Top Ten

March 18, 2020

Researchers across country receive funds to tackle social implications of COVID-19 

As many Canadian researchers are receiving funds to investigate the biological implications of COVID-19, others are receiving funds to study the virus' social implications. Three York University professors are receiving more than $1.1M in COVID-19 research funding to study issues of trust, stigmatization, and social perceptions of risk surrounding the virus. Researchers at Royal Roads University and Ryerson University have also received funds to reduce the circulation of misinformation regarding COVID-19, as well as to develop educational resources. “The results from these […] research projects could affect the response to and management of COVID-19 now and similar outbreaks of disease in the future,” said YorkU in a news release.  Hamilton Spectator  | Royal Roads  (National)

Camosun receives donation towards marine training simulator, programs 

Camosun College has received support from an eastern Canadian shipyard to develop a more robust marine sector on the west coast. Halifax-based Irving Shipbuilding’s subsidiary, Atlantic Towing, has committed $700K to the college to help build a marine training simulator. The simulator could be completed by the end of the year. Camosun vice-president of partnerships Geoff Wilmshurt stated that the college intends to see the simulator moved to the Camosun Coastal Centre after the marine industry training facility is expanded. Camosun will be adding two new marine programs to its curriculum, in turn increasing the number of marine professionals entering the industry in the region.  Camosun  | Times Colonist  (BC)

How to transition your recruitment, admissions processes from in-person to online 

A crucial time of year for students and institutions alike, how are schools dealing with admission season and restructuring in-person recruitment activities in light of COVID-19? asks Scott Jaschik. Although schools are never going to be able to completely replicate on-campus experiences, the author notes that recalibrating admissions strategies must go beyond putting information typically relayed in-person into an online format. Factors that should be considered when transitioning from in-person to online admissions events may include: transitioning 60-90 minute presentations into shorter 10 minute videos or webinars; creating separate videos for students and parents; and consulting with international recruitment experts who may use to communicating with perspective students online.   Inside Higher Ed  (International)

UAlberta eliminates 400 positions, potentially 600 more in the coming year 

The University of Alberta has eliminated 400 employment positions and may cut another 600 in the coming year in the wake of government funding cuts, said UAlberta President David Turpin. Turpin did not indicate which positions were affected, but said they were eliminated through a mix of attrition and layoffs. "We would anticipate layoffs of over 600 people ... in the coming year," said Turpin, “but we are working very closely with government to find a way to manage some of those with the hope of saving between 200 and 300 of those jobs.”   CBC  | Edmonton Journal  (AB)

Western students create Volunteer Task Force 

A group of Western University students have created the London Volunteer Task Force, which provides a grocery shop-and-delivery service for Londoners who have self-quarantined or who are at high risk of COVID-19 infection. The Task Force started as a group of friends and has since expanded to include students from other faculties. “The idea is to provide a no-contact service and mitigate some of the risks for people who aren’t able to get to the store themselves,” said student organizer Maximillian Soltysiak. “While it’s a scary and uncertain time, we can also reach out to other people. It’s just coming from community need and community support.”  Western  (ON)

US-based tech company offers instant communication platform for free to postsecondary institutions 

US higher ed tech company Raftr has announced that it will offer its messaging and notifications platform free of charge through July 1, 2020 to colleges and universities. “Our partner institutions are facing a rapidly evolving COVID-19 outbreak, forcing unprecedented disruption on campuses and in remote learning environments,” said Raftr Founder & CEO Sue Decker. “The right thing to do is to offer our support.” Raftr enables group administrators to send custom push notifications directly to students’ and parents’ mobile devices. To be eligible, administrators must submit an online request to enable their community and to have any staff members who will be posting updates through the platform attend a one-hour online training session.  Financial Post  (International)

USask SENS collaborate with Mistawasis Nêhiyawak 

Mistawasis Nêhiyawak and the University of Saskatchewan’s School of Environment and Sustainability have been collaborating on a mapping project that includes flood projections for the community. “In past years, while we were dealing with flooding on a daily basis, we may have taken actions that impact present or future water use and quality,” said Anthony Johnston, SENS Indigenous mentor and a spokesperson for Mistawasis Nêhiyawak. “Now we can only wait and see if we did more harm with our quick solution. We might have decided differently if we were able to use our LiDAR data earlier.” USask notes that the collaboration provided an opportunity for SENS students to learn first-hand about reconciliation through shared science, and that the two parties have planned new projects for the future.  USask  (SK)

UWaterloo warns students, staff of COVID-19 phishing scam 

The University of Waterloo has reached out to students and staff to warn them of a phishing scam using a fake UWaterloo administration email. The email addresses parents and guardians with information from the Public Health Agency of Canada with regards to COVID-19 and a link that appears to lead to a letter from a medical officer. "Our IT department was able to detect and stop that scam early," said Matthew Grant, UWaterloo’s director of media relations. "We took steps to ensure that all members of our campus are aware this was a possibility." The Better Business Bureau told CBC that it has also seen COVID-19 related scams that involve fraudulent health products, fake charities, and impersonations of the World Health Organization.   CBC  (ON)

Fire breaks out at UManitoba during charity event, damages building 

The UMSU University Centre at the University of Manitoba sustained “considerable damage” after a fire broke out during a charity event. Students were participating in Five Days for the Homeless, a national charity campaign, when the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service were called for a reported fire. Firefighters found a pile of burning wooden pallets outside the bottom level of the centre. Part of the building was scorched, nearby office windows were shattered, and some office chairs were charred. A City of Winnipeg spokesperson stated that no injuries were reported.   CBC  (MB)

ULaval, UCalgary report cases of COVID-19

Université Laval and the University of Calgary have reported a case of COVID-19 in each of their respective communities. At Laval, a student from the law program has reportedly contracted the virus, and public health officials are asking students who were enrolled in a course that the student attended to monitor their symptoms until March 25th. UCalgary reports that an individual who was “based in the science precinct of the university” tested positive for COVID-19, a case that is believed to be travel-related. The individual was last on campus on March 9th, and a statement from President Ed McCauley notes that the individual self-isolated when they felt ill and was “not on campus while exhibiting symptoms,” potentially reducing the risk of additional transmission.   

Journal de Montréal  | UCalgary