COVID-19 National Day of Observance: Letter from the Dean

The end of this week marks a temporal remembrance of the beginning of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Dr. Neal Davies - 11 March 2021

Dear All:

The end of this week marks a temporal remembrance of the beginning of the COVID-19 Pandemic. At the University of Alberta, classes were first suspended on Friday March 13, 2020. It was almost one year ago that I sent out my first COVID-19 message to each of you and since  that initial missive, we have followed it with various updates as the pandemic has unfolded. 

Over the past year, more than 118 million cases of COVID-19 have occurred with over 2.6  million deaths worldwide. In Canada, we will soon be approaching almost 1 million cases and  over 22 thousand deaths. In Alberta, there have been over 136 thousand cases and almost 2  thousand deaths. The statistics are staggering themselves but so is the narrative. 

Countless families have suffered loss of loved ones, including my own. We have had to attend  funerals and memorials online. Many of us have seen family members suffer from this disease  and many continue to suffer. We have had to self-isolate and quarantine and experience nasal and oral swabs. We have experienced devastating affects on mental health and have friends  and family who have lost employment.  

We have coped with the emotional toil that has impacted on our school aged children and the  young adults and students in our families, and we have worried and prayed for our elderly  family members and seen unimaginable indignities facing our elders in care homes. We have  experienced restrictions on work, study, and travel. We have all suffered ourselves, many of us  in silence. 

There has been much to learn over this past year beyond Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical  Sciences. Many lessons will remain with us and define us for our lifetimes and beyond. 

Within the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, we have served our students as  best as possible. We have successfully graduated students in all our programs and another  crop will soon convocate in June. We have done our best in our academic pursuits and so have  all our trainees. Take pride in what we have accomplished during this pandemic together. I, for  one, am grateful for everyone’s contributions, sacrifices, and service. You are all valued. 

Mankind has responded to all the challenges faced. Pharmaceutical sciences has done its part  to develop vaccines, which are now being clinically deployed by pharmacists. The mandate and  importance of our Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences is as clear as it has ever  been and is unquestionable. 

For many religious observants, it is again a season of reflection and preparation. It is also a  time of penance and deliverance, prayer, and community. We have experienced a sorrowful  road, but Spring will be upon us soon. The path forward is full of heartfelt excitement.  

“Light breaks where no sun shines.” – Dylan Thomas

With a bit more sacrifice, hope for a positive roll of the dice, and some further patience, we  can all anticipate that our experience together in the next academic year will be even better,  much closer, and more personable.  


Neal M. Davies BSc(Pharm), Ph.D., R.Ph. 

Dean of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences