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Updates from President and CEO, Glenn Vollebregt:

Update July 29, 2020, 12:45 PM

Hello folks,

At long last, I’m so excited to be welcoming the “stranded students” and those employees supporting them back on campus starting August 4th. While it’s a small number, and for a brief time, it will be an important step forward for all of us as a college. The “summer pilot” will teach us a lot about the coming fall semester and give a hint about how things will look when we have even more people back.

To that end, we’ve posted important Health and Safety information for returning students and employees on our website, in addition to refreshed information about student services available. Please take a moment to review this information found here.

Last week we also went public with our plans to open Residence in the fall. We will offer priority housing to those students with on-campus classes and will be operating at about half capacity in Brockville and Cornwall, and ¾ capacity in Kingston. Students will all have single rooms, their own washroom, and there will be restrictions in place for visitors and activities to ensure physical distancing. I appreciate the hard work our Residence folks have been doing over the summer to plan and prepare to house our students with a fulfilling campus life experience, albeit different than other years.

A reminder to anyone with questions that our teams are here to help!

Current students can use the engagement app UR SLC to stay informed and connect with other students, and are encouraged to follow SLC on social media as an added way of receiving timely updates – but the most important channel will continue to be your student email so please keep checking that.

Important Note: At SLC, we correspond with our students directly to protect privacy and ensure the information people need is at hand – unless granted permission, we are not able to provide parents or guardians with information related to individual student files. I encourage students to keep their support networks informed about the information SLC is providing, to reassure them of the work being done to protect the health and safety of our campuses and community.  Anyone interested in following SLC’s journey through the pandemic can always visit our public-facing website where we post regular updates, news and information. That page can be found here.

Have a great rest of the week, everyone and enjoy the upcoming, well-deserved, long weekend!

Sincerely,

Glenn

Update July 22, 2020, 1:00 PM

Hello folks,  

I hope everyone is doing well and enjoying the beautiful summer weather that we are having!

August 4th is fast approaching, and we are looking forward to welcoming our “stranded students” back to finish their labs and hands-on work for their program requirements during the Summer Pilot. We also look forward to welcoming employees who will be supporting those students and we are sharing information with those coming back on the return to campus procedures.  

Please note - Students and employees who are required to return to campus have been contacted individually. If you have not been contacted, you will be working and studying remotely until further notice.  

I want to thank our HR, Facilities, and Joint Health and Safety committees for the considerable work they have been doing in recent weeks to prepare our campuses and employees for the limited return to campus.  

One of the main things we’re asking folks to do to prepare to return to campus is to download the SLC Safe app, as this app will be used as a self-assessment tool for anyone coming to campus. All SLC-issued phones have the app pre-loaded, if you don’t have an SLC phone, you can download the app to any device. If you’re unable to do so, Security will be equipped with an iPad so you can complete the self-assessment upon arrival to campus. 

Coming up on August 20, the School of Business is launching the NEXT webinars series which brings together business leaders from Canada and around the world to examine the business landscape post-COVID-19 and how best to prepare. As well, our Online and Continuing Education Fall 2020 program will be available soon. I always look forward to seeing the course offerings and opportunities for life-long learning for our communities.  

I’m so proud that our Class of 2020 Valedictorians, President’s List and donor and faculty award winners were announced last week in the newsletter. If you haven’t done so already, check out our impressive graduates and watch for our Valedictorian profiles and their inspiring stories soon.  

Finally, I want to share my feelings on the fall semester coming up, and that “back-to-school" excitement I think we all share. While at the risk of overstating this, we all know this won’t be business as usual at SLC, or in any facets of our lives. I do know, however, that the hope and promise of a new school year is still there, and I look forward to the energy and the possibilities that this brings.  

Sincerely, 

Glenn

Update July 8, 2020, 1:30 PM

Hello folks,

I hope everyone is enjoying the summer heat! I personally love it.

It seems now more than ever that the importance of education cannot be underestimated. That is why the work our faculty and staff are doing to make sure our students can achieve their academic goals is so important. I very much appreciate your continued efforts to make the SLC experience exceptional despite our present circumstances.

Today I want to share updates on the progress we’re making on welcoming our “stranded” graduating students back on campus. As a reminder, our government has defined ‘stranded students’ as those who were not able to complete on-campus lab work when COVID-19 hit and they require access to our campus labs and shops to complete the remaining components of their studies and graduate.

We will also be welcoming limited numbers of employees back who will be directly supporting those students; I will clarify what “essential” means in this context.

Also, without stealing any thunder from our Marketing folks, I’m so excited to have the opportunity to hint at the new brand campaign the college will be launching this week.

For students returning to campus in August:

  • Work continues to prepare our campus for program delivery in the new model of physical distancing.
  • “Stranded” students required to come back in August to complete course work to graduate will be contacted this week. Please check your SLC email.
  • For students joining us in the fall, please review information to equip and prepare you here.
  • Information is being finalized for employees and students returning to campus and will be shared shortly. This information includes protocols around pre-screening, physical distancing on campus, mask requirements, and more.

An important reminder: Our college campuses remain CLOSED to everyone other than those who are preparing to return this August.

“Essential” employees for phased return to campus:

  • We all want to be back on campus, I appreciate that, however, this September will be unlike all others.
  • I would like to clarify that unless you are specifically needed on campus to prepare facilities, deliver and/or support programming, or if you provide an essential campus service, you will continue to work remotely until further notice.
  • The August limited return will teach us a lot and confirm how we will proceed as the pandemic evolves.
  • The province continues to open with the full understanding that folks need time to plan and map logistics like childcare and other life and home situations. We will continue to consider that in planning for upcoming semesters.

New SLC brand campaign launch

After more than a year of work, and an unforeseen delay to the launch because of COVID-19, the new brand campaign will begin rolling out this week. As we all know we need to be well-positioned as a college to continue helping students and to take on the challenges of tomorrow. That’s why I am so excited about the launch of our new brand campaign. It is an investment in our future and will position SLC in the post-secondary sector for years to come. This week’s newsletter is dedicated to the launch with an in-depth Q & A with Stew Clark, our Director of Marketing and Recruitment.

Employees, don’t miss it in your inbox Thursday morning and students, watch for materials to begin appearing on public channels. It will make us all even prouder to be SLC!

Sincerely,

Glenn

p.s. I am going to try to take a few days off next week and I look forward to sharing my next regular update with you the week of July 20th. Take care everyone.

Update June 30, 2020, 1:30 PM

Hello folks,

There is no formal update to deliver today however I wanted to reach out to simply say thank you for your hard work and dedication and that I hope you enjoy the wonderful start to summer. Happy Canada Day folks and if you’d prefer to check out my informal message in video format, click here.

Please keep an eye out on your email over the summer as I look forward to sharing continued updates and important messages with you.

Stay safe and well everyone!

Glenn

Update June 24, 2020, 4:20 PM

Hello folks,

Summer is officially here and I know many of us are looking forward to the holiday next week where we will celebrate Canada Day. During these next several weeks I hope each of you will take some down time to enjoy the warm weather. Everyone is working very hard and taking time to rest and recharge is important.

Over the last couple of weeks, we have begun to make announcements as to how we will slowly re-open and welcome folks back to our campuses. Our teams are working diligently and in-line with government mandates to ensure safety protocols and proper PPE will be available for those scheduled to return. As our plans are finalized, we will share them with you.

