Message for students from the President

From a message sent March 22, 2020

Dear students,
 
I have included a picture of a sunny day on campus with this message because I thought it might help you feel closer to Saint Mary’s regardless of where you are right now. We are not on campus together, but we are in this together. We will get back to campus when the time is right and in the meantime, we will continue our important work.
 
Tomorrow is our first day of virtual operations for the university and the return to classes for you.
 
All of us at Saint Mary’s know that returning to classes may feel overwhelming, especially in this new virtual environment. My advice is to take this one step at a time and allow yourself time to adjust – start your classes, do the best you can do and recognize that some days will be easier than others. You are not alone and the Saint Mary’s community is with you; only a phone call or email away. 
 
The university has sent you a great deal of information over the past two weeks, and that was necessary. Thank you for doing your best to stay informed about the university’s COVID-19 response.
 
Today, I wanted to send advice and direction to assist as we restart classes this week, including what to do if you have technical issues:

  • Visit the website daily – www.smu.ca remains the source of information and direction to the services you need. New resources specific to our virtual operations are being added every day.
  • Ask questions. Email your instructor for help if you are unsure of how your course will be taught, how to access technology or are having trouble with course content. Your Academic Advisors are ready to assist as well.
  • Prepare to learn. Do what you normally would do, if you were coming to campus for class. Shower, eat, get dressed – keeping up with your normal routines will help you.
  • What to do if you have technical issues? With any issues that relate to your course, always notify your instructor by email to make them aware of the problems you are having.  Contact ITSS Help Desk which has extended its hours of support. And for Brightspace-related issues, you can contact the Software & Application Support Centre directly.
  • If your instructor will hold audio or video lectures, ask if you can record the lecture on your laptop or phone so you can listen to lectures again while you study.
  • As a reminder, all students have access to the entire suite of Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Skype, Teams, etc.). These applications will be useful during virtual operations. Learn more about how to download applications.


Our university support services are still operating and ready to help in addition to the resources already mentioned. Here are a few I haven’t mentioned that I want you to be aware of:  

Please stay connected to your professors and peers and ask for support and advice when you need it, and give support and advice to others. Let us know how you are doing and what you need so that we can continue to respond and adapt.   
 
Finally, and importantly, stay up-to-date and follow all public health direction and advice. The Province of Nova Scotia announced a state of emergency today, like many other jurisdictions in Canada and around the world. We are providing you links to Nova Scotia and Canadian direction.  Province of NS COVID-19 Information | Government of Canada COVID-19 Information


Sincerely,
Dr. Robert Summerby-Murray

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