Prepare for full return to in-person learning this fall, says advanced education minister
EDMONTON -- Alberta's advanced education minister wants post-secondary schools to prepare for a full return to in-person learning this fall.
Demetrious Nicolaides cites Alberta's promise to give all adults their first vaccine dose by the end of June as a reason why universities and colleges should make the transition from online to in-person learning.
"I encourage all post-secondary institutions, students and families to prepare for a full return to on-campus learning this September," Nicolaides said in a written release.
Post-secondary institutions switched to an online learning model shortly after the pandemic began last March.
“As we plan to transition back to in-person learning, the safety of students, staff and faculty will be our top priority," Nicolaides added. "We will be working closely with Alberta Health and our chief medical officer of health, Dr. Hinshaw, to ensure a safe return to campus in September 2021.”
CONCORDIA UNIVERSITY ‘PREPARED’ FOR IN-PERSON FALL SEMESTER
Tim Loreman, president of Concordia University, said in an interview with CTV News Edmonton that post-secondary institutions in the province were not told about the minister’s statement in advance
He added that Concordia has been planning for several scenarios for the upcoming fall semester, including a full return to in-person classes.
“This (announcement) just makes it easier for us because now we know that this is the main scenario we should be focusing on and that in all likelihood we will be back fully face-to-face in-person in the fall.”
‘FULL DETAILS’ FOR UNIVERSITY OF ALBERTA TO BE RELEASED AT A LATER DATE
Bill Flanagan, president of the University of Alberta, said in a statement released Thursday evening that the university is still planning what its fall semester will look like.
More details will be released “over the coming weeks and months.”
“We will continue to prioritize your health and safety as we plan and make adjustments this year,” Flanagan said. “Recognizing that not everyone may be able to fully return by September, please be assured virtual support and remote options will also continue to be available wherever possible.”
CTV News Edmonton has reached out to all of the city's other post-secondary schools for comments.
More to come…