By Kallandra Weatherbee
At NAIT’s third town hall meeting on Jan. 18 Sue Fitzsimmmons, NAIT Vice-President Academic and Provost, revealed she believes there will be similar COVID-19 restrictions in the upcoming academic year.
“Given what we know about the pandemic we anticipate there will be some COVID-19 restrictions at the start of the next academic year starting in September,” says Fitzsimmons.
From the start of the pandemic NAIT hasn’t had an outbreak of COVID-19 on campus or any confirmed COVID-19 transmissions. Fitzsimmons credits that to the goals set in place when NAIT first went into lockdown.
“Our goal is to keep our on campus number low, to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 and continue to provide a high quality education that students come to NAIT for,” says Fitzsimmons.
Fitzsimmons says virtual classes will be continuing into September as well as slowly increasing in person classes.
“We plan to continue virtual delivery in most classroom based courses and at the same time increase some of that face to face in a small number of classroom based courses,” says Fitzsimmons.
As of right now NAIT does have a large amount of students on campus for shops and labs.
Josh Bowman, a member of the NAIT Executive Board, says NAIT has dropped about a third of students on campus compared to other years.
“In fall we usually have about eighteen and a half thousand students per week on campus so this fall we were at five thousand eight hundred which is roughly a third or less. And in the winter semester we saw about twenty one thousand people on campus every week now to about seven thousand,” says Bowman.
Bowman believes classes and regular campus activities will resume once the COVID-19 vaccine becomes more available to the general public.
“Right now the Alberta government is anticipating that by fall 2021 the vaccine will be available to start immunizing the general public,” says Bowman.
As for right now NAIT will be following all of their current safety protocols and encourages students and staff to take necessary precautions to not spread the disease.
“I’ll ask that everyone continue to do the right things, the same things that have kept us safe all along. Complete your COVID-19 protocols training if you haven’t done so, check in everyday you come to campus and wear your mask and wash your hands, maintain physical distance and if you’re sick please stay home,” says Bowman.
NAIT will be continuing to follow all Alberta health and safety guidelines and will be continuing supporting students and staff throughout the durations of the pandemic.