Regarding the Coronavirus - COVID-19 

Posted March 20, 2020

Just a friendly reminder that online learning begins Monday, March 23, 2020. We have been working all week to schedule lectures and online small groups and to train faculty and staff to go live with our remote learning experience!

Welcome home to everyone who has travelled. Staff members who have been away, please ensure you contact Human Resources (hradmin@cmcc.ca) and returning students, please ensure you contact Student Services (studentserv@cmcc.ca).

Thank you to everyone for your cooperation and for continuing to take all the strange new precautions to heart so that we can flatten this curve together. We are learning all the ways in which we can keep our communities safe now and will be able to apply these same measures more easily in future, should we experience another outbreak. We understand this situation may be especially challenging to our students who are in the midst of a rigorous curriculum and looking forward to summer. We thank you for your patience and will do our best to continue to deliver the curriculum as seamlessly as possible. Since this is our first foray with several new remote tools, we may encounter the occasional hiccups. Please be patient and bear with us and we’ll work together to make this the best experience possible.

For many of our students, this situation may give you a new perspective on patient outcomes and community health. Many of you have reached out to us, asking if there were ways you could help. We realize we are in such a good position with the extraordinary group of students we have. Please continue to lead by example and encourage everyone to adopt the temporary measures that will keep a large number of our community out of harms way.

To CMCC employees who have stepped up in extraordinary ways in such a short time, thank you for pulling together and helping us move to where we are today. Again, with so many individuals relying on systems and technology, we may experience occasional issues. Please be sure to reach out to teammates and keep the conversation going. Even as we work on our own at home, we don’t have to work in isolation.

On that note, regrettably, we have had to cancel Backs in Motion this year. We are however, encouraging everyone to run or walk at home or in your neighbourhoods on and around April 26! We will be sharing photos and stories online and offering prizes for best photos. Stay tuned!

And please remember, if any of you have questions about your own health and are not sure which steps to take, you can contact Telehealth Ontario at 1 866 797 0000 available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If any of you are hungry for even more information on COVID-19, please see our website at cmcc.ca/covid19updates.

Posted March 17, 2020

We appreciate and understand that with the quickly changing landscape of COVID-19 and the ongoing information coming from so many sources, this can be a worrisome time for you.  

Currently, the Federal Government is urging social distancing in an effort to protect the public’s health and limit the spread of COVID-19. If you need to be out, Public Health agencies are also recommending keeping a distance of 2 metres or 6 feet between yourself and those around you. This morning, Premier Doug Ford declared a state of emergency in order to better limit person to person contact. This includes the closure of private schools such as CMCC for a period of time.  Online learning will continue but the campus buildings will be closed. All exterior doors will be closed and no longer accessible to staff or students unless they have been deemed essential and are on a list of personnel being monitored by security. 

Curriculum Delivery Online 

We have been working to ensure that we can continue curriculum delivery as seamlessly as possible and ensure business continuity. While we don’t expect extreme measures such as we are seeing today to continue, it is possible that it won’t be business as usual right away, so we want to start with a good foundation and enable students and staff with the tools they need.

Staff and Faculty 

All staff, with the exception of those who have been identified as essential to operations, will work from home effective immediately, until at least April 6. Your directors and managers will reach out to you to schedule team meetings, assign projects and check in with you.  

Many of you have already been invited to Teams so that you can stay connected with your working group and we can support each other to ensure educational and business continuity over the coming days or weeks.  

Some of you have had questions about your work and compensation which you have forwarded to Human Resources. In light of this, we have created the attached FAQ which we hope you will find helpful. The FAQ will be changing as more information becomes available. We will do our best to keep you apprised of those changes regularly. 

Essential staff  

For each of you that has been deemed essential staff for operation continuity and is required to come into the building during this period of closure, we will continue to ensure that doorknobs and buttons are sterilized daily.  All essential staff will enter through the front doors and sign in at the front desk.   

Students 

Beginning March 23, we will make a full transition to online education for Years I-III, using Zoom, Panopto and other tools as they present themselves. Instructions will be sent through KIRO and email.  

If you have questions about particular assignments or projects, please reach out to your instructors via KIRO or email as you would regularly. We will continue with online learning until it is safe to resume operations and teaching on site.  

