By Sam Arseneau
Photo Credits: UPEI
UPEI has announced the Winter 2021 semester will be primarily online.
On September 18th a meeting of the senate was held to discuss the plans for the Winter 2021 semester. It was unanimously agreed that schooling would continue to take place primarily online.
Ann Braithwaite, UPEI professor and senate member, was the first to publicly announce the decision on September 25 after seeing the university had not sent out the information.
“I certainly don’t think the delay [of announcing] is the result of an actual decision to wait, nor a malicious intent of any kind. I suspect the delay was a combination of being busy (aren’t we all) and a not really thinking through that students would want/need to know as fast as possible.”
Braithwaite explained that the original plan in Spring 2020 was to discuss Winter 2021 in October, however given the impact on COVID the decision was made to discuss the Winter semester in September.
“This is new and strange and hard for many of us – faculty and students (and staff!)… and we know that many students are really missing the classroom (whether students go to class or not, there’s a comfort in knowing it’s there – which is only recognized as a comfort when it’s no longer there). And I don’t think we’re acknowledging enough that there is a loss for many of us, and a mourning… even if we’re all making it work (and some are even embracing it).”
Braithwaite emphasized the importance of giving everyone a chance to process the changes happening.
“The more time to process that things are not ‘going back to normal’ in the next few weeks, the better… (especially since we’re six months in and everyone is fed up). And there are so many students all over the world right now too; they need to know (borders are still closed, etc.. let’s stop pretending this will all go away in another few weeks). I think we all need to talk more about what this shift is like for all of us.”
Braithwaite was keen to remind everyone that despite all the negative impacts of all these changes, there are also positives. For some students these changes are more beneficial than detrimental.
There has yet to be any announcements regarding end of the year events.