Dear campus community members,
Thanks to our community and our Province's creativity, versatility, and commitment, Acadia has successfully weathered the pandemic to date. Our response and learnings over the past year have put us in a strong position for continued success and a return to the more traditional on-campus experience in the fall of 2021, for which Acadia is famous.
Through regular contact with Nova Scotia's public health authorities and officials in the Department of Labour and Advanced Education, our administration, faculty, and staff have worked seamlessly with on-campus partners at Sodexo, Chartwells, and Follett to develop and implement health and safety protocols that have effectively protected our campus from Coronavirus.
Resilient students are meeting the challenge of hybrid learning. They have adapted to new ways of socializing responsibility and living together on and off-campus. The Acadia Students' Union (ASU) has been an important collaborator, leading a re-imagining of the Acadia experience under the tough reality of life in a pandemic. The Town of Wolfville continues to support and embrace our students in ways too numerous to count. By working together under our 2018 partnership agreement, Acadia, the Town, and the ASU have collaborated to keep our entire community safe during this period of uncertainty.
We have shown that we are nimble and responsive. We revised our approach to teaching and learning while accepting society's new rules for living and interacting – whether in the dining hall or library, at a restaurant, by 'zooming' with friends and family, or through sports and fitness.
We can take great pride in our collective success, and with confidence, move forward into planning for the fall. While this virus will not be over for some time, we can now see the light at the end of the proverbial pandemic tunnel.
Taking a variety of factors into consideration, including epidemiological projections and vaccination schedules, I am pleased to endorse the recommendation of the Academic Planning Task Force for a full return to campus for employees and students for the fall 2021 term. In doing this, we remain committed to following the protocols and practices that have kept us safe to date. With anticipation, we will be able to have more flexible procedures in place come September. More detailed information will follow.
At this time, faculty, students, and staff are asked to commence planning for a full return to on-campus learning. We anticipate that some courses may start the term in a virtual or hybrid format and will pivot to fully in-person classes as the term progresses and the Province eases restrictions. We also expect our experiences with online learning and new digital pedagogy forms to expand successful online elements within our standard course delivery.
All students should plan to be on location in the fall, either in residence or nearby off-campus accommodations. While some online learning will be incorporated into our plans, the majority of learning will be in-person. We intend to be back to the kind of transformative personal and community learning experience that students have come to know and love at Acadia.
The University and our community will deal with the multidimensional impacts of the pandemic for some time. However, we will do so together boldly with care and courage.
We will continue to be governed by public health directives, ensuring full in-person learning will be as safe and responsible as the blended model used this academic year.
While the pandemic is not over, we are confident that we can plan for a more fully in-person model for the fall and 2021-22 academic year. We know that we have the ability and experience to pivot back to more online delivery should public health developments not pan out as currently predicted.
This year, we have done everything possible to deliver a stimulating on-campus experience for as many students as possible. In fall 2021, we look forward to providing the in-person Acadia experience for which we are known and which we have all missed so much over the last twelve months.
Today, we must look forward with pride and a great deal of optimism to seeing one another in person in September. Thank you.
Dr. Peter Ricketts
President and Vice-Chancellor