Important information about Fall 2021, September Classes and COVID-19
The following provides an update on our plan for Fall 2021. While we cannot predict the situation the public health crisis will be in when students return in September, we are preparing for a full return to campus.
On March 26, 2021, the provincial government presented three stages of an Open for Summer plan. By early July, if 70% of Albertans have received their first dose of a vaccine, all public health restrictions will be lifted.
Furthermore, on May 11, 2021, a webinar for post-secondary institutions was hosted by Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, and Trish Merrithew-Mercredi, Assistant Deputy Minister, Public Health and Compliance Division. They provided an overview of Alberta’s vaccination approach, program goals, and rollout. The aim of the webinar was to ensure community leaders and partners have the most up-to-date information and to increase understanding of the overall priorities and processes for vaccination of Albertans.
In addition to strongly encouraging every Albertan to get a vaccination, with regards to Fall planning, Dr. Hinshaw indicated post-secondary institutions should anticipate:
- Minimal health restrictions;
- Return to in-person classes; and
- Lifted physical distancing requirements
The May 26 government announcement is consistent with the guidance by Dr. Hinshaw.
As a result, Cabinet approved the Recovery Management Team’s recommendation that our campus prepare to be fully open on September 8. We cannot guarantee this plan, however, as it depends on public health restrictions at that time. This means:
- The timetable has been published as normal. Classrooms are reserved and assigned in anticipation of a return to campus.
- Students should be planning to be in Calgary and prepared to enter campus.
If we are unable to open campus fully by September 8, the on-campus status of a course will depend on where it is situated in the following three categories:
- Group A: Classes identified as requiring campus access in order to run will begin the semester on campus. There are 29 studio courses (a total of 33 sections) in this category ranging across 200, 300 and 400 levels. Based on our last two semesters, we are confident we can effectively manage these courses on campus within public health restrictions.
- Group B: All other classes (except those identified in Group C) will begin and continue online until such time as they are able to transition to in-person on-campus
Group C: A small number of courses will be offered online regardless of campus access conditions.
- Faculty teaching courses in Group B should prepare for the possibility that their courses may start the Fall term online.
- In the likely event classes start online and need to pivot to on-campus, the timing of moving to campus may be staggered and dependent on:
- Faculty preparation and faculty go-ahead
- Studio preparation and Studio Manager go-ahead
For staff, the decision to be fully open by September 8 means that members of management are to develop back-to-campus plans for their teams. The timing of staff returns may be staggered and not necessarily coincide with student and faculty return to campus. Managers are to submit their plans to RMT for review by July 23, 2021, after which Cabinet will review the recommendations.
Thank you to everyone who has worked so very hard to keep our campus healthy and safe. Our approach has been successful, and we are proud to say we have had zero confirmed cases on campus.
Dr. Daniel Doz
President and CEO