COVID-19 update as the Winter term starts

As the university reopens for the Winter term this week, many things will be different. While the university reopens on Monday, Jan. 4, classes won’t start for another week, delayed until Jan. 11 to support student wellness and give faculty, instructors and staff more working time to prepare for another virtual term.

The provincewide lockdown is in effect throughout Southern Ontario until at least Jan. 23, with strict limits on businesses and workplaces. The extended lockdown impacts some research and academic activities in the Winter term, although the majority of instruction and work at the university continues to be virtual and most employees are working remotely.

Some employees may be impacted by the extended delays of in-person classes at schools — elementary schools until Jan. 11 and secondary schools until Jan. 25. During this time, McMaster will support flexible work arrangements where viable, and employees are encouraged to discuss their needs with their supervisor.


The province encourages everyone to stay home to the fullest extent possible during the shutdown. That means travel outside the region should be limited only to essential purposes. Anyone who travels outside of the province during the shutdown is being asked to self-isolate for 14 days upon their return to Ontario. That means any students, faculty or staff who travelled to another part of Canada during the break should self-isolate — for those in residence, remaining in their room for 14 days and receiving in-room food delivery; for those returning to their homes, staying away from others in their homes as much as possible.


The majority of buildings on campus will remain locked and secured throughout the provincial lockdown.

Research has essentially returned to its Phase 1 level; only a very limited number of courses classified as clinical or trades are allowed in-person components, and those students have been contacted by their instructors. Very few people will be required to be on campus through the lockdown. Those with approved access for activities on campus will be able to use their electronic access cards and keys to access buildings.

As in earlier stages of provincial shutdowns, individuals with extenuating circumstances may request Priority Access to work on campus. Any access will be managed carefully to continue to limit the number of individuals on campus as much as possible.

Anyone coming to campus or a McMaster facility must complete the provincial COVID-19 screening tool one hour in advance of coming to campus and send confirmation of passing the screening to a supervisor, faculty member or instructor or key contact at the university.

In addition to buildings, most of the services closed during the holiday break will remain closed until at least Jan. 23:

  • La Piazza in MUSC will be closed for the duration of the lockdown. A limited delivery service will be offered to students in residence only to ensure they have access to food on campus.
  • All lounges, food court seating and study space in MUSC remains closed through the lockdown.
  • The University Library will not resume bookable study space or research appointments until later in January, although curbside pickup will be provided as of Jan. 11.

Limited reopening:

  • The Student Wellness Centre reopens Jan. 4.
  • The MUSC building reopens Jan. 4, with the pharmacy reopening Jan. 5 with reduced hours and the Campus Dentist reopening Jan. 11 with regular hours.
  • The Campus Store will process online orders for shipping that were received throughout the winter break and new orders as of Jan. 4, although the store’s physical space, service window and curbside option will remain closed.
  • The David Braley Sport Medicine and Rehabilitation Centre resumes operations in accordance with public health guidelines on Jan. 4.


With fewer people on campus, a number of parking lots will remain closed and access to parking for those requiring it will be easier in other lots.

These lots will be completely closed for visitors and transponder holders until Jan. 25: Lots E, M, N, O, P, K and Ward Avenue. Those with transponders for these lots are encouraged to park in one of the lots with raised gates.

Parking gates will be raised on lots B, C, G, I and Q through to Jan. 25. Lots A, D, H, the DBHSC surface lot and all underground lots will remain functional, with transponder holder’s access and daily visitor parking rates to apply.