Eduvation Blog

Surrender or Party in a Pandemic

Good morning!

Today I really thought I would get beyond the COVID19 news, but here it is 1:00am and I did not succeed… there’s just so much still happening, from skyrocketing cases and imminent lockdowns in Europe, to confrontations with fitness club owners in Quebec and healthcare workers in Alberta, new restrictions in BC, and some updates on Fall enrolments and Winter term plans.

In the US, two universities with more than 3,500 cases on campus are nonetheless stubbornly keeping their campuses open, while a third college student has died of COVID19 in Ohio. Critics are accusing the Trump administration of “surrendering” to the pandemic.

And sadly, in a small town north of Gatineau, about 200 international students from Ottawa through Montréal gathered for an illegal Airbnb house party – and they will be facing $83,000 in fines…


State of the Pandemic

The world has now surpassed 43M cases of COVID19, and 1.15M deaths. But political leaders have been reluctant to impose fresh restrictions or lockdowns that might further harm the economy, allowing an immense second wave to hit the northern hemisphere.  The Washington Post declares “the US and Europe are losing the coronavirus battle,” while countries like Vietnam and New Zealand imposed strict lockdowns early and reopened with minimal economic damage…

Europe:  France has now surpassed 1.1M cases, reporting more new cases in just 3 days than in the entire 2-month lockdown this spring. The country needs to be prepared to live with the virus “at best until next summer,” says president Emmanuel Macron, and doctors are warning a second lockdown may be necessary. With at least 1M cases (and likely 3M because of testing gaps), Spain has declared a national state of emergency, with curfews and domestic travel bans. In Italy, gyms, cinemas and pools have been ordered closed, and restaurants and bars must close by 6pm. Cases in Poland doubled in the past 3 weeks, and the president has tested positive.

America:  The US is continuing to set records for new cases in many states, hospitalizations are rising rapidly, and daily COVID19 deaths have risen 10% over the past 2 weeks – despite president Donald Trump’s assurances that “we’re rounding the turn, we’re doing great!” A uWashington model predicts 386,000 American deaths by Feb 1. Maine Senator Angus King, NY Governor Andrew Cuomo, and others have accused Trump of “unconditional surrender” to the pandemic.

Australia:  In Melbourne, daily counts have dropped to zero (well, for the past 24 hours) so public health restrictions will start to be eased tonight.

Canada: New cases in Quebec have “stabilized,” but the province is still reporting >800 new infections a day, and cannot “tolerate” the demands it is creating on the healthcare system. Yesterday premier François Legault extended the partial lockdown order, closing gyms, bars, dining rooms and entertainment venues in “red zones,” for another 4 weeks until Nov 23. A coalition of 253 fitness-related businesses in Quebec has vowed to reopen this Thursday, regardless of PHO orders.

In Alberta, as the province set new records for COVID19 infections, at least 800 healthcare workers at 30 facilities launched a wildcat strike yesterday to protest plans to outsource more than 11,000 healthcare jobs. Alberta’s PHO implemented new restrictions on social gatherings in Calgary and Edmonton.

In BC, case counts are rising in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Health regions, 2 schools have closed, and new PHO restrictions limit home gatherings to members of the household and their “safe six.” PHO Bonnie Henry warns, “It’s going to be some months until we are through this part of the pandemic.”

“These are difficult days. The curve of contagion is growing in the world, and in all Europe, the wave is very high. We must react immediately and with determination if we want to avoid unsustainable numbers.”Roberto Speranza, Italian Health Minister


“Waiting for the virus to magically disappear, allowing it to run its course through society, or imposing continual lockdown measures without a clear strategy beyond waiting for a vaccine are all suboptimal choices that will damage our health, our economy and our society.” Devi Sridhar, Chair of Global Public Health, uEdinburgh


“They surrendered without firing a shot. It was the Great American surrender.”Andrew Cuomo, Governor of New York


COVID on Campus

Despite massive campus outbreaks in Georgia and South Carolina, some institutions are determined to keep students on campus and stay open. Meanwhile a third college student has died, in Ohio…

Clemson U (SC) has reported 3,770 cases this fall, out of 24,000 students – so 14% have tested positive – and yet the institution has no intention of shutting down. It claims the case count is high because it tests up to 9,000 students every week.  Inside Higher Ed

uDayton (OH) freshman Michael Lang died last week of COVID19 complications, after a long hospitalization. Dayton has reported 1,415 cases since classes resumed Aug 10. (Lang is “at least” the 3rd US college student to die of COVID19 this fall, after Appalachian State and California U of Pennsylvania.)  Dayton247

uGeorgia has reports ~3,600 students infected with COVID19 – so 9% of the student body – but still hasn’t triggered its contingency plan to go fully online. Critics say that symptomatic students are no longer seeking testing or to report positive results.  Inside Higher Ed

Sheridan College reports 3 cases of COVID19 at their Davis campus in Brampton.  Sheridan

Bon Fête! That’ll be $83,000…

The regional municipality of Les Collines-de-l’Outaouais, in the outskirts of Gatineau, is one of Quebec’s “red zones” – meaning that no-one is permitted to invite anyone to visit them in a private home. Nonetheless, up to 200 students gathered for an Airbnb house party in Chelsea on Saturday night, to celebrate a birthday. It took police officers 2 hours to break up the party, and they will be issuing $1,000 fines to 83 international students, from colleges and universities in Ottawa, Montréal, and Trois-Rivières.  CBC


CdnPSE Updates

Canadore College reports “steady” enrolment at their North Bay and West Parry Sound campuses this fall, just -7% below the target set pre-pandemic. International registration in North Bay is down -30%, but the college hopes to make up those numbers in the winter term. Strong partnerships with Indigenous institutes and the Stanford International College of Business and Technology in Toronto “are making up for the enrolment shortfall.”  Education News Canada

College of the Rockies will continue to offer “a full slate of programs… online and blended with F2F where possible” in the Winter 2021 semester. In the Fall semester, 40% of students had at least some classes on campus.  COTR

Holland College plans to increase blended delivery in the Winter 2021 semester, from 70% to 95% of programs. In all cases, theoretical study will remain online.  CBC

Sheridan College has 7,583 students enrolled at its main Trafalgar campus this fall, out of a usual 9,500 – a -20% drop they attribute largely to international students. New domestic students were “not dramatically lower” and student retention has been “very strong.”  Inside Halton



Sorry to cite 2 BCIT vids in a row this week… (Lara, don’t let it go to anybody’s head!)

You Can Try Waiting for it to Stop

Considering how many PSE ads fail to be persuasive in a minute or more, kudos to the marketers at BCIT for this July spot that makes the case against deferring your studies – in just 15 seconds. “The world has always moved in unexpected ways. You can try waiting for it to stop, or you can jump in and start shaping your future.” Dynamic music, compelling visuals, worth a few seconds if you’re interested in marketing!  YouTube


Thanks for reading! Be safe and stay well,

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