St. Clair 'not watering down' education as colleges prepare to make up for strike time

News they could soon be back in class was met with mixed emotions by students who have spend the past weeks feverishly studying in an attempt to stay on top of coursework.

College spokesperson promises school won't 'cram'

Fatima Mourtada said St. Clair College students are feeling stressed about potentially returning to class next week following a five-week strike. (Jason Viau/CBC)

St. Clair College won't be "watering down anything" to try to make up for the five-week faculty strike, according to a school spokesperson, but students are still stressed about making up for lost time.

Premier Kathleen Wynne tabled back-to-work legislation Thursday in an attempt to end the work stoppage, but the provincial NDP have continued to block Liberal efforts meaning students will most likely be back next week — it's just not clear exactly when, explained John Fairley.

"Come on back, the bell's ringing for school," said the St. Clair spokesperson.

Students stressed about semester

But the news was met with mixed emotions by the students who have spend the past weeks feverishly studying in an attempt to stay on top of coursework.

"I'm happy of course, because we're finally coming back to school," said second-year nursing student Christine Pimentel. "But at the same time me and some of my classmates are quite nervous because we don't know what's going to happen."

She added she's worried about being ready for the next steps of her program.

Christine Pimentel said on one hand she's happy to be back in class, but she's worried schoolwork will be crammed into the coming weeks. 0:23

Fairley maintains the school's contingency plan announced back on Nov. 7 will allow students to get caught up by cutting into their holiday break and stretching the semester until Dec. 22.

"We've added more teaching time so really we're not losing more than probably one week," he said. "We have to finish these 14 weeks together as best as we can, to keep the curriculum and get everyone taught the right way and I know our faculty can do that."

Pimentel is a mother of three and said having Christmas "taken away" is "not good" but she's hopeful it will allow time to adequately cover course material.

"I don't know how they're going to do it," she said. "You just can't cram everything."

Fairley said St. Clair has no plans to stuff the coming weeks or dilute the necessary work.

"We are not watering down anything," he said. "This is St. Clair College and I don't believe our faculty would ever water anything down to hurry and get things through."

College spokesperson John Fairley said the school won't be cramming coursework into the remaining weeks of the semester. (Jason Viau/CBC)

But that assurance does little to settle the nerves of another nursing student staring at a mountain of catch-up.

"It's going to be very hard because when we come back. Everything is going to be so pushed together," said Fatima Mourtada. "We don't know yet about how we're going to make up our clinical hours."

The first-year student said the twice-weekly clinical sessions are crucial for gaining practical experience that will be necessary for understanding upper year work at the University and eventually finding a job — so far she's missed 10.

"One day is a lot, five weeks? That's huge," she said. "I'm so stressed out."

Weeks without teachers leave questions unanswered

Anab Moallem is also feeling the pressure. Another first-year nursing student, she's worried the strike might mean she has to come back and redo her semester.

"I feel so worried," she explained. "Being in class and listening to the teacher helps a lot. When you don't know … and you can't ask any questions from a teacher it makes it very hard to study on your own."