Our Plan for a Safe Return to Campus Life and Multi-Access Learning
Dear Members of the Trent Community,
I hope that this message finds you well in these complex times and that this update is helpful in providing more clarity about our plans for the fall and a phased return to our Trent campuses over the coming months.
Trent Forward is a plan that emphasizes the health and well-being of our campus community; our commitment to excellence in teaching and research; and the success of our past, current and future students.
I hope you’ll bear with me through the following (somewhat lengthy!) information outlining the highlights of our plan.
A Multi-Access Fall Term
Trent is committed to “multi-access” learning in the fall of 2020. When and where possible, we will open our on-campus operations, spaces and activities, and are planning on-campus academic and social events and activities for students. At the same time, most courses will be made available through online or remote delivery. In some cases, programs, courses or course components may require in-person instruction (in the case of labs, specialized hands-on or small cohort courses, workshops, seminars, etc.).
Students will be welcomed to Peterborough or Oshawa where they will help us define the "new normal" for campus interaction. It is too early to know, but we hope to be in a position to consider more courses and activities in person in our next Winter term.
Department chairs have begun to plan for the fall term and a full timetable that will allow returning students to register for courses in early July. New students will be able to register by mid-July. While later than usual, this scheduling will ensure that students can pursue their studies in a way that is informed by the best possible understanding of rapidly-changing circumstances, and by extensive planning which will assure them of the exceptional learning experience for which Trent is renowned.
Campus Engagement and Residences
In addition to new mentorship programs and champions to ensure engaging and effective remote and online learning, Trent will operate its residences in the fall. Some changes will be made to ensure the safety of our students. Notably, all residences will operate on a “single” or one-person-to-a-room basis (which will eliminate the option of "double" and "triple" rooms for the foreseeable future), complete with the latest health and safety training and protocols. Student Affairs and Trent's Colleges are already planning ways to ensure that students on campus will be connected, even when physically distancing.
Returning to Campus
The opening of Trent's Peterborough and its Durham campus will proceed – carefully and gradually – this summer. Like other universities in Ontario, the first phase of this will be the opening of research labs which can operate in ways consistent with new protocols designed to educate our community on the pandemic, and with a series of measures designed to keep everyone safe: measures which will include the monitoring of our spaces, cleaning, hand sanitizing, physical distancing, the physical arrangement of spaces and the use of masks as necessary.
Our plan envisages the following four stages of reopening.
Phase 1: Spring
- Access to campus gardens
- Limited research resumes in Trent laboratories
- Remote work and virtual service delivery continues
- Limited staff return to campus to prepare for phase 2
Phase 2: Summer
- Research access expands
- Nursing labs resume on a limited basis
- Some common spaces reopen with appropriate modifications to support student access to the internet
- Libraries may offer limited in-person services
- Some staff permitted onsite to prepare campus for phase 3
Phase 3: Fall
- Some students return to class with appropriate physical distancing
- More staff may return to their offices to support students, though many will continue to work remotely
- Support services continue with a mix of in-person and remote delivery
- Some residences may reopen with one student per room
- Limited food service operations may resume as needed
- Community and visitor access remains limited
Throughout these first three phases, mass gatherings and non-essential travel are likely to remain restricted, though small outdoor gatherings may be permitted in accordance with provincial directives. One important way in which we will reduce the potential for disease transmission and continue moving forward in our phased re-opening, is by making student access to our campus a priority, and by bringing back staff and faculty needed to support those students.
The timing of the final phase of our plan (Phase 4) is yet to be determined. It will include:
- Full campus operations resume in a staged way, with ongoing modifications and restrictions as required
- Visitors and community are able to access the campus more freely
- Travel restrictions gradually ease
- Larger gatherings are permitted
As we move forward, our actions and decisions will be continually informed by the monitoring of the COVID situation in the University and the communities in which we are located. If the pandemic requires it, we will change and adjust our plans and actions to protect the health and safety of our students and our communities.
As I write this update, there are eight active cases of COVID-19 in Peterborough, and 49 active cases in Oshawa. You may track the status of Peterborough cases through COVID page of the Peterborough Public Health website, and Oshawa cases through the Durham Region COVID-19 Data Tracker.
At the end of each of his regular Trent Talks podcasts, Trent’s Chancellor Stephen Stohn states: “You are not alone.” Reach out.
President & Vice-Chancellor
Posted on May 26, 2020