The energy and enthusiasm of a new academic year returns to Lethbridge College. While some trades programming is already underway, the majority of students will return to campus next week with New Student Orientation on Tuesday and the beginning of most classes on Wednesday.
Following a year in a flexible learning environment, the vast majority of classes (except traditionally online-only programs) return to an on-campus environment this semester. College leadership has identified two key priorities for the year ahead, including keeping the entire community healthy and safe; and supporting all efforts to offer classes in-person for the entire semester.
“We are excited to provide an in-person educational experience to our students and offer them with all the services and supports they need to be successful,” says Dr. Paula Burns, Lethbridge College President and CEO. “The lessons learned over the past 18 months will allow us to be flexible and adaptable in new ways that will support their educational goals while keeping our entire campus community safe. We’ve put a lot of thought, care and research into planning this upcoming year, and it will be great to feel the buzz of students on-campus once again.”
Lethbridge College requires the use of masks in all indoor settings this year and is strongly encouraging vaccines for its entire community. A recent survey of employees and students showed that more than 92 per cent of employee respondents and more than 80 per cent of student respondents are vaccinated or are planning to be vaccinated in the next month.
To kick off the new year, the college will host two drop-in vaccination clinics on-campus, on Sept. 7 and 13. As well, the college requires anyone who feels unwell to stay home. To support this requirement, college officials have created guidelines that ensure anyone feeling ill can stay home without worries of how it will affect their classes or work.
“Last February, we averaged more than 400 students per day on campus, which proved we are able to provide education safely in a live environment,” says Burns. “By continuing the masking requirements, which contributed to our successes last year, and by taking the additional steps of providing vaccinations and support to our community, we have positioned ourselves to once again have a successful year ahead.”
New Student Orientation (NSO) will start the new semester on Tuesday morning. This year’s event will stagger activities to provide a safe environment where students can learn more about the college and its services, while beginning to build connections with other students and college employees. Check-in begins at 8 a.m., with live entertainment and activities from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The day will also include program orientations, campus tours, a family orientation session at 9:30 a.m., a free BBQ hosted by the Lethbridge College Students’ Association and much more. There will also be virtual NSO activities for online learners.