Government says Alberta post-secondary students could return to classes this fall

CALGARY (660 NEWS) – The Alberta government is encouraging post-secondary students to prepare for a full return to in-person classes this fall.

Alberta’s Minister for Advanced Education Demetrios Nicolaides said in a statement that students should be ready to return to the classroom with the anticipation every adult will receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by July.

Nicolaides said schools have adjusted over the past year as they transitioned to online learning and the government will continue to make sure students, staff and faculty are kept safe.

“I want to express my gratitude to all faculty and staff members for their continued cooperation and hard work in keeping our campuses safe while still supporting students,” said Nicolaides. “The switch to online learning has not been easy, but our staff and students have all done great work to respond to the pandemic and maintain the quality of our post-secondary system.”

He added the Advanced Education will continue to work with Alberta Health and Dr. Deena Hinshaw to ensure the safe return to in-person classes in September.

Schools like the University of Alberta say planning is underway to welcomes students back to campus.

In a release on its website, the President and vice-chancellor of the university said they will work under the guidance of Advanced Education, Alberta Health, the Chief Medical Officer of Health, and Alberta Health Services (AHS).

No official plans have been made, but the school did say that remote and online options will continue to be available.

Mount Royal University President Tim Rahilly says they now have time to prepare, but some classes could still exist online.

“I think what we’re aiming for is to have the majority of our offerings face to face,” said Rahilly. “I think we recognize we will have to have some alternatives, and we’re working through the logistics now of what that might be.”

Rahilly adds that just like last year, they may have to adapt and adjust with little notice.

Meanwhile, the University of Calgary Union President, Frank Finley, says they also want to go back to in-person learning but are concerned about the support provided.

“There is real community transmission risk concerns here and it would be nice if we had a concrete plan from the government that would provide support to the institutions,” he said.

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