Phased approach to resuming campus physical operations
September 2, 2020
The Trent Forward plan guides our gradual and safe return to physical campus operations. On September 1, Trent moved into Phase 3 of the plan. The following priorities guide our efforts in this next phase:
- A Safe and Healthy Trent: The health and safety of our students, faculty, staff and community are foremost in our considerations as we gradually open our campuses for multi-access education and research.
- The Trent Student Experience: We remain deeply committed to providing all our students – wherever they may be – with the high quality, engaging student experience they have come to expect at Trent.
- A Role in the Post-COVID Future: Trent will be part of the solution as our communities confront the realities of COVID today and reimagine a better tomorrow.
While there remains much to learn about the coronavirus and COVID-19, there is now greater understanding about how to reduce transmission and the appropriate response to new cases. As a result, both Peterborough and Durham region are currently in Stage 3 of the provincial reopening plan and have a low number of active cases. In keeping with the gradual approach to reopening the province, Ontario will continue to monitor key public health indicators and some Stage 3 restrictions will be further eased over time when it is safe to do so. As Ontario is taking a regional approach to reopening, and as each local public health unit is free to set its own directives, Trent’s Peterborough and Durham campuses may have different requirements at different times.
Student Return to Campus
Trent’s multi-access approach was developed to ensure uninterrupted learning for our students during this time of fluidity and change. The majority of classes will be delivered remotely this fall, however there will be a limited number of in-person classes, labs and field trips on each campus. Classrooms and labs will have hand sanitizer stations, and signage that clearly indicates where to sit to maintain physical distancing. Approximately 1,000 students will move into single-room residences on the Symons campus, and 50 at the new Durham residence. We also expect non-residence students to be on-campus to access study spaces, WiFi, and student services (which will be available virtually as well as some in-person). Students are required to complete a mandatory COVID-19 education module before returning to campus and the provincial COVID-19 School Screening Tool each time they enter campus.
Faculty and Staff Return to Campus
As we enter Phase 3 of the Trent Forward plan, a number of departments have faculty and staff working on campus full- or part-time. These departments completed Return-to-Campus plans that identified who would return in Phase 3, and the health and safety protocols to mitigate the transmission of COVID-19 such as signage, cleaning routines, physical space adaptations, and ways to minimize close contact with others. Where capacity exists to accommodate more staff or faculty in a particular building or part of the campus, and COVID-19 transmission on the campus and in the community remains low, managers or chairs may request more staff or faculty to return.
Preparing for Cases
While we are confident in the precautions and protocols we have implemented to reduce potential for transmission of COVID-19 on our campuses, Ontario’s chief public health officer advises that people should expect to see an increase of cases in the fall. Trent is working with public health agencies to prepare for cases of COVID-19 on or connected to the campus to enable us to act quickly and responsibly.
Trent Forward Phase 3
Actions within Phase 3 will be gradually introduced, and will expand or contract as the situation warrants, or as permitted or restricted by provincial and public health requirements. Key features of Phase 3 are:
- Trent launches "multi-access" learning with almost all courses available through online or remote delivery and a limited number of programs, courses, or course components resuming in-person. Over time, the number of in-person programs, courses and course components will increase.
- More staff and faculty return to campus.
- Most common spaces reopen with appropriate modifications to maintain physical distancing and tools to manage capacity.
- Athletics facilities reopen with modifications and a phased access plan.
- Student support services operate with a mix of in-person and remote delivery.
- Most residences reopen, with one student per room.
- Food services resume and most dining halls reopen with modifications.
- Community and visitor access remains limited.
Trent Forward Phase 4
Trent will move into Phase 4 when it is safe to do so, based on trends of key public health indicators.
- Full campus operations resume in a staged way, with ongoing modifications and restrictions as required.
- Most programs, courses and course components will be delivered in-person, though online and remote delivery will remain available for some courses.
- Visitors and community are able to access the campus more freely.
- Travel restrictions gradually ease.
Personal Accountability is Key to our Success
All members of the campus community must continue to be vigilant and follow public health advice. Our successful return to campus, and the continued loosening of restrictions, requires each individual to assume personal responsibility to constantly practice good respiratory hygiene and handwashing practices, stay home when sick, maintain physical distancing, wear face coverings when required, and adhere to policies and procedures designed to protect individuals and the campus as a whole.
There are five key elements that will be addressed in all Return-to-Campus plans:
- Preparing the campus physical infrastructure
- Increased cleaning and sanitization routines
- Installation of protective measures and signage
- Adapting and modifying campus spaces to support physical distancing, controlling access, and reducing touchpoints
- Supporting staff, faculty, students and visitors
- Development of and approval of return-to-campus plans
- Mandatory COVID-19 health and safety education module on blackboard, website with resources, forms and guidelines
- Daily self-assessment before coming to campus
- Supply and use of face coverings, and where needed, personal protective equipment
- Isolation and quarantine supports
- Resources and training to support remote teaching and learning
- Campus and community capacity
- Public health and local healthcare services
- Transit and housing
- Capacity to maintain physical distancing and monitor limits on gathering
- Capacity of support services to implement new measures
- Effective engagement and communications
- Timely and clear internal and external communications
- Feedback and input mechanisms to monitor and adapt
- Effective and responsive governance processes
- Contingency planning
- Responsive to changing situations and new directives
- Protocols to respond to cases of COVID-19
Plans for the Winter Term
Most winter 2021 courses will be offered online or through remote delivery with optional opportunities for students to participate in course components in-person if they are able. Although some courses will be offered in-person, students should be reassured that most of these courses will include options for remote or online learning for students unable to attend in-person. Only a very small number of courses will require mandatory in-person attendance, primarily those that cannot be offered in an alternate format. This multi-access approach has been developed to give students as much flexibility and choice as possible. The delivery methods of most courses will be updated gradually in the timetable between now and early November to reflect the multi-access learning approach recently announced for winter.