I am now pleased to share a few new updates:

Summer Pilot

The first phase of our campus re-opening is our Summer Pilot. As recently announced, this phase will involve bringing what government is calling “stranded students” back to college campuses beginning in August. As a reminder, ‘stranded students’ are those who were not able to complete on-campus lab work when COVID-19 hit in March. These students require access to our campus labs and shops to complete the remaining components of their studies where they can then graduate from their programs.

For our Summer Pilot phase, these stranded students and any essential staff and faculty who will directly support them will come back to campus. If you are among these groups, please note that you will be contacted individually to receive detailed instructions, plans, and safety training in advance of your return. We understand that you will likely have many questions and we will ensure to answer them before your return to campus.

Important: All other students and employees not contacted individually regarding the Summer Pilot should assume they will be working and studying remotely for the duration of the Summer Pilot phase. As our next phase and subsequent phases unfold, we will share with you when other groups of students and employees can expect to return to campus.

Fall Semester Delivery

Plans for our fall delivery have taken shape, and we hope to welcome back roughly 20-25% of our student body into programs with a heavy lab component. In other words, we will begin by bringing students back whose programs are more difficult to run through alternative delivery given the hands-on need to use lab equipment, machines of other technologies only offered on campus.

Our teams are finalizing details for each of all SLC programs for Fall 2020 and you can find information pertaining to each program here.

For our new and returning students, we know that many campus services and facilities, such as the fitness centres won’t be available this fall. We will be offering many other opportunities to engage and create a vibrant student community, and I encourage everyone to download the free URSLC app in order to be notified of activities such as orientation. For those who do not use a smartphone or prefer to have this information on your computer, please log into slc.me, click on the UR SLC button and log in using your SLC credentials to access all of this information.

In closing and as our communities and local businesses slowly re-open, I encourage everyone to pay close attention to public health guidelines around widening your bubble of contacts. Please continue to practice responsible social distancing and avoid large gatherings. Let’s all do our part so that one day we can gather together again on our campuses where we all belong.

Sincerely,

Glenn

Update June 17, 2020, 12:00 PM

Hello folks,

This week’s update focuses on our current financial position. As you are seeing and reading, Colleges and Universities across the province and country, are struggling financially due to the ongoing pandemic. It is important that everyone understands the severe impacts that COVID-19 has had on our operation, and the ways in which we are working to tackle these impacts head on while remaining true to our college values.

On June 9, 2020 we presented the 2020-2021 annual operating budget to the college’s Board of Governors where it was approved. The budget brought to the Board of Governors is a responsible one, as it recognizes the importance we place on our people and the role that St. Lawrence College plays in the economic growth and sustainability of our local communities. In essence, it addresses the issues of today while protecting and investing for tomorrow.

As I’ve noted, the financial impacts of COVID-19 have been significant in all sectors including the higher education sector. Over the last several years, we have worked diligently to ensure to position ourselves as a financially strong college. In doing so, I am proud to say that SLC is currently in the best financial position our college has been in since our inception 53 years ago.

Over the past eight years, SLC has gone from a deficit position to having over $20 million in accumulated surpluses, and approximately $60 million in Cash and Short-Term Investments and Net Assets or Equity of close to $60 million. As I have said many times, if you have a strong balance sheet and cash in the bank, you can take advantage of opportunities when they arise, and you can weather unforeseen storms when they hit. And COVID-19 is one incredible storm.

After a complex review of the financial impacts of COVID-19 on our operation, we presented a budget that reflects a deficit of $(2.690) Million which will be covered with our reserves (as Ontario Colleges are forbidden by government to run a deficit budget). I want to thank our finance team and budget managers from across the organization for working hard to reduce operating expenses and identify cost effective methods of operating as we work remotely. I also want to thank Megan Sheppard, our Sr. VP of Corporate Services, and our entire senior team for prioritizing our college values of students first, teamwork, innovation, integrity and belonging when deliberating over our budget options and scenarios. The pandemic will end, and when it does, I am proud to say we will be well positioned to continue to move forward as a leader in higher education while remaining true to our core values.

Lastly, as we head into year two of our Strategic Plan, SLC in Five, I would like to remind everyone to visit www.slcinfive.ca for insight on our strategic directions, multi-year objectives, and plans for the coming years. We will continue to work together using this plan to guide our decisions and enhance the ways we support our students and how they will achieve their academic goals.

We will come out of this time stronger and together. Thank you for your continued support and care for one another.

Sincerely,

Glenn

Update June 12, 2020, 1:15 PM

Hello folks,

I am pleased to confirm that specific information is now available as to how each of our programs will be offered for the fall semester.

We all know the fall semester will not unfold the way it has in the past, but a simple fact remains – September is the beginning of a new school year, and with that comes incredible opportunities, fresh energy, and growth.

The information outlined below applies to first-year students as well as students in their second, third, or final year. Please note that if you are a student who was deferred from the spring/summer semester intake to the fall semester, our team will be communicating with you directly with regard to what comes next for you.

These plans and delivery methods apply to the fall semester only, meaning that they apply to September through December 2020. It should not be assumed that these plans will also apply to courses running in January 2021. While none of us can predict the future, we don’t expect physical distancing measures to last forever, so I encourage everyone to embrace the fall semester as a chance to start or continue programs and learning, and work towards achieving your academic goals. I promise that once information pertaining to the winter 2021 semester is available, that we will share it with you.

Important:

You can see the list of programs, and how they will be delivered this fall by clicking here.

We have prepared an FAQ to address questions students are likely to have. You can find it here and I encourage you to read it carefully.

More information and details will be shared in the next few weeks as work progresses to get ready for September. I am proud of our teams working to support our students and prepare our college for this temporary way of operating. I can assure you the education, courses, and supports are the same high quality SLC is known for, and our teams are ready to continue supporting our students in achieving their academic goals.

Please remember to check your SLC email often, as we will be sharing more information including tips and reminders as we get closer to September. We have come a long way together since March and we will continue through this time together.

In these ever-changing times, the power and value of education cannot be underestimated. I can assure you that we will provide a quality educational experience in the fall for you. You will learn new skills in a welcoming environment that is supportive and inspiring.

Sincerely,

Glenn

Update June 10, 2020, 2:30 PM

Hello folks,

I am writing to ensure you have heard today’s exciting news. Our Minister has announced Ontario’s post-secondary institutions can re-open campuses in July in order to offer a small number of programs and in-person training, specifically to help students who had their programs interrupted in March. I’m pleased to be sharing what this will mean for our college and can assure you more detail will be shared in coming days.

Campus activity in the summer is being considered a “pilot” made up of two key elements:

- The first, and most important, is helping our students. The government has asked that this pilot focus on completing course work in programs that support essential front-line and high labour-market demand areas like nursing, personal support work, engineering, trades, childcare, research, and other critical professions. These are some of the programs that were interrupted in March.

- The second aspect to the pilot is that it will allow us as a college to test our ability to deliver programming with physical distancing measures in place.

Planning for a return to campus has been underway for several weeks, however being ready to open, even for a small number of people will require a few more weeks of preparation. The college is restocking supplies, setting up for physical distancing, and will be contacting students in specific programs to support their planning and understanding of what this means.

I would like to remind our employees that this does not mean everyone is returning to campus on July 2. Only the specific faculty delivering programs and core essential staff will be in our buildings for this pilot and that will not be until preparations are complete. The rest of our team will continue to work remotely until further notice.

In the coming weeks we will be sharing information regarding requirements for physical distancing, pre-screening and assessments, and what PPE may be required in various areas. We will also be confirming more details about what date summer programming will begin. I encourage people to stay on top of messages being sent, and information being shared as we can all do our part to help our students and each other navigate these confusing times.