Should you need other support in any way, Student Services will be online, working remotely to answer other questions and concerns.  

Interns 

Clinical education will continue online, relying on learning objectives and other activities that are not reliant on person to person contact. The written exam originally scheduled for Tuesday March 24 has been cancelled and deferred to a later date.  We are currently looking at alternatives and will let you know as soon possible.

For each of you, we ask that you do your utmost to stay well and virus free so that we can help flatten the curve of COVID-19. Continue to wash your hands frequently and ensure that you maintain that social distance while outside. 

Self Care 

We recognize the impact that the outbreak of COVID-19 has been on our mental health, as the stress associated with the fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions.  Taking care of yourself, your friends, and your family can help you cope with stress. Helping others cope with their stress can also make your community stronger.  Here are some tips to help support yourself: 

·        Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting. 

·        Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep. 

·        Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy. 

·        The Human Resources department in collaboration with our Health and Wellness student experience worker will also enlist other programs to help with your self-care during this time. In addition, we want to help reduce the isolation that comes from a disruption in routine and being away from work.  To staff, your managers will continue to rely on you and depend on your contributions, even as those may alter from the usual routine. To students, we are confident you will continue to have a heavy workload, though scheduling lunch may not be such a problem in the short term! Please continue to communicate with each other in all the great ways that you do, staying in touch through your virtual networks and helping each other like you always have. 

To everyone
, please take the time to sleep well and don’t forget to exercise. When we return to work and class, or a clinical environment, we will be busy!

We thank everyone for their part in protecting our community by helping to reduce and control the spread of COVID-19.   

Posted March 16, 2020

Based on the best advice from our federal and provincial governments, CMCC has made the decision to close our clinics and suspend clinical experiences for undergraduate and graduate learners temporarily until April 6 to support attempts to slow the spread of COVID-19. Observation programs, both within CMCC clinics and external offices will also be suspended. 

Though our clinics will be closed, we will continue to offer clinical education and will issue an update Wednesday, March 18 on how we will facilitate Year IV clinical progress. 

The Year IV OSCE exam previously scheduled for this Friday March 20, has been cancelled for now and will be rescheduled at the earliest time possible as we all work together for the good of the community and the public at large.  

Thank you for your cooperation. Please continue to monitor your health and those around you and if you do feel ill, please stay home and do not spread any ailment to those in your community. Although the virus is not a significant threat to most people, it can do serious harm to those with a compromised immune system. 

CMCC is continuing to refine and test its remote teaching operations and once testing is complete, we will advise all staff, students and faculty on plans to transition to remote and online learning and testing, as we are doing with clinic. Look for news on Wednesday, March 18.  

We thank you for your patience and for continuing to do your part in protecting our community by helping to reduce and control the spread of COVID-19.    

 CMCC Executive Leadership Team  

Posted March 15, 2020

We appreciate and understand that with the quickly changing landscape of COVID-19 and the ongoing information coming from so many sources, this can be a difficult and worrisome time for you. We are reaching out to you today to let you know that we have your best interests and safety in mind.  CMCC Executive, the Incident Command Team and Clinic Management have been working with our clinic partners and stakeholders to determine next steps to ensure the safety of our interns, our clinic staff and our patients. 

Effective March 15, all CMCC clinics will suspend practice until end of day Wednesday March 18. During this time, we will continue working very closely with our health partners to ensure we move forward together to make longer term decisions on the operation of our community clinics. These collaborative decisions will take into full consideration the commitment we have to our interns to fulfill their education needs and competency requirements for graduation as well as provide responsible patient care.We are working with the regulators and accreditors to ensure any decision taken will limit the impact on our interns and protect our staff and our patients. 

Further, clinical placements of our Graduate Programs will also suspend practice during this time in order to consider how these clinical experiences will move forward. Please watch for additional announcements.  

Again, all CMCC clinics will be closed until end of day Wednesday March 18 in order to put a longer term plan in place in collaboration with our health partners and stakeholders. 

We thank you for your patience and for continuing to do your part in protecting our community by helping to reduce and control the spread of COVID-19.  

