How the U of A plans to return to classes in the fall
EDMONTON -- When the University of Alberta returns in September, most of its classes will be offered online or remotely, but some labs and clinical instruction will resume in person.
Residence will also be open, and the school is preparing to help those who need to self-isolate when they arrive, the school announced.
“We will have students on campus every day, but not by the tens of thousands as we try to keep our numbers down and people separated,” U of A Provost and Vice President (Academic) Steven Dew told CTV News Edmonton.
The university will provide as much learning as it can online, accommodating where it can students who live on campus or need to attend in-person sessions.
"We don’t believe the online experience will be of a lower quality, it will just be delivered in a way that’s not our normal, comfortable way," Dew said.
“This is, I think, an effective way for us to get to through this pandemic."
Dew said the provincial chief medical officer of health has advised post-secondary institutions what restrictions will likely remain after the summer so that they can plan.
“We’re going to use the next four months to really make sure that the online learning is designed from the outset to be in that mode and as effective as possible," Dew promised.
“We do need to have clarity now so that we can focus on developing online materials, making the adjustments to space, but also our students need that clarity, that certainty."
Student services like financial assistance and career counselling will continue to be offered virtually. In person services, like libraries and computer labs, will reopen according to the direction of public health officials.
Dew said he expects employees who were laid off when the university stopped offering some services to return in the fall, but that the year ahead will be a difficult one financially.
"The double whammy of cuts to our funding as well as COVID causing us to have more expenses and probably reduced revenues – this is going to be a challenging year.”
On-campus research may also start up again this month as safeguards are put in place. Post-secondary classes were allowed to resume under the first stage of relaunch on Thursday, but remain subject to public health order restrictions.
The school stopped offering in-person classes in March, and asked those who didn't need to live on campus to return home.
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In a statement, MacEwan University said it was still planning and consulting, but aimed to have an academic schedule in place by the end of the month.
Already, administration said it knew as much content as possible would be online.
"The final plan will be dependent on many factors, including the provincial relaunch strategy, and will be subject to change as the situation evolves. But first and foremost, we are focusing on the safety of our students and staff."
NAIT, too, said it was reviewing options but would reveal plans that prioritized safety soon.