In closing I want to state clearly that our top priority is people’s health and safety. We will not have people on campus until our environment is fully prepared, which we are doing with the guidance of public health and joint health and safety. I am pleased to know we are approved to begin helping students in specific programs complete their course requirements and this is the first step towards helping all SLC students continue achieving their academic goals.

I promise that we will share more information soon.

Sincerely,

Glenn

Update June 3, 2020, 1:00 PM

Hello folks,

These updates are intended to keep people informed on our progress as we plan for a return to campus, however recent events have me needing to pause for a moment and reflect.

June is a month dedicated to celebrating diversity and recognizing the challenges faced by many.

Between it being Pride and Indigenous History month, I am reminded how SLC’s value of Belonging embodies our commitment to embrace diversity and honour people's history and traditions. This is more important now than ever.

I am saddened by what I see happening in our world today. On top of a global pandemic where people fear for their health and livelihoods, we see just how poorly we have done as a society at eliminating prejudice and discrimination. I know we are committed as a college to continuing to address this and improve, and I am thankful for the many incredible people who are committed to doing their part and to helping others too. Unfortunately, there is still much to do.

Last night on Instagram, our college was tagged in a video depicting people partying and screaming the lyrics of a song which includes racial slurs and offensive language. This morning I shared a statement confirming that the behaviour shown is extremely disappointing and falls outside of what is deemed acceptable by SLC and society. I can confirm that we will be following up on this situation and using it not just to discuss our college values and responsibilities, but our combined role and impact in society as well.

As I said in the statement, I am thankful many individuals took action and spoke up. I feel like if recent events have shown us anything, it is that we all play a role in helping make real change happen. We can help each other, help our peers, and help our families learn, understand, and commit to being part of a new way forward.

We can and must do better.

Sincerely,

Glenn

Update May 29, 2020, 1:00 PM

Hello folks,

First off, I want to thank our staff and faculty who joined us for College Conversations this past Tuesday! We had an impressive 461 folks join us and many great questions were submitted. If I have not yet addressed your question, please watch upcoming internal newsletters for my response.

A quick tip for everyone if you haven’t done so yet - check out ExperienceSLC.ca. For those of you who are not familiar, this is a new microsite that has been prepared to offer prospective students and their families a chance to learn about all of SLC’s programs, supports and services from their very own homes. I am so impressed by the content provided on the page and the insight it gives into our programs and student experience. In addition, this site has recently been updated to include information for international students in addition to the inclusion serving as the home base for a series of free continuing education workshops that start next week. These workshops are open to everyone and offer a range of fantastic general interest topics that could give you or someone you know a shot of motivation to try something new!

For our current students - SLC has launched a live chat feature designed to help SLC students connect directly with Student Services to get assistance and insight on how best to navigate the supports available. The chat feature is answered Monday to Friday, between 8:00am and 4:00pm and it can be found on the SLC website on the Student Services page. I am so proud of the hard work and commitment I am witnessing from everyone at SLC as we come together to innovate and ensure our students have what they need to succeed.

To the graduating Class of 2020 - On my early morning bike ride today, I was thinking of you and I must admit, was saddened as today would have been the first of our spring convocations. Today, our grads and their families would have been in Brockville where Dean Doug Roughton, our faculty, staff and volunteers and I would have been both excited and nervous as convocation is the most important day of the year for you and us. Having said that, I’m incredibly impressed with the creative work that our convocation team has done to ensure that you, our graduating students, still feel the sense of pride and accomplishment that you deserve. I cannot wait to personally congratulate each and every one of you when you cross the stage next spring when we celebrate the class of 2020 together. In the meantime, please note that we will continue to post plans and updates as to how we will celebrate you, the Class of 2020 on our dedicated webpage which can be found here.

Beginning next week, I will be sending one mid-week update message each week. I am committed to continuing to keep our community updated but am also aware people are busy and we all get a lot of email. Once a week updates will keep our channel open, hopefully without overwhelming people’s inboxes. And of course if additional information is required to be shared, I will certainly do so as required.

And finally, as our province continues to slowly re-open and our teams continue to work hard planning and preparing for upcoming semesters, I would like to again thank everyone for their patience and dedication. We are getting through these times together, and while our work is not yet finished, I am so proud of the work we continue to do to support our students, each other and communities. Thank you!

Sincerely,

Glenn

Update May 22, 2020, 1:00 PM

Hello folks,

I’m happy to be sharing another update to end the week. We continue to consult and collaborate with our colleagues at the Ministry of Colleges and Universities and both Provincial and local Health Authorities to establish guidelines for operating through these times, planning for the summer, fall and beyond. We’re united in our commitment to providing a quality education in a safe and supportive environment for all of our students and employees.

With the start of our Spring/Summer semester underway, our teams are now focused on planning for the summer and how the college will operate having students back on campus who need to complete labs and applied components of their programs. As I’ve been saying all along, we will work with our partners in public health to ensure everyone’s health and safety is protected. I will continue to share plans as to how we will get folks back on our campuses as they are finalized.

For our faculty and staff - I’m looking forward to connecting via Teams with all of you at our next College Conversations which is scheduled to take place on Tuesday May 26th at 10:00am. An invitation was sent to your email and if you did not receive one, please email communications@sl.on.ca to ensure you receive your invite.

While this was a short week, it was certainly a full one. It now seems like spring is really here and I hope you all have the chance to enjoy some fresh air this weekend. Many stores are back open, and while that is exciting news for our local merchants, please remember that physical distancing is still required. I want everyone to stay healthy and safe while businesses take the first steps at opening to the public.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Sincerely,

Glenn

Update May 15, 2020, 1:00 PM

Hello folks,

I am pleased to share with you my Friday update below. If you would prefer to view it in video form, please click here.

I hope you all get the opportunity to enjoy the long weekend! I know I plan on using my time this weekend to be outside as much as possible (and yes even if it’s raining) doing some walks or bikes rides, relaxing, having fun and sharing some laughs with my family. I truly believe that the fresh air, exercise, smiles and laughter is the best thing for our physical and mental health.

I know I’ve been saying this for these last few weeks, but it bears repeating: the dedication and hard work of every single one of you during the pandemic continues to inspire me. Thank you again for making me #proudtobeslc

It’s been another busy week, as a lot of information was shared about our plans for the fall semester. This was the start of an ongoing conversation between us all and updates will continue to be shared with you as plans are finalized. Please be sure to check your SLC email, follow SLC on our social media platforms and keep returning to our dedicated COVID page here.

For our students who started the spring/summer semester this week – We are here to help you achieve your academic and career goals. Please remember that we offer many supports to aid in your success whether they related to academics to IT to health and wellness. Please reach out if you need assistance at any stage and for a list of all supports in place, visit our Student Support page here.

For our students who are graduating this year - Plans to celebrate the Class of 2020 are also taking shape and information is now live on the SLC website. Please make sure to register to receive your Celebration Box as a start to our celebration of your achievements, the link will be shared soon. More details are coming so please stay tuned.

For our students requiring access to campus to complete outstanding program components – We know you are anxious to finish outstanding lab and other hands-on practical work. As I mentioned in my note on Wednesday, we are developing a plan to re-open our campuses and I promise that getting you back to finish is a top priority for all of us.