CMCC Executive Leadership Team 

Posted March 12, 2020

Like many of you, the Executive and Emergency Response teams are closely monitoring the COVID-19 outbreak around the world and as it relates to our CMCC community and our day to day operations both on campus, at our external clinics and as it relates to our external events. The future course of this virus is impossible to predict accurately, and we are acutely aware that our choices and actions today must be made with clarity and with your safety and health in mind.  A team of extremely dedicated people have been working diligently to respond to the challenges posed by COVID-19 to our students, staff, our families and our patients.  

We are considering every contingency as they undertake this important work on your behalf. We are writing to you today to update you on changes to process, travel, curriculum delivery, external events and other matters that concern our shared community and that will limit exposure to the disease.

The Emergency Response plan sets out clear strategies for dealing with the possibility of a temporary closure or suspension of normal operations. Those strategies include a transition to move to virtual instruction and to full or partial remote operations for CMCC staff. CMCC has invested in a number of technologies that will allow us to continue essential operations remotely during any interruption with minimal disruption to curriculum delivery. Our plans and decisions are consistent with the recommendations of our international, national, provincial and local health officials how to limit the spread of COVID-19. 

TRAVEL 

With March break on the horizon, we know that many staff and students have already made travel plans. Best practice recommends enhanced travel reporting and return to class/work screening for both students and staff, which is essential as we look forward to March break.  Before you head out, please review and comply to all Travel advisories as available: Active Travel Health Notices (Notices, Risks, Safety and Security, Planning a Cruise, Returning Travellers) 

The enhanced travel reporting process will require that all students and staff advise of their travel dates and location prior to their departure.  In addition, upon your return to class/work, we will request that you contact the appropriate represented (as listed below) in order undergo an initial screening to be cleared to return to campus. This may require an additional day at home. 

Students: Please advise Student Services at studentserv@cmcc.ca 

Staff and Faculty: Please contact Human Resources at hradmin@cmcc.ca 

Business TravelAll CMCC-related travel has been suspended until further notice. We will continue to monitor travel advisories and update you as we have additional details.   

REMOTE OPERATIONS/Work at Home in the event of a suspension or restriction in normal CMCC operations  

As part of the Emergency Response and Business Continuity plans, we have asked all Division directors to work with their staff and with IT as needed to ensure that everyone has access and adequate tools to work from home should we determine that a campus partial or full closure is warranted. Tools such as VPN, Teams, Office 365 are all available to support you in working from home.  Additional instructions will be forthcoming from the Division of IT on how to work from home during a suspension or restriction in our normal operations. 

For Faculty, instructions will be forthcoming to any faculty not currently using Panopto to ensure you are prepared for a potential transition to virtual delivery of lectures and small groups etc.  

Despite our best efforts to plan for and manage CMCC resource to respond to the COVID-19 issue, we are still faced with uncertainty and with that a measure of discomfort. It will take time to understand enough about the situation to make longer term plans and also to defend against it but please understand that we will do our utmost to protect our community and the broader community and will continue to treat each other with generosity, understanding and respect as we wade these uncertain waters. There are resources available to you to help manage any anxiety and stress: 

Students: Call 1 844 741-6389 to connect with trained counsellors, consultants, and life coaches 24/7, 365 days/year for a variety of issues. Learn more at www.studentcare.ca.  

Staff and Faculty: 24/7 Confidential Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) through our third party vendor ComPsych. Contact EAP services at Tel: 866 641 3847 or online by visiting guidanceresources.com, and enter in WEBID: CMCCEAP 

We thank the CMCC Community for working together to manage the current health situation. Our joint response to it and our commitment to keeping ourselves and our patients in their best health will be our guide now and in future. Thank you for your continued support! 

-CMCC Executive Leadership Team

Posted March 6, 2020

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus, unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.

When the WHO first raised awareness of this viral outbreak, CMCC activated its pandemic emergency response plan on January 22, at a time when there were only 309 confirmed cases in China and none yet in North America.  Dr. Anthony Tibbles, Dean, Clinics, has been overseeing a response team since that time. The situation has changed significantly around the world and with that CMCC has been actively monitoring developments and following the advice of our national, provincial and municipal public health agencies. At this time, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health continues to advise that the risk to Ontarians is low.  

