Sudbury’s postsecondary institutions are preparing to resume in-person classes and activities ahead of the fall semester while respecting the province’s COVID-19 guidelines.
Plans are still being finalized, but a spokesperson for Laurentian University said students will be welcomed back to classrooms and the school hopes to make as many services available to them as possible.
Cambrian College and Collège Boréal are working on virtual and hybrid models with the intention to transition more courses back on campus as the semester progresses.
“The safety of all our community members will remain the highest priority and we will continue to fully comply with guidance from Public Health Sudbury and Districts,” said Robert Haché, president of Laurentian University.
“While many of us are eager to return, we must do so safely and in a stepwise manner and be prepared to modify our return schedule if required by public health guidelines.”
The provincial government recently announced that all in-person instruction and on-campus activities are “anticipated” to resume after more than a year of suspension due to the pandemic.
Institutions are still expected to use a mix of in-person and online learning, and they have been instructed to develop backup plans in case of a COVID-19 outbreak.
Specific guidance from the Ministry of Colleges and Universities on public health measures like masking, screening, and cleaning protocols are set to be issued in early August.
The ministry is encouraging schools to make use of rapid antigen testing and other surveillance tools to ensure a safe return to school.
“As of the start of the school year in September 2021, all labs will be offered on campus in face-to-face mode, respecting the assembly limits communicated by the government. With respect to the delivery of face-to-face courses, we hope to resume the majority of in-class courses on all our campuses, as the province recently indicated,” said a spokesperson for Collège Boréal.
“We are also planning to offer programs in a hybrid mode. Some courses will remain on-line while others will resume in person. Masking policies will be upheld as per province’s guidelines.”
Cambrian College is following a similar reopening plan with all labs and other hands-on learning taught in-person on campus, and theory portions of courses taught online.
“All required COVID safety measures will remain in place (physical distancing, wearing of masks). Over the course of the semester, Cambrian will begin transitioning more courses back on campus,” said the college’s website.
“If you begin a course online at the start of the semester, you retain that option for the balance of the semester, even if your course transitions back to campus.”
Student residences at Cambrian are open and still accepting applications. Individuals must be symptom-free during move-in, and COVID-19 prevention best practices will remain in place as per Public Health Sudbury and Districts’ guidelines.
“Best practices include daily, enhance cleaning of high-traffic, high-touch areas and surfaces, no outside visitors (guests not living in residence), scheduled times for shared kitchens, and isolation suites for students who develop symptoms of COVID-19,” said Cambrian’s website.
Laurentian University is making many on-campus services available to students, including myLaurentian Hub, the Student Recreation Centre and Ben Avery gymnasium, and the IT services desk.
Food services will also be available in addition to the library and student residences. Full details on the services available will be provided as plans are finalized.
“As we ramp up to a successful return to campus, many activities and events have been planned to prepare all of our students for a smooth transition back to class for fall. I encourage students to participate fully in Orientation 2021 activities held from June through to September,” said Haché.
Both Cambrian College and Collège Boréal have indicated that COVID-19 vaccination is encouraged but not mandatory.
“We encourage everyone in the Collège Boréal family (students, staff, professors, etc.) as well as the population at large to get vaccinated against COVID-19. However, vaccination will not – at this time – be required in order to enter our premises,” said a spokesperson.
“We are committed to monitoring the situation on an ongoing basis as it evolves and following the provincial government’s guidelines in all matters concerning COVID-19.”
Cambrian said that vaccination is locally available at no cost to all students, including international students.
As of July 5, fully vaccinated international travellers no longer have to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in Canada. Students will still have to produce a negative COVID-19 test within three days before departure and upon arrival.
with files from The Canadian Press
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