McGill University looks to add more in-person classes for winter semester

McGill University is looking at adding more in-person classes for the winter semester, citing feedback from students and staff.

In an update posted by the Montreal university, officials said students have been struggling to learn entirely online, and both students and faculty said they wanted more opportunities for safe face-to-face connections. 

“We have heard from students that they are seeking connection to McGill,” said associate provost Christopher Buddle. “And we know many instructors and administrative and support staff are also missing opportunities to connect with students in person.”

McGill is also looking at creating safe study spaces for students to do group work. 

Like most Montreal universities, the fall semester at McGill was offered mostly online, with the exception of laboratories and other activities that required students to be present in person.

Now some lectures across all faculties could be offered in person next semester, so students who are in Montreal can physically attend if they want to.

If students are seated two metres apart and not moving during class, they will not be required to wear face masks. Neither will professors if they are giving the lecture more than two metres from students.

Attendance to these in-person lectures would not be mandatory, and students will continue to be offered the option to follow them online.

TWO COVID-19 OUTBREAKS ON CAMPUS

The provost noted that in the last six months, student presence on campus has increased, whether it be to attend labs, do research, or use essential university services.

“In that time, we have only had two instances of COVID-19 transmission on our campuses, and both were due to socializing in student residences,” he said. “Since March, we have not had a single instance of transmission in the workplace, nor during any academic activity.”

This fall, five students living in a McGill residences became infected with the coronavirus.

McGill said what happens will ultimately depend on the evolution of the pandemic in January and beyond, and the university is planning for various scenarios.

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