I have just a few brief and very simple messages I want to share with you.
First, as we make our way through the COVID-19 situation, everyone is impacted and it is understandably unsettling. We are adjusting and learning on the fly as we adapt to a new reality in our important work of teaching and learning, research and community engagement. The importance of working together and supporting one another through this can’t be overstated, while at the same time ensuring we are doing that in appropriate ways given the need for social distancing.
As I mentioned in earlier messages to you in recent days, we need to be patient with each other and as supportive as we each can be. Our medical faculty and our residents are on the frontline in clinical settings helping deliver patient care and we all have an important role in ensuring we do the right things to not increase the burden on the healthcare system—the basics of cleanliness and social distancing measures you are all familiar with now. Please, everyone, do this part diligently!
As well, some helpful information for self-care has been posted on Twitter by Dr. Tamara Hinz, on faculty in our Department of Psychiatry. Thank you, Tamara, for this!
Second, we are still engaged in our mission and at work—this may be slightly different from our normal way of conducting business, but we are on the job, even as we adjust to supporting online learning, more teleconference and other meeting formats, working onsite with appropriate social distancing, working remotely for those who can continue their work responsibilities this way, and all the decisions and impacts of what work and activities continue, are delayed, or cancelled. As we also shift to sorting out childcare with public schools transitioning this week to closure, we will be making more adjustments and this will require further patience.
Finally, given all of the ways in which we are shifting our work and methods of work, I can’t say enough about the amazing response, commitment, great ideas and effort I have seen across our college as we adapt to these rapidly changing circumstances together. My personal message to each and every one of you is this: you are doing an incredible job through tough times! Keep up your amazing work—whether that is on the frontline of care, supporting those on the frontline, as well as supporting our learners and colleagues in a variety of ways.
Remember, if you are not as directly engaged in work in healthcare to suppress COVID-19, it is times like this that a smile or kind word—and we have the technology to do this safely!—makes a huge difference to someone who is anxious, frustrated, down. Your college, our province and our partners need each of us working supportively and together more than ever.