A Message to our Graduate Community
The COVID-19 situation has required governments and organizations to take drastic action. Ontario has declared a state of emergency, and there are new restrictions at the US-Canada border.
The clear message to the world is to stay home and limit contact with others. Consistent with this, we are now asking all graduate students to transition to work off-campus. To provide a reasonable period of transition, we are asking that students fully complete all on-campus work by March 27th. This will provide an opportunity for a staged and orderly work transition.
We know this may prove challenging for some students, but we need to continue as a community to strive for social distancing to “flatten the curve” and to break the cycle of transmission. The more that we all adopt these measures, the sooner these extraordinary measures can end. The health and safety of our students at Trent University is our top priority. With minimal supports available on campus, it’s important that students consult with their supervisor and start to wind down campus work. Please start winding down on-campus work in consultation with your supervisor. We hope that this disruption will not be long. Although on-campus work is temporarily suspended, work off campus can continue. Those pursuing fieldwork off-campus within Canada can still continue the research if it can be done safely. Please speak with your supervisor about how you might be able to continue aspects of your research off-campus. Finally, thesis defences, committee meetings, and candidacy/qualifying exams can continue through the use of teleconference software.
If you are working as a GTA this term, your full funding will be provided to you, no matter what classroom arrangements are made.
We understand that some work is essential and equipment maintenance could be required despite the closure. Supervisors can request access for personnel to access research facilities by completing the Emergency Access Request Form. Forms must be submitted 24 hours in advance of the requested time for access. The rationale for graduate student access must demonstrate that failure to access the campus will result in equipment failures, or loss of animal, plant, or cell culture life. Completed forms are to be emailed to the Office of Research and Innovation with the subject line: Emergency Access Request. Those who are approved to attend campus for these purposes must notify security when they arrive and leave, take their waste with them, and scan for health and safety issues before they leave.
I appreciate that many questions remain unanswered. This is an unprecedented situation, and we want you to know that this is being done to ensure the safety of our students. We are also acutely aware that these decisions will impact your studies. We hope that this disruption will be of limited duration and we will provide more information in the coming days and weeks.
Dean of Graduate Studies