Thank you for the work everyone has done to make learning possible this fall. As the term progresses, our priority continues to be the health and safety of our students, staff and the broader community. Across NAIT, we are working hard to safely provide the high-quality polytechnic education we are known for, while keeping our on-campus attendance as low as possible to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19.
This approach will continue into the winter term. Our students will receive the kind of education that meets the learning outcomes they need to be prepared for their careers, while keeping them safe. They will continue to learn by doing, to benefit from NAIT’s strong ties to industry and to learn from instructors who are experts in their fields.
We will deliver classes and services virtually where possible in order to ensure manageable amounts of on-campus activity. Where hands-on outcomes can only be met through physical learning, we will offer blended classes that combine virtual learning with in-person instruction in shops and labs.
Reduced activity on our campuses is key—not only to reducing the risk of transmission of COVID-19—but also to minimizing potential disruption to our students should we need to quickly respond to another wave of COVID-19. This decision is consistent with NAIT’s measured approach to reopening our campuses that prioritizes the health and safety of our community and that aligns with Government of Alberta direction.
What to expect in winter term
Our decision-making approach for courses starting in January is consistent with how we approached fall term, which means we will continue to work within provincial health guidelines to offer a blend of virtual and on-campus learning and student services.
Programs have planned their academic year knowing this would be a likely approach for the winter term. As with the fall term, the following will be used to guide each program’s decisions of what the learning will look like:
when learning outcomes can be met virtually, the instruction will be delivered virtually
where learning outcomes can only be met through physical learning, we will offer in-person instruction in shops and labs
As a result of our consistent approach, we anticipate winter term looking similar to the fall term. We currently have 41% of our credit programs being delivered fully virtually, with the rest being delivered with a blend of in-person and virtual. Our apprenticeship programs are almost all blended, with 1 being fully virtual.
Students will hear more from their programs by the end of next week about how their winter courses will be delivered. The Office of the Registrar will communicate to students next week to confirm the enrolment process. We are aiming to have draft schedules available to students through the MyNAIT portal by mid-October.
Many student services—such as counselling, the Student Service Centre, advising and learning services—will continue to be delivered virtually. Some will be offered on campus as health restrictions allow.
We recognize we may need to adjust our approach as circumstances evolve, and NAIT is well-positioned to respond as needed. No matter what changes, we remain committed to keeping our students safe and providing them with the unique polytechnic learning they came to NAIT for.
Our resilient community
We are all adjusting to new learning and working environments and are adapting to new health and safety protocols, while managing the impacts of COVID-19 on our personal lives. And there is much uncertainty ahead. I know this isn’t easy. I also know the stress that comes from trying to do excellent work under less than ideal conditions.
With this in mind, please be kind to yourself and others during this challenging time. Focus on connection, not perfection. Celebrate what’s working. Lean on others in the NAIT community and seek the support you need. And please, stay safe and take care of yourself and those around you.
The NAIT community is resilient. I am incredibly appreciative for how everyone has come together to support NAIT’s safe relaunch and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Thank you for your efforts and for showing that NAIT is truly a safe and caring place. I am confident that, together, that we will get through the challenges ahead.
For more information on NAIT’s relaunch visit nait.ca/relaunch.
Sue Fitzsimmons, PhD
Vice-President Academic and Provost