CBS COVID-19 Information Page

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This page is intended to share updates and information regarding changing to teaching, learning, research and operations at the College of Biological Science and the University of Guelph. Please note that any major announcements or changes to the status of the University will continue to come from University of Guelph communications via email, social media and the dedicated COVID-19 webpage, which also features a list of public health resources and FAQs.

For more employment information, including temporary and student employees, please refer to the U of G's FAQs on employment.

For more information on academic operations, please consult the U of G's FAQs on academics.

*NEW* CBS Financial Support for Graduate Students Who Experience Program Delays Due to COVID-19

 

Notable changes to operations/service delivery and closures

  • All face-to-face course delivery is cancelled until Aug. 15, 2020.
  • Reduced hours are now in effect for the Chemstores stockroom. They will be open Tuesdays and Thursdays, 08:30-12pm. Please email Dan D'Aoust or call 519-824-4120 x52266 for more information.
  • The University of Guelph has decided to cancel all events scheduled to be held on the University campus until July 1, 2020.
  • The provincial government’s latest essential businesses classification, announced April 3, required the University to make some changes to building access. Although most buildings will be locked, faculty and staff will continue to have access as needed.
  • The Government of Ontario announced that all non-essential businesses must close by midnight on March 24, 2020. This closure will be in effect for 14 days with the possibility of extending the order as the situation evolves. The University remains open and operating and we are currently working through the details of this directive to determine the impacts on our current operations. Any changes affecting the University's current operations will be communicated later today on our COVID-19 web page. We realize this evolving situation has brought rapid changes and feelings of uncertainty. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we navigate through these unprecedented challenges.
  • The Office of Research has issued a guidance note for research continuity, scale back, and shut down. In response, CBS has issued specific information and instructions, some of which require immediate action on the part of any faculty member (regular or adjunct) who has an active research program. Please see the Information and Resources for Researchers section of this page for full details.
  • The Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies has issued guidelines for remote graduate thesis defences and qualifying exams (PDF).
  • Beginning Monday, March 30, there will be no service from the MCB Biobar.
  • The U of G McLaughlin Library is now closed. Updates from the library are available on their website.
  • The CBS printing facility, operated by Ian Smith, is now closed.
  • In an effort to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus, most of the administrative staff in CBS have transitioned to working remotely. The following administrative offices are now closed, with staff members best accessed via email:
    • The Dean's office
    • Office of the Associate Dean, Research and Graduate Studies
    • Office of the Associate Dean, Academic
    • Department of Integrative Biology
    • Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology
    • Department of Human Health and Nutritional Sciences

The graduation clearance date for both graduate and undergraduate students on the Guelph campus has been extended until May 29, 2020. Convocation ceremonies planned for June 2020 have been postponed until the fall.

The summer semester will commence as planned on May 7, 2020.

Expectations Regarding Co-op, Internships and Research Project Courses in CBS for the S20 Semester

Summer 2020 Co-op Work Terms

Due to the current and evolving challenges of COVID-19, the University has adjusted expectations for the Summer 2020 co-op term. Students who complete a minimum of eight (8) weeks and 280 hours of work will earn a co-op credit. If less than eight (8) weeks and 280 hours can be completed due to COVID-19, students can petition for the co-op credit.

Across all co-op programs, for any students whose work term is impacted by COVID-19, the minimum number of work terms required by the program will be reduced by one. No program’s requirements will be reduced to less than three work terms. Provided a student impacted by COVID-19 meets their program’s adjusted requirements, they will be given their co-op credential.

Academic continuity is incredibly important. With that in mind, the University will reach out to employers to understand if they want to cancel, delay or offer a work-from-home solution for Summer 2020 co-op. Students and their employers will be encouraged to follow the public health principles of social distancing.

