Monday, Sept 28, we welcomed the President of St. Clair College, Patti France, to speak to us about changes to adult education. Last winter semester, students had 6 weeks left to complete their semester before COVID forced the school closure.

Faculty worked throughout March break to implement innovative solutions to help students complete their winter semester and move students' services online. This meant that educators had to learn about platforms like Zoom, Microsoft teams, Blackboard functionality and how to implement them into their course. A great number of students do not have access to laptops, internet or phone, so St. Clair College chose to leave the computer lab open to accommodate those students.
Once things were running smoothly online, they moved their efforts outwards, offering support to the community. For example, sending equipment to hospitals and converting their sportsplex in Chatham and Windsor into a field hospital for COVID patients. They participated in various research projects, and the fashion design students made masks.
Fall start-up looks a little different this year, wherever possible classes remained online if they could. They also pushed back the start of the semester to Sept 21 except for nursing and health sciences. This gave the college time to properly strategize and develop a plan to welcome students back and gave teachers additional time to organize for the school year. This year the Fall semester is 13 weeks. They will begin making decisions for the Winter semester in the next week or two.
They’ve learned that technology allows online classes to be still very interactive and highly effective for many students throughout the transition. This school year can’t be described as better or worse than in previous years, just different.
Patti says they are “Planning for the worst but hoping for the best.” They continue to maintain students' life and keep students engaged through online concerts and games put on but the Student Representative Council. Athletics has been suspended for the fall, but the fate of Winter athletics will be determined in Oct.

Mental health is a top priority for Patti and the rest of the St. Clair faculty. They realize that students still need hope and want to give them opportunities to stay hopeful about their future, academic career, and extracurriculars.
International students were not able to join them in person, but they have been following along online. However, when they do arrive, there is a strict protocol in place for isolation. They will be picked up at the airport, taken to a centralized location, be tested for COVID and have to remain in this centralized location for 14-days.
On a happier note, the St. Clair College Sports park is finished and will host a virtual ribbon cutting on Oct 26. COVID has delayed the construction of the new GEM Residence but hopefully will be completed by Fall 2021. They also have broke ground on the new Zekelmen Business School.
The most unexpected part of this year's school year is that despite the pandemic and drastic changes to education, his year enrollment exceeds previous fall semesters.