Resumption of in-person classes
 

Resumption of in-person classes

Dear Bishop’s Community,

As you know classes will resume on Wednesday, January 12 with most classes being delivered remotely. A list of classes delivered               in-person starting this week will be updated later today.

The Quebec Government has stated that it expects Universities and CEGEPs to resume in-person instruction as of Monday, January 17 while accepting that the transition back to in-person classes may take until Monday, January 31.

As has been the case since March of 2020, it is difficult to predict with certainty how the pandemic will evolve.

In determining how best to proceed at Bishop’s we have been guided by the public health authorities, by feedback from our community and other institutions of higher learning and by our own analyses led by our COVID Task Force.

We have decided, with rare exceptions, to resume in-person classes as of Monday, January 17. All classes that were planned to be             in-person on the winter 2022 timetable will therefore be delivered in-person.

A wide variety of factors have been considered in arriving at this decision.

They include:

1)      Approximately 96% of our community has been double vaccinated.

2)      Many students have indicated their strong preference for being on campus. Multiple studies have indicated that further isolation may have a significantly negative impact on the mental health of young people.

3)      Delivering classes through a hybrid model has proven to be very difficult for faculty as well as students.

4)      The Omicron variant is becoming the dominant form of COVID-19 in Quebec. It is anticipated that the Omicron surge is likely to peak by the end of the month.

5)      The Omicron variant is highly contagious because it resides in the nasal passages and upper respiratory area. However, it is much less likely than other variants to bond with the lungs and consequently is much less virulent. We recognize, however, that the transmission rate of Omicron will likely remain significant throughout Quebec society over the next few weeks.

6)      The risk of hospitalization and severe consequences of the virus are much lower with Omicron. The people who are most at risk are the unvaccinated, people over 70 years of age and the immunocompromised.

7)      Employees of the University can receive their booster shots this week at a clinic at 605 Bowen Street in Sherbrooke (Jean-Maurice Street entrance) by clicking https://clients3.clicsante.ca/60157/take-appt for an appointment. Proof of employment at Bishop’s will be required.

8)      As of Monday, January 17, all of our students, 18 years of age and over, will be able to make an appointment for the booster. Students currently outside Quebec may be eligible for a booster before returning to Bishop’s.

9)      As of today, approximately 24% of the population has received the booster and Quebec expects to inoculate an additional 100,000 people per day.

10)   With respect to employees, we will expect those whose position allows them to do so to continue to work from home until further notice. Please remain in contact with your manager, as some position requirements may change with the return of in-person learning.

11)   The rules with respect to wearing masks on campus and the obligation to present a valid vaccine passport in certain circumstances will remain in effect.

12)   We encourage everyone to be fully vaccinated and wish to remind you that the Quebec government will eventually require a booster in order to have a valid vaccine passport.

 

We know that we are all being asked to call upon additional reserves of patience and resilience.

Let’s hope that we will be able to look back on the Omicron variant as the beginning of the end of the pandemic.

We wish everyone a safe and productive semester.

 

Michael Goldbloom, C.M.

Principal and Vice-Chancellor

 

Stine Linden-Andersen, Ph.D.

Dean of Student Affairs

Chair, COVID Task Force