Expectations for CBS work-integrated learning courses

In addition to the University’s adjusted expectations for Summer 2020 co-op work terms, the College of Biological Science is adjusting expectations for college-specific, undergraduate work-integrated learning experiences offered in Summer 2020. The expectations pertain to any experiential learning courses in CBS that involve significant student activities in a workplace setting (e.g. BIOL*3660, MCB*4500/4510, HK*4360, HK 4371/2, HK*4510, HK 4511/2)

A student work placement is not permitted unless one of the following criteria is met:

  1. the student can complete all work from home; or
  2. the student is working with an organization/research setting deemed essential, the placement has the approval of the workplace organization, and physical distancing requirements can be fully achieved.

Students can enroll for summer offerings of these courses, involving either on or off campus activities, provided they meet one of these two criteria. Note that most research on campus is on hold and thus criterion #2 will rarely be met for on-campus placements. Please be advised that the status of these courses may change depending on the directives from the university or the provincial government.

Enrolment details

BIOL 3660, Internship in Biological Science: Students who can secure a 100 h internship in a workplace, in which the above requirements are met and can begin in early to mid-May (and finish by Aug 14th) can apply for a S20 internship. The deadline for submitting an application to the course coordinator is currently May 15th, 2020*. Students who cannot meet these deadlines for the summer offering of BIOL 3660, but are able to secure an internship position starting in June or July, can enroll in the fall offering of the Internship course, section 01. Students would enroll in the fall offering during the June course selection period and must be enrolled by June 30th, 2020**.

Summer Research Project Courses: Students registering in these courses may be starting a new project or completing the 2nd half of a two-semester project. In either case, students are admissible only if the criteria above are met as reviewed by the course coordinator or department responsible. It will be up to the departments/faculty as to how they will accommodate new or continuing research project students. The deadline for applying to the course coordinator is May 15th, 2020*.

*The current deadline for adding courses is May 15th, 2020. Please monitor the University's covid-19 website for updates as this may be extended.

** Application form for instructor consent may require some modification to reflect new processes.

Field Courses and Schools

Due to concerns about COVID-19, the University of Guelph has taken recent measures to help ensure the health and well-being of the U of G community. This has raised important questions about the University’s operation of academic field schools and field courses. In an effort to help reduce transmission of COVID-19 in remote locations and to reinforce the importance of social distancing, the University is cancelling all academic field schools and field courses scheduled for May and June 2020. The situation regarding COVID-19 is very dynamic and discussions about academic operations are ongoing. We will provide you with a status update for field schools and field courses with start dates after June once decisions are made. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Examinations

The Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies has issued guidelines for remote graduate thesis defences and qualifying exams (PDF).

The Winter 2020 undergraduate exam schedule has now been posted on the Office of the Registrar website. All exams will be written online. Please refer to CourseLink for further information about method of delivery and exam requirements.

 

Student Grades

Final grades that have been received in the Office of Registrarial Services will show on WebAdvisor beginning April 30, 2020. Grades will continue to be updated on WebAdvisor as they are received until May 6, 2020. At that time, students may choose one of the following options:

  • Keep final numeric grade awarded
  • Assign a pass provided the student has achieved a passing grade (The “Pass” designation does not affect your semester average or your cumulative GPA; you will receive credit for the course)
  • Drop the course

Students will have until Wednesday, May 20, 2020 to decide whether to retain the numerical grade, opt for a “Pass” designation or drop the course. Please refer to the U of G's update on March 23 regarding student grades and examinations for full details.

Many resources are available on the Working Remotely web page from Computing and Communications Services (CCS), including installing and using WebEx, accessing and forwarding voicemail, and getting set-up on Microsoft Teams.

Tips on how to work from home securely from the Information Security team at CCS.

As a result of campus closure, student access to Adobe Creative Cloud in labs and classrooms is not available. Adobe has provided temporary at-home access for impacted students and faculty, so that they can continue their work remotely. To enable access to Creative Cloud Desktop Apps on your personal device, visit https://creativecloud.adobe.com and use your school credentials to sign in. If prompted, select Company or School Account and then enter your password, or provide your credentials in your school’s login screen. From the Creative Cloud website, browse for and download your desired app. Click Apps on the top of the page to view all apps.

