Eduvation Blog

Semblances of Normality? What’s that?

Good morning!

Today I’m looking forward to spending the afternoon (virtually) with enrolment leaders at Algonquin College. (Purely by coincidence, they also made news in the Ottawa Citizen yesterday.)

It looks like today we’ve got updates on healthcare fatalities and teacher stress, renewed lockdowns and curfews, and risks to the Atlantic Bubble if enough students head home for the Christmas holidays. But fear not – the Trump Administration has already declared the pandemic “ended.”

(Count me with Anthony Fauci and the Bank of Canada, more conservatively anticipating a return to normalcy starting in mid-2022.)

We’ve also got 10 more COVID19 cases on CdnPSE campuses, 2 more (rather late) announcements for the Winter 2021 term, and an extension of CR/NCR options to uToronto ArtSci students throughout the Fall and Spring semesters, because of the abrupt shift from hybrid to purely online back on Oct 10.

On a more upbeat note, #ICYMI I profile a series of 6 graduate testimonials from Lambton College that are short and sweet!


Pandemic Updates

As fatalities rise in Europe, and Germany and France return to lockdowns, cases are starting to overwhelm Swiss hospitals, public transit is increasingly suspect as a vector of transmission, particularly in Italy. The International Council of Nurses reports that at least 1,500 nurses across 44 countries have died of COVID19 – but they suspect the true count would be close to 20,000 healthcare workers worldwide.

In Canada, 19% of all cases were healthcare workers – twice the global average – and 12 had died by Jul 23. Although some believe the return to school has gone surprisingly well this fall, thousands of parents are pulling their kids out of classrooms, and teachers in Quebec, New Brunswick, and across the country are struggling with stress, “impractical” PHO guidelines, and overwork – and contemplating early retirement.

Saskatchewan has brought in new restrictions for Saskatoon nightclubs, setting last call at 10pm, closing time at 11pm, and limiting each table to 6 patrons. (Dance floors and karaoke must also stay closed.) And while Canada’s maritime provinces have been pretty successful with their “Atlantic Bubble,” a uOttawa infectious disease modeler warns that the Christmas break might burst that bubble – and moreover, universities and language schools will be bringing international students into the region in January as well.

Of course, in America the White House has already declared the pandemic “ended” – but hospitals in Texas and Wisconsin are straining, and a study from Vanderbilt U suggests that hospitalizations will be highest in areas without mask mandates.

Anthony Fauci told an audience of medical specialists it will “easily” be the end of 2021 or into the next year “before we start having some semblances of normality.” But clearly the Canadian government expects economic recovery to take years: the Bank of Canada announced yesterday that it will keep interest rates at historic lows until sometime in 2023, assuming that vaccines become widely available in mid-2022.

“If we get a vaccination campaign, and by the second or third quarter of 2021 we have vaccinated a substantial proportion of the people, I think it will be easily by the end of 2021 — and perhaps even into the next year — before we start having some semblances of normality.”Anthony Fauci, Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases


COVID19 on Campus

Looks like 10 more CdnPSE cases since I reported on Monday…

uManitoba now reports 22 cases on campus since Sept – 6 more since last week. uManitoba

Red River College reports 2 unrelated new cases, who were asymptomatic but on campus Oct 22 and 23. RRC

Ryerson U reported 2 more COVID19 cases on Friday, in internal emails to the Faculty Association. The individuals were on campus Oct 19 and 21. (Ryerson has had 6 cases to date.)  The Ryersonian


CdnPSE Updates

Algonquin College is now projecting a $21.2M deficit, up from $19M estimated in the summer, largely due to lost ancillary revenue from the Winter 2021 term, which will also be delivered largely online. Enrolment overall is expected to be down -15% from 2019, and international enrolment down -34%. Algonquin is negotiating with an unnamed private college for a partnership that could enroll up to 1,000 international students per semester in AC programs, starting as early as May 2021.  Ottawa Citizen

Humber College is planning to offer 52% of programs (and all electives) entirely online in the Winter 2021 semester, and the remainder in a blended format. The term will be much like Fall, but “the difference is that Humber’s plan for Winter 2021 benefits from the lessons learned during the Fall.”  Humber

Mount Allison U has announced that Winter 2021 term courses will continue in their current formats (blended, synchronous or asynchronous online).  MtA

uToronto’s Faculty of Arts & Science has extended the deadline to convert course grades into Credit/NCR for the Fall and Spring semesters, until after students see their final grades. All hybrid courses in FAS moved online abruptly on Oct 10.  The Varsity



As someone who has watched hundreds, probably thousands, of PSE student/grad testimonial vids, I have to admit that most are pretty forgettable, or at least they blur together. There are some exceptions though!



On Tuesday, Lambton College released 6 more 1-min testimonial vids in the #ChooseLambton series, and they are among the most engaging, interesting, emotional and memorable ones I have seen. Tim is a petrochemical grad working for Esso, but also owns 2 watersports companies. Julie and Alicia give us the perspective of mature students. Shaun and Ian are firefighters and also “Firefit” champions. (You can see all 12 in this YouTube playlist, and I suspect the stories will be gathered on the #ChooseLambton landing page.)

These 2 stood out for me in particular:

Celine is a remarkably joyful, compassionate and upbeat nurse who describes the challenges she had to overcome, from losing 6 friends in high school to suicide, to being diagnosed with a learning disability. “No matter what, don’t ever let anyone ever tell you you can’t do something.”


Serena is an inspiring young Indigenous woman, a boxer, and a police cadet, who shares the pain of losing her best friend, and how it redoubled her determination to pursue a policing career. “There’s not one thing that will hold me back in what I want to pursue.”


Thanks for reading! Be safe and stay well,

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