has ordered all members of the administrative staff to work from home on Monday, March 16, except those whose duties are essential to the continued operations of the campus.

As the Faculty and University finalize their contingency plans for research and to ensure operational and academic continuity as of March 17, we would ask that non-essential laboratory students and staff stay home Monday, March 16, as a critical social isolation measure.

We want to reiterate that it is imperative for each research laboratory to finalize their own contingency plans as instructed in the Faculty’s statement from Friday, March 13.


March 14, 2020

COVID-19 preparedness and mitigation is evolving quickly in Ottawa, and recommendations can change at any time. This pandemic is an international challenge that is being experienced by our colleagues around the world. Our aim at the Faculty of Medicine is to avoid unnecessary risks and to do our part to help our healthcare system cope.

Below is the current update on TMM and graduate programs activities. We will send updates as the situation evolves. Our objective is to ensure that all students can complete their program’s requirements without any delay while maintaining academic integrity.

PhD oral defence (all programs)

The thesis defense will proceed as planned but will be closed to the public. The external evaluator will participate via videoconferencing. No more than 7 persons should attend the defence in person (PhD candidate, supervisor, co-supervisor, chair of the defence, and the three internal examiners). The supervisor and the chair of the defence should attend the defence in-person; the internal examiners may attend via videoconferencing. Candidates may choose to postpone their defences with no penalties.

MSc oral defence (all programs)

The thesis defense will proceed as planned but will be closed to the public. No more than 6 persons should attend the defence (MSc candidate, supervisor, co-supervisor, chair of the defence, and the two examiners). The supervisor and the chair of the defence should attend the defence in person; the internal examiners may attend via videoconferencing. Candidates may choose to postpone their defences with no penalties.

Transfer and comprehensive exams (BCH, MIC, CMM and NSC graduate programs)

These exams will proceed as planned. At the minimum the chair, the supervisor and the candidate should be present in-person. Internal examiners may attend via videoconferencing. Candidates may choose to postpone their exams with no penalties.

TAC meetings (all programs)

Students should submit the written report on the due date but in-person TAC meetings are cancelled until further notice.

Poster days and symposiums (BCH, MIC, CMM and NSC graduate programs)

Cancelled until further notice. Program requirements will be fulfilled using different means of evaluation. More information to follow.

PHR courses

All courses will transition to online formats starting March 18th.

PHR practicum

Practicum will continue normally unless otherwise notified.

TMM courses

All courses will transition to online formats starting March 18th.

TMM interviews

Interviews will be conducted online.

TMM 3009 rotation project oral session

Cancelled.

TMM Honours project oral session

Cancelled.

TMM 3009 rotation and Honour’s project

Lab work will continue normally unless otherwise notified.

Graduate courses (all programs)

Classes are cancelled on Monday March 16 and Tuesday March 17. All in-class courses will transition to online formats starting March 18th.

MSc and PhD research

Supervisors have been asked to start considering how their lab’s activities might be prioritized and scaled down in response to a partial or more comprehensive shutdown of research facilities, should that be required as the situation progresses. Please check with your supervisor regarding expectations for your immediate-term research.

Depending on your individual project and stage of your program, this might be a good time to start writing the introduction to your thesis, reading foundational papers in your field, or conducting a literature review.

Work related travel

Work-related travel (e.g. academic conferences, presentations, etc.), both within and outside of Canada, by uOttawa staff and students is prohibited until further notice. This decision was made in consultation with the Ottawa Hospital, and follows the same decision made at Sunnybrook and University Health Network, due to the risk of COVID-19 transmission at mass gatherings as outlined by the Government of Canada.

Personal travel

It is recommended that students considering personal travel make a careful decision as travel may be disrupted, and/or you may be required to be in quarantine upon your return.

A reminder that it is now mandatory for students and staff to register for any travel outside of Canada for official studies, research or work through the uOttawa International Travel Registry. Registration is strongly recommended for faculty members.

Taking a few moments to register your travel details will allow the University to provide you with access to alerts and travel advice from International SOS and enable us to contact you directly in the event of an emergency.

If you have questions regarding your travel insurance, please check with your insurance provider.

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