Message to Graduate Students

To Faculty of Medicine Graduate Students:

I am writing to provide an update for graduate students regarding the COVID-19 situation at the university. As you are likely aware, the University yesterday announced it was cancelling all in-person undergraduate and research-stream Master’s and Doctoral courses across U of T’s three campuses.

We will provide that teaching by other means as of Monday March 16. The University remains open and research labs on-campus are accessible.

Here’s what you need to know at this time:

  • Courses, seminars and gatherings:
  • ·All departmentally-mandated gatherings of more than 8 people are postponed until further notice.
  • ·All graduate courses will move online or, if necessary, be delayed until the situation improves or an alternative means of delivery is found. Professors and instructors have been working to make this happen in real time; check Quercus regularly in the days ahead for instructions related to your courses.
  • ·Please inform your program’s Graduate Coordinator if you will be missing an academic requirement (e.g. seminar) prior to transfer or defense. The School of Graduate Studies will be contacted requesting dispensation such that these exams can go forward and the missing element be completed later. More information will be forthcoming.
  • ·External examiners for all PhD defenses will participate by Skype.

Research labs:

  • At this time, we expect research labs to continue operating, however, everyone is expected to exercise caution. This includes things like routine hand-washing (if you take the TTC, hand-washing must take place as soon as you enter your work space), social distancing and self-awareness.
  • If you do not have experimental work, consider working from home. Expand your reading of the literature; write a review article or start drafting the introduction to your thesis. Use your time differently.
  • Do not, under any circumstances, come to campus if you have a dry cough, a fever or other symptoms of COVID-19.
  • If you become ill - regardless of whether it's a cold or something more serious – reach out to someone in your lab so that they are aware, and please see appropriate treatment. I say this in particular to people who are living on their own and do not have family in the city.

If you feel pressured by anyone to do something that, under the circumstances, feels unsafe please contact your Graduate Coordinator.

While we are actively working to implement our plans and adjust to this evolving reality, we acknowledge that no system is perfect and we appreciate your patience, flexibility and understanding as we continue to adapt.

We know this situation brings a whole new level of stress for everyone – and some will feel this harder than others.

Please know that if you’re struggling, there are excellent resources you can use. The University has a list of helpful Quick Links to health resources.

During this time of heightened concern, the Faculty will do its utmost to support U of T learners and continue educational programs as best as possible while fulfilling our obligation to wise practice in public health and safety. And we will do our very best to keep you informed.


Allan S. Kaplan, MSc MD FRCP(C)

Vice Dean, Graduate and Academic Affairs