Hamilton Postsecondary Schools Expect Full In-Person Comeback for Winter Semester 2022 – Hamilton | The Canadian News

An executive at one of Hamilton’s leading postsecondary facilities says the school agrees with the Ontario government’s push to reopen campuses for in-person learning during the winter semester of 2022.

Sean Van Koughnett, associate vice president and dean of students at McMaster University, says the school is ready and has completed a series of infrastructure improvements to mitigate the possible spread of COVID-19, which has kept much of the schools. educating online.

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“There has been work going on over the course of the pandemic – things like filtration systems in classrooms, we have our cleaning protocols in place, people are familiar with all the masking, we implement our vaccines mandate,” Van Koughnett told 900 Good morning Hamilton from CHML.

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“So we’ve done everything we can to put health first.”

Much of the learning at McMaster and Mohawk College is still remote, particularly for courses where in-person delivery is not required.

It’s a different state than their counterparts in London, where both Western and Fanshawe have essentially seen the majority of students return to a normal fall semester.

Last week, during a session of the Ontario legislature, progressive conservatives used high vaccination rates, low case counts, and student welfare as rationale for putting college students who did not return in September to classrooms in January. .

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The Minister of Colleges and Universities, Jill Dunlop, referred the MPPs to the $ 26 million from the Ford government in support of health for postsecondary students last year and the next $ 8.7 million based on the fall economic statement. .

“Students shouldn’t have to worry about the uncertainty surrounding the winter semester,” Dunlop said.

“That is why we are funding with our post-secondary partners to support institutions as they prepare for the winter of 2022 to open safely.”

Hamilton’s two largest postsecondary institutions, McMaster and Mohawk College, joined a list of Ontario schools requiring COVID-19 vaccinations amid an anticipated return to campus last fall.

All students, faculty, staff, and visitors attending the facility must have proof that they are fully vaccinated with some exemptions for medical conditions and those that can provide a “validated human rights foundation.”

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At the end of October, more than 99 percent of McMaster teachers and 96 percent of students uploaded immunization records through the MacCheck reporting tool.

Van Koughnett said those who qualify for the exemption will need to take the test every 48 to 72 hours during the winter semester at McMaster.

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There are a handful of those cases out of the 35,000 students we have, but the rest are fully vaccinated, ”Van Koughnett said.

Mohawk College President Ron McKerlie said he expects most of the enrolled students to return to campus in January with continued adherence to COVID safety protocols such as social distancing, wearing masks and vaccinations.

The college’s vaccination rate is approaching 90 percent and is expected to exceed 95 percent by the end of the fall semester.

However, McKerlie admits that the appearance of the Omicron variant in recent days paints another vague picture of what could happen next semester.

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You know, this is a moving target, and I think that’s what we’ve seen, ”McKerlie said.

“We just don’t know what’s going to happen next, so we have to be prepared.”

Van Koughnett says the winter semester will still see some online learning for those who want it from asynchronous courses, but limited remote activities are generally planned for the winter semester.

“If you are a full-time student, with a full load of courses, you will need to be on campus,” Van Koughnett said.

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“The moment you start trying to say, okay, … anyone who wants to stay away, we’re going to design the curriculum around them, the whole model … it starts to fall apart a bit.”

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