More in-person learning planned for winter 2022 term
By: Kate Doer
On Jan. 4, 2022, Red River College Polytechnic will expand its capacity for in-person learning at the Exchange District and Notre Dame campuses.
The college will require students and staff to abide by health measures such as physical distancing, hand hygiene, physical barriers, and rapid antigen testing (for those who are unvaccinated).
“We know that vaccines are the most important safety measure,” said RRC Polytech chief human resource officer Melanie Gudmundson. According to a winter 2022 academic term update email, over 90 per cent of the college’s staff and 88 per cent of students are fully vaccinated.
For students and faculty that are not vaccinated, RRC Polytech is currently accepting three categories for the vaccine exemption: medical, religious, or other. Students and faculty belonging to these categories will be “required to test a minimum of twice per week on campus if [they’re] at Notre Dame campus or EDC,” said Gudmunson.
For students worried about crowded classrooms and busy corridors, the college said this term will be different than 2019. “A lot of care and consideration is going into preparing for winter 2022 so that people aren’t queuing up around the block outside,” said director, college and public relations, Conor Lloyd.
Not all students are looking forward to returning to campus, as they have adjusted well to online learning.
Business Administration student Miguel Orense said he likes online classes, and the commute downtown takes too long.
“It is more convenient because I live far from here—takes like an hour to get here and an hour back,” he said. Some of the Business Administration students living out of province are still looking for online classes but there weren’t enough options, said Orense.
Dr. Jeanine Webber, executive director, academics said she understands the convenience of online learning, but she also wants the students to have access to the equipment the campus facilities provide. “There’s also real value in, in the moment in the classroom and some of the kinds of activities we can do with the equipment we have,” said Webber.
As for rising cases and the omicron variant, the college is watching carefully. Gudmonson said they have been working closely with public health and will continue to do so. If there are any changes, the college will take public health concerns and recommendations into consideration. As of now, Gudmonson said it is too early to know.