Omicron forces Calgary post-secondary students back online
Posted Dec 24, 2021 08:49:56 AM.
As Omicron cases continue to climb, students won’t be walking through the doors at Calgary post-secondaries during the first few weeks of the 2022 winter semester.
Instead, they will be back in virtual classrooms online, only adding to the pandemic fatigue students are feeling.
“This feels like a step backwards and it’s kind of demotivating,” said Ingrid Vargas, a student at the University of Calgary.
The University of Calgary, Mount Royal University, and SAIT are all monitoring the situation with the new variant closely and moving classes online for the first three weeks of the winter semester.
“Basically two years or so of this and definitely not what you signed up for, half of an education being stuck online,” said Ben Goodman, a student at MRU.
Some students continue to struggle with constant disruption and changes in class delivery
“Half in-person classes and half online, I think honestly that was my worst semester,” said Goodman.
“When you’re at school, it’s nice, but it’s also stressful because you’re around people again,” explained Vargas. “When you’re online, you’re isolated, and you can’t learn the same way.”
Although some students have struggled with back and forth, the students’ union at the University of Calgary is in favour of the decision.
“We do know that the new variant is serious, so we at the students’ union are supportive of moving exams, block week, and now the start of the winter semester online,” said Nicole Schmitt, the president of the students’ union.
Their biggest concern is for the mental health and wellbeing of students stuck at home. They are also advocating for the university to give more notice to students coming from outside the city.
“This was an issue we ran into last September, where the university gave students very short notice that classes would be transitioning to online,” explained Schmitt. “This is after some of our international students had spent thousands of dollars on flights and accommodations to come to Calgary.”