Course instruction and services mainly provided remotely, with limited access to campus
Bridget Stringer-Holden // Associate News Editor
On Sep. 1, students received an email from the Registrar’s Office outlining key information regarding Capilano University’s (CapU) COVID-19 response. Much of the university’s instruction and services will be delivered remotely; however, for those wishing to come to campus, there are safety measures, plans and policies in place. The plans follow the guidance of Provincial Health authorities and are to ensure that students, faculty and staff remain socially distanced and safe.
The new general campus hours are 7:30am to 9:30pm from Monday to Saturday. With only 20 percent of courses being held on campus or with an in-person component, furniture was removed to reduce maximum occupancies for all rooms and buildings on campus. Building Leaders are the contacts for departments regarding COVID-19 information, while Student Leaders in Birch and the Student life Hub will provide information for students.
“We are in the stage of managing the spread of COVID, not wiping it out,” said David Geary, who teaches in the Indigenous Film Program and is a faculty representative on the University’s Joint Health and Safety (JOHS) Committee. “Our biggest enemy at the moment is actually fatigue,” he said, acknowledging that the numbers in British Columbia continue to climb.
“Everyone’s getting fatigued because it’s going on and on but it’s all the same simple things, handwashing, social distancing, wearing a mask,” said Geary. He stressed the importance of being diligent and mindful of touchpoints, such as the washroom doors or the card reader at Tim Hortons.
For those wishing to come to campus, masks and social distancing are highly recommended in the common areas. “Even just coming within 2 metres of people, you have to be aware that that makes other people very anxious; it really is thinking about other people,” said Geary. “[Wearing a mask is important] in case you’re asymptomatic; you might spread it to someone else. [Slow] down and just remind yourself why we’re doing this—the stakes are very high, people die from this.”
Face coverings can be purchased at the bookstore for students who do not bring their own. Sani units have also been placed at all major entrances, along with the Here and Healthy Student Daily Health Check QR codes. The QR codes link to an online health check-in system that would facilitate contract tracing and make sure buildings aren’t over capacity.
For classes that need to be in-person, such as costuming or the documentary program that Geary works in, specific isolated classrooms have been assigned. There are only about eight students in each room and the instructor is projected to the rest of the classrooms by video. Employees were also asked to take an eLearn module in Exposure Control for COVID-19 before returning to campus. Geary acknowledged the vital role that both Christopher Sharp, Occupational Health & Safety Officer, and Natalia Skapski, Manager Health & Safety Emergency Preparedness, played in the development of Safe Work Practices that he reviewed on the JOHS Committee.
“I will miss having in-class interaction this semester with students, but in the future we will have more options for our teaching and learning, and that’s always a good thing,” said Geary, noting the creative adaptations being made such as the orientation package pick-up.
“If we solved the COVID-19 virus crisis tomorrow then we’d still have a Climate Crisis, Poverty & Race issues, the rise of Totalitarianism and Nationalism,” said Geary. “The upside of COVID is we have a chance to pause and consider how we can save the world. By using less transport we’ve proved we can reduce carbon emissions if we have to. By working from home remotely, we’re actually living one of the promises that the internet would bring us – more freedom from being stuck in classrooms and offices.”
If you feel sick, the BC COVID-19 Self-Check is a resource to check if you are experiencing potential COVID-19 symptoms. Please do not come to campus and consult the Student COVID-19 Illness Process if you feel ill.