The College is implementing a phased-in approach that will help guide us as we resume activities on-campus and allow for the gradual re-entry of faculty, staff and students.
We are working closely with public health on the development of each phase as post-secondary institutions are unique and complex workplaces. We have large numbers of faculty, staff and students whose health and safety must be in the forefront of our planning. Even though the Province has indicated PSEs can re-open as long as they adhere to physical distancing restrictions, the ‘mass gathering’ nature of PSEs means that this is not possible and necessitates the implementation of a strict, phased-in re-entry into campus-based activities.
Our plan for re-entry will allow us – on a very restricted basis – to restart important academic activities, with priority being given to catch-up for those students whose learning was disrupted earlier this year and critical industry training. The gradual approach of our re-entry is designed to follow the regulations outlined in the Province of Manitoba’s Restoring Safe Services Plan.
Campuses will re-open in four phases
Our re-entry plan will happen in four phases. Each phase will define what academic programs, services, and supports will be delivered in-person or virtually, and which operational areas will resume work on campus. Phases will move through periods of restricted access to limited access to full access. Students and employees can anticipate that most activities in Phase 1 will start in mid to late July, with a few highly prioritized activities beginning in the next few weeks. More information will be available next week that will highlight the specific training activities and services that will resume in Phase 1. As our plan evolves, we will update employees on the activities in each phase of re-entry.
Planning for academic activities
The Academic Re-entry Team has been established and will rely on the information gathered during our academic scenario planning to determine the scheduling and rollout of our essential hands-on training activities for summer and fall terms. The Academic Re-entry team is now meeting with each program area to assist in developing academic schedules for the catch up scenario and for fall based on essential activity on campus.
Our priority continues to be on-line learning, wherever possible, during this time. For those programs that cannot run a full term in the on-line format, consideration will be given to a blended delivery approach, with some hands-on learning taking place. This will provide a reasonable and balanced approach to re-entry for our staff, faculty and students. Physical distancing requirements means that the safest approach is to continue to limit the number of people on campus until public health advises otherwise.
Planning for operational activities
Our Incident Management Team and the Academic Re-entry Team will work with areas across the College to further refine our re-entry plans for all departments. These plans will help us identify which areas can resume on-campus operations, and to what extent, at each phase. We’ll consider a number of variables to help managers and supervisors make informed decisions about what their areas’ return to campus will look like.
Campus flow and safety precautions
Safety and Health Services has completed occupancy assessments at all campuses to determine the maximum capacity for each shared space (e.g. classrooms, office space, common areas, etc.) given physical distancing requirements. This team is taking steps to ensure campus flow meets provincial public health guidelines. By the end of June, directional signage, floor markers, physical barriers, designated entrances, hand sanitizing stations, and more will be in place at all campuses to ensure our safety. While we’re planning that our overall occupancy will increase during each phase of our re-entry, it does not mean that classroom occupancy will increase as each phase will continue to require the College to maintain specific physical distancing protocols.
How we’ll keep you updated
We will be releasing more information on re-entry very shortly, and all information will be shared regularly by email and in Staff and Student News to keep you updated. This information will also continue to be available on our website at rrc.ca/coronavirus. There will be communications for each phase of re-entry in order to provide timely guidance to faculty and staff, and stay current with ever-evolving public health recommendations.
We’re here to help
The safety and health of our College community is our top priority. We know that employees are anxious to understand what re-entry looks like. Thank you for all your input into the process that is now underway and your patience as we work through a myriad of issues.
If you have any questions, please contact the Incident Management Team through our online contact form at rrc.ca/coronavirus/contact.
Christine E. Watson Ph.D. | Interim President and CEO
Red River College of Applied Arts, Science and Technology
Watch Christine’s video message here: