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It has been nearly three months since March 17th, the day that Ontario declared a state of emergency under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act due to the threat of COVID-19. Now students have only a few months until they return to or begin their schooling this fall semester.
Here is a Trent COVID-19 Timeline, starting way back when this all began:March 12th (Thursday) 10:41 AM: The first COVID-19 update was sent out to students, faculty, and staff. At this point students were informed that on-campus hand sanitizers had been set up and that “the university has initiated newly scheduled maintenance for the university’s air-handling equipment.”
March 13th (Friday): All in person classes and events were suspended. At the time they were set to resume March 18th, but as we know this did not happen and all on campus activity remained suspended for the duration of the term. All university-related international travel was also paused, hand sanitizing stations were set up around campus and “more posters and signage will be implemented in the coming days providing information of social distancing and alternatives to hugs and handshakes like the virtual high five, elbow and foot bump”. (This all happened Friday the 13th--I’m just saying).
March 15th (Sunday) 11:59 PM: A message was sent notifying all students, faculty, and staff that a confirmed case of COVID-19 “has been associated with our Peterborough campus”. Classes were fully moved online and instructors sent students information through Blackboard on how to finish up the year online.
March 24th 3:09PM: Current and prospective students were notified that summer courses would be conducted online only, and the summer course offerings were confirmed.
Where we are at now: A handful of groups like Trent’s Land Based Learning organizations and some longer term research projects have been granted access to the university land, but the school remains closed. Trent University and The City of Peterborough have closed their summer camps that were set to run on campus. No one is allowed on campus except those who have been given specific permissions, and workers who maintain the buildings.
Trent Forward: This is the name for the “phased approach” that Trent University is taking to bring students back to campus. Phase 3, the fall phase of campus response, involves a soft return of residences, with some residences staying open with only single rooms being offered. Residence is guaranteed to any new or returning students who applied for housing before June 1st. News about the campus food and dining services have not been released, though they are working to ensure these are operational for students and especially ones living in residence (which are the cost of single rooms i.e. $10-13 000/year including meal plan).
“Multi-Access” learning: Trent has communicated that classes will be conducted in what they are calling a “multi-access” learning style. What does this mean? That is a good question. This means that campus will be open to some kinds of activity, some of the time. This means also that most of the time classes will be held “remotely”, meaning at least partially online. Some examples of activity that might be in-person are “labs, specialized hands-on or small cohort courses, workshops, seminars, etc.”
When students select their courses, the list will note whether the course is to be online, remote, or in person. This should allow for students to make choices about their living arrangements while selecting courses.
International Students: The rules for re-entering Canada with a study permit have shifted slightly and only students who held a study permit before March 19th, 2020 (on or before March 18th) will be permitted to return to Canada to study.
If you are an international student and decide to continue your studies through Trent via remote or web-based learning, you will remain eligible for the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP). The caveat is you may only complete up to 50% of your program living abroad. Students going into first or second year may experience complications with plans to gain residency if their travel back to Canada is delayed.
Graduate Students: Graduate student time tables will be available in August. Those conducting research may experience more trouble returning to their projects as Trent’s “phased approach” may not suit time-sensitive experiments. Trent recommends that details should be worked out on a case by case basis.
Sports: As of June 8th the Ontario University Athletics have cancelled their sports programming up to the end of December 2020. Though the Trent Athletics Centre site indicates that Phase 2 allows for the opening of indoor and outdoor pools starting June 12th--so we might be seeing this soon! Check out the Athletics Centre site for more timely updates.
Tuition?! Finally, the mother of all FAQ’s on trentu.ca is the question of whether there will be tuition changes in the Fall Term. The answer is no. The strategies that Trent plans to take on to deliver education to it students (i.e. the “multi-access” approach and “Trent Forward” plan) mean that Trent seeks to “continue to provide the resources that are funded by tuition and other sources of revenue”-- “a high-calibre experience for our students, both through in-course instruction by faculty members, and support services including Financial Aid, Academic Advising, Trent Colleges, for both undergraduate and graduate students”. Other institutions have cited a need to preserve ‘quality of education’ as a reason they need to maintain or raise tuition this year.
We hope tells you what you need to know about Trent + COVID-19! We will be updating you all as more information comes to light about how Trent University is responding to COVID-19 this fall.