Thursday, March 11, 2021 | Category: Eduvation Insider
Today marks 1 year since the WHO declared COVID19 a global pandemic, and Canada has declared today a “National Day of Observance” to reflect on its impact.
No question COVID19 has transformed my own work, and yours. In the past year, I have written 1,057 pages and 366,777 words about how the pandemic has impacted higher education and changed the course of future trends. I’ve delivered 51 virtual presentations to leadership groups and CdnPSE professionals – and expect to keep delivering virtually for most of the next year.
This afternoon, in fact, I’m looking forward to engaging with the campus community at Portage College, followed by a discussion with the leadership and board. Since that will likely extend well into my evening here in Ontario, I’m going to cut myself some slack and take a break tomorrow morning – so I’ll see you again on Monday!
As spring weather arrives and the prospect of vaccinations has Canadians giddy with optimism, today we are asked to reflect on a year of COVID19…
Reflecting on Our Losses
On Tuesday, PM Justin Trudeau announced that today will be named a “National Day of Observance” to “honour everyone we lost to this terrible virus, and to recognize the impact this global pandemic has had on all our lives… As a country we remember all those we lost, and we mourn with families and friends.” The new day will also serve to commemorate the many significant impacts of the pandemic, from isolation to unemployment, and to honour the many frontline workers who have put themselves at risk. CTV
“Early last year, our lives, and the lives of everyone around the world, were forever changed by the emergence of COVID19. Today – one year after the first known death of a Canadian to the disease – we now mourn the tragic loss of more than 22,000 parents, siblings, friends, and loved ones.” – Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada
Again, I have no doubt that most CdnPSEs will make announcements or provide ways for their communities to reflect today, but only 1 example made it to me by press time…
After a year of COVID19, U Fraser Valley asked members of the campus community to share their thoughts, and shared several on their news blog. Prof Beverly Jones and her sons have “made a lot of tea for each other this year,” but now has “so much cautious excitement” and “can’t wait to hug everyone.” Bookstore employee Maggi Lang has “had to explain death and illness to my toddler,” has “seen loss,” and has “learned to be gentler to myself.” UFV
I knew I would eventually come to regret listing all of these as they came along, but I certainly didn’t expect 50+ announcements within 3 days! Here is the latest crop, largely from Alberta…
Coast Mountain College is “planning for enhanced fall programming” and a “revitalized campus experience for the Fall 2021 term,” with “an increase in in-person and hybrid learning formats.” Every effort will be made to accommodate students who cannot or do not wish to attend in person. CMTN
Concordia U of Edmonton president Tim Loreman says in this 5-min video that CUE “is going to try to be back on campus as much as we possibly can,” and that “it may even be a full return to campus.” “It will not be online as it has been.” YouTube
Fanshawe College “plans to expand F2F instruction and return to more of its vibrant on-campus student experiences” for Fall. “More small classes, labs and practical instruction will again be offered in person, with appropriate safety protocols in place.” Fanshawe is again offering a “student experience guarantee” this fall, allowing students to “try Fanshawe for 10 days risk free.” Fanshawe
Lethbridge College president Paula Burns says in a 1.5-min video that “we’re looking forward to welcoming even more [students] back to campus this fall, for safe interactive learning experiences.” “We’re ready for fall.” YouTube
uLethbridge is finalizing details on a “significantly expanded personal experience” for Fall, including among “many options” a full reopening of campus. (All adult Albertans have been promised the opportunity for a vaccine shot by Jun 30.) “Regardless of whether we are able to fully reopen or not, we are planning to have many more in-person experiences for our students this fall. For that reason, we are encouraging our students to make plans to be in Lethbridge for September 2021.” Residences will more than double their occupancy from last year. UL
Mount Royal U is planning to welcome students back to campus in September. President Tim Rahilly says “It’s our intention to be back as face-to-face as we can be.” Calgary Herald
Okanagan College president Allan Coyle is “looking forward to a more normal year ahead,” although exactly what that will look like is still being worked out. Global
The flurry of optimistic announcements this week is unprecedented throughout this pandemic – even last spring, when I predicted many of the plans would have to be changed, they were nonetheless announced across many weeks. This time around, in just a few days, 70% of BC institutions in my list have now announced, along with 33% in Alberta, 38% in Ontario, 66% in New Brunswick, and 70% in Nova Scotia. Other provinces and territories have either just one, or no announcements so far. (See a colour-coded summary in my master spreadsheet, column AB.)
