Coronavirus update: No in-person final exams for winter term

University also announces that the term will not be extended

To support the federal and provincial governments’ increasingly stringent measures to minimize the spread of the COVID-19 virus, McGill has announced that there will be no traditional in-person sit-down examinations for the Winter 2020 term. The term will not be extended.

In a communiqué to the McGill community on March 16, Fabrice Labeau, Deputy Provost (Student Life and Learning), wrote that the University is “adapting to the ever-evolving situation in a quick and decisive manner” and is “committed to helping contain the propagation of COVID-19 by ‘flattening the curve.’ To promote social distancing, we are implementing measures to have fewer individuals on, or commuting to, our campuses, while maintaining necessary functions and activities.”

In the announcement, Labeau also highlighted the federal government’s new travel restrictions. “Foreign nationals, except American citizens, with work and study permits who are presently abroad will not be allowed re-entry into the country after March 18,” he said. “Members of the McGill community currently abroad who are foreign nationals, and who wish to return to Canada, are urged to make travel arrangements immediately.”

These are the most recent developments in an extremely fluid situation.

On March 15, a message from Christopher Manfredi, Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) and Yves Beauchamp, Vice-Principal (Administration and Finance) outlined how University operations will continue in the days and weeks to come. These measures include the following:

Teaching and assessments

All classes (in-person and online), teaching labs, exams, assignments and other forms of assessment have been suspended for two weeks – except thesis defenses.

Provost Manfredi and VP Beauchamp assured people that McGill “is committed to ensuring that all courses that can be taught online will be in an online format starting on March 30. The goal is to ensure that as many students as possible are able to complete most, if not all, of their academic term remotely.”


On-campus research will be ramped down and put on hold.

“We realize that a ramp down of on-campus research may represent significant hardship for those involved in certain research projects that are in progress. Unfortunately, due to the current crisis and the importance of preserving the health and safety of our community, the government’s and McGill’s default position is that all non-essential research activities on campus must be postponed or halted in the short term,” said Provost Manfredi and VP Beauchamp. “Ultimately, we must accept that the current COVID-19 situation is a unique emergency that requires exceptional measures that will inevitably have important impacts on everyone’s work.”


As per clarifications from the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, McGill will remain operational for the duration of the two-week suspension, beginning on Tuesday, March 17, but only necessary functions and activities will be provided on campus.

Whenever possible, employees will work remotely the duration of the two-week suspension period.


All McGill libraries are closed until March 30. Online library services will still be available during this period. The Library is offering a retrieval service for research print materials from downtown libraries.

Reference services will be moving online for the next two weeks: Chat, email or text a librarian from Monday to Friday, 10 am to 6 pm.

A link to a FAQ page outlining the Library’s contingency plan is available on the Library’s  homepage.


All McGill Athletics & Recreation facilities are closed until March 30.

Food services will remain open with regular  hours of service  in all residential dining halls (except Douglas Hall), Starbucks, Premiere Moisson and  Twiggs at Macdonald campus. All other food service locations on campus will be closed.

McGill’s shuttle service between the downtown and Macdonald campuses will operate on the same  reduced schedule as per reading week.

Please see the  coronavirus page of the McGill website for the most current information.  

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