The University of Regina is returning to in person learning effective March 1st. This marks the first full return to in person learning since December.
University of Regina President Jeff Keshen says many are excited about the move.
“We’re going to have our students back in numbers that make the campus a place of dynamism, a place that is lively, a place that students come from to have that experience that they’ve longed for from university. An experience they haven’t had for the last two years now.”
Keshen says their will still be a number of protocols in place for the health and safety of students and faculty members – and that people should be comfortable returning to the campus.
“We are doing our best to allay the concerns of students and faculty. maintaining masking and a number of safety protocols on campus. 98% of students and 99% of employees are all fully vaccinated so the campus will be safe. ”
There are many students who began university at the start of the pandemic – and have never had an opportunity to learn in the full university setting.
“There are students who for the last two years have experienced the stress of being at home and cut off from the social interaction of University. They signed up for university expecting it to be a special time in their lives – now they have the opportunity to go back to that.”
Keshan added that there will be some students who have the option for hybrid learning of both remote and in person learning.
The response from some is varied, with many students having concerns. Hannah Tate is the president of the University of Regina Student’s union.
“We have had a big variety of mixed reactions . Sometimes what is forgotten is that students come from diverse backgrounds with different responsibilities. The move to in person learning is great for some – but others are still a little bit nervous about it.”
Tate says that there are clubs and societies who are excited about the return – but many will still maintain a hybrid format for remote learners, and rural students.
“During the pandemic we saw that historically and currently marginalized groups were further marginalized at a much higher rate than other groups. We are concerned about the lasting impacts for people with disabilities, international students, women or caregivers at home and even part time students. We have many students who have been on the front line of the pandemic for awhile now and we want to support them the best we can”
Tate says that the University of Regina Student’s union has been working with individuals and groups to ensure that needs and concerns are being met,