As has been the case since the beginning of this pandemic, King’s fundamental and overarching concerns are the health and safety of its students, faculty and staff, and that of the broader Halifax community. Within that context, King’s is equally motivated and determined to ensure learning at the university continues to be inspiring and high quality—a standard to which students have become accustomed and which they rightly expect. Also of high importance is alignment of plans with those of Dalhousie, especially in the faculties of arts and social science, and of science, so that students and their families have as much clarity as possible to make decisions (such as where they will live) in the coming year.
With these key considerations in mind, King’s will be offering its courses online in September. Based on evolving public health conditions, some in-person teaching may be delivered in the winter term in ways that comply with public health directives on physical distancing and the size of gatherings. Should this happen, students will be able to continue taking any course at King’s they want to take through distance (online) learning. In other words, if a student’s preference is to continue their studies online throughout both semesters in the coming year, they will be able to do that at King’s.
King’s is also working on a plan to reopen campus to first allow staff and faculty, and then students, to be once again physically be on campus, if they so choose. This plan is being developed to ensure compliance with the public health requirements on physical distancing and limiting the size of gatherings that are likely to remain in effect over the coming year in Nova Scotia and across Canada. It is King’s objective to have the plan in effect before Sept. 1 to better ensure the quality of online teaching through access to facilities, resources and supports that faculty will have if the campus is open.
The reopening of campus will also allow students to work and see each other and receive support on campus through face-to-face interaction with faculty, staff and each other. This may include opening a more limited number of residence rooms than usual for incoming and returning students. Again, however, King’s stresses that students will be fully and equally supported by faculty, staff and programs however they are completing their courses.
We know that these are very challenging economic times for our students and their families. That is why, in addition to the bursaries King’s always offers to students with financial need, King’s is also offering supplementary funding to help students facing financial difficulties caused by the Coronavirus pandemic and the associated public health measures governments have taken to address the pandemic. These bursaries are meant to supplement the support being provided through the governmental responses to student need in the form of both student employment and student loans.
King’s is urging students to continue their university careers if doing so is feasible for them in the coming year. King’s is confident that in this time of physical distancing and limited gatherings, they will be healthier and happier if they carry on preparing themselves for the future. Our society needs students preparing themselves for that future more than ever before.