Fanshawe College details back-to-school plans as majority of students set to learn online – London


Fanshawe College is shedding some light on what it’s expecting once students begin returning to class for the upcoming school year, now less than a month away.

The college says it is reaffirming its plans to offer both in-person and online learning and services for the fall, saying in a statement that its “top priority remains the health and safety of students, faculty, staff, and the communities it serves.”

While the school says in-person classes and services are being expanded, a majority of students will remain fully online to keep the number of people on campus down to curb the spread of COVID-19.

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Roughly 11,000 students, or about 60 per cent, are expected to be completely online, while another 6,500 students, roughly 35 per cent, will see a mix of online study and limited on-campus activities, according to Michelle Beaudoin, Fanshawe’s vice president of student services.

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The remaining five per cent will be working at co-op or other job placements.

“Where there is a practical lab component, where we have to see students demonstrate skills, that would tend to determine whether they need to be on-site,” Beaudoin said.

“Other courses where there’s not a strong need for the demonstration of practical skills, they would be able to be fully online. It’s very much a, sort of, program-by-program assessment.”

In a message to students in early June, the college said that programs would remain in their determined delivery format through the fall semester.

Fanshawe officials say that in addition to reduced classroom occupancy, they’re also gradually returning staff to campus under a “flexible work policy” which will help lessen the number of staff who are on-site on a daily basis.

“In the staff side for some of our services, we will see more open up. We’re opening up our front doors of the library and our fitness centres… food services, bookstore, some of those areas,” Beaudoin said.

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“It’ll be a smaller staffing group, more so that students can have contact with people on-site. There’ll still be a significant number of people working off-site.”

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Students and faculty coming on campus will be required to conduct an online screening assessment every day before doing so, however they won’t be required to show proof of vaccination to be on campus as will be the case at Fanshawe’s post-secondary neighbour, Western University.

Western said Wednesday that it will require proof of vaccination from students, staff, and faculty, with exemptions provided under the province’s human rights code. Those without proof will be required to be tested twice a week to be on campus.

The only exception to Fanshawe’s rule will be students who live in residence and those taking part in varsity athletics, Beaudoin says.

“For the rest of the campus, there are some provincial discussions that are ongoing about whether or not there will be any provincial approach to it,” she said.

“We’ve been keeping certainly in touch with all the other colleges about what they’re doing. Right now, the majority of colleges are doing exactly what we’re doing.”

The school has also been in talks with the Middlesex-London Health Unit about the possibility of offering vaccinations and rapid testing at the main London campus, she added.

“We haven’t got any definitive answer yet on that, but we’re looking at that.”

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The college has said it continues to “strongly encourage” that students and staff get fully vaccinated as soon as possible.

Several post-secondary institutions have announced vaccine requirements, including Western, Seneca College and the University of Toronto.

The Council of Ontario Universities and Colleges has been urging the Doug Ford government to mandate vaccination of post-secondary students, faculty and staff across the province.

More information on Fanshawe’s back-to-school plans can be found on the college’s website.

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