As Canada went into lockdown in March, York’s School of Nursing provided vital supplies to community health partners. Faculty of Health Dean Paul McDonald personally delivered supplies to Mackenzie Health in Markham, including more than 3,200 N95 masks, 6,200 pairs of medical gloves, and a ventilator.
Within days of COVID-19 being declared a pandemic, sociology PhD candidate Jade Crimson Rose Da Costa co-founded The People’s Pantry. The grassroots group supports marginalized individuals affected economically by the pandemic – including queer, trans and BIPOC as well as sex workers and newcomers – by providing them with groceries and home-cooked meals at no cost.
Because of the pandemic, in-person teaching placements arranged through York’s concurrent education program were also cancelled. Instead, over 260 York students in the program have invested their time back into the community by taking part in the Youth Empowering Parents program. Through the program, young people teach important skills to adults and seniors. The program has been adapted during the pandemic to include a postsecondary component to help fill community placements, allowing York students to continuing building their skills and give back to the community.
The pandemic and lockdown upended the winter term for students at York. In response, we created the York University Emergency Bursary to help registered domestic and international undergraduate students at York who suddenly faced unexpected financial need in March and April related to emergency housing, rent, food and other costs due to COVID-19. We also supported domestic and international undergraduate students on international study programs at partner universities during the same period through the York University Emergency Travel Disruption Bursary. The bursary also helped international students with international travel-related expenses due to COVID-19. Each of these programs ensured that the entire York community, no matter where they were, could get the support they needed to weather the pandemic.