McMaster hopeful for in-person learning in the fall

·2 min read

Given the current outlook with vaccinations, McMaster is hopeful for the resumption of some in-person learning in the fall — but not ready to follow other Ontario post-secondary institutions by firmly committing to it.

In an announcement on Thursday, McMaster University says the pace of the vaccine rollout “gives us tremendous optimism that we will be able to safely welcome students back to campus and into residences for the fall term,” the letter reads.

Several Ontario post-secondary institutions — including London’s Western University, whose president said in a Feb. 26 statement the school plans to resume in-person learning in the fall — have indicated they are hoping to resume at least some in-person activities.

“Other institutions are making announcements, and we know it’s a dynamic situation,” said McMaster provost Susan Tighe. “We don’t want to overpromise on a bunch of items that we think we can’t deliver on.”

Tighe said the university expects to announce decisions “sometime in April,” after McMaster leadership reviews recommendations submitted by a number of groups from different areas of the institution.

“I think realistically we’re looking at a blended environment,” she said. “What we’re trying to do is enable faculties and departments to be flexible.”

In a Feb. 25 letter to students, Mohawk College president Ron McKerlie said the college “will be notifying the college community of our plans for the fall 2021 semester by March 31.”

“While we are hopeful the situation will improve enough that we will be able to offer more opportunities for in-person learning and to return more employees to campus by the fall, we expect there will still be some restrictions in place that will limit our on-campus activities,” the letter reads.

Redeemer University in Ancaster says it plans to offer courses “through dual delivery for the fall 2021 term,” communications manager Shannon McBride said in an email to The Spectator on Thursday.

The dual-delivery model, the same one used during the current school year, involves “conducting in-person and remote learning synchronously through a livestream” allowing students to participate from the classroom or from home.

Kate McCullough, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator