‘We are encouraging staff, where possible, to work remotely’: Queen’s Principal
Queen’s University Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane is encouraging university staff and faculty, where possible, to work remotely in response to the growing COVID-19 pandemic.
“Although the university remains open at this time, we are encouraging staff, where possible, to work remotely. In light of advice from public health for greater social distancing, all offices should think about ways to organize their work to promote this,” said Deane in a letter to faculty, staff and students on Monday, March 16.
“We need to protect our community which includes our staff, faculty and students…Effective immediately, and upon the advice of public health, we are limiting all gatherings, including any work-related activities or events to no more than ten people. Social events and non-essential gatherings should be cancelled. Essential meetings should be moved on-line. Everyone should avoid any public spaces where personal distancing of two metres or more is not possible,” Deane continued.
Deane highlighted, in particular, the strains put on members of the Queen’s community feeling additional stresses as a result of the announced elementary and secondary school closures.
“Recent announcements from the province closing schools for three weeks creates pressures on parents. Our Human Resources Department is asking managers and staff to find flexibility to accommodate this strain on a significant proportion of our work force.”
In addition to instructions to staff and faculty, Deane also provided additional guidance to students.
“For students, an immediate change is that graduate programs will also be moved to remote delivery. There will be no more in person classes or labs for the duration of the term for undergraduate or graduate courses. There will be no in person exams (with the exception of comprehensives/dissertation defences), the letter said.
“Despite this change in format, our expectation is that students will complete the academic year, gaining course credits as appropriate, and those who are set to complete their programs, will do so. We are working diligently to avoid shutting down operations, but we must change the way we do things.”
“Moving to remote delivery of academic programming means many students will now complete courses from their homes. We are strongly suggesting that students living in Kingston or any of our other locations where they may temporarily reside in order to access our academic services, should go home. We are not, however, requiring people to leave. We understand not everyone has that option and we will continue to strive to keep required services in order to support those that must remain.”