Information on, and resources for, academic continuity via the OpenEd website:

CourseLink to Deliver Content for Technology Enhanced Courses

  • Creating a CourseLink site 
  • Creating Quizzes in CourseLink 
  • Courselink's Content Tool
  • Support for CourseLink tools

Video Assignments for Student Presentations

  • Support for Video Assignments 
  • Video Assignments Features

Voiceover PowerPoint to Capture Lectures

Pre-Record Lectures

Host and/or Record Live Lectures

Preparation for Alternative Assessments

CourseLink Support:

Phone: 519-824-4120 ext. 56939
Email OpenEd for CourseLink support

Final Examinations:

Please also consider how you wish provide an alternative to the currently planned final examination. Alternatives may be to:

  • re-distribute the current course grades in lieu of a final examination provided that 60% of the course grades have been completed by the students by the end of classes. Note that under this option, the usual requirement for a final exam in first-and second-year courses will not apply.
  • use a take-home examination or alternate assignment (due on or after April 13th). Students must still be given at least 72 hours to complete a take home exam as they will have multiple exams to manage.
  • use a typical classroom examination via virtual invigilation. This will require the examination to be entered into course link. Your Chair/Director and OpenEd will provide support for this process. If students in every course are examined in this manner, the examination period will be extended by an additional two weeks.

Please complete this survey by March 25th to confirm your intent for the final exam.

Online Reserve Material

Please email this address if you require additional online reserve material (book chapters, articles, media and other materials) for your class.

CBS will provide $5,500 to any graduate student (domestic or international) in a thesis-based program who was not able to make significant, expected progress in achieving thesis objectives in the S20 semester, and as a result requires an “extra” semester beyond their original planned completion date. For MSc students, this funding would therefore typically support an 8th semester and for PhD students, a 14th semester. This support will be paid out as a regular graduate research assistantship (GRA) during the extra semester, the cost of which will be split equally between the College, Department, and Faculty Advisor. This funding is available for a maximum of one semester only. For full details, please consult the full announcement CBS Financial Support for Graduate Students Who Experience Program Delays Due to COVID-19.

The Office of Diversity and Human Rights has created a resource that continue to maintain a culture of equity, inclusion, and support in our communities called Fostering a Sense of Belonging in Times of Crisis and Challenge: An Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Handbook for Individuals and Organizations During COVID-19.

Student Wellness Services information and FAQs

  • The semester has been extended for one week and classes (and the drop period) will now conclude April 9.
  • All assignments are delayed by one week.
  • Final exams will all be delayed by exactly one week and will take a different format (i.e., not in person). The registrar will be developing a revised exam schedule.

As a result of campus closure, student access to Adobe Creative Cloud in labs and classrooms is not available. Adobe has provided temporary at-home access for impacted students and faculty, so that they can continue their work remotely. To enable access to Creative Cloud Desktop Apps on your personal device, visit  the Adobe Creative Cloud website and use your school credentials to sign in. If prompted, select Company or School Account and then enter your password, or provide your credentials in your school’s login screen. From the Creative Cloud website, browse for and download your desired app. Click Apps on the top of the page to view all apps.

The Office of Diversity and Human Rights has created a resource that continue to maintain a culture of equity, inclusion, and support in our communities called Fostering a Sense of Belonging in Times of Crisis and Challenge: An Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Handbook for Individuals and Organizations During COVID-19.

On April 7, the Office of Research issued its Update Guidance Note for COVID-19-Related Research Continuity, Scale back, and Shutdown.

