Sask. Polytechnic requiring masking for fall semester, pondering vaccine mandate

·2 min read
Students at Saskatchewan PolyTechnic campuses will need to be masked and physically distant while in class.  (CBC News/Matt Howard - image credit)
Students at Saskatchewan PolyTechnic campuses will need to be masked and physically distant while in class. (CBC News/Matt Howard - image credit)

Saskatchewan Polytechnic is still discussing whether or not to mandate vaccines on its campuses.

"We haven't made the decision yet. However, I expect that that will come shortly because we recognize that it does take time to be fully vaccinated," said Barb Gustafson, special advisor to the provost at Saskatchewan Polytechnic.

Gustafson said the review process takes time, but a decision will be in before too long. Regardless of the final decision, she said staff and students are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated.

The University of Regina is mandating vaccines for students and staff and the Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation has called for school staff and eligible students to be vaccinated.

At Sask. Polytechnic, masking, physical distancing requirements and small classes will all be in place this fall, the same as last year. Gustafson said this is because the school has many hands-on applied learning situations. She said leadership will continue to evaluate this as the time goes on.

There will still be a hybrid of in-person and online learning for students this semester, she said. Some areas, such as health sciences, are a combination of online and others in-person.

"If you think of something like an apprenticeship program, trades program, then obviously there's a lot of on campus activity. They need to be in the shops," Gustafson said. "Other programs, for example business, is tending to be highly online."

Most programs also have a work placement component. Gustafson said the students and placement spots have all been given a set of protocols to follow and information about COVID-19 spread.

"We've been very fortunate throughout the pandemic. We haven't had any instance where we've seen transmission occur for Sask Polytechnic students on campus. So we're very confident in the procedures that we do have," she said.

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