Planning is underway for Lethbridge College’s Fall semester. Uncertainties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic means final decisions on delivery of the Fall term won’t be made until later in the summer, but the college is actively planning scenarios that will allow all students to receive a high-quality education in a safe manner that complies with provincial guidelines.
The college has implemented a three-phase re-entry strategy.
- Phase one is the current situation, where all curriculum is occurring outside of the classroom, and where a limited number of employees and students are on-campus.
- Phase two will continue to be blended, with theory-based education delivered outside of the classroom, while labs and experiential learning return to campus in redesigned formats that incorporate distancing and safety protocols. In phase two, more employees will be working on campus, but the campus will remain closed to the public.
- Phase three will be a complete re-opening of the campus to everyone.
“Where we end up by September will partly depend on government restrictions in place at that time, but it’s also important that we make our own decisions in the best interests of our own students and employees,” says Dr. Paula Burns, Lethbridge College President and CEO. She says the college community is hopeful it will be in phase two of its re-entry plan by September, but the college will continue to follow the guidance of the provincial government and Alberta Health Services to make that decision.
“We also know what the province allows us to do may change mid-semester,” says Dr. Burns. “But we are committed to providing a consistent education to our students. That means however we begin the semester will most likely be how we complete the semester. We will then re-evaluate before the start of the Winter term in January.”
Planning for the upcoming academic year is guided by four priorities: the health and safety of students and employees; effectively providing education and applied research activities; supporting the economic recovery of the city, region and province; and economic and environmental sustainability.
The college has created five working groups of employees from across campus to formulate plans for the fall. Faculty members have also taken proactive steps to adapt curriculum to a blended model, including moving theory-based classes to the beginning of the semester, and labs towards the later part when restrictions may be looser than they are at the start.
“No matter what happens, the main thing to know is we are here and ready for our students, and we are committed to supporting them on their educational journeys,” says Dr. Burns. “We will provide relevant, high-quality education that will prepare them for exciting careers and whatever comes next in their lives.”
Applications for Fall 2020 are open now. Those interested in learning more about Lethbridge College can go to lethbridgecollege.ca to chat live with a representative, or can learn more on the college’s Future Students page.