Road to Recovery Update #1 - May 21

Graphic illustration with text "Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry Road to Recovery"

Dear faculty, staff, students and residents,

Further to the President's message this past week, I am pleased to share with you the first in a series of communications that will help outline recovery plans at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry.

Schulich Medicine & Dentistry has one of the most complex research and education platforms on campus. Many of our academic activities directly affect patient care and the education of present and future health workers and researchers. Therefore, we have a high-stakes responsibility to plan our recovery in a manner that is thoughtful, thorough, careful and comprehensive.

This planning process must also abide by the guiding principles set out by the University, as well as the evolving guidelines as determined by the regional and provincial health authorities.

Our primary objective is to devise recovery plans that enable the safe return of faculty, staff and students to our London and Windsor campuses and allows them to pursue their respective roles and learning aspirations.

To this end, and as a starting point, the Dean's Office has been working with the Chairs of the School’s various on-campus departments to prepare a plan that facilitates the safe return of our research community to their laboratories in the next several weeks.

According to a phased recovery model, the return to research is tentatively scheduled to begin as follows:

  • May 13 – Deep clean of London campus buildings initiated;
  • May 19 - 22 – Department chairs/leadership teams designate required staffing and define processes for faculty/researcher return to campus labs. Engagement with Facilities Management to determine spacing and traffic plans within buildings;
  • May 25 - 29 – Individual PIs develop plans for their research programs and facilities for approval by their Department Chair and Dean’s Office;
  • June 3 – Tentative date for faculty/researchers to begin returning to offices in order to plan recovery of research.

More information will be provided as updates regarding Western’s strategy for phased recovery become available and once this initial phase is proven safe and effective.

Return to work for all research labs will be closely monitored to ensure compliance with health guidelines and the University's guiding principles. Researchers and staff must maintain safe physical distancing practices and keep their work environments clean.

In addition, the Chairs will assign select members of each department to serve as Reporting Officers for their unit. Employees who learn they have contracted COVID-19 must report their health status to their respective Reporting Officer, who will in turn report this to the Associate Director, Human Resources.

The Dean's Office and all departmental offices will remain closed until at least July 6. Administrative staff will continue working remotely wherever possible at this time.

Closure of these offices does not preclude the ability of some office staff to work on campus, but the overall office spaces will remain locked and each entry must be pre-approved by the Dean’s Office or Department Chair. In addition, each person entering one of our facilities is responsible for following designated corridors and determining a sensible route to their workplace. This information will be shared in future communication.

I recognize that in these extraordinary times of uncertainty, the prospect of any recovery process will leave some feeling anxious and/or concerned.

As a reminder, there are a number of supports available for faculty and staff, for residents, and for students. The Learner Equity & Wellness Office is also available to medical and dental students. And faculty at the School can contact Faculty Affairs.

In the meantime, my office remains committed to getting faculty, staff, researchers and learners back to doing what they do best. Your roles are critical for the care, well-being, and advancement of our local and global community.

This plan that focuses on expediency and safety is our first step toward the return to academic excellence.

Thank you to our Chairs for taking such a leadership role in this transition, and to each and every one of you for your patience, cooperation and commitment.


Dr. John Yoo
Dean, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry