MSc Genetic Counselling Program: COVID-19 Updates

March 15, 2020

To Faculty of Medicine, Genetic Counselling Graduate Students:

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

In alignment with this decision, the MSc Genetic Counselling Program will provide remaining didactic teaching by virtual access (e.g. Zoom) as of Monday March 16, 2020. As well, beginning Monday March 16th, you will not participate in clinical rotations for a three-week period, that is beginning March 16th to April 4th. In early April, further guidance will be provided by the Faculty of Medicine regarding potential continuation or discontinuation of your clinical rotations. Of note, the University will remain open.

Here’s what you need to know:

Courses, seminars and research projects:

  • All remaining graduate lectures and supplementary educational sessions will move online.
  • Program leadership and course directors have been working to make this happen in real time; check Quercus and/or your SickKids email regularly in the days ahead for instructions related to accessing the remaining lectures in your courses.
  • Depending on the status of the COVID-19 local situation, final examinations may be conducted via remote access. These may take the form of oral questions, open book examinations or other. Again, more information will be provided as we approach that time period but your preparation for final examinations should continue as you would have done at other times.
  • Please continue to work on your research projects, either project development for first year students or the analysis and manuscript preparation for second year students. Committee meetings and scientific review meetings can be conducted using Zoom and we will provide further guidance as we move forward.

Clinical Rotations:

  • As noted above, as of Monday March 16th, clinical rotations will be suspended for a three-week period. Further information will be provided in early April. Some of you have also received emails from clinical rotation sites about staying home. If you need to pick up anything from the student office at 525 University, you should be able to enter and collect your belongings and then head back home. Please ensure that you have your attestations available and thank you all for forwarding copies to me.
  • Program leadership and clinical supervisors here and at programs across North America are planning other activities to support the development of your clinical competencies and we will be in touch with additional information in the coming days.
  • Do not, under any circumstances, come to the student office at 525 University, any hospital setting or the University 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 Cheryl and notify SickKids Occupational Health at ( so that they are aware, and please seek appropriate assessment and treatment, if indicated. We 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 Cheryl and allow me to intervene.

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.


Cheryl Shuman, Program Director

David Chitayat, Medical Director

Riyana Babul-Hirji, Assistant Director, Operations

Susan Armel, Assistant Director, Clinical Supervision and Learning

Katie Lancaster, Coordinator, Educational Programs

c.c. MSc Program in Genetic Counselling Faculty/Clinical Supervisors