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Coronavirus: McMaster University, Mohawk College await word on plans for September

McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont.
McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont. Lisa Polewski / 900 CHML

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, Hamilton’s post-secondary institutions are grappling with what September will look like on campus.

Sean Van Koughnett, dean of students at McMaster University, says they are currently trying to look at “every possible scenario” that could play out.

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Van Koughnett notes that the province has released “a bit of a road map around the stages of reopening, although no one quite knows what the timing of those stages will be.”

He describes it as a question “the entire post-secondary sector is wrestling with, right now.”

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In the meantime, Van Koughnett says McMaster has created a virtual social network for incoming first-year students that will ensure they feel part of the community by connecting them in “small cohorts” with peers, student mentors and staff.

“Regardless of what the fall looks like,” Van Koughnett says, they hope to ensure that first-year students feel like “I belong here and I’m going to be able to find my way because I’ve got people to help me.”

READ MORE: Mohawk college preparing for ‘worst-case scenario,’ expecting $50M loss

Mohawk College is also considering a number of different scenarios including in-person, online or hybrid delivery of classes for the Fall semester.

The college adds that its final decision will also be based on the direction of public health authorities and will be in the best interest of students and employees.