University of Regina enrolment up despite online-only classes

Click to play video: 'U of R spring semester enrolment up despite online-only classes'
U of R spring semester enrolment up despite online-only classes
WATCH: While COVID-19 may be changing the way university students will be expected to learn moving forward, the U of R says this hasn't deterred them from registering for the upcoming semester – Apr 20, 2020

The University of Regina’s spring/summer semester will be solely delivered via remote learning, using online resources due to policies enacted to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Even though this is a big change from learning in the classroom, registration for the upcoming semester has actually increased eight per cent from this time last year.

“We really do consider this numbers as unstable and volatile, we really won’t know until the first day of classes,” U of R vice-president academic David Gregory said.

In 2019, 7,579 students registered for classes in the spring/summer semester. That number jumped to 8,255 students this year.

Gregory said that although the university is encouraged by this increase, enrolment isn’t locked in just yet.

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“Because sometimes students, they’ll decide to register, and then they won’t make up their mind until closer to the start date,” Gregory said.

After taking only four days to transition from classroom to remote learning this past semester, the university is working on a contingency plan that could push remote learning into the fall if needed.

“Behind the scenes, we are planning and working towards that goal, and if we need to teach remote and learn remote, we’ll be ready,” Gregory said.

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The decision as to whether or not the U of R’s fall semester will be delivered remotely is expected in May.

Click to play video: 'How the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the University of Saskatchewan with president Peter Stoicheff'
How the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the University of Saskatchewan with president Peter Stoicheff

University of Saskatchewan (USask) president Peter Stoicheff said because of social distancing policies put into place, they’ve had to deliver courses in a different way — remotely — and this continues during final exams being written.

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“All the exams are being done online now for absolutely everything that we offer. That’s been an enormous undertaking. Students have been incredibly patient, flexible, understanding, and our faculty and all of our staff involved have done an amazing job,” Stoicheff said.

“We’ve never seen anything like that at this university and universities all across the country are doing something similar. It’s been quite extraordinary.”

Stoicheff said planning is currently underway to see what the fall term will look like for an estimated 26,000 students at USask.

“‘What are we going to do in the fall?’ And mapping out the different scenarios there — from, ideally, if there’s a possibility of students coming back, but also planning for the possibility that everything will be delivered remotely for that term as well,” Stoicheff said.

Global News did not hear back from USask on its enrolment numbers at the time of this article’s publication.

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials caution against all international travel. All international travellers returning to Saskatchewan are required to self-isolate for 14 days in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others.

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Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

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