First of all, thanks to the over 400 staff who joined me for our annual virtual start-up breakfast – minus the breakfast. As shared, we have been through an extraordinary five months, dating back to the closure of our campus in mid-March. It has been an unprecedented time of uncertainly, anxiety, and adaptation, as well as a time of innovation and achievement. A lot of work has taken place to stickhandle the summer and prepare for the fall. Thank you for your innovative ideas that have been put into action and the questions and engagement that drives us to continue to evolve as an organization. You are making a difference!
We have evolved from a campus closure to a partial re-opening with over 400 students on campus this past month to complete their program requirements for hands-on learning. This pilot has been a great opportunity for us to test drive and adjust the measures in our COVID-19 Campus Re-Open Plan, which you can read on our special COVID-19 landing page, cambriancollege.ca/covid along with our protocol for a COVID-19 Case on Campus, and Handling Possible COVID-19 Cases on Campus. These documents have already been updated multiple times, and will continue to evolve as we monitor and adapt to best practices and guidance from our Local Public Health Unit, so I encourage you to visit the site to ensure that you have the most up-to-date information. I hope that you found the information conveyed during the breakfast (that wasn’t a breakfast) helpful in bringing you up–to–speed as to what has been put into place. We will also be building a portlet in myCambrian for all of our relevant COVID-19 documents that are more internal in nature for your additional information in the coming weeks.
As we turn our attention to the start of the fall semester, I’d like to welcome back all of our faculty and staff who are working hard to prepare us for the launch of the fall semester. I’d also like to welcome new staff members to the Cambrian family. You are starting at a unique time in our history, but I know you will be welcomed in true Cambrian fashion, and we are sure happy to have you with us.
Given the circumstances, we’re starting the new academic year off on a strong foot, and we are trending towards having approximately 4000 students on campus. (we had 78 more registrations yesterday to bring us to 3647 FT registered students with 24 days left until day 10). This is fewer than last year, but not unexpected given the current pandemic. That said, our conversion results have taken the province by storm, and are the direct result of the tireless efforts of everyone involved.
And even though we have yet to begin classes in September, our sights are set on the future and, for the first time ever, we’ve added a November intake for seven of our graduate certificate programs and a general studies program. We’re also preparing for a new recruitment cycle, and we know we’ll do what it takes to position ourselves for a strong January and May intake if the world continues to make progress.
We will begin the September semester in Phase III of our Re-open Plan, featuring a combination of faculty-led remote, digital learning for theory portions of courses, and on-campus delivery of hands-on components such as labs. This is our reality, and we need to continue to deliver our programs and services with the same high standards that our students are used to.
For those who have been to campus, you will notice that it is functioning differently in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Highlights include mandatory completion of a COVID-19 training module (also found in myCambrian or at www.cambriancollege.ca/reopen), controlled entrances to campus, mandatory wearing of face coverings, and reconfigured classes and lab spaces to accommodate physical distancing. You will also notice that common areas (like the Library) are closed and will remain closed and student services will continue to be offered online. Our Student Residence is open under strict infection control practices. Move-in will begin next week and continue through to the first week of classes.
We will continue with our practice of only having people on campus who absolutely need to be here to support learning. For this semester, our campus will be a place where you come to teach, work and learn, not to linger. Once students, faculty, and staff have completed their tasks, you are reminded to leave. It sounds blunt and is, but it is to ensure that we can continue to remain open and serving our students. We should expect this to continue for the full semester, at least.
I leave you with my gratitude and three short snappers that I conveyed at the end my remarks yesterday:
- We must minimize the number of people on campus to increase our chances of remaining open
- We must pandemic/future proof the organization
- We must accept that the Winter Semester now looks like it will be much like the Fall Semester
All of your actions make me proud to be entering my 7th year working with you at Cambrian. I look forward to all that you will accomplish with your innovation, creativity and student-focused approaches.
See you in Zoom or the hallways sometime soon!