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COVID-19 information and updates

Find the most recent updates here, as well as FAQs and information for students, faculty and staff.

To Our Students

Message from the Anthropology Department to our Undergrads Fall of 2021

Our focus throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has been on the health and safety of every member of our community. As the University plans for select in-person opportunities in the 2021 Fall term, we want to provide you with information specific to the Faculty of Social Sciences and to courses in Anthropology. All of us at McMaster and in our Faculty are being guided by Ontario Public Health guidelines.

Jun 21, 2021

As the provincial government reviews its data and as we await the finer details of its plan for the safe reopening of Ontario, we still do not know how many people can be safely accommodated in our classrooms with required physical distancing protocols. As we await this information, we have had to go ahead and complete academic scheduling so that students can choose their courses and prepare their timetables for Fall and Winter. We will continue to share further information as it becomes available throughout the summer so that you will feel comfortable about the enrolment choices you make, and confident in the safety of your environment, for the on-campus opportunities that are available to you.  As guided by the McMaster COVID-19 Academic Contingency Planning group McMaster University > Provost and Vice-President (Academic) > COVID-19 Academic Contingency Planning all medium-sized and large lectures (>50 students) in Anthropology will be offered virtually or online (either asynchronously or synchronously) in the Fall. We have also opted for most smaller classes and tutorials/labs to be taught virtually online as well, as we are not able to accommodate most smaller classes in larger rooms to permit physical distancing. We understand that for the fall 2021 term in-person class options are less than some expected. It has been a difficult challenge to assess the best balance of in-person and remote teaching modalities. Anthropology instructors made a number of considerations when selecting course delivery mode, but the health and safety of our staff and students is our primary concern. For the Winter 2022 term, we will continue to follow Public Health guidelines but are optimistic that we will return to regular in-person learning.

Dear Anthropology students,

In the Department, and in the Faculty of Social Sciences (FSS) as a whole, we commit to the following:
• We will ensure your learning will be delivered consistently from start to finish for the Fall 2021 term (either in-person or remotely) as permitted by Public Health authorities in Ontario.
• We will offer flexible and accessible academic options for students in Fall 2021, recognizing that there may be ongoing limitations preventing students from coming to campus. In particular, there will be online or virtual options for all required course components for the Fall 2021 term. This may not be the case for required courses offered by another Faculty. Please check the ‘Notes’ section in Mosaic for further details on each course you select.
We know you are looking forward to interacting with your classmates, professors, and teaching assistants. As instructors, we also very much look forward to the day when we meet you again in person.
There will be opportunities to interact in-person with your peers outside the classroom.
a. The university will provide details over the summer on sheltered outdoor spaces (with wi-fi) where students can meet with physical distancing.
b. The university is also working on bookable outdoor and indoor spaces for MSU student groups, with COVID capacity limits.
Please note the following for course enrolment and delivery:
• In Mosaic, you’ll be able to see how a course is offered (e.g., in-person, virtual, online) when you enroll in your Fall and Winter 2021-2022 courses this month.
Virtual = synchronous (live)
Online = asynchronous (pre-recorded lectures or other posted content)
• If you are enrolling in a course designated as in-person, you are expected to attend all in-person components of the course on campus for the duration of the term.
• If you are not able to attend one of the few Anthropology elective courses that are offered in-person in Fall 2021, it is recommended that you select another course that is offered virtually or online.
• Details regarding the virtual, online, and in-person components in individual courses will be included in the course outlines, which will be posted on our department website and on Avenue to Learn by mid-August.
• For all Fall 2021 courses offered in-person, the first week of classes will be delivered virtually.
We know that this year may still feel unusual and uncertain. If you have any questions, please contact the Academic Advising Team in the Office of the Associate Dean Academic for assistance at socscfac@mcmaster.ca. Updates on ‘Back to Mac’ will continue to be posted on the University’s COVID-19 website as soon as they are released.


Dr. Tina Moffat, Chair, Department of Anthropology
Dr. Karen McGarry, Undergraduate Chair, Department of Anthropology
Dr. Tracy Prowse, Associate Dean Academic, Faculty of Social Sciences