Dear Members of the Campus Community,
We are now almost three weeks into the start of our fall term. I am deeply appreciative that we are back in classrooms and labs, learning in new and innovative ways online, and coming together as a learning community even though we must keep our physical distance.
Thank you for your tremendous efforts and commitment to get us to this point. We have worked tirelessly to transition to our student-focused mixed-delivery model to ensure the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff, and community. It is working, and we can be proud of that and the fact that we are successfully providing a true, in-person learning experience on campus, even if it is under unusual levels of constraint.
While Nova Scotia's vigilance and your cooperation have helped prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our region, the pandemic is enduring, and other locations are experiencing a second wave of cases. I encourage you to continue following the health and safety protocols advised by public health authorities.
We owe it to the public health care leaders and frontline workers who have kept us safe to date. Together we can continue to keep Nova Scotia the safest place in North America, if not the world. So let's keep it up and ensure that our actions do not plunge us back into the kinds of restrictive practices that we saw earlier in the year, and which some other parts of Canada are now experiencing again.
Before we prepare to take our Thanksgiving break, I want to share our plans for Winter 2021, so you can make the necessary arrangements and plan for your winter term.
At the University Senate's meeting on October 7, it was agreed that Acadia would continue with a mixed-delivery formats for the winter term (January to April 2021) and that the start of classes in January will be delayed to allow for a period for students who will be joining or returning to Acadia to quarantine as necessary.
Courses will continue to be delivered in a mix of formats – face-to-face on-campus instruction, virtual, and hybrid – and offered as scheduled or unscheduled, where students can take them on their own time. This model provides students with the greatest flexibility and is part of our commitment to put students front and centre in our decision-making.
Our priorities for in-person instruction include small classes and experiential learning opportunities such as labs, tutorials, and seminars, with all the necessary public health precautions in place, and then some. The remainder of learning will occur through online or remote delivery. As always, Acadia will be flexible and provide personal assistance as needed.
We will continue to practice and promote the strict but sensible public health practices that have so far kept our campus and the wider community safe. As the virus remains controlled in Nova Scotia, it is tempting to lift these precautions, and yet we have seen elsewhere what happens when you do that with a virus that as virulent and resilient as COVID-19. We only keep this virus beaten if we maintain our guard and vigilance against it. We have plenty of examples elsewhere of just how quickly things can go off the rails. Let's not let that happen here at Acadia and in Wolfville.
Here are some key dates for the Winter Term:
We expect to have specific details about which courses will be face-to-face on-campus instruction, virtual, or hybrid available by the end of October.
Our guiding principles in our delivery model for the winter include the need to prevent the spread of COVID-19, protect our campus community's safety and well-being, and stay true to our core mission to deliver meaningful, high-quality, student-centred learning experiences in a safe and healthy environment.
Thank you again to all our students, faculty, and staff for a positive start to our academic year. We are thankful to have you as part of our Acadia family.
Dr. Peter Ricketts
President and Vice-Chancellor