For students looking forward to the fall - We are excited to welcome you, and promise your student experience will reflect what we value as a college: putting students first, practicing teamwork in all that we do, ensuring everyone feels they belong, and operating with integrity and innovation. As I mentioned earlier this week, we are working hard to confirm plans for the fall and for each of your programs and I promise to continue to share important details with you.

In closing, I am being optimistic, and see the gradual re-opening of the province as a sign that we are making progress. I remain grateful for each and every one of you, and want to remind you to keep up the good work of keeping yourselves, your families, and community healthy and safe.

Have a great long weekend everyone!

Sincerely,

Glenn

Update May 11, 2020, 6:00 PM

Hello folks, 

I want to start this note by welcoming our students who are starting their spring/summer semester today! While I understand you’d rather be on campus with your classmates and faculty, I also know that a lot of hard work and planning has gone into delivering this semester for you. Your support teams are here, as always, so please reach out if you need any assistance. Make sure you continue to visit the student FAQ pages, and the COVID-19 information pages as information there is updated regularly to answer your questions.

As we start a new week, I would like to remind SLC staff and faculty to nominate any deserving colleagues for an SLC Employee Award. Nominations are due by May 29 and recipients will be honoured in June. It is always good to recognize others who make a positive difference and I encourage people to take this opportunity to nominate someone. If you have any questions, please email ODLearning@sl.on.ca.

As we all look to the future, I know everyone is anxious to hear about our plans for the fall 2020 semester. Please know that various teams are working hard and are planning for a range of scenarios. Our community will be informed shortly, and it will be an ongoing conversation as more details are confirmed in coming weeks. I know we will work together as a college and a community to ensure we provide a safe and productive learning experience for our students.

And finally, I ask faculty and staff to watch your email for an invitation to the next College Conversations virtual town hall which will take place on May 26 at 10:00am. It was terrific to connect with so many staff and faculty at our last virtual town hall, and I look forward to connecting again and continuing the conversation.

Have a great week folks and stay safe!

Sincerely,

Glenn

Update May 8, 2020, 2:00 PM

Hello folks,

Happy Friday! I hope you haven’t put your winter jacket away yet as we head into a bit of a chilly weekend. Let’s hope it doesn’t last too long.

Today I have an important update for our graduates! I am pleased to confirm that we have some details regarding the Class of 2020 and plans to mark your accomplishments and celebrate. The team in the Registrar’s Office have created a web page at stlawrencecollege.ca/classof2020 with information that will be updated as details are confirmed. This page includes an FAQ specifically designed to answer questions from our graduating students. It also includes information how to receive your credential and when graduates will be able to celebrate convocation in a meaningful way with faculty and your families.

For our staff and faculty - Save the Date! The next College Conversations with staff and faculty is coming on Tuesday, May 26th at 10:00am. You will receive an email invitation next week for your calendar. I look forward to connecting with you all again and hope we can have as many of us together as before.

In closing, Premier Ford has been indicating, cautiously, how the province will start to gradually reopen in the upcoming weeks. I want to thank everyone for respecting the advice of public health and staying home, staying safe, observing physical distancing and taking a measured approach which has helped keep our communities healthy. Let’s keep it up!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Sincerely,

Glenn

Update May 4, 2020, 3:15  PM

Hello folks,

I hope everyone had a great weekend and enjoyed the warmth and the sun.

I am thrilled to see such positive responses to our news last week about the new name for SLC’s varsity teams. The new name unifies our three campuses under one identity: St. Lawrence Surge. We’ve heard from former athletes, coaches, and athletes sharing their excitement about the new brand. Make sure you watch the launch video and be introduced to the SLC Surge, visit the SLC athletics web page and social media on Twitter @SLCSurge, and Instagram @SLC Surge.

We recently had news from the provincial government about the gradual return and loosening of some measures for the province of Ontario. For us in the college sector, that means our teams are mapping how and when we can return to campus. In the meantime, for the most part, staff and faculty are working remotely, and classes continue via alternate delivery for our spring/summer semester. I continue to be impressed by how our students and teams have adapted and come together. I love seeing our values of innovation, teamwork, and putting students first being demonstrated by so many.

We are also continuing to plan for a proper celebration for our Class of 2020 and I look forward to sharing details as those plans solidify. This will be a big week for announcements and progress, so please stay tuned and continue to monitor our website for updates.

Finally, a reminder that this is Canadian Mental Health week. Now more than ever is a good time to reach out if you need help, or to suggest some supports to anyone you know is struggling. SLC supports for students are listed here, staff and faculty can find resources through Employee and Family Assistance, found here. I hope anyone who could use some help feels free to speak up and seek support.

Let’s make this a great week where we continue to work together, support each other, and connect.

Sincerely,

Glenn

Update May 1, 2020, 12:45 PM

Hello folks,

I am pleased to share today’s video in plain text below or through a video which you can check out here.

It’s hard to believe we are now into the month of May, still in isolation away from each other, and that our spring/summer semester is about to start. I want to thank our faculty and staff who are hard at work getting courses ready for alternative delivery starting May 11, and I appreciate all your efforts to create a positive and fulsome learning experience for our students.

We had exciting news last night as SLC Athletics unveiled the new team name and branding for St. Lawrence College - the result of a months-long consultative and creative process. We can’t wait to welcome the St. Lawrence Surge to our courts and fields and I am so proud of everyone involved from Athletics to alumni to our student governments and our marketing and graphic design teams. I really look forward to cheering our teams on! The name and branding of Surge is an important homage to the waterway that unites us – the St. Lawrence River. Just like the river with its strength, power, and historical importance to our communities, I am thrilled that our tri-campus college teams are now united under this one name. You can check out the exciting launch video here.

In closing, I know that everyone is getting anxious to learn what the fall will bring and I promise to share a plan with you very soon. As I have continued to state, we are taking our direction from our Ministry and the experts in our public health offices to ensure to put your safety first. We remain committed to our students in helping them achieve their academic goals and we will continue to do so both now and in the future.

So, until further notice, I hope you will each do your part to stay healthy, stay safe, and stay home. Have a great weekend folks!

Sincerely,

Glenn

Update April 27, 2020, 4:30 PM

Hello folks,

What a glorious Saturday we had! I hope you all found time to enjoy some sunshine, rest and relaxation. Some of our municipal conservation area trails opened again, and that is certainly welcome news for hikers and cyclists wanting to get outdoors into nature while maintaining physical distancing.

We heard the news on Friday that Ontario’s K-12 public schools will be closed until the end of May. I know school closures present struggles for those folks with young children who are balancing homeschooling with their full-time jobs and working at home. We’re all in this together, and we will continue to be flexible with all our faculty and staff who are being particularly challenged with competing demands right now.

While this news doesn’t come as a huge surprise, we’re also grateful to hear that the provincial government will unveil its plan for gradual reopening of businesses and perhaps partially easing some physical distancing requirements. We know this is a welcome sign to our local businesses, and I feel we can be confident our government is acting cautiously, weighing carefully public health concerns with the need to start up the economy again.

In one of the biggest innovative pivots for the college, this week SLC will be offering its first virtual program showcase, hosted at ExperienceSLC. I want to thank again the hardworking teams in Marketing and Recruitment who created this digital experience for our applicants who are seeking detailed program information to help them make a decision about where to attend post-secondary.

Thank you also to our faculty and student services staff who created program presentations and are taking their expertise online to answer questions and engage with applicants. This is a critical time in our recruitment cycle and being there to answer questions and show prospective students everything SLC has to offer is why we’re here. The beauty of this format is that it will live beyond this week, available “on demand” for anyone in Canada and around the world, showing them why they should come to SLC.

