Getting ready for the fall semester

As you might imagine, many people are wondering what our college programs will look like this fall.

I’m pleased to say the planning for the fall is well underway and everything is really coming together.

Highlights can be found in this statement that was issued by the college presidents. The No. 1 priority continues to be protecting the safety of our students, staff and everyone who visits our campuses while ensuring we continue to deliver high-quality programs.

It’s remarkable when I think of everything that’s been done to get us to this point.

When the coronavirus pandemic first hit Ontario in the spring, our colleges had to move quickly to develop new options to deliver more programs through remote learning.

Thanks to the tremendous dedication and hard work from college faculty and staff, those efforts were incredibly successful.

While some hands-on training was deferred to the summer, it was impressive to see just how much could be quickly retooled for online delivery.

We’ve always been proud of the innovation and creativity in our colleges and this unprecedented situation showed just how much we excel in challenging circumstances.

To give just one example, Sheridan College recently posted news about a virtual lab for students in second-year electromechanical engineering that simulates the hands-on experiences students would normally experience in person.

That’s exactly the type of innovation and commitment to excellence you’ll continue to see as 2020 continues.

This fall, every college will offer hybrid programs that are a mix of online and in-person classes.

Where possible, students will be encouraged to study programs through online learning. We’ll be providing students with high-quality materials and services that are uniquely tailored to their specific programs.

In cases where in-person lab work and other classes take place on campus, we’ll ensure health and safety guidelines are carefully followed.

The colleges’ individual plans will include guidelines for physical distancing, protocols for cleaning, rules for using personal protective equipment and more. We’ll be announcing more details shortly.

Meanwhile, anyone wishing to learn more about the plans at individual colleges is encouraged to visit the college websites in either English or French.

Linda Franklin

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