Ross Romano delivered his announcement today alone at the podium.
The Minister announced what he termed a “pilot” of in-person instruction on campus, so 10,000 college and university students can complete labs and/or practicums and graduate.
The pilot would start July 2 and last eight weeks and will apparently “inform” re-opening plans for the fall term. On campus, “in-person instruction” will be required to follow health and safety protocols, including screening, regular disinfecting and cleaning, and physical distancing. Romano said one of the innovative aspects of the pilot will be “peer-to-peer monitoring” by workers or students to ensure physical distancing measures are followed.
Romano did not announce any new funding to help colleges and universities cover the costs of these enhanced measures.
Romano further announced a consultation that will wrap up in August, leading to major policy changes so that colleges and universities can “expand into new markets”:
- transferability of credits
- more online learning.
In answer to a question from a CP24 reporter about the potential and concern that faculty and staff have about layoffs Romano said:
- We don’t know the enrolment numbers yet
- We hope today’s announcement will give more stability to the sector and to students thinking of putting down an deposit for fall tuition.
- COVID-19 is a challenging time for everyone and colleges and universities won’t be immune to the challenges, they are “autonomous” institutions who have to do what they feel is appropriate.
- At the end of the day, “colleges and universities are a business, they are in the business of providing academic services to students and learners”
Just as a matter of background. There are approximately 600,000 “students and learners” in the province. And he quoted 10,000 students as the number requiring lab or practicum hours in order to graduate.
President, OPSEU Local 245