COVID-19 Update #8 - March 30 - eTravel Claims, Travel Reimbursement Policy, Dentistry Student Wellness Chats, New Research Funding & Updates, Pass/Fail Option for Students

This is the eighth update to the Schulich Medicine & Dentistry community.

This update includes information about:

  1. Electronic travel claims

  2. COVID-19 Reimbursement Travel Policy

  3. Schulich Dentistry student wellness chats

  4. $20 million in funding for COVID-19 research projects

  5. Research Western updates

  6. Pass/Fail option now available for undergraduate students

You can now access all these updates online. You can also continue to access the Travel, Education and Visitor Policy, the COVID-19 Travel Reimbursement Policy and the status of our education and research programs online.

Electronic travel claims

  • Accounts Payable has agreed to accept online expense claims and electronic signatures while we are in the essential services model, as a result of COVID-19. If you are not able to use an electronic signature, an email acknowledging approval will also be accepted. Please email claims to, with proper signatures, for processing.

COVID-19 Travel Reimbursement Policy

  • Due to the changing nature and rapid spread of COVID-19 and the resulting travel restrictions the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry has adopted a new Travel Reimbursement Policy.
  • This policy is applicable to all Schulich Medicine & Dentistry faculty, staff, and learners, whose travel and off-campus activity has been impacted as a result of the pandemic. Many Canadian events, conferences, meetings etc. have also been cancelled. Due to these cancellations, faculty, staff and learners may have incurred unexpected personal financial losses.
  • This policy outlines the School’s process by which reimbursement for these costs will be assessed. Any claims for funds not reimbursed by hosting organization(s), travel companies, insurance providers, and/or accommodation companies will be considered for possible reimbursement by the School/department. These costs will be tracked by the Dean’s Office finance department but incurred mostly departmentally.
  • You access the full policy online.
  • Faculty and staff can access a travel claim form online.
  • Students and trainees are asked to use the Travel Claim for Learners.

Schulich Dentistry student wellness chats

  • All dental students are invited to drop in virtually for a one-hour session weekly on Thursdays from 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. The first session is scheduled for Thursday, April 2. The hope is that by chatting and sharing information and strategies, we may remain socially connected while we are physically distant. It is meant to be a safe space to talk about how we are managing with all the changes that have come about during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Additional sessions are scheduled for April 19 and 16.
  • The Wellness Chat will occur via zoom.
  • Meeting ID: 826 562 216

Ontario Together: Help fight coronavirus

  • Earlier today, Dr. Sarah Prichard and the Research Western Office sent out the following message about new funding.
  • The Province of Ontario’s Ministry of Colleges and Universities has allocated approximately $20 million for research studies related to COVID-19.
  • These opportunities are for:
    • Projects with rapid and valuable outcomes that tackle immediate problems. They are expected to have meaningful data generated in six to seven months.
    • Longer-term projects that could help deal with a second wave of the virus, should it occur, or planning for subsequent pandemics.
  • While the province has indicated it will make a formal call for proposals, I would encourage you to consider preparing a letter of intent and rough budget if you are interested in applying. We are currently developing internal review processes for this initiative and would ask that you submit LOIs to your Associate Dean (Research) for the time being.
  • The team responsible for administering the Ontario Research Fund will manage this opportunity and will send application forms to principal investigators and their institutions once applications are triaged. Institutional sign-off will be required.
  • We anticipate project descriptions will be three pages in length, including appendices for budgets, etc. There is no requirement for matching funds, although partnered funding can be mentioned and worked into the budget.
  • We are being asked to keep proposed budgets realistic given limited funds and the short timeline for this initiative.
  • There is no formal submission deadline, although we expect applications will be reviewed by a single panel over the next two to three weeks. As a result, full proposals will need to be submitted within the next 10 days.
  • Successful applicants should hear results within two weeks of the panel’s review, and fund will flow quickly.

Research Western updates

  • Research Western has established new pages on their website where they will post information about grants and general information regarding matters of interest to the research community.
  • Please visit the COVID-19 Grant Updates page and the Research Western COVID-19 Updates page for the latest information.

Pass/Fail option now available for undergraduate students

  • Western is introducing the option for undergraduate students to change their numerical grade to Pass/Fail. The University is also extending the deadline to drop a Winter 2020 half course or a 2019-20 full year course without academic penalty.
  • While additional details will be posted on the Office of the Registrar’s website in the days ahead, the selection period will be towards the end of May 2020, when all of your course grades will be available. At that time you will have the choice to keep your numerical grade, revise your numerical grade to Pass/Fail, or Withdraw from the course without academic penalty. Pass/Fail courses will not affect your cumulative average.
  • If your course has been graded on a Pass/Fail basis with no other option provided, you may contact your Department or Faculty to see if supplemental assessments are available.

Please send ALL communication related to the COVID-19 pandemic that you need to be shared with the Schulich Medicine & Dentistry community for faculty, staff, students, learners, trainees and fellows to Jennifer Parraga. The information will be compiled and shared with the School.

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