Back to Mac: Instructor Guide to September

With days to go before the start of the fall semester, instructors have questions about what to expect. This guide is intended to provide key information you will need for the first few weeks of term. 

We each have a role to play in keeping ourselves and our community safe. 

In this guide: 


Employee checklist 

Before coming to campus 

While on campus 

Working together to keep you and campus safe 

  • Requiring vaccination: The scientific evidence in support of vaccination as the best defense against new COVID-19 infections is overwhelmingly compelling and McMaster’s own infectious disease experts agree.  
  • Ventilation assessment and upgrades: McMaster’s ventilation plan involves assessing and making any required updates to the ventilation systems. 
  • Enhanced cleaning: McMaster has a comprehensive cleaning and disinfecting plan that includes increased cleaning of high-touch surfaces. 
  • Hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes: These are provided in public spaces. 
  • Signage: Our buildings have been equipped with clear signage providing direction on masking, hand washing, screening requirements including symptoms and staying home when sick, and other health and safety measures. 
  • Masks: As per provincial regulations, non-medical masks or face coverings continue to be required in all indoor spaces, and in outdoor settings when 2 metre distance cannot be maintained. Complete guidelines and protocols here.
  • Safety requirements for individuals: Everything you’re required to do, others are too. We expect the whole community to follow health and safety measures set out by the University and the province, including wearing a mask, doing the daily COVID-19 screening via MacCheck, completing required training, uploading proof of vaccination or exemption, and following good hygiene practices.

Reminders for all fall teaching 

A2L Course Shells: If you have not already added course information and a welcome message with student expectations to your Avenue to Learn course shell, please do so as soon as possible. Course shells are available upon request. 

Course Outlines: Course Outline Approved Advisory Statements are provided in the Undergraduate Course Management Policy (pages 10 to 12) and should be included in your course outline, if not already there. These statements cover online academic integrity, online proctoring, and a few other topics for online learning.  

December Examinations: All December exams are still being scheduled to occur remotely. Exceptional circumstances may be identified for exams in courses previously identified to be delivered in-person and identified as a priority due to program accreditation or other considerations. Changes to examination venues will require consultation with and approval from your Faculty Associate Dean’s Office or Program Office. 

Reminders for in-person teaching

Building hours: Buildings on campus opened on Monday, August 30, Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Starting September 7th, the schedule for opening and closing of buildings will be adjusted to cover class times. 

First weeks of classes: Classes begin on Tuesday September 7, but if you have in-person components planned and approved, you may choose to meet remotely until the week of September 13 or 20.  Please inform your students when you expect your in-person components will begin through a message posted on Avenue to Learn in advance of the beginning of term.  

Vaccine verification for in-person class components: The university will cross-reference individual submission of proof of vaccination or exemption status with enrolment in an in-person course component. Students will be notified routinely if they have not completed their vaccine declaration or received an approved exemption before October 18. Given that the university will be checking vaccination/exemption status of enrolled students, instructors and staff in in-person learning spaces and classrooms will not need to check for daily approval to come to campus. Instructors and staff should not ask for vaccination status. 

Mask enforcement: Masks or face coverings are required in all indoor public spaces on campus, which includes classrooms. If you have a student in your classroom or learning space without a mask or face covering, it may be that they require an accommodation for medical, religious, or other reasons. Please refer the student(s) to Student Accessibility Services (SAS) for an approved accommodation, and in the meantime, you can refer them to the class recording through Echo360 or an alternative lecture capture tool and ask that they leave until an appropriate accommodation is established.   

Accounting for potential absences: Please account for possible student absences in your course and the flexibility that may be required throughout the term. Similarly, if you are unable to come to campus due to symptoms or exposure to COVID-19, of either yourself or those in your household, you should elect to teach remotely until you are clear to come back to campus. Please communicate clearly and promptly with your students if there are changes to your mode of delivery at any time. Please also communicate changes to your program lead, chair, or director. 

Leveraging Echo360: Remember that Echo360 lecture capture is available in most of our large registrar-controlled classrooms. The Campus Classroom Technologies (CCT) website is your hub to find out about the presentation equipment available in your registrar-controlled classroom.?Please make use of this resource to enable students to stay home if they fail to pass the daily COVID health screening on MacCheck. Recently, CCT and the MacPherson Institute facilitated a two-part session on how to utilize Echo360 to create a flexible learning experience. The recordings can be found here: Part 1 and Part 2.  

Co-Op, Clinical Placements, Experiential and Community-Engaged Learning: Students enrolled in co-ops, work-integrated learning or placement courses must follow the guidelines for the place of work. In some instances, there may be more stringent expectations including full vaccination before beginning the placement. It is the student’s responsibility to understand and meet the health and safety requirements of their workplace or placement. Remote placements should be an option for students who are unable to be vaccinated for human rights grounds, wherever possible. 

Guest lecturers on campus: Please consider inviting guest speakers to join remotely. Protocols for visitors are still being developed and will be shared once ready.   

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