Uncertain at first, the college came to the firm decision on Mar 16
By Atiba Nelson, Staff Reporter
While businesses large and small, along with local educational institutions, vowed to practice social distancing, Douglas College announced on March 13 that on-campus, in-person classes were still in session via a news release posted on the College’s homepage.
“Acting under the advice of the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training and the Ministry of Health, all Douglas College campuses will remain open and in-person instruction will continue unless otherwise advised,” read the March 13 news release.
Two days later, on March 15 at 10:45 am, the College partially reversed its decision and announced that in-person classes would be held for the week of March 16 to March 20, 2020 with the College facilitating alternative delivery after the last day of in-person classes.
The updated Douglas position, communicated through another news release on the College’s official website, read “In response to the evolving situation with COVID-19, Douglas College will be transitioning away from in-person classes. Last day of classes will be no later than March 20.”
Students were to be informed about how to complete required coursework by instructors. Additionally, required completed assignments could be done “online, through self-directed study, or other means, depending on the nature of the course or program,” according to the “CAMPUS UPDATE: March 15, 10:45am” statement.
Douglas then stated that the college would be shifting to alternative modes of course delivery for the rest of the Winter term on March 16, via a new release and email to all students.
Douglas’ change of heart comes in the backdrop of the Provincial Health Officer recommending cancellation of gatherings over 50 people on March 16, and stating that the Ministry of Health was working with post-secondary institutions to take measures to address classes.
Previously, Douglas’ decision to allow classes to continue for a week, and students to continue practicums and clinical duties such as nurses, came in opposition to the University of British Columbia suspending clinical duties for medical students participating in rotations and activities within hospitals across the country.
A search on the Douglas College nursing program homepage did not find any advice to nursing students regarding clinical duties and COVID-19.
The college posted, and has kept updated, a “COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions” webpage for the evolving pandemic. The webpage answers questions ranging from building access and food service operations on campus.