The University has implemented a campus-wide shut down of all research activity in U of G-operated research facilities. At this moment, exceptions will only be granted for research that is critical and/or time sensitive (e.g. research related to COVID-19, or research dependent on the seasonal nature of crops and/or livestock, etc.). Exceptions will also be considered for research that does not impact social distancing. To apply for an exemption to the shutdown policy, please complete the continuation of critical research request form (Word doc) and submit it to your Chair (cc Todd Gillis).

To enable a clear view of all research activity occurring within CBS, all regular and adjunct faculty who are currently running a research program are asked to email their Chair (cc Todd Gillis) to answer the following question: “Is your lab still actively doing research on the Guelph campus?” If the answer to this question is yes, you are also required to complete and email the request form to your Chair (again, please cc Todd Gillis).

In addition:

  • if you or someone from your lab needs to periodically return to campus to complete tasks associated with the maintenance of basic research capacity, such as watering plants, feeding animals, or the maintenance of cell cultures, we request that you describe this in the email to your Chair. This should list the individuals involved, their position (grad student, PDF, Tech), how often this occurs per week and for how long, and what they are doing. Please indicate if this will need to continue for greater than 2 weeks.
  • if you are directing active research that meets the exception criteria and uses campus facilities, please see point 10 of the ORS research directive: “Researchers must develop plans to close down existing research within university facilities on short notice, including but not limited to:
    • plans for waste disposal
    • identification of essential services to maintain research samples
    • facilities and infrastructure affected, where appropriate

If you fall into this category, please provide your plan to the Chair of your Dept (again, please cc Todd Gillis).

For faculty with field work projects currently underway or about to start, we would also remind you that you must submit a field work safety plan to your Chair for approval. Please also note the new directives (section 4.0) regarding travel and social distancing in your plan. In addition, it is probable that the University will be completely closed down, and as a result, field workers will not be able to return to campus following their field work. It is therefore essential that this is accounted for in research plans.

Please direct any questions to your Chair and/or Todd Gillis.


Research-related COVID-19 Updates and Frequently Asked Questions from the Office of Research.

If you work in a lab on campus, please develop a plan with your supervisor to transition towards remote work. If you are working alone in the lab, please make sure that your team members and/or your supervisor are aware of your location, your activities and when you have left the premises. There are specific guidelines on working alone safely in section 2.1 of the CBS Safety Handbook.

The Office of Diversity and Human Rights has created a resource that continue to maintain a culture of equity, inclusion, and support in our communities called Fostering a Sense of Belonging in Times of Crisis and Challenge: An Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Handbook for Individuals and Organizations During COVID-19.

Top 3 mental health resources available through Student Wellness during open hours

  • Counseling Services: Provide individual and group counseling to support students (J.T. Powell, drop-in 12:30 - 3:30 pm M-F)
  • Student Wellness Navigators: Provide service to student who identify as having a mental health concern and are unsure of the best service path for them. (J.T. Powell, drop-in 8:30 am - noon; 1:00 - 4:30 pm M-F)
  • Student Support Network: Confidential peer-to-peer support (J.T. Powell, room 1149, drop-in noon-10 pm M-F, Library, room 111, drop-in 2 - 6 pm M-T, and 4 - 8 pm W-Th )

Top 3 mental health after hours resources for students

  • Student Support Network: Provide confidential peer-to-peer support (JT Powell, room 1149, drop-in noon-10pm M-F, Library room 111, drop-in 4 - 8 pm W-Th)
  • Here 24/7: Local mental health and crisis phone line, available 24/7 (call 1-844-437-3247)
  • Crisis Text Line: 24/7 text-based mental health support (Text UofG to 686868 to start your mental health conversation)

Other Resources for grad students, staff,and faculty

(Thank you to the IB Wellness Health & Wellness Committee for this information.)

Please note due to the evolving COVID-19 scenario on campus, CBS will be curtailing IT activities that require Chayan Chowdhury, CBS IT Officer, to be physically working on computers belonging to others. He will be working remotely as often as possible. Hardware repair requests will only be considered in an emergency during this time. No new computer set ups will be handled at this time. Any existing/new computer set ups, repairs, etc. will have to wait.