Our pandemic plan addresses CMCC’s response to the outbreak in a progressive way. The plan is being been used in the clinic where screening of patients has been underway for some time. As well, academic and business continuity plans may be enacted as needed. Our emergency response team includes leaders and administrators who have knowledge and experience to coordinate any required responses to the situation as it evolves in the province and across the country.

Currently, CMCC is continuing normal operations. We are also applying daily disinfection measures throughout the building beyond normal cleaning operations. We will provide additional information to the CMCC community should additional precautions become necessary.  

On the international front, most people infected with COVID-19 have become so through travel in affected areas or through close or household contact with someone who had the virus. Overall, most of infections have resulted in mild illness.

How to protect yourself

    • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 15 seconds (especially before handling food, after touching your face or shaking someone’s hand). As an alternative, alcohol-based hand sanitizer may be used.
    • Avoid sharing personal items with others who may be sick.
    • Cover your mouth with a tissue when sneezing and coughing. Throw the tissue away and then wash your hands immediately.
    • If you do not have a tissue, cough into your upper sleeve or elbow.
    • As viruses can live on hard surfaces for up to eight hours, sanitize objects like your desk, keyboard, telephone and door handles frequently.

  • Practice good health habits to help your body fight off viruses. Ensure you are getting enough rest, drinking plenty of fluids, eating nutritious foods and staying active.

    The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus. As a reminder, the most effective way to prevent your exposure to and transmission of illnesses (including influenza and the common cold) is to take preventative measures, including the following measures:

    If you are sick

  • As always, if you are sick, you should avoid close contact with others and stay home. In addition, we encourage you to contact your healthcare practitioner or primary physician as soon as possible and report your symptoms to them for evaluation. You can also contact Telehealth Ontario.

    In an emergency, call 911. 

    If you are a student with questions about assignments, exams or make-up classes, please contact your faculty/instructors. If you are a staff or faculty member, please contact your supervisor/manager or Human Resources.

    Travel

    If you are scheduled to travel on CMCC business but are uncomfortable or have questions about your options and responsibilities, please contact your manager or supervisor or Human Resources who can help to guide your decision-making and remember that the safety of our staff, faculty and students is our prime concern at all times.

    If you are a CMCC student, faculty, staff or community member who has plans to travel or have just  returned from a country which now has Public Health Travel Advisories in place, contact your supervisor or manager, Human Resources or Student Services who can work through next steps with you on returning to CMCC for work or study. Recommendations from Public Health for those returning from affected areas, are to stay home for the 14 day period to ensure you are not infected and cannot spread the virus to your communities.

    Advisories and notices are available on the Government of Canada Travel advisory sites:

    Active Travel Health Notices (Notices, Risks, Safety and Security, Planning a Cruise, Returning Travellers)

    Travel Advice and Advisories – FAQ

More information

For additional information and the latest news about the novel coronavirus and its impact in the Greater Toronto Area, please visit:

Health

Travel

Frequently asked questions 

Updated March 6 2020

1.       What is coronavirus/COVID-19?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that originate in animals but are known to cause respiratory illness in humans, particularly during the fall and winter months. Other novel coronaviruses have included Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV). In January 2020, a novel (new) coronavirus (COVID-19) was identified as the cause of an outbreak of pneumonia originating in Wuhan. The provincial government provides updated statistics for Ontario.

2.     What is the risk?

Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health advises that the risk to Ontarians is still considered low as of March 3, 2020. The situation is rapidly evolving and CMCC is taking its guidance from public health agencies at the local, provincial and federal level, who are closely monitoring the outbreak, conducting surveillance and appropriate laboratory testing, and providing public health and infection control guidance.

To date, cases have been reported in individuals who have been in affected areas, and those who have had personal contact with infected individuals. The risk of more severe illness may be higher for individuals with weakened immune systems such as older people or chronic diseases such as diabetes, or heart, renal or chronic lung disease.