May 11th is just around the corner, as our spring/summer semester begins. I know our faculty are hard at work to bring their semesters to the digital space for delivery. Thank you again for your ability to adapt in a short window. I want to remind you that the student FAQ on the website is live and updated frequently with new information as it becomes available.

In this week’s newsletter I’ll be answering more questions from our College Conversations. Thanks to everyone who shared feedback and asked questions. I am always so happy to engage with you all and connect as a community.

Here's to a great week and remember: stay healthy, stay safe, and stay home.

Sincerely,

Glenn

Update April 24, 2020, 2 PM

Welcome to the weekend!  Let’s hope some warmer weather is coming our way so we can retire our winter jackets. To those in our community celebrating Ramadan, I wish you Ramadan Mubarak.

I am going to break down today’s updates and news into categories so folks can focus on what matters most to them.  If you prefer to review today’s update in video form you can do so here.

Here we go…

Financial Aid and Support for our students

There was big news this week from government in terms of providing financial aid supports and reliefs to post-secondary students!

We are pleased with the federal government’s announcement of the Canada Emergency Student Benefit, as well as changes and enhancements to Canada Student Grants and Loan programs that will help our students obtain financial and employment assistance to enter the workforce and continue their studies.

For our international students, we were pleased to see that beginning immediately, the government has removed the restriction limiting international students’ ability to work a maximum of 20 hours per week while attending classes.  Lifting this ban will allow many of our students the ability to apply for more hours of work in essential service fields such as health care and supply/food chains thus assisting with covering their living costs.  Details on this can be found here.

More details will be released in the coming days about how students can access these benefits, and we will be sure to communicate this information to our student community.

An important reminder that SLC also has its own Hardship Bursary, to apply for financial assistance. You will find information about it on the all students, domestic and international open for SLC website.

Spring/Summer Semester

Our work to support students and to provide quality education continues. In fact, as we gear up for the spring/summer semester using alternate delivery, SLC staff and faculty are showing incredible flexibility, resiliency, and dedication to provide our students with the best possible learning experience.

Fall Semester Status

I’m aware that the biggest issue on everyone’s mind right now is what will happen in the fall 2020. 

Please be assured that we are planning for every scenario and that those details will be shared as soon as possible. Our top priority is, and always will be the health and safety of our students, staff, and faculty. For us here at SLC, our decisions with regard to the fall semester will be guided by provincial status, and the recommendations of our public health experts.

SLC Program Showcase (or…the NEW Open House)

As a final note, April 27th to 30th is our Program Showcase, a first for SLC, as we take our traditional spring Open House online at  ExperienceSLC.ca. Although I will miss seeing our Open House volunteers and prospective students and their families in the halls, I am so pleased we have found a way to showcase our incredible college and our world-class programs in this new way!. Shout out to the Recruitment and Marketing teams who have worked incredibly hard in a short window of time to bring this showcase to prospective students, and to the faculty and staff offering program and information sessions. 

As always folks, I miss you all.  Please continue to maintain your social distancing by staying home and staying well!

Sincerely,

Glenn

Update April 20, 2020, 3:30 PM 

Hello folks, I hope your weekend at home was rejuvenating and restful. I don’t know about you, but I am starting to feel hopeful about the world getting back to “normal”, whatever that may mean in our own lives. We don’t know when this crisis will end, but we do know that it will. Until then, let’s keep adhering to the advice of our experts in public health and practice social distancing. Some of you may be seeing all kinds of “inspirational” messages on social media about using this time to learn a new language, write the next great Canadian novel, or get into the best shape of your life in your home gym or outside in the yard. Rather than feel inspired, some of you may feel annoyed by those feel-good types of messages. What I’d like to share with you are just a few helpful things that I’ve found to break up the day at home, maintain wellness, and keep up with my usual level of fitness. First, I like to work in some fitness every day. That may mean a bike ride in the morning, a walk at lunchtime, and some stretching throughout the day. It’s so important to get up from your desk at regular intervals. Next, I’m an avid reader, as many of you know, and I recently started using my Kindle again to access online books. Personally, my wife Theresa is really pleased about this as my book obsession has taken over the loft with all of the books I’ve purchased over the years! In past notes I’ve shared that we have great resources from all of our local libraries. I was so happy to hear that some of you used this tip to access their latest reads. As a friendly reminder, here are links to navigate to in order to check out local libraries in Kingston, Brockville and Cornwall. If you must have a real new book in your hands, please support your locally-owned bookstore for purchases. Here in Kingston, Novel Idea offers contactless purchasing and either curbside pick-up or free delivery. In Brockville, there is Book Trader and in Cornwall, Red Cart Books. Both of these shops are closed on Monday so I wasn’t able to find out if they offer curbside pick-up as well, however a quick phone call tomorrow morning will determine that. Let’s try as best we can to support our local merchants in this tough economy. I want to also suggest that we stay in touch with each other, outside of work-related calls and online meetings. Update each other on how you’re doing at home, send me a picture of your cat, dog or pet fish. If you’re one of the unlucky ones, I may share a clip of my latest guitar strumming exploits with you. I say unlucky because I’m not a good guitar player by any stretch of the definition however it helps me to unwind and makes me smile. I want to hear from you still as if we’re meeting in our halls. I really miss that connection as I’m sure many of you do. Hard work continues as our faculty and staff prepare for the spring/summer semester, and our students continue to bravely navigate new territory as they continue their studies. I’m happy to see the URSLC app updates have begun again as the app is an important way to help students engage with each other. If you’re speaking with a student, make sure they have it downloaded on their device. For more information on the app, please click here or download the app from the app store or google play.
Thank you for continued dedication and caring – watch for this week’s newsletter where more questions from College Conversations will be answered. As always, you make me #proudtobeSLC

Sincerely,

Glenn Vollebregt 

Update April 17, 2020, 2:30 PM 

Hello folks,

I am pleased to share with you today’s update. It can viewed in plain text below or in video format by clicking here.

Welcome to another “alternate” Friday. Today is the end of the winter semester, a big deal for a lot of us. Our commitment to our students was to help you finish your term, and for some of you, graduate from your program. This health crisis will become a story you will all tell in the future, as it has changed the course of the global story and shaped your time at SLC. I know it hasn’t been easy, but your faculty, our staff, and your family and peers are all extremely proud of you.

It was a busy week at SLC with our first ever virtual College Conversations event for our faculty and staff. You all know how much I enjoy talking to everyone in person, but I was thrilled with the results of the Microsoft Teams platform to make the connection. We broke an attendance record with 520 people tuning in! Thanks to everyone who took the time to connect and ask questions in the online chat. If I didn’t get to your question, we’ll be addressing more in an upcoming issue of the college newsletter. You should have received an email with a link to the event recording and a feedback form to submit more questions until April 29. If you didn’t get that, please email communications@sl.on.ca.

As you may have read in the newsletter, SLC continues to support our communities in any way we can. We are working with the Brockville General Hospital staff who are using our residence as a safe place to isolate from having treated patients thus keeping their families safe. In Cornwall, we have loaned the hospital beds from our simulation labs, and in Kingston, you may have seen that we also donated lab supplies to help in the production of hand sanitizer. I want to thank our SLC staff for the coordination work it takes to arrange these donations and loans. No small feat.

As a quick confirmation, with the state of emergency in Ontario now extended, we have cancelled events on our campuses through to the end of August 2020. It’s difficult to do and share this with you, but it will allow us to focus on student programs and hopefully prepare to return in the fall.

