Selkirk College has a COVID-19 Task Group Committee in place that has been coordinating the evolving response since this global health emergency came to light. Taking direction and guidance from the B.C. Provincial Health Officer, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills & Training, and Interior Health, the college continues to work towards the best outcome for students and staff during this challenging time.
On this page you find information and resources to help you understand the steps taken to this point, the current status of learning on our campuses and the latest updates from college leadership.
Letter from President Angus Graeme to Students: May 22
Dear Current and Future Learners.
I would never have imagined writing all of you a letter like this one, but students in particular occupy my thoughts constantly these days. I hope all of you and your loved ones are healthy and safe through these challenging times. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused so much change in our region, our province, our country and our world. Though much uncertainty still exists, I believe strongly that there is plenty to be hopeful for as we prepare and create a remarkable future. Selkirk College remains dedicated to providing the education, skills and training that will help you succeed in a world of change. At the same time, we are evolving as a College community with a collective and deep commitment to your health and safety.
Since Selkirk College adjourned classes in mid-March, our faculty and staff have been developing new ways to deliver both the education and services required for students to continue their post-secondary journey. Small class sizes, rural setting, world-class teaching and experiential learning are the foundation of a Selkirk College education and a strong part of our identity. What has always made us unique is now a strength that will see necessary changes easier to adopt. Access to education and support services will be different, but no less available for students to enhance their learning.
With strict adherence to public health and safety guidelines, we have cautiously started to welcome students back to our campuses using a range of delivery models that are in-person where feasible and safe to do so, and online where required. At the trades-based Silver King Campus in Nelson, learners have returned to the shop spaces to acquire the hands-on training required to complete both practical work and assessment. But of course with entirely new procedures for conducting our programming. At the Castlegar Campus, a cohort of Health Care Assistant Program students is now participating in lab work under strict new Safe Working Procedures (SWP). These are two examples of how we continue to deliver the outcomes you expect.
As we move towards the Fall Semester in September when the majority of our programs return, there is still plenty of work to do for both staff and faculty to be ready for you. Following the guidelines currently being developed provincially by the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills & Training, the Provincial Health Office, and WorkSafeBC, teaching methods are being adapted to ensure that stimulating education continues, services are being adjusted so proper supports remain in place and our campuses are being transformed to allow for safe increases to in-person activity. From IT and Building Maintenance to Financial Aid and Counselling, every single Selkirk College team member is working diligently towards an adjusted environment that is focused on your health, safety and best interest.
The last few months have caused tremendous anxiety, constant change and many unknowns. In British Columbia, it has taken a monumental effort by every citizen to adhere to the Provincial Health Officer’s brilliant recommendations on how to “flatten the curve.” Our challenges are far from over, but we should all take pride in our approach to keep everyone healthy and safe through unprecedented measures in our society and economy. I have a deep respect and heartfelt gratitude for all those who have made sacrifices in pursuit of the common good and, more than ever, the importance and value of education.
We will continue to provide updates on specific elements of our planning as it become available, please stay connected through our website and social media channels. In the meantime, stay well and continue to proceed in ways that keep us all safe.
Angus Graeme, Selkirk College President
Delivering on Remarkable in New Ways: May 20
Why Choose Selkirk College?
While so much is changing, that which is most important stays the same. Selkirk College takes pride in providing a student-centric experience. Small class sizes, a rural setting, world-class teaching and experiential learning opportunities continue to be the foundation of a Selkirk College education. What has always made us unique is now a strength that will see necessary changes easier to adopt.
With strict accordance to public health guidelines, Selkirk College will provide a blended delivery model that is in-person where possible and online as required to meet physical distancing requirements due to COVID-19. Access to education and support services will be different, but no less available for students to enhance their learning.
Selkirk College is open and evolving at the same time with a focus on ensuring students achieve desired outcomes in a safe and healthy manner. Delivering the education, skills and training to learners using pedagogy that has been adapted to the constant change of current times ensures a bold path forward.
