Saskatchewan

Sask. universities planning for remote classes this fall

The University of Saskatchewan is planning for a "primarily remote approach to program delivery" for the upcoming fall semester.

Universities of Saskatchewan and Regina say they are working on how best to deliver fall semester

The University of Saskatchewan is planning to deliver its fall semester in a 'primarily remote' fashion. (Guy Quenneville/CBC)

The University of Saskatchewan is planning for a "primarily remote approach to program delivery" for the upcoming fall semester.

"The planned September delivery model will combine primarily remote online learning, with limited classroom, laboratory, clinical and physical instruction only where warranted and where circumstances permit, in consultation with public health and Saskatchewan's chief medical health officer," the school posted on its website Tuesday morning.

The University said its plan is based on "current pandemic knowledge and projections."

"The health and safety of our campus community has been our primary focus throughout this pandemic, and will continue to be our top priority as we plan for a limited and very cautious reopening of our campuses in the fall," the school said.

The U of S is offering its spring and summer programs remotely.

The school has established a pandemic recovery team (PRT) that will plan how the fall semester will be delivered to allow students to "continue their programs with minimal disruption and necessary supports." It said decisions on how classes are delivered will "not be made at the individual faculty or instructor level."

The U of S said it intends to have the fall plan finalized by the end of the month.

"For students concerned about making travel and living arrangements for the fall term, every effort will be made to communicate information about the mode of delivery of specific programs as soon as possible," the university's statement said.

Last week, the school announced it was freezing tuition for a majority of programs for the 2020-21 academic year.

U of S student president wants voice on planning team

Newly-elected University of Saskatchewan Student Union (USSU) president Autumn LaRose-Smith said school leadership has been meeting online with the USSU, but hopes the union becomes a formal part of the planning effort.

"We are urging the university to include the USSU and the GSA [Graduate Students' Association] in their pandemic recovery team. We would like to advocate for the students," LaRose-Smith said.

"We're happy the safety of students and campus community is being addressed, it's our number 1 concern as well,"

She said other student concerns include quality of remote education, access to computers and registration issues.

"I myself am a student who does not have access to a computer at home. I can assure that there are many others as well. Figuring out access to those supports is a huge concern to students right now."

University of Regina to continue 'remote delivery' in fall semester

On Tuesday, the University of Regina also posted a statement about its fall semester preparations.

"A continuation of the remote delivery we are now using offers students in the Fall term the best chance of academic success as we navigate the rapidly changing landscape of the global pandemic," said Interim University of Regina President Thomas Chase.

"The situation is fluid, changing daily. As it changes, we will communicate with you."

A lecture hall full of people seems unlikely at the University of Regina. The school said on Tuesday it would continue with 'remote delivery' of classes this fall. The plan has not been finalized. (Bryan Eneas/CBC)

Chase said the U of R's academic incremental recovery (AIR) group will continue its work on how fall courses will be delivered.

"Our first responsibility is a safe environment for students, faculty and staff. Unexpected developments in the pandemic could require adjustments to timelines and details of course delivery," Chase said.

"I am confident that our consultations and planning will yield a delivery model that meets teaching, learning, and research needs while keeping people safe."

Last week, the U of R's board of governors approved the 2020-21 budget, which included a zero per cent increase in tuition and fees.

About the Author

Adam Hunter

Journalist

Adam Hunter is the provincial affairs reporter at CBC Saskatchewan, based in Regina. He has been with CBC for 12 years. He hosts the CBC podcast On the Ledge. Follow him on Twitter @AHiddyCBC. Contact him: adam.hunter@cbc.ca

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