Welcome back! We hope everyone had a break this summer and had a chance to get some rest in preparation for the resumption of studies.
Despite all of our hopes, there won’t be a return to what was “normal”. Instead, we will continue to adapt to the new reality of learning in midst of a global pandemic. Our focus for the year will be continued teaching excellence in this new environment, supporting each other as we adapt and learn, and finally, supporting our students.
Red River College is taking a consolidated approach to managing our response to the COVID pandemic. Important information will be shared via Staff News and on the following web pages:
We are in Phase three of the College’s COVID plan, which means we will have more staff returning to campus. Some staff have already returned from working from home, and more will return gradually to support the increased learning activities. As College faculty, staff, and leadership, building our presence on campus will demonstrate to our students that we are open, available to support their learning, and that our facilities are ready to gradually welcome back on-campus activity.
In accordance with the latest public health advice, the most important action we can collectively take is to ensure anyone who is feeling ill in any way stay home.
Safety and Health Services has implemented and tested extensive measures over the summer to ensure staff and students are safe on our campuses. These measures include physical barriers, occupancy and traffic flow assessments, reduced class sizes, hygiene stations, and markers to ensure physical distancing. Staff and students will be required to self-screen for COVID-19 symptoms every day before coming to any campus. All staff and students will be required to wear a non-medical mask while on campus.
As the College welcomes students back, much work has occurred in the background. Our plans for this fall are:
To facilitate required remediation labs for students and to help us get back in “sync”, we have deferred the fall intake for Nursing and will increase the winter and spring intakes to 75 per cohort. The HCA and BPIEN program will continue with regular intakes.
Theory courses or components of courses will remain online for the foreseeable future due to space limitations and the College’s ongoing commitment to blended learning, unless there are some necessary hands-on activities that are embedded within a theory course.
Clinical courses will resume. This activity is dependent on the ability of the industry / employer to meet all the necessary safety and health regulations. Most of our Health Care Partners are open to the return of students and instructors. Regrettably, a few settings cannot accommodate us, but we have found ways to offer the experiences via simulation or using new settings. We are also looking at opportunities for offering clinical courses so students can catch-up and get back into sync with theory and to avoid delays in graduation dates.
Last spring, we lost the opportunity to access the skills and simulation labs. While we found some innovative ways to teach skills online, nothing is a substitute for hands on practice. To help catch up, we will be scheduling remediation sessions for students, allowing a chance to practice existing skills and to learn new ones.
Skills labs will resume. There a number of safety precautions we will have in place to be able to teach in the labs for essential learning activities such as the need for masks at all times, limitations on the number of students in the lab at any one time, and hand-washing. We are looking for chances to have increased open labs as well.
The pandemic has extended the length of the program, delayed graduation, and is requiring students to learn in new and innovative ways. This all contributes to the stress students may be experiencing. Red River College is acutely aware of this and has increased resources for students. Each Course Outline has information about mental health and well-being with links to resources that may be helpful.
Red River College is taking a global approach to managing our path forward. Major initiatives, news, and changes will be communicated via Student News.
Finally, we want to acknowledge that change will be a constant for all of us going forward. As the old expression goes, the best-laid plans often go awry. While students and the faculty have been working hard to adapt to our new reality, in all likelihood more changes will arrive in the days to come. This will no doubt be frustrating; our best course of action will be to work collaboratively to find solutions. Together, students, faculty, the management team, and student association can identify challenges and issues, find a way forward, and work toward our collective goal of student success.
All the best for the new Academic year!
Patrick Griffith, Chair, Nursing
Cindy Boughen, Manager, Theory
Sandra Holben, Manager, Clinical