A different kind of return

As we return for another academic year in 2020, how we work and learn continues to be impacted by our important efforts to ensure safety and do our part to reduce COVID-19 transmission risks. For many, this year will not be a return to campus in the usual sense. Nonetheless, I do want to welcome everyone back, whether you are learning and working remotely or are present in clinical or other settings around Saskatchewan.

On the medical education side of things, our Undergraduate Medical Education Program team has been working hard to find ways to engage our incoming first-year MD students in our college in various ways. Most recently, this has been planning and executing the online orientation that took place last week. Our whole college welcomes our MD Class of 2024!

Our residents started their new year of training at the beginning of July. The annual resident boot camp for our new first-year residents was handled differently this year, of course, but I have heard wonderful things about how it went in an online format. Kudos to the teams in PGME and ICT for their great work.

The School of Rehabilitation Science welcomes its incoming class in the Master of Physical Therapy program in September, with classes starting September 8. And of course students in graduate studies in our college, across biomedical and health sciences, and population health, continue their path towards completion of their MSc and PhD programs with the fall term starting in September. A Fall Welcome for Graduate Students is planned for September 11 to kick the year off for our graduate students and graduate studies programs.

For our researchers, some have worked with the university and our college for a return to campus guided by processes for safety and physical distancing. Others continue to work remotely. All are being well-supported by our team in the Office of the Vice-Dean Research at the CoM.

Most of our administrative staff continue to work remotely, and based on what we know so far, this will continue for the majority of us into 2021. There is a good possibility that for many who can work remotely, the full academic year for 2020-21 will be managed in this way.

I hope you have found time to enjoy summer and gotten away from work in safe and physically distanced ways, or if not yet, that you have time planned for a break. We still have some great summer weather ahead!

Finally, I want to provide some additional encouragement for everyone as we continue to navigate challenging times. Be sure to access university and college wellness services and personnel for support, if needed. Whether you are among those beginning to return to campus and other work and learning spaces, or if you continue to work remotely, stay safe and be diligent in your physical distancing measures.