Since yesterday, there haven’t been ANY more cases of COVID19 reported by CdnPSEs – but I do have to deduct 4, I guess! (See my master spreadsheet for a running tally of >1500 cases in CdnPSE since Sept 2020.)
Yesterday I apologized for missing an outbreak at Trent U last week – but it turns out I misinterpreted a news story. (Thank you to Trent comms for keeping me accurate!) The 4 student cases in the Champlain College residence were relocated to the Otonabee College residence for isolation – so they shouldn’t be double-counted. In all, there have been 7 cases linked to the Champlain College outbreak. I have corrected the spreadsheet.
Won’t it be great when student parties cease to become police matters and national news again? And of course, with improving spring weather, St Patrick’s Day in a week, and many people of all ages letting their guards down, we’re bound to have more “blarney”…
uConnecticut students were involved in a party of 150-200 people in a home a mile from campus. None were wearing masks. The 3 people renting the house were ticketed by state police. US News
About 200 mostly unmasked uMassachusetts Amherst students gathered for a “Blarney Blowout” on Saturday in clear violation of COVID19 safety protocols, and were dispersed by police. The VC for Student Affairs blasted the students and promised those involved will be issued an interim suspension, and temporarily evicted from campus housing. Boston Globe
Police in Boulder CO dispatched SWAT teams, armoured vehicles and tear gas to disperse a Saturday night party in University Hill, near uColorado Boulder, which turned violent. About 800 partiers damaged cars and emergency vehicles, set off fireworks, threw rocks and bottles at police, and slightly injured 3 officers. Few were wearing masks, and authorities are now concerned about a potential surge in COVID19 infections as a result. US News
Here are a few attempts to manage student misbehaviour…
Brock U is urging its students to be safe as St Patrick’s Day approaches: “Don’t put the BAD in Badger! This isn’t the year to test your luck,” says a campaign from the Off-Campus Living and Neighbourhood Relations office. The university is hiring additional uniformed police officers to assist with neighbourhood patrols in the coming days. Fines can range from $750 up to $10,000. Brock News
Fleming College Student Council says they fully support a college-led investigation into the student party at the Severn Court complex, which has caused 51 cases at the residence and at least 7 cases on-campus at Trent U. “It was one big party basically from building to building.” Fleming College president Maureen Adamson said their investigation will begin once police complete their own, and that any students involved will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by a tribunal consisting of a student rep, an academic lead, and a case manager. Sanctions may range from warnings to expulsion. Trent plans its own investigation too. Global
UC Davis is offering up to 750 students $75 “grants” if they do not travel during spring break (Mar 20-24). Those who do travel outside California will be required to quarantine 10 days upon return, and are expected to be tested for COVID19 every 3-4 days before and after their trip. Forbes
“Resilience” is one of the most over-used words of the pandemic era (although “pivot” and “unprecedented” are also most certainly in the running), but as we reach the one-year mark several institutions have shared heartfelt messages on the theme. Here are 2 of the best…
A Year of Resilience at Ryerson
“One year ago, when the world shut down, Ryerson rose to the challenge.” This 1.5-min video then summarizes all the amazing work accomplished in the past year, despite the pandemic, from PPE production for frontline workers, $5M in emergency bursaries, 2,000 online workouts, >100 startups launched, and more. “We persevered through challenging times… Thank you to everyone in the Ryerson community.” YouTube
Resilience at UFV
Back on Jan 20, U Fraser Valley president Joanne MacLean recorded this 3-min fireside video. “We’ve missed you here at UFV… and while our hallways and classrooms may appear empty, we haven’t stopped moving forward. We haven’t stopped engaging learners, transforming lives, and building community… We’re now apart but still together in remarkable ways.” Plentiful B-roll depicts the many ways in which students and staff have returned to campus, working with social distancing and PPE. “And while this moment seems stretched out and difficult, it’s forging our resilience and helping our community recover.” YouTube
With that, we wind up procrastination avoidance week! (Notice how I put off mentioning it until the last moment.) Don’t forget that Sunday will be not only the start of Daylight Savings Time (in most civilized regions of North America, at least) but also March 14 (3.14) – Pi Day. I hope you celebrate in whatever fashion you prefer. (For me, definitely cherry pi!)
Stay safe and be well,
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