Students at Mount Allison University are heading back to class in a few days, with the university transitioning to a mix of in-person classes and online learning.
But there are mixed feelings about the upcoming fall semester, both on campus and in the community, after one student tested positive for the virus last month.
“I mean, how are you supposed to feel right? There’s so many unknowns,” says Mount Allison student Hannah Ehler.
It’s anything but ordinary on the Mount Allison University campus in Sackville, N.B. as students get ready to head back to class on Tuesday, with a hybrid of online and in-person classes.
“Half of our classes are going to be in-person or consist of in-person components,” explains Jonathan Ferguson, President of the Mount Allison Student Union. “Some are online or might consist of online lectures, but a couple of in-person group meetings.”
“I really think that a big part of university is getting those social interactions and being able to develop your social skills,” adds student Michael Allain.
But this year, that social aspect of the university experience will look much different, with less parties and formal gatherings.
“I’m kind of bummed out about that, you know normally every year there’s going to be a big social gathering, but I couldn’t go to them.”
The university has several public health measures in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19, which includes mandatory masks on campus at all times, and promoting outdoor activities.
With one cases of COVID-19 announced at the university last month, there’s been mixed reaction from the community on the return of students.
“On the one hand there’s definitely some anxiety around the return of students, and that’s understandable,” says Ferguson. “On the other hand, I think a lot of local business owners are excited to see students returning to Sackville.”
The university confirmed on August 25 that one case had been identified in the Mount Allison ‘campus community’. The case was travel related, and the individual had been in self-isolation since arriving to New Brunswick.
Around 140 students from outside the Atlantic bubble have already returned to campus and are currently self-isolating or have finished their 14 days.
A designated response plan has been set up online, should there be a second wave of COVID-19.