East central Sask. colleges planning in-person fall 2021

·2 min read

Cumberland College, Carlton Trail College and Parkland College have announced they will be moving forward with the goal of returning to more of a face-to-face environment for the fall 2021 programs.

This news comes as more people in the province gain access to the COVID-19 vaccine.

All three colleges delivered a blended learning model with in-person classes supplemented by online instruction during the 2020-21 year.

“We learned a lot this year, and we admire our students and staff for being resilient and achieving their goals in these challenging times,” said Mark Hoddenbagh, Parkland and Cumberland’s president.

“While our plan is to get back to on-campus instruction, blended learning will continue to be a key part of our institutions, providing flexibility and fostering innovation as we serve learners across our region.”

In practice, Hoddenbagh said this means blended learning will still be used when it benefits the course, but on average there will be more in-person face-to-face lessons.

“The goal this year is to really get that balance between face-to-face and online,” he said.

“In trades programs you need more face-to-face because of shops. In business programs you might not need as much face-to-face because there’s no shops or anything like that, so you can do online delivery and that works okay.”

Outside of safety reasons, Hoddenbagh said their coalition feels the online component is a useful aspect to maintain for the students' education.

“Blended learning is a model we’re going to be going forward with, because we feel it really helps our students prepare for the workforce,” he said.

“We want our students to be prepared for that, but what we want to do is make sure if COVID comes back up again and things start shutting down again, we are prepared to go back to what we were doing.”

Shelley Romanyszyn-Cross, Carlton Trail College’s president, gave a similar message, stating that if necessary, blended learning will allow them to pivot our program delivery.

“It is important that we remain flexible as the COVID-19 situation changes,” Romanyszyn-Cross said. “When classes start this fall, our primary goal is to return to the face-to-face environment, while continuing to embed the use of blended learning such as online classes into our program delivery.”

Students are encouraged to monitor the colleges’ for additional details about their specific program and classes.

Jessica R. Durling, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Humboldt Journal