Coronavirus: Sheridan College says it is ‘optimistic’ students will return to campus this fall

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus outbreak: Universities, colleges and Indigenous institutes to get $25M from Ontario' Coronavirus outbreak: Universities, colleges and Indigenous institutes to get $25M from Ontario
WATCH ABOVE: Ontario Colleges and Universities Minister Ross Romano said on Tuesday that in addition to a six-month deferral for student loans through OSAP, the government would also be providing universities, colleges and Indigenous institutes with $25 million to use how they see fit as they deal with the difficulties resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. He also said students would be able to complete examinations online and be graded so they can further their education – Mar 31, 2020

OAKVILLE, Ont. – As post-secondary institutions across the country wrap up a spring semester upended by the COVID-19 pandemic, one Ontario college said Thursday it is “optimistic” students will be able to return to campus for classes in the fall.

Sheridan College said it is preparing to welcome students in September, but added it is also planning for the possibility that physical distancing measures meant to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus will remain in place.

“We’re optimistic that a return to on-campus classes will be possible, but are working on contingency plans that include remote learning and staggered access to campus,” Janet Morrison, president and vice-chancellor of the Oakville, Ont.-based school, said in a statement.

Colleges and universities across Canada had to switch to online classes when the pandemic forced them to close their campuses in March.

Story continues below advertisement

READ MORE: Coronavirus fears prompt Ontario university to move classes online — should others?

Many schools have said it’s still unclear what the fall semester will look like as the public health crisis changes daily.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford this week unveiled a series of steps for reopening the province but would not give a timeline for that process to begin.

[ Sign up for our Health IQ newsletter for the latest coronavirus updates ]

In a letter to students earlier this week, the University of Ottawa’s president and vice chancellor noted the provincial government has been “silent” on when campus activities can resume.

“Without permission to reopen our campus it will remain closed for all of us except those who absolutely have to work on campus,” Jacques Fremont wrote, adding the school is preparing a “progressive reintegration plan.”

“We are mobilizing the entire campus to be ready to teach in-person or online, or some combination of the two.”

Click to play video: '‘I’m just not going to do it’ says Doug Ford on opening schools' ‘I’m just not going to do it’ says Doug Ford on opening schools
‘I’m just not going to do it’ says Doug Ford on opening schools – Apr 28, 2020

Chris Whitaker, president and CEO of Toronto’s Humber College, said the school is weighing options for the fall and looking at how it may be able to “adapt in-person education to meet health and safety requirements.”

Story continues below advertisement

“This is uncharted territory for all of us,” Whitaker said in a statement. “We all look forward to the day when we can resume our regular activities.”

The minister in charge of Ontario’s post-secondary education system, Ross Romano, said recently he anticipates an increase in post-pandemic enrolment.

“If you look at what happened after the global recession in 2008-2009, you saw a huge increase in enrolment in all of our institutions,” Romano said in an interview last week.

“I think we’re going to be dealing with that at a more significant level this time. But there’s no way to predict exactly what’s going to happen come the fall.”

— With files from Shawn Jeffords.

Sponsored content