Whether you’re finishing your program, continuing into next semester online, or are a valued member of the SLC staff and faculty teams, please stay connected to SLC, as a lot is happening. Plans are progressing to celebrate the Class of 2020, and how we’re supporting students whose programs are continuing this spring and summer. We are also planning for fall, as much as we can, with the information before us now. This is an ever-changing situation as you all know so please keep checking your email, follow SLC on social media, read the newsletter, and stay in touch!

Stay safe folks.

Sincerely,

Glenn Vollebregt

Update April 9, 2020, 3:15 PM

Hello folks,

I am pleased to share with you today’s update. It is available in video form by clicking here otherwise the plain text is below.

I want to wish all of you a wonderful long weekend and whether you’re celebrating Easter, Passover, or just enjoying the promise of spring, I hope you all have a chance to unwind. Let’s remember at the end of this week, we’re one week closer to being out of this challenging time and back to normal.

As we work and study remotely away from campus, let’s take some time to acknowledge and thank those who continue to leave home to go into work each day. The store clerks, truck drivers and delivery staff who are making sure our essential needs like food and gas are available for purchase. The security and housekeeping teams keeping our essential service businesses open and safe. And of course those who face more personal risk head on such as nurses, paramedics, firefighters, personal support workers and medical lab technicians – many of whom were our students not long ago. These folks are out there, caring for those who need it. Let’s take care of them by staying home and continuing to observe physical distancing. That's how we can give back to our communities at this critical time.

For our employees - Next week on Wednesday, April 15th at 10:00am we will be holding our first virtual College Conversations event. I hope you all plan to “be there” where I look forward to sharing updates, answering your questions, and hearing your feedback.

For our students – I continue to be impressed and proud of your ability to adapt to our ever-changing circumstance. Your efforts to continue on with your studies through alternative means will not always be easy however our faculty and student support staff are here to help you however we can. You can do this!

And finally, please know that each of you are in my thoughts. I miss your faces, I miss our conversations and I miss seeing you in the halls. Please look after yourselves and your families so we can get back to our beautiful campuses soon.

Sincerely,

Glenn Vollebregt

Update April 6, 2020, 3:35 PM

Hi folks,

I hope everyone had a chance to rest and recharge over the weekend. It was great to see the sun come out!

I’m starting this week with another update, and this is exciting because we are starting to plan ahead as best we can with a feeling of optimism.

In the Admissions and Recruitment world, our teams have been conducting virtual advising appointments with incoming students who will be joining us in the fall, and calls are taking place with students who have offers. In fact, over 3,400 future SLC students have been called by our recruiting team, to answer questions and discuss details about our programs.

As well, we are starting to plan for how best to celebrate the Class of 2020. While we won’t be able to hold our usual Convocation ceremonies, we remain proud of our graduates and their achievements in completing their programs. More information on those plans will be shared as they unfold.

On April 15 we will host our first ever virtual College Conversations event for staff and faculty; you should have received the calendar invitation that was sent last Friday. If you didn’t receive it, please contact IT to make sure you’re on the AllNotes distribution list. I’m looking forward to “connecting” and sharing updates. Please note while this is something I love doing in person, the virtual world will have to suffice for now.

This is a short work week with Good Friday and the Easter weekend coming up. I know many will be celebrating the holidays, and in this era of physical distancing, it will definitely feel strange to not gather in the usual ways with our loved ones. I hope we can all enjoy the time in spite of this and remember our collective responsibility to each other and our communities.

As always, I continue to be proud of the ways SLC and the whole college sector is helping community and supporting students. As of late last week, colleges in Ontario had donated over 300,000 items to health care organizations to protect their teams on the frontlines of patient care. It goes without saying that SLC will continue to help and contribute in any way we can.

Sincerely,

Glenn Vollebregt

Update April 3, 2020, 2:58 PM

Hello folks, If you would rather watch a video of today’s message, you can find it here. It’s not a perfect “take” but like many of you, I am new to creating my own videos. I miss Mike Kusters and the incredible student team at SPARK that usually guide me through this! A written message is also included below where I share the links that are mentioned.
Another work week is ending, in what is feeling more and more like an alternate universe. This time is made even more challenging because none of us know how or when this is going to end. But folks, it will end, and we will come through this collective experience stronger and together. My deepest hope is that everyone continues to do their part, social distancing to ensure we flatten the curve of the pandemic.

We had to make some tough decisions this week. In a message sent a few days ago, we confirmed we will not be welcoming the expected number of new students for the upcoming spring and summer semesters. No date is known for when we can re-open our campuses for in-person classes, and decisions on international travel restrictions hang in the balance, therefore only returning students and programs already offered online, such as ECE will run for spring/summer.

For our Students - We have updated the FAQ, as well as a list of programs to clarify what those of you who are returning can expect. You’ll find it on the SLC website. Please remember your Student Success Facilitators are available remotely, and you are still able to access their services which include academic counselling and advising.

For people in our community with school-age kids - We know the K-12 school closures are making it extra stressful as you are trying to work and/or study. We will be as flexible as possible to make things workable for students and staff as home/work life schedules are worked out and people do their best between now and when schools re-open.

To help with people’s planning, HR will be sharing tips next week around planning your day when you have school-aged children, and we’d love for you to share any tips about what’s working for you in terms of self-care, maintaining connections with friends, family, and colleagues. You can send tips to our communications or HR team. I was so heartened to read Jimmy’s story out of Cornwall in this week’s Our College News. His experience as an international student adjusting to alternate learning was inspiring, largely due to his positive outlook.

Thank you once again for the resiliency and cooperation the entire SLC community is showing. I have never been more #proudtobeslc !

Glenn Vollebregt 

Update April 1, 2020, 3:56 PM

Hello folks,

As I mentioned last week, we have begun looking ahead and assessing what these unusual times will mean for future semesters. Due to the uncertainty surrounding how long we will be observing social distancing, we have made some decisions regarding the upcoming spring/summer 2020 semester.

Please note that in addition to what you will read below, we are putting together an FAQ that will contain more information and details. It will be shared with you by the end of this week. I would like to remind students, if you haven’t already, to remember the list of supports for students found here.

Decision 1 - Programs running between May and August 2020 will take place via alternate (off-campus, virtual) delivery.

We cannot commit to hosting students back on our campus at a set time, as we don’t know when the COVID-19 situation will improve. This means a return to in-person, on-campus program delivery will not occur throughout the spring and summer months. I know we are all looking forward to things returning to normal, however we are making this decision in the best interest of our students to allow everyone time to prepare accordingly.

Decision 2 - Programs occurring throughout the spring and summer months will only consist of returning students or new students taking programs that were already being offered online.

We will not actively recruit new students to join us for programs taking place between May-August. Any programs already designed to be delivered on-line (like ECE) will continue to accept new students. To provide some perspective, we had projected approximately 1,500 students for the May semester. By having no new intake, we expect to have just over 1,100.

This is largely due to the fact so much is undetermined related to international students and travel. The May semester has historically been a large one for us to host a new cohort of international students, and we cannot guarantee anyone signing up for a new program in May could join us and receive the kind of educational experience we promise our students. Therefore, no new intake will occur in May and any students with a current offer will have their acceptance deferred to the next available intake. We will continue to engage with our international students to ensure that whenever they begin their studies, they have up-to-date information.

Decision 3 - The May semester will begin on May 11 and end on July 31. Grades will be due August 10.

