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New normal

Tips for researchers and graduate students during COVID-19 pandemic


By Jeff Green

Researchers and research-intensive graduate students at Memorial are learning to adapt their activities and use remote technologies to continue their work, projects and studies during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Neil Bose
Photo: Rich Blenkinsopp

Dr. Neil Bose, vice-president (research) says it is “inspiring” to see Memorial’s researchers and graduate students embrace new ways to remain connected despite enduring many hardships at this time. He also says that many people are coping with exceptional circumstances – mentally and physically – and that others have had to adapt their research.

“Memorial is continuing to look for ways to support our researchers and graduate students, recognizing that individuals in our research community face unique professional and personal challenges given individual circumstances,” he said. “Please reach out to your supervisor, department or school heads, dean or my office if we can be of any support. We will get through this situation together.”

‘Every bit helps’

Dr. Aimée Surprenant.
Dr. Aimée Surprenant
Photo: Chris Hammond

Dr. Aimée Surprenant, associate vice-president (academic) and dean of graduate studies, says that many graduate students are struggling with challenging situations ranging from hardware and software difficulties to meeting family and other obligations.

She says labs have been closed, many research projects put in jeopardy and people are trying to figure out how to keep their lives on track.

“Added on top of that is uncertainty as we cannot predict how this situation will unfold,” she said. “Even so, many have asked how they can contribute to help students who are in urgent need. For those who are able, we have set up an emergency fund that can be accessed online. My deepest thanks for any support that can be given, no matter how small – every bit helps.”

The Gazette offers these tips for researchers and graduate students as they navigate through a new normal.

Health and wellness

  • Remember to stay home and avoid non-essential gatherings.
  • If you do have to leave your home for essentials or medical supplies, follow the Public Health Agency of Canada guidelines and keep a distance of at least two arms’ length from other people. You can also order food online for delivery or curbside pickup.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water frequently for 20 seconds minimum.
  • Contact the 811 HealthLine if you develop a fever, cough or have difficulty breathing and wait for direction from the HealthLine staff.
  • The Student Wellness and Counselling Centre is open and staff are providing services to students via telephone and virtual sessions, with the exception of some physician and nurse appointments.
  • Stay connected with family, friends and research colleagues using online technology such as FaceTime, Zoom, Skype, etc.
  • Take breaks for self-care and wellness. The Gardiner Centre is offering free 15-minute guided mindfulness sessions each Wednesday for several weeks, led by instructor and coach Jennifer Kelly.
  • Refer to online resources such as the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s Mental Health First Aid COVID-19 Self-Care and Resilience Guide.

Remote research, teaching and learning

Extra time

Please visit Memorial’s COVID-19 resource site for a series of frequently asked questions covering issues such as health, research and academics.

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