The University of Lethbridge says it is fully committed to program delivery when the new academic year starts in September.

The U of L is preparing for pretty much any eventuality when it comes to offering academic courses despite the uncertainty caused by COVID-19.

President Dr. Mike Mahon says the university will offer a robust, high-quality learning experience for students, noting they are planning for all scenarios at this point.

“We are planning for all scenarios and are working closely with faculty and staff to ready our courses for traditional and alternative delivery models. The safety of our community will continue to be our priority, so we will take our guidance from Public Health authorities about any restrictions that may still need to remain in place,” says Mahon.

The three scenarios for U of L students this fall:

  • Regular: If Public Health directives permit, all in-person classes will continue as usual this Fall.
  • Blended: If Public Health restrictions are loosened, but continue to limit the number of people who can congregate in one place, courses will be offered in a combined way, with some held online and smaller courses and practical experiences (e.g. hands-on practicum, studio-based, labs, clinical settings) held in person.
  • Primarily online: If required by Public Health directives and to ensure the health and safety of students and employees, the University will be prepared to offer a top-quality online learning experience for its students, ensuring practicum, clinical, lab, studio and other applied learning experiences are offered in a timely and flexible manner to enable students to complete their programs as quickly as possible.

Mahon stresses the U of L plans to finish the entire fall term the way its launched, adding enhancements to the experience as they become available, subject to public health requirements. “We also commit to doing all we can to ensure students have the opportunity to graduate on time, as planned.”

The decisions to lift restrictions on the University of Lethbridge campus will be done in consultation with the province.

Kathleen Massey, associate vice-president (students), says her team is working to not only create connections between students and the University, but between the students themselves.

“We are finding ways to ensure students will have an enriching university experience. We know students care a lot about the quality of their education, but also the University‚Äôs services, extra-curricular activities and most importantly the connections and friendships they make,” says Massey.

Student Affairs has begun moving many of their initiatives online, including the Student Mentorship Program, which supports students as they enter, and continue, throughout their academic career.

(With files from University of Lethbridge)