B.C. government tells post-secondary schools to prep for full return to campus this fall

Langara president says plans will be ready for fall registration in June

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By Tyson Burrows

The B.C. government on Monday told post-secondary institutions to prepare for a fall return to campus.

Anne Kang, minister for advanced education and skills training, issued a statement Monday afternoon saying that the provincial health officer had advised the presidents of the province’s public colleges and universities.

“I’m encouraged by Dr. (Bonnie) Henry’s advice that a return to in-person instruction can be done safely for this fall for all students, staff and faculty,” Kang said.

Soon after, Langara president Lane Trotter announced to students that with this new information, “planning will be refined and finalized for fall registration to open on June 21.”

The announcements come almost a full year after post-secondary institutions were abruptly forced to shift to online teaching, a move that presented enormous challenges to students, instructors, administration and staff.

Over the past few semesters, a hybridized form of learning was born. Certain hands-on classes were allowed a limited return to campus, while all others remained solely web-based.

The change was welcomed by some students who saw benefits in distanced learning, and students abroad were able to continue working toward their education without hiatus. Other students found online education difficult due to new technologies, equipment required and distance from supports.

“We will not lose sight of those students who may have discovered an appreciation for the flexibility of online learning, or those who may not be able to arrive in Vancouver by September to start their studies in person,” Trotter said.

Trotter said that Langara, along with other post-secondary institutions across B.C., will be working with Dr. Henry to ensure a safe return to on-campus education.

Guidelines will be developed in partnership with the BC Centre for Disease Control, WorkSafeBC, the Provincial Health Office, student associations, labour representatives, Indigenous partners and the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training.

Langara will be launching a brief survey Tuesday morning for students to help guide their planning.

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