May 19, 2020 – It’s been more than two months since the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted our winter term. Our campus closed in March and students finished their courses and exams remotely. But now, as spring is officially here, Providence is well on its way planning for students to return to the Otterburne campus this fall. Both our University College and Seminary will deliver courses using a blend of in-class instruction and online delivery.
When speaking about Providence’s plans for the fall, Cameron McKenzie, Provost and VP Academic commented, “Our rural location and small classes provide us with the unique opportunity for an on-campus opening that’s not feasible for larger public universities.”
Providence is working alongside Sodexo to ensure a safe return to campus, adopting enhanced cleaning and sanitizing routines across campus. An extended schedule is being put in place to allow for larger breaks between classes, so that rooms can be sanitized between each use.
Providence also commits to following public health protocol, recognizing the continuing need for physical distancing and limits on numbers of people occupying spaces. Our student residences will open in September, but will likely operate at 50% capacity. All dorm rooms will be for a single occupant. Additional planning is underway for our cafeteria and the safe delivery of food services.
In the case of health and travel restrictions, Providence is making provision for out-of-province students and international students. We’re making every effort to ensure our courses are available online so that students have the option of staying at home and still completing their coursework successfully.
“It remains our top priority, as it always has been, that students are able to achieve their educational goals at Providence and that we can continue to provide them with the best student experience possible,” said McKenzie.
Providence has adjusted its course offerings so that faculty can devote their time to developing quality blended courses for the fall. Furthermore, academic policy changes may come into effect that help provide more flexibility and options for students (i.e. grading approaches).
“Providence is putting into place a flexible plan that includes the best ways to balance community health and safety with the need of students to continue their education in uncertain times,” stated President David Johnson.
Our mission and vision remain the same: to offer a transformational education that grows students into leaders of character, knowledge and faith to serve Christ in a changing world. As the past couple of months have proven, we are indeed living in a changing, post-COVID-19 world that presents all sorts of new challenges for all our students, faculty and staff. Let us courageously face this new day together and emerge stronger. It takes everyone’s participation.
Today’s education at Providence will prepare, equip and position our students as they study and graduate into meaningful careers, impacting the future of our communities, businesses, non-profits and church ministries for the better. We will emerge as difference-makers.
We are continually updating our website with new information as specific plans for our fall semester unfolds. Watch for more details on our COVID-19 webpage.