The deadline to post Winter semester grades was extended to April 28, in recognition of our current extenuating circumstances. Starting the spring semester on May 11 still provides faculty and staff with two weeks to prepare for the new term.

I know this is a lot of information to take in, and that you will have questions about specific program and situations.
Please note that information has been prepared that lists each program and clarifies what these decisions mean. That table and an FAQ will be shared by the end of this week.

Please note this information does not apply to apprenticeship programs, as they are handled separately from our regular full-time programs. We will communicate directly with apprenticeship students and employees with specific information.

As we continue to adjust to the current circumstances, I want you to know that we are keeping you and your success in sharp focus. Ensuring we do everything possible to help our current students succeed in finishing the year, graduating from programs, while ensuring incoming students have an optimal experience demonstrates how we are living our SLC values.

Sincerely,

Glenn Vollebregt

Update March 30, 2020, 4:20 PM

Hello folks,

For anyone who would prefer this content in a video, click here.

Here we are at week three of this new world none of us could have imagined just a short time ago. I want to take this opportunity to talk about the different ways we can look after ourselves and support each other.

Our HR department is sending regular emails to staff and faculty with tips and tricks about working from home, taking care of your mental health, getting enough physical activity, and more. Watch for these updates on Mondays and Wednesdays. We appreciate their efforts to stay in touch with the SLC community in this supportive and informative way.

One of the things I’m finding helpful is to take breaks from the constant stream of bad news. If you’re not sure what to do for a digital/news break I can suggest your local public library. With the library branches closed, you can get digital books and other library resources online. In addition to libraries, now is a great time to explore podcasts, many of which are free.

We’re all having a lot of Skype meetings these days and I'd like to suggest where possible that people use the video function over voice. It’s ok to be dressed down, and I know pets and children are making some cameos which is perfect! My cat Hermann just thinks I am talking to myself. Seeing each other “live” brings increased energy and connection to our conversations.

Speaking of conversations, we are working on making the next College Conversations an online event. Watch for news about format and dates in the coming days. This is just one of the ways we’re using available technology and adapting as we go.

I’d like to remind all staff of the Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) which provides support for mental health, financial planning, counselling and more. There is also the Therapy Assistance Online app (TAO) for all staff and students, offering a wide range of mental health supports.

As always, please reach out to me anytime with comments, suggestions, or general feedback. I’m looking forward to seeing all of you again, whenever that may be. In the meantime, stay safe, everyone.

Sincerely,

Glenn

p.s. I am pleased to share with how to connect with our local libraries in Kingston, Brockville and Cornwall. Please reach out to your home community library where they can assist you with signing up and getting a library card.

Update March 27, 2020, 12:15 PM

Hello folks,

As we reach the end the first week of alternate delivery, I am inspired how everyone has handled a staggering amount of change in a short amount of time. I wanted to provide an update for our students, staff, and faculty as this week has been a busy one.

Other large initiatives are continuing as we help our community through these unusual times. We donated three ventilators to local hospitals, in addition to a large number of gloves, masks, hand sanitizer, and personal protective equipment (PPE). We also loaned eight 3D printers to produce mask components for a joint initiative with Queen’s University. We will continue to do whatever we can, to help our communities through this crisis and we have more supplies being donated as we speak - all with a goal to help protect our frontline healthcare workers, many of whom are our own graduates.

At our college, planning has now shifted to looking ahead while continuing to assist folks with technological issues around connectivity and adjusting to remote work. We have decided to extend the cancellation date of events to the end of April. This means any events booked on or off our campuses with external guests attending, or internal gatherings planned between now and May 1, 2020 will not occur.

An email was sent yesterday to SLC faculty asking them to follow-up with students who haven’t been in touch and to have Student Success Facilitators reach out to them.

Students, if you’ve not been in touch with your faculty, please reach out and let them know how you are managing. We are making sure you still have access to supports and services. Please visit the website for resources and contact information.

Staff and Faculty, please make sure you are connecting with each other and within your network for support. These are unusual times and making sure we stay connected can help.

As we continue to work with our local public health experts, and receive announcements from provincial and federal governments, I will continue to share updates. Please remember the information listed here including an FAQ for current and prospective students. Any other questions can be sent to covid@sl.on.ca.

In closing I would like to encourage folks to connect, to stay positive, and to continue to practice good social distancing. In short, stay healthy, stay safe, and stay home.

Thank you,

Glenn Vollebregt

Update March 23, 2020, 3:50 PM

Hello folks,

As we head into week two of these most unusual times, I hope you were able to rest somewhat this weekend. I’m proud of our faculty who were working hard to adapt to delivering their curriculum via alternate means starting today. I’m also proud of our staff who are supporting students and college functions while working remotely. I have a few updates for our college leaders and managers.

First, the “This is SLC” newsletter will return this week after a brief hiatus. The newsletter is an important way to stay in touch with our tri-campus community. Look for this week’s issue in your inboxes on Thursday and please share news stories here for an upcoming issue. Stories of innovation, teamwork, putting students first, and adaptability would be great to share.

To help you and your teams support our students, an FAQ for students is live on our website. This answers questions for current, international, and graduating students. The FAQ is a live document and will be updated as needed, and as more questions and answers emerge.

On the provincial front, Colleges Ontario and the Ministry are organizing colleges and conversations to best represent the needs of our students. Lobbying for funding to help with IT constraints and navigating financial strain, and other issues is ongoing, and SLC is working with our college counterparts to deliver consistent messages about addressing the needs of our students during these challenging times. I will continue to update everyone as these conversations evolve.

As you’ve no doubt heard, all levels of government and public health officials are issuing strong messages to those returning from March Break. The message is clear: You must observe strict quarantine and self-isolation for 14 days after returning to Canada from abroad in order to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19. I trust everyone in our community will abide by these instructions and share with everyone you know. To this end, I’d like to remind you that access to our campuses is now prohibited, with permission granted only to those already approved as being essential. Requests from non-essential staff to access campus from this point forward will be declined as we ensure we properly practice social distancing.

If you or your team have any questions related to COVID-19, email covid@sl.on.ca and the communications team will connect you with the information you need. As we continue to navigate these times, remember to help support each other and check-in with your colleagues, everyone is doing their best as we transition to working remotely. I will provide updates as new information or decisions become available, which might not be daily. In the meantime, I am here for any questions or if you want to connect.

Stay healthy, stay safe, and stay home.

Sincerely,

Glenn Vollebregt

Update March 20, 2020, 4:10 PM

Hi folks,

The past 10 days have been challenging for all of us to navigate on a professional level, and indeed personally as well. As we prioritize the health and safety of our loved ones and ensure we do our part to reduce the possible spread of infection, an incredible amount of work has been done to ensure our students can successfully complete their semester.

As the entire college sector moves toward delivering the balance of the winter semester off campus, I want to acknowledge our SLC faculty and the team in the Academic division, who have worked unbelievably hard to facilitate these uncharted waters. I’m continually inspired by everyone’s hard work, dedication and commitment to our students.

As you will recall, we took this week to figure out an alternate method of program delivery. I can confirm that off-campus delivery will remain in effect to the end of the term. The information you will receive about your programs has been planned and organized as efficiently as possible. These plans are now starting to be communicated to students.

Starting at noon tomorrow, Saturday March 21st, students will begin seeing the plans for alternate program delivery on Blackboard course pages.

The new plans take effect Monday, March 23rd. If you visit Blackboard and don’t see an updated plan for a particular course, then it is possible no changes were necessary.

For specific questions related to your courses, please contact your faculty member using your SLC email or through Blackboard.

