Opinion: Returning to campus life is a blessing for Montreal

Amid the fourth wave of the pandemic, McGill remains vigilant and ready to turn when needed to ensure everyone’s health and safety.

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Montreal universities are marked by incredible talent and an ability to address our world’s greatest social challenges. Our institutions are also key drivers in promoting the social and economic vitality of our city.


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After persevering through the most difficult phases to date of the COVID-19 pandemic in Quebec, Montreal universities, hosting students and faculty from around the world, reopened their doors for in-person teaching and research. in September. The decision to return to campus activities in person was made months ago. It followed careful deliberation and was based on the premise that the full potential of a college education can best be harnessed when we learn and work together. That is true even when physical proximity is subject to restrictions designed to keep us safe.

When people reflect on the highlights of their college studies, they often mention serendipitous encounters with a professor or classmate on campus, engaging in discussions that could have sparked an idea or realization that leads to a path of inquiry or discovery. Those moments can be transformative and we are happy that they can be repeated on our campuses, even as we are diligent about COVID-19 related campus security.


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For many months, the McGill team worked assiduously to ensure a successful rentrée. This has been a 24-hour job, requiring attention to all kinds of details to ensure that we receive the return of our students, faculty, and staff in safe environments.

As the fourth wave of COVID-19 progresses, the pandemic continues to present new challenges. As part of the broader Montreal community, our university community must remain vigilant and focused on engaging in all actions and behaviors necessary to ensure the health and safety of all of us.

In Quebec, universities have benefited from effective policies, in particular the decisive and early adoption of a vaccination passport, which allows for greater protection of our campus spaces.


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As we implement COVID prevention measures on our campuses and apply the Quebec vaccination passport to our extracurricular activities, we remain vigilant. McGill and its sister universities have contingency plans ready to implement as needed to keep our campuses safe. In short, as we have done several times in the recent past, our universities will rotate when necessary to prioritize the health and safety of our communities.

The return to university life in Montreal is a blessing for our city. We are delighted to have our students, faculty, and staff back with us and to see the resurgence of life on campus. At the same time, working together, we are committed to unwavering vigilance and preparedness so that we can enjoy the richness of college life while keeping health and safety a top priority.

Suzanne Fortier is Principal and Vice Chancellor of McGill University.

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