Elementary and secondary schools in Langley will be filled with the sounds of students walking the halls in September, but that won’t be the case for universities in the community.
Likes schools across the country Langley-based institutions Trinity Western University (TWU) and Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) have been preparing for the fall intake of students, but it won’t be the usual welcome.
“Much like the summer [it’ll be] very quiet,” said Alan Davis, president of KPU.
Both TWU and KPU will be administering much of their course work online with the exception of some programs that will require students, at times, to complete in-class practical work, such as those students in the nursing program.
.@KwantlenU is implementing new strict social distancing protocols for their in-person classes to ensure students in programs requiring hands-on learning can work and learn safely while making academic progress. https://t.co/w5u3iQYJma
— Polytechnics Canada (@PolyCan) July 31, 2020
“As much as possible will be delivered remotely through various online technologies and then there will be a number of classes offered in labs, studios, shops et cetera, but where the students really have to come in and they’ll be subject to all the protocols that are required by the provincial health officer,” Davis explained.
Students on TWU and KPU campuses who are not able to physically distant will be required to wear non-medical face masks, but they are not mandatory.
“People need to realize that your purpose of coming on campus is either to do a scheduled hands-on class as part of your course… or you’re coming on (campus) to study, but that’s pretty well it,” Davis reiterated, noting the library remains open with curbside pickup.
Similarly, TWU will be operating in a similar fashion, but the faith-based university also had to consider on-campus housing for students.
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TWU Access Our university is committed to the health and safety of students, staff, faculty and our community. Our Health and Safety Team has been working for months to ensure that all our campuses operate safely this fall. TWU is prepared to respond if a student shows COVID-19 symptoms. We are equipped to conduct testing on our Langley campus for our residents utilizing current BCCDC guidelines, and we have procedures in place to protect both students and our TWU community. For further information on TWU's Health and Safety preparedness, please visit our COVID-19 Health and Safety page:https://www.twu.ca/health-and-safety #TheJourneyForward #InspiringHeartsAndMinds #TrinityWesternUniversity
Currently TWU has 80 international students who are quarantining on-campus, said Mark Husbands, TWU president.
Although campus dorms are equipped to house more than one student, this year capacity has been reduced to one student per dorm room, meaning the university will host a total of 620 residents.
“So that means as half as many students will be living in the dorms this year,” Husbands said.
Students were offered on-campus housing based on the requirements of their program and where a student calls home.
Although sports leagues have be suspended by U Sports, the governing body for university sports, student athletes will still be permitted to continue to train and practice on-campus, according to Husbands.
U SPORTS cancels 2020 fall championships due to COVID-19 / U SPORTS annule ses championnats d’automne 2020 en raison de la COVID-19
— U SPORTS (@USPORTSca) June 8, 2020
Campus grounds will have limited opening hours, with access monitored by TWU campus security.
Both TWU and KPU said enrolment for the fall semester remains strong.
Typically KPU welcomes 13,700 students across all campuses in September, but Davis said the university is expecting slightly more than 13,000 students next month.
Both universities have implemented increased cleaning on campus and will continue to monitor their offerings on an ongoing basis.
In addition, the Ministry of Education does not expect any interruptions to the province’s teacher education program students who require practicum experience in schools this year.