Lakeland College has been given the green-light by Alberta Health Services to return to in-person learning in the fall.
The school plans to go ahead with a blend of online and in-person classes so that physical distancing can be maintained in the school setting. In addition, classes will be re-arranged to promote distance, masks will be encouraged and extra sanitization protocols put in place. AHS guidelines also put a cap on class sizes, which Lakeland College is working around using online methods when appropriate.
VP of Academics and Research Michael Crowe says that while the college will be working around these COVID-19 rules, they’ll be bringing back as much face to face learning as they can.
“I feel like Lakeland College’s value proposition is the hands-on, work-ready skills that students develop while they’re training on campus, and so we want to emphasis that as much as possible. Students have also indicated that that’s their preference also, in a majority of cases.”
Some changes are coming to residences as well. There will be restrictions on the number of students per building, caps on visitors will be in place, and common areas while have set times students can book at certain times.
The college has teamed up with Vermilion based Copper Cork Distillery to have ample sanitizer supply for students at the campus bookstore, and support a local company as well.
Crowe explains that they are keeping an eye of COVID-19 numbers, and are cognizant of a possible need to switch to online delivery should they spike again. To that end, the college is continuing to work on plans to put this in place, which will be finalized in the coming weeks.
Crowe adds that they have seen a dip in enrollment numbers since the COVID-19 hit, which he attributes to uncertainty around what schooling will look like in the coming semester. With a more confirmed picture, he says more students will still be looking for that in-person learning.
“When we do our tally on expected enrollment, we’re still pretty good. We might be slightly down from last year, but I think it will still be one of our highest enrollment years, ever. I would describe it as healthy and strong.”
Most of Lakeland College’s courses will begin on August 31st with an online Orientation Day. Pre-employment programs start September 21st, and the first apprenticeship intake is on October 13th.