A message from Chayan:

All requests should be sent via email to cbsit@uoguelph.ca. This will create a ticket via the CBS IT help desk system and I will respond from there.

Another way users can get in touch with me is via Microsoft Teams. For those of you that don't know what Microsoft Teams is, it is a collaboration tool that allows for chats and the creation of groups. This comes with Office 365 and can either be installed as part of the Office suite or you can use it via your web browser. The easiest way to use Microsoft Teams from your web browser is to go into your U of G email (aka Gryphmail via your web browser) and then click on the dots icon (to the left of the U of G logo on the black bar at the top). This will open a side menu and you can find "Teams" under "Apps". Users should also be looking at the U of G IT Systems Status page before reporting outages to me.

Other resources:

Free software available to dowload:

 

Please visit the Financial Services website for the latest updates on interim processes and guidelines during this period of working remotely.

Expense Claim Processing:

Due to the current situation with COVID-19, effective immediately ECS is no longer accepting hard copies.

STEP 1: Please email completed claims and receipts to the CBS purchasing clerks or Ann Stride (HHNS) for initial REVIEW.

CLAIMANT:
  • Log into ECS and complete the claim as you would normally. Save the claim form as a PDF document.
  • Attach copies of all receipts. There are numerous apps you can download for free to take photos of receipts.  These include apps such as ‘Tiny Scanner’ or ‘ScanGuru’. 
  • There should be only one email and one file/attachment for each claim. Where possible, the PDF of the ECS claim and related receipts should be consolidated into a single PDF file.
  • Send the email submission from your UofG account to CBS purchasing clerks or Ann Stride (for HHNS).  Include in your email the name of the individual approving your claim.
  • Ensure the email subject line is formatted as: “Department name – Claim # – Claimant Last name, First Name - Amount;  add “- Urgent” if needed, or add “-Research” if it needs to be processed in March
  • Attach the PDF copy of the ECS claim form and receipts in one file.


STEP 2: CBS Purchasing Staff or Ann Stride (for HHNS) will first review the claim and then forward the claim to the approver.

APPROVER:
  • Approver will review the claim, authorize it in the email, and forward to the next signing authority as required.
  • The final approver must email ecs@uoguelph.ca with “I approve Claimant name, Claim #,  in the amount of $X to be processed for payment”. 
  • This email must come from a valid UoG account.  
  • The email must flow directly to ECS from the final approver.  Please cc: the claimant and and either cbsclerk@uoguelph.ca or Ann Stride (HHNS) on the message so they can see the status of the claim.

Please check the ECS homepage for updates.


Invoice Approvals

During the period of social isolation and remote work environments, our financial management team is still working to support you. In order to ensure invoices are paid for the items we are purchasing, please scan a copy of the packing slip over to CBS Purchasing clerks or to Ann Stride if you are in HHNS instead of taking it to their inboxes. This will allow both sides to social distance, and will ensure we receive the approvals we need.

When emailing the packing slip, please state include the vendor name, order number (if it's on the packing slip) and your approval to pay in the message.

If you happen to receive an invoice by mail or e-mail, please follow the same steps as above, including the invoice number in your message and the finance team will ensure your payments are processed.

As we are approaching a number of financial deadlines for grants and the University, we appreciate this being done in a timely manner. Should anything require processing by March 31 for a grant that is ending, please note this in your message and send it as soon as possible and we will accommodate as much as possible.

With many University of Guelph employees now working remotely, the mail room will no longer pick up out-going mail from units or deliver mail to units on campus. This change takes effect March 23.

Incoming mail will be held in the mail room until normal University operations resume. Colleges or departments that need to send mail or pick up mail, should visit the mail room in the University Centre, Room 020.

The mail room is open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and noon to 3 p.m.

If you have questions, please contact Kevin Ecott ext. 52264.