COVID-19 update: March 15, 2020 4:30 pm

The university is open but some campus operations are changing

The call from public health officials to increase social distancing together with the constantly changing circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic means additional measures are being taken by McMaster to scale back some operations at the university. These decisions will be in place until at least April 5th but could change based on any developments.

Discretionary operations that will be closed to participants and visitors as of Monday, March 16 include:

  • Athletics and Recreation facilities will be closed to students and members including the Braley Sport Medicine and Rehabilitation Centre
  • The McMaster Museum of Art
  • McMaster Planetarium

Other units may opt to reduce service offerings while continuing to deliver their core academic and research services and other supports on campus.  These must be approved by supervisors.

All McMaster events, both on and off-campus, that are not core to the university’s academic mission and operations have been cancelled until at least the end of April.


Library hours will be reduced and only McMaster students, faculty and staff will be permitted to use the libraries. Any changes to library hours will take effect starting Monday, March 16th. Updates will be available on the Library websites.

Residences and the Student Wellness Centre

While the number of students in residence is decreasing as students choose to return home, residences will remain open. The Student Wellness Centre also continues to be open and some appointments will be shifted to phone or online services.

Working from home

The risk of contracting COVID-19 continues to remain low in our region.  Social distancing is seen as an important part of Canada’s approach to reducing the curve of potential infections.

In order to support this provincial and national goal, McMaster supervisors are asked to assess their operations and to encourage employees to work from home if their roles allow them to do so. All work at home arrangements need to be approved by the employee’s supervisor.

The University must continue to be able to deliver its core academic and research activities. This will vary in each area. As these decisions are made please keep in mind that the university is focussed on the health and safety of the campus and its employees, that students are able to complete their term and that evaluations are provided, and that the research enterprise needs to be supported and able to operate.

Additional information to help supervisors is available.  Please see the Supervisor’s Guidebook and the information for TMG managers on the Human Resources website.


The situation is changing rapidly, as countries around the world tighten their restrictions.

Canadians have been advised to avoid any non-essential travel outside of the country and anyone currently outside the country is urged to try to return to Canada and go into self-isolation for 14 days after their return.

Anyone in the McMaster community who returns from international travel must self-isolate as the government has directed.

For more information please check in frequently for any updates on the university’s COVID-19 website.