Coast Mountain College is gearing up for a new school year

Hillary Johnson

It's no surprise that post-secondary campus life will be very different for students this year. Colleges across the country have had to adjust their operations to ensure their student's and staff's health and safety. Coast Mountian College is no different, but as the Executive Director of Communications Sarah Zimmerman explains, the school is taking all precautions to do just that.

"The vast majority of courses are going to be done at a distance, but we do have programs like trades or nursing or certification programs where people do have an in-person requirement, so in that case, some students will be coming onto campus. So we have actually reduced class size numbers to accommodate physical distancing. The great thing about our brand new shops over across the way is that they are big, so there is plenty of room for classes to practice safe social distancing."

Zimmerman says their rules and policies align with other institutions offering face-to-face instruction while emulating health and education officials' recommendations.

"We have plexiglass shields in place. We ask people to sanitize their hands or wash their hands before they come and go. We want to make sure that if anybody is feeling sick, they just don't come to campus at all. We encourage people to wear masks if you're inside or in situations where you can't consistently physical distance. We want to make sure people are keeping one moose apart, making people understand they have to participate in physical distancing." 

The Director explains that even though the social aspect had to be adjusted, students and staff are working hard to develop creative virtual events that students can participate in and still feel connected to the rest of their community.

"Ninety percent of our faculty has participated in courses to help them become more vibrant online educators in a distributed model. But also, there are a lot of really cool outside sites that create a fun classroom community. Many of our instructors have been investigating those tools with the help of our center of learning transformation to create super engaging and experiential classes in nature, even though it's a different way of learning this year. "  

Zimmerman says if there were to be a confirmed case of COVID-19 at any campus, they would take direction from Northern Health and follow the proper protocols.

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