A different approach to the Thanksgiving break

 Taking a different approach to Thanksgiving

With a long Thanksgiving weekend ahead, it’s important to remember the advice of public health officials to stay safe and help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Limiting interactions to people within your household and keeping strict physical distancing rules in place is the guidance from federal, provincial and local public health officials.

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, Theresa Tam, has advised Canadians to come up with “holiday hacks” and keep in-person, indoor gatherings small and only with those you live with.

Likewise, Hamilton’s Medical Officer of Health, Elizabeth Richardson, is encouraging people to be more innovative in their Thanksgiving celebrations, swapping in alternatives to tradition such as hiking with family outdoors or hosting virtual family dinners.

Even though Thanksgiving and the fall reading week are traditional times for many students to return home to spend time with families, they are being encouraged to carefully consider any travel plans or get-togethers during a week away from classes.

COVID-19 Self-Reporting Tool and Rapid Response Team

As COVID-19 cases increase across the province, McMaster continues to prioritize health and safety. This includes encouraging the prompt reporting of confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19, by staff, faculty and students, which has been made easier through the self-reporting tool in Mosaic.

The university asks all students, faculty and staff to go onto Mosaic to report positive COVID-19 test results or close contact with an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19.

This tool is confidential and helps the university track confirmed and potential cases on campus and ensure appropriate cleaning and safety protocols are put into place quickly.

Reporting is sent directly to McMaster’s Rapid Response team to ensure appropriate measures are taken. The team then assesses the areas of prolonged contact, determines potential access and travel routes, and facilitates a prompt, thorough clean in those areas. The Rapid Response team ensures those who report are connected quickly with McMaster health and other supports, and that the information is promptly communicated to the McMaster community.


Another tool to assist with awareness of COVID-19 is the federal government’s COVID Alert app. The free app alerts users if they may have been exposed to COVID-19, delivers advice on what to do next and tells other app users if someone nearby has tested positive. The app does not store any personal data and will not alert users about any outbreaks in their city or neighbourhood.

For more information and to download the app, click here.