Expectations of an ideal post-secondary experience must be modified to ensure the well-being of everybody. Society as a whole has shifted its definition of ideal, so the adjusted approach to learning at Selkirk College is no less remarkable than the days before the COVID-19 pandemic. We continue to adapt to change and the new normal using transparency that allows current and future students to make the best educational choice for their future.
The breadth of educational options at Selkirk College means that delivery models will look different depending on the program. Limiting the number of students and staff on campus is the best way to dullen transmission rates, so careful scheduling of classes for the Fall Semester using blended delivery is currently being developed.
The promise we make to all current and future learners is a passion for preparing graduates for success. British Columbia and the rest of Canada will emerge from this challenge and more normal times will return. As we get through this together, keeping a focus on ultimate outcomes will provide the strength needed to succeed.
Setting Course for New Normal: May 12
Following the lead of the Provincial Government's restart plan for British Columbia, Selkirk College has prepared two specific plans and new guidelines for the months ahead that are aligned with other public post-secondary institutions around the province, regulations from WorkSafeBC and input from staff at all levels.
Selkirk College’s plans describe:
- the detailed approaches to exposure and transmission control
- how day-to-day operations at facilities will change
- how more than 60 credential and accredited programs will be delivered in the coming months
- new operating requirements for the delivery of in-person instruction for programs with in-class instruction required
The college anticipates further refinements to operating standards based on the best information available at a given time, but has provided a solid foundation to build upon.
Exposure Control Plan: May 5
Selkirk College is considered an essential service under the current provincial health emergency concerning the COVID-19 pandemic. The health and safety of the college community is the number-one priority for a gradual and methodical return to on-campus operations and face-to-face learning. Through a coordinated effort with all departments, the delivery of programs will take place under the guidelines of the Selkirk College Exposure Control Plan (ECP).
The Selkirk College ECP aligns with other provincial post-secondary institutions, WorkSafeBC regulations and the Provincial Health Officer's directives to ensure the safety of students, staff and community members. There has been extensive provincial coordination to develop a plan that specifically addresses the needs of Selkirk College.You can find the Selkirk College Exposure Control Plan here.
Recovery Plans: May 4
I hope everyone is keeping healthy and enjoying the emergence of flowers and foliage on these lengthening spring days.
With Spring Term courses getting underway today, a number of programs continuing into this month, and many planning meetings happening in the coming weeks, I wanted update the Selkirk College community on several important topics this week related to our ongoing response to COVID-19.
Limited and graduated resumption of operations; extent and timing.
Under current government direction, Selkirk College remains an essential service. This means that teams across the College have been engaged in extensive planning for a gradual and methodical return to safe operations over the coming months. We have followed, and will continue to follow specific guidelines and directives from the Provincial Health Office, Work Safe BC and relevant provincial government ministries.
On the topic of business continuity, we continue to receive principled, transparent and flexible direction from the Province that allows us to place a priority on finding creative solutions, and to every extent possible, to maintaining wage continuity and operational consistency while working through the complexity of this situation.
Please note that these materials and guidelines are evolving. It is expected that more information will be available following Premier John Horgan’s presentation on the BC Recovery Plan later this week.
Planning for Fall Term 2020
In addition to the online courses starting today, two School of Industry & Trades Training programs will be commencing at the end of May at the Silver King Campus, and Health Care Assistant Program lab courses will go ahead on the Castlegar Campus. There are no changes to other departments current operating models.
Classes for most programs and many that had to be postponed are planned to resume on September 8, 2020 or when specifically scheduled.
Schools will be able to decide which learning format(s) make the most sense for their programs, however, consistency of delivery across programs (and possibly schools) will be important to meet the needs of students with effective planning and support. Each will have specific exposure control plans in place to achieve physical distancing, hygiene, new requirements for personal protective equipment and cleaning regimes.
The expertise in the programs and services we offer are vital to collectively meeting the College’s essential service mandate to British Columbia in a very uncertain time. All of us are learning new ways to support one another, discovering new collaborative approaches to program delivery and developing expanded networks of colleagues.
Wishing you a safe, calm and kind week ahead.