Eduvation Blog

Almost There…

Good morning!

As we ease into the holiday break in 2 days, I’m veering away from pandemic coverage as much as I can. For 3 weeks, you’re going to be going without me summarizing provincial case counts, lockdowns, protests, and the roll-out of the first vaccine – so you and I both need to start getting used to it! (Maybe I’ll even LIKE it!)

For Friday, I’m focusing on my playlist of what is now 380 higher ed holiday greeting videos from the past few weeks. Stay tuned!

For today, though, there are some CdnPSE stories I should share…


COVID on Campus

Kingston Public Health reports that “multiple cases” of COVID19 have now been linked back to “several parties” in the University District Dec 11-12. (Previously, at least 2 cases were linked to parties Dec 4-5.)  Global

uWaterloo reported yesterday that 2 individuals have tested positive after visiting campus. (Total 17 cases this fall.)  UW

…and NOT on Campus

Considering how much time I have spent chronicling the opposite, this story deserves mention too…

St Francis Xavier U announced yesterday that, despite holding 64% of classes F2F, they successfully completed the semester on Monday “COVID-free.” Admittedly I was among those who “openly criticized and questioned the move,” and I am pleasantly surprised they, and the province of Nova Scotia, have weathered the fall so well. President Andy Hakin credits “the behaviour of students during the term, and the planning and collaboration between the university community and the residents of Antigonish.” StFX enforced precautions above and beyond PHO requirements, including mandatory masks outdoors on campus, and green bracelets to identify those who had completed their quarantines.

Naturally, though, I find it a little unnerving as the media release continues: “The majority of students have now left for Christmas break. They have gone home to their families in areas all across Canada, the United States and overseas. StFX and the surrounding community will be ready once again to welcome them back in January. And we will do it all over again – offer an in-person education while keeping everyone’s safety top priority.”

I genuinely wish them every success with that… but I also don’t want to encourage such a gamble in other parts of the country, where COVID19 is likely to infect and kill thousands more people before next summer.


Stepping Up

As COVID19 ravages their provinces, CdnPSEs are again stepping up to help in new ways…

uAlberta’s “Butterdome” athletics facility is being configured as a 100-bed alternate hospital by Alberta Health Services and the Canadian Red Cross, as Alberta continues to record >1,000 new COVID19 cases daily. The PHO emphasizes that >32,000 Albertans age 20-39 have tested positive, 380 have been hospitalized, and 8 have died.  National Post

Red River College will be offering a free 11-hour microcredential in “Laboratory Essentials for COVID19 Testing” to professionals in health and science fields starting Jan 4. The intent is to support targeted rapid testing initiatives for front-line workers – such as a pilot program to provide rapid testing to Winnipeg teachers.  RRC

Saskatchewan 4th-year education students nearing the end of their internships are being granted temporary permits as substitute teachers by the SPTRB “to help relieve some of the staffing challenges in schools brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.” There are 300 fewer substitute teachers registered in SK this year.  Global


Planning Ahead

Some rare good news out of Manitoba…

Manitoba has provided more detail on the $25.6M “transitional support fund” first announced in May. Specific funding includes $14.5M for uManitoba, $1.14M for Brandon U, $2.8M for uWinnipeg, $4.6M for Red River College, $1.3M for UC of the North, and $45K for Canadian Mennonite U.  “We are directly funding post-secondary priorities that align with our common goals and help us recover faster from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.”  Winnipeg Free Press

To my knowledge, York is the first CdnPSE to announce delivery plans for the Winter 2022 term. Algonquin College and Redeemer U have previously announced plans for the Fall 2021 term…

York U announced yesterday that they will be offering “a wide range of learning formats, from courses offered fully in-person to hybrid courses that will have some classes or selected activities offered in-person,” for both Fall 2021 and Winter 2022. But also, “we recognize that some students may continue to face health or travel restrictions that prevent in-person attendance and expect there will be an ongoing need to provide options for remote and online learning where possible.”  York




Creepy Uncle COVID

While many jurisdictions around the world have forbidden holiday gatherings, or are at least strongly discouraging them, the Alberta government has launched a truly distinctive $2M public health awareness campaign highlighting the risks of family gatherings and house parties. The website highlights ad videos featuring “creepy uncle COVID” and counters misinformation about the pandemic. Based on views and social media discussion, the approach seems to be catching the attention of young people, the primary target market.  660News


2020 PSE Holiday Vids

So far, I’ve collected 380 higher ed holiday greeting videos published to YouTube in the past few weeks. You can check out the full playlist on YouTube here. (And please do let me know if I’ve missed one you’re especially proud of!)

Tomorrow, I’ll share some of the very best, for those of you who don’t have hours to spend watching the full list. Stay tuned!

Meanwhile, don’t forget the Ten with Ken 2019 Holiday Special in 3 parts:


Stay safe out there!


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