College contributions during the COVID-19 outbreak are truly impressive

COVID contributions
College COVID-19 contributions

One thing I find very heartening during this unprecedented COVID-19 outbreak is the way so many people and organizations across Canada are coming together to “caremonger.”

Each day, we see countless examples of people at their absolute best, doing whatever they can to help others.

For me, it’s been particularly rewarding to see everything our colleges are doing to help Ontario get through this situation.

Colleges have more than heeded the call to join Team Ontario, contributing their resources and manpower in countless ways throughout the province.

In health care, for example, colleges continue to donate much-needed equipment and protective gear to local hospitals and health-care centres. Our colleges have a variety of different kinds of labs, everything from health-care labs to science labs, where such equipment is used for teaching. Throughout the province, colleges have donated everything from hospital beds and ventilators to hand sanitizers, face shields, isolation gowns, surgical gowns, cleaning supplies and much more.

Colleges are also using their advanced manufacturing and design equipment to create new products to tackle this challenge.

For example, Georgian College in Barrie and Niagara College have produced new face shields for front-line workers in health care. That’s in addition to the equipment they have donated.

And colleges are supporting their communities in other unique ways.

In Ottawa, Algonquin College is offering free, online courses through its learning centre to businesses and their employees.

And a 24-hour virtual telethon spearheaded by Michael Rubinoff, the Tony Award-nominated producer at Sheridan College in Oakville, has raised more than $41,000 to support the entertainment industry.

Finally, we must recognize the students who have joined the efforts to provide care and support.

For example, students at Fanshawe College in London, St. Clair College in Windsor and Collège La Cité in Ottawa who are in their final year of the respiratory therapy program are heading straight to the front lines of the health-care field.

These are early days and the list of great examples at colleges keeps growing.

Without a doubt, colleges will continue to play a leading role as we all come together to not only flatten the curve but to plank it.

Linda Franklin

Linda Franklin is the past president and CEO of Colleges Ontario, the advocacy association for Ontario’s 24 colleges.