Over the last few days we have initiated many important actions to help "flatten the curve" and reduce the spread of COVID-19. Across Ontario, Universities have suspended in-person instruction and are moving to technology-assisted solutions and other forms of delivery, cancelled events and large gatherings, and implemented various forms of travel restriction.
In our response to this evolving situation, we are guided by a focus on the health and safety of our campus community, enabling students to successfully complete their academic year, supporting employees through these transitions, and timely communication. We remain informed by and responsive to direction of public health authorities. There are no known cases of COVID-19 on Trent’s campuses.
Yesterday we advised that in-person classes were suspended, resuming Wednesday, March 18th in online or virtual formats. Further, it was decided there will be no face-to-face exams on campus. Instructors will communicate with students through Blackboard or via email regarding the arrangements for the final three weeks of the term and final assessment approaches. Students that are in placements will hear directly from their program director.
University buildings and residences remain open, and until otherwise notified, staff and faculty should report to work as usual. There is a comprehensive list of questions and answers on the Trent website including a section on human resources matters that arise from illness, social isolation, and working from home. We will continue to update these as the situation evolves, and I encourage you to check these frequently. If you still have questions, you can speak with your manager/ supervisor, or email email@example.com. Note that confidential HR matters should be addressed with your manager/ supervisor or HR directly.
All events and large gatherings on campus are cancelled, postponed or will be offered virtually. Decisions on when events can resume will be made in accordance with the evolving situation. It is prudent to assume that all events in March and April will not be able to proceed. Discussions are underway about convocation in June, but it is premature to make any decisions.
All university-related international travel has been suspended until further notice, and public health authorities advise against all international travel or cruises. Members of the Trent community travelling internationally on personal matters are advised to check for travel warnings on the Government of Canada’s travel advisory website. Public health advises that travelers returning from international travel should self-isolate for 14 days.
You will note additional hand sanitizers throughout our buildings and locations, as well as wellness tips and handwashing reminders on our digital signs throughout campus. More posters and signage will be implemented in the coming days providing information on social distancing and alternatives to hugs and handshakes like the virtual high five, elbow and foot bump. Additional training has been provided for facilities staff on disinfection and sanitization. Unused classrooms are being locked after cleaning to ensure they remain clean.
The spread of COVID-19 and the changes to our daily lives is unsettling for many. We appreciate the added burdens it places on departments, and the stress it may be causing for students and members of the Trent community. Lifeworks, Trent’s confidential Employee Assistance Provider, is available to employees and their dependents 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at no cost www.lifeworks.com. Students who need to can access Trent counselling services during office hours at 705-748-1386, or visit Blackburn Hall Suite 113. Please check the FAQ on student services. Additionally, support is available through I. M. Well at 1-877-234-5327 or the Good2Talk helpline: 1-866-925-5454.
The University’s COVID-19 Emergency Operations Control Group is meeting regularly to respond to new developments and plan for a variety of scenarios. I encourage you to check the university’s Coronavirus website every day. Important updates will be posted there. If you still have questions, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. This will help us as we share important questions and answers with others.
Thank you for your efforts and patience as we work our way through a challenging situation. I am confident that Trent will emerge from it stronger than ever.
President & Vice-Chancellor