Eduvation Blog

Swelling Tides, Taxes and Waistlines

Good morning!

Today’s going to be a short miscellany, because I was editing video recordings of several virtual workshops last night and prepping for today’s University CMO Roundtable session. It’s a busy week, but I didn’t want to leave you high and dry this morning – so here’s an assortment of interesting, important or merely amusing developments from around the world.

In particular, note that the outbreaks in Peterborough are resolved while the situation in Kingston remains troubling – though not nearly so alarming as the explosion of P1 cases in South America. As Saskatchewan wrestles with a swell of COVID19 variants, Regina PSEs batten down the hatches. The Biden administration is planning to push for another $3 trillion to make community college education free across the country, and reduce tuition at HBCUs. And if you think you’ve been packing on pounds during the pandemic, imagine how much worse it could be if Krispy Kreme offered you a free donut every day just for getting vaccinated…



Pandemic Précis

Some developments that can’t really be ignored…


Rising Tide in Canada: Canada’s PHO, Teresa Tam, warns that hospitalizations are rising across Canada as COVID19 variants fuel a third wave of the pandemic, worse than the second, particularly impacting younger people. Alberta has postponed its plan to move into phase 3 of its reopening, Saskatchewan has reimposed restrictions on Regina, and Manitoba is prolonging its own red zone.


“I think it’s impossible to avoid a third wave that’s likely going to be worse than the first two. Many of us felt that this was an inevitability. This is pretty much the trap that this pandemic has proven its ability to present to us.”Abdu Sharkawy, infectious disease specialist


“We’re seeing younger, healthier people develop this disease because they’re unvaccinated and these variants are just likely to hit them. You don’t know where you’re going to end up on that dial, and unfortunately we’re seeing some pretty tragic consequences of that.”Abdu Sharkawy, infectious disease specialist



Surge in Brazil: The WHO warns that the P1 variant is causing a “dangerous” surge in Brazil, a “dire” situation also driving spikes in Venezuela, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay. AP  On Tuesday, Brazil reported a record 3,251 COVID deaths.  AP


More Mutants: And oh good, India reports it found 206 cases of a new “double mutant” variant in the state of Maharashtra.  National Post


Vaccine Rich: Although the US has now surpassed 30M confirmed cases of COVID19, they have also administered >100M doses of vaccine. UK PM Boris Johnson reportedly joked that “greed” and “capitalism” were responsible for his country’s successful vaccine rollout – a joke that fell flat with poorer countries waiting until 2024 for vaccines. Meanwhile, Justin Trudeau is “concerned” about the prospect of further delays in vaccine shipments from Europe, which could face new export controls by the EU.


Postscript: AstraZeneca recalculated its data and confirmed yesterday that its US clinical trial found the vaccine was 76% effective at preventing symptomatic illness – just 3% less than reported the day before. (Hardly worth the negative PR.)  Washington Post


The COVID 7: A new study in the Journal of the AMA reports that the average American packed on ~7.08 lbs in the first 4 months of the pandemic lockdown last year. (Oh good, it’s not just me!) But that was before Krispy Kreme’s announcement that Americans who get vaccinated can pick up a free donut every day! (Fortunately, Canadian locations are not participating…)




COVID on Campus

Since yesterday, there have been 17 more cases of COVID19 reported by CdnPSEs, all in Ontario. (See my master spreadsheet for a running tally of >1800 cases in CdnPSE since Sept 2020.)


Brock U announced yesterday that “a number of Brock community members” are now self-isolating, after the case reported Tuesday.  Brock


Peterborough ON outbreaks at the Severn Court student residence and at Trent U’s Champlain College were declared over yesterday by the PHO.  Global


Queen’s U reports that it is “taking action” against students for violating COVID19 regulations: “a number of students have been evicted from their residences” and ~40 are going through the non-academic discipline process. Since Mar 8, there have been 86 cases linked to Queen’s, most variants of concern (up 6 from last week).  Global


Queen’s U principal Patrick Deane wrote the community yesterday that “sadly, the poor choices of a relatively small group of students has influenced public perceptions of our whole student body.” Queen’s has implemented asymptomatic testing for students on and off-campus, and took the precaution last week of closing the Athletics & Recreation Centre, reducing food services and common study spaces.  Queen’s


Wilfrid Laurier U reported Tuesday that 15 students have tested positive in the past 2 weeks (11 more than the 4 I reported previously).  Global



Other Updates

A few other pandemic-related developments…


Joe Biden’s administration is preparing a $3 trillion funding package, on the heels of $1.9 trillion earlier this month, which will reportedly ensure “free community college and universal prekindergarten,” and potentially reduce tuition at historically black colleges and universities. Infrastructure investments are expected to include $400B to combat climate change, $60B for green transit, and $46B for climate research. Taxes on corporations and those earning >$400,000 are expected to rise significantly.  Washington Post


uPittsburgh’s former emergency management director, Christopher Casamento, has been indicted for stealing >13,600 N95 respirators, surgical masks and particulate respirator masks from the University last March, selling them across state lines on eBay for a significant profit. (He was fired Jul 17, after 10 years with the institution.)  US News


uRegina announced Tuesday that it would temporarily pause in-person classes, in response to the province’s new PHO orders, from Mar 29 – Apr 12. Only “a limited number” of students were engaged in F2F classes, but those will now be moved online.  CTV


Saskatchewan Polytechnic announced yesterday that it will temporarily suspend in-person teaching at its Regina campus, from Mar 29 – Apr 5, SKPoly




I’ve observed before that, to cope with limitations on video production, higher ed is turning to stock b-roll and a range of animation styles.  CdnPSE had 2 more examples last month…


This is You at VIU

Vancouver Island U released a :15-sec spot featuring animation by “2 of our Graphic Design alumni who now work at VIU.” It emphasizes west coast beaches, surfing, skiing and hiking “in one of the most beautiful places in the world.”  YouTube


Explore Medicine Hat College

Medicine Hat College published a bouncy :30-sec animated spot to emphasize the variety of education and training programs, student support services and quality instructors. “No matter where you look, you’ll see Medicine Hat College at work throughout our region, working to make our communities better.”  YouTube



As always, thanks for reading. And hang in there – tomorrow’s Friday!  (And if you’ve got juicy news, brags or gossip about higher ed, do drop me a line!

Stay safe and be well,


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