TORONTO — Construction is among several sectors listed as frontline, essential and high labour market demand areas of study at postsecondary institutions across the province and as such the Ontario government has announced a plan to gradually resume in-person instruction for the summer term.
Limited in-person education and training may restart in July for students who were not able to graduate due to COVID-19 closures. The announcement was made June 10 after consultation with the chief Medical officer of health.
According to a Colleges Ontario release, the in-person instructions returning in July are in programs that are critical to the current economy such as nursing, personal support work, engineering, childcare, building construction and apprenticeship training in welding.
The limited summer reopening will help individual institutions prepare for the fall term by ensuring proper health and safety protocols are in place, indicates a government release, adding in September, all students will have the opportunity to attend postsecondary education through virtual learning, in-class instruction or hybrid formats.
The province is developing a framework to be released to the sector in the coming days, which will provide guidance on the summer reopening and on health and safety measures.
Publicly assisted colleges and universities, Indigenous Institutes, private career colleges and other postsecondary education institutions may participate in this voluntary reopening but will be responsible for establishing their own plans in accordance with public health advice and any ministry guidance.
The government has also announced plans to develop a framework to modernize post-secondary education.
“It’s critical that we allow students to complete their studies and graduate so they can join the workforce in high-demand, frontline roles and help put the province back on the path to prosperity,” said Ross Romano, minister of colleges and universities, in the statement. “I will continue to collaborate with the postsecondary sector to determine how best to move forward on reopening our campuses in the fall and beyond in a way that is responsible and safe for our students and staff.”
“This is great news for students and for employers who will be seeking highly qualified graduates to help rebuild Ontario’s economy,” said Linda Franklin, the president and CEO of Colleges Ontario, in a statement. “We’re very grateful for the collaboration with the government that has ensured colleges continue to deliver high-quality programs.”