3.    What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Symptoms range from common to severe respiratory illnesses and include: 

  • fever
  • cough
  • difficulty breathing

Many of these symptoms are similar to seasonal influenza. Should you experience these symptoms AND have recently travelled internationally to an affected region or have been in contact with someone who has, avoid contact with others and follow-up with your health care professional. Advise your health professional in advance of attending their clinic of your symptoms and travel history.   

4.      What can I do to protect myself?

As usual, continue to practice good hand washing techniques and hygiene practices. This includes washing thoroughly with soap and water, using hand sanitizer, coughing or sneezing into your elbow, and staying at home if you are experiencing flu-like symptoms.

5.       Should students, staff or faculty with flu-like symptoms be excluded from class/work?

As of March 17, The Ontario Provincial Government issued a State of Emergency in the province, ensuring that all non-essential services, including schools, close to reduce the spread of COVID-19. While the majority of students are away on March break, CMCC administration took advantage of technology they had implemented for remote learning and transitioned curriculum delivery to a temporary online learning model. CMCC employees were asked to work from home until April 6, pending further instructions.

6.       Should anyone with a travel history to an affected region be excluded from class/work?

Those who have travelled to Hubei province or Iran in the last 14 days, should limit their contact with others for a total of 14 days from the date that they left their location. This means self-isolate and stay at home. In addition, they should contact their local public health authority within 24 hours of arriving in Canada. Students who are self-isolating should contact their registrar.

Travellers returning from other affected areas should monitor for symptoms. Those who develop symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) or any other symptoms within 14 days after returning to Canada, are advised to contact Telehealth Ontario (1-866-797-0000), your health-care provider, or local health authority. Inform them about your symptoms and travel history.

7.       Will classes be cancelled?

Classes have moved online, as of March 23. Students are advised to check KIRO and their CMCC email to learn the most recent updates and return to class dates.

8.       Should I wear a mask?

For general, day-to-day activities, there is no need to wear a surgical or N95 mask.  Toronto Public Health advises residents to take the usual measures to reduce the risk of influenza and other respiratory infections: 

  • Get a yearly flu vaccination, available from clinics and pharmacies as this is the best way to prevent influenza infection. Though this will not affect chances of contracting COVID-19, it may help to reduce the severity as those who are already ill or compromised when they contract the virus seem to fare worse with COVID-19
  • Clean your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water, or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough and sneeze 
  • If you don't have a tissue, sneeze or cough into your sleeve or arm 
  • Stay at home if you are sick. 

Those in health care settings will follow the requirements of their facilities with respect to appropriate Personal Protective Equipment if they are working with suspected or confirmed cases.

9.   I am in a health care setting off-campus. Are there additional precautions I should take?

For students who are in other health care settings (interns), the Clinic Management Team and the Executive are aware of the steps needed to protect our students, should it become necessary. Learners, faculty and staff in a health science setting, should follow the directions of the administration of the facility.

10.   I am affected by travel restrictions and cannot return to Canada. What should I do?

If students or employees are unable to return to CMCC as a result of the travel restrictions, they should contact their Year Director/Student Services or Human Resources to arrange for accommodations. 

We also ask that students/employees are diligent about personal travel.  Should you plan to travel to any of the regions noted on the Health Canada’s travel advisory page, we ask that you advise Student Services and/or Human Resources.  Before returning to CMCC travelers may be asked to go through a phone screen via our Clinic which would include a series of questions as well as a  taking their own temperature.

11.    I am planning to travel in the coming days.  What should I do?

Students planning to travel to affected areas should cancel or postpone their trip. Staff and faculty may refer to the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 travel advisory website. Travel to affected areas may result in a restriction to returning to CMCC.

12.   Am I at risk for novel coronavirus from a package or products shipping from China?

Coronaviruses do not generally survive for long on surfaces so there is likely very low risk of them spread from products or packaging that travel for many days at room temperature. Coronaviruses are generally thought to be spread most often through direct contact with those who are ill coughing or sneezing. Currently there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with imported goods.

Important Contact Numbers

Telehealth Ontario: 1-866-797-0000 TTY: 1-866-797-0007

Telehealth Ontario is a free, confidential service you can call to get health advice or information. A Registered Nurse will take your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Toronto Public Health Hotline: 416-338-7600

Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. 8:00 p.m. and weekends from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.