For questions related to your Program of Study, please contact your Program Coordinator, using your SLC email.

As a general reminder, access to SLC campuses continues to be restricted. Students, non-essential staff, and members of the general public are not to come to campus until further notice. Student services and academic support continue to be offered remotely or virtually; you will find information about accessing these services here.

Please remember SLC-specific updates about COVID-19 are being posted here. We ask our community to continue to abide by government and public health directives to self-isolate when necessary, and practice social distancing for the health of yourself, your family, and your community.

We have all been navigating new circumstances this week. I know I speak for our staff, faculty, and partners when I say we are pulling for our students as they take on completing course work in new ways. Thank you for continued patience and empathy while we help each other.

Sincerely,

Glenn

Update March 19, 2020, 3:50 PM

Hello folks,

I want to touch base with some important reminders for yourselves, your teams, and our students.

It’s critical for everyone at this time to read their SLC email, as this is the single most important way we are staying in touch with our college community. While we are continually updating the website and social media, email is the most immediate method of communication. If you know of anyone on your team(s) who are NOT receiving SLC emails sent to ALLNOTES, please ensure they contact ITS@sl.on.ca to be added to the distribution list.

This is especially important for our students: please do what you can to help ensure students are checking their SLC email and that they are reading their messages. I cannot stress this enough. Information will be coming tomorrow about alternate program delivery and it will be important for everyone to be informed and ready going into next week.

I would like to remind everyone that if you are meeting with your peers or teams during this time, please use remote options to dial in or connect via Skype as your first option. If you must meet in person, ensure appropriate social distancing can occur, also remember that multiple groups will not meet in the same room one after the other. Please also remember that campus access is restricted to essential staff only.

IT is dealing with large volume of requests right now, and they are doing an amazing job. Let’s help reduce their load where possible, and if you are having IT issues, please check the How to Service Guide on our website first for help.

A final note for today, to help our community stay aligned. As expected, our students are incredibly disappointed the spring convocation events will not continue as planned. I want to assure everyone - and we are telling our students this too - that we will work on a plan to celebrate students and their achievements.

Stay healthy, stay safe, stay in touch.

Glenn Vollebregt

Update March 18, 2020, 3:44 PM

Hi Folks,

I firstly want to thank everyone for continued patience as we work through this evolving situation. I am writing with important updates and reminders for SLC students. Our staff and faculty are copied here to keep our community on the same page.

Students – you will be receiving information this week about how to complete winter semester coursework. As you all know, classes were cancelled March 16 to 20, and alternate program delivery is being used starting March 23. There will be no in-person classes happening next week, please do not come to campus, or attend placement. I need to stress the importance of checking your SLC email regularly for updates and I would like to ask you to remind your friends and classmates to do the same.

In these stressful times the health and safety of our students, employees, and communities remains our top priority. To this end, I encourage everyone to continue to practice social distancing and good infection prevention. Wash your hands, stay home if you are ill or suspect you could have been exposed to COVID-19, and remember there are resources to help people who need support.

1. I want to make sure everyone has information about Student Services that are still available on a modified, virtual basis. The student information page for COVID-19 information is updated, and you can find it here.

2. A resource guide for students is on the website to help you answer common IT questions. This “how to” guide can be found on the SLC website here.

3. This is a stressful time, and college resources continue to be available to students requiring counselling. For other resources, Good2Talk is available for 24-hour assistance on the phone or via text message at 1-866-925-5454/Text GOOD2TALKON to 686868.

Updates about COVID-19 are available on our website. Please check back frequently, as we will continue to have new developments to share with our community. You can also stay updated via SLC social media channels: Twitter @whatsinsideslc, Facebook @stlawrencecollege.ca, and Instagram @stlawrencecollege.

I have a final announcement which I regret having to make. Our traditional Spring convocation ceremonies will not take place this year. When I consider the extent and expected length of the COVID-19 situation and our responsibility to observe social distancing, it is simply not feasible for us to hold an event of this scale and magnitude in a few short months. I am sorry.

If you have questions about COVID-19 please contact covid@sl.on.ca.

Thank you,

Glenn Vollebregt

St. Lawrence College Cornwall Campus Update for Tuesday, March 17, 2020

On Sunday, March 15, 2020, St. Lawrence College (SLC) was informed of a confirmed case of COVID-19 in our Cornwall campus community. This individual was diagnosed at a local hospital, treated, and is at home under self-isolation. Upon receiving this news, SLC took extreme preventative measures to ensure our campus community including students, staff, and faculty were not exposed.

These preventative measures included restricting access to campus until further notice to determine the extent of possible exposure. Elevated infection prevention protocols were undertaken, which included thoroughly cleaning communal spaces and specific areas where the individual may have been.

We have been assured by the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EHOU) that they have contacted anyone who was at risk for possible exposure. If you were not contacted by the EHOU, you had no direct risk of exposure to COVID-19 from the diagnosed person associated with the Cornwall campus.

SLC can confirm that the Cornwall campus cleaning protocols are complete. However, with the provincial state of emergency announced this morning, and federal requests to practice social distancing, limited access to our college campuses remains in place.

I would like to remind everyone, that effective today Tuesday, March 17, we will be limiting admittance to the campus to one entrance only, for short-term access. People coming to campus will sign-in with campus security. This tri-campus measure reduces pressure on our cleaning and security staff, who must be on campus, as well. We ask anyone needing things from their office or campus to get it prior to 4:00 p.m. today as going forward the expectation is that teams are working from home. These measures will be in place until further notice.

Please visit the St. Lawrence College COVID-19 webpage for updates.

Update March 16, 2020, 2:00 PM

Hi Folks,

I’m writing to update everyone of recent decisions at SLC in response to the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation.

In light of the recent directives from the federal government and public health for intensified social distancing, and to reduce pressure for our staff, effective immediately, we are asking people to work from home, starting Tuesday, March 17. We are informing students and members of the general public not to come to campus. This is a tri-campus decision intended to help our communities flatten the curve against the spread of this virus.

As well, starting Tuesday, March 17, we will be limiting admittance to our campuses to one entrance only, for short-term access. People coming to campus will sign-in with campus security. This will reduce pressure on our cleaning and security staff, who must be on campus, as well, this measure will allow for easier tracking by public health, should the need arise. We ask anyone needing things from their office or campus to get it prior to 4:00 p.m. Tuesday, March 17. These measures will be in place until further notice.

Students living on campus in residence will be asked to go home. Residence staff are available to help students with decisions and planning. We understand that international and a few other students may need to remain in residence, and our residence management teams are prepared to ensure their needs are met.

The college has defined essential services as those required to support alternate delivery of academic programs and keep basic operating functions happening. Unless your manager confirms you perform an essential service, you will be asked to work from home. Essential services that will continue during this time (but that may be conducted from off-campus where possible) are payroll, HR (excluding organizational development), custodial, IT, security, and facility management services.

All student placements are suspended pending further notice. We are doing our part to limit interactions in the community and alleviate pressure on organizations who are trying to make their own plans. Information will be shared with students in coming days about how their course requirements will be met.

We continue to work on alternate delivery methods that will allow our students to finish the winter semester. Faculty will be contacting their students and classes to inform them of new delivery plans. I would ask students to wait to hear from their faculty, as they are currently working very hard to ensure learning outcomes are met and new methods of course delivery are confirmed. I ask everyone to monitor their email and/or Blackboard for updates, as well as college social media accounts.

In addition to the federal travel advisory asking people to self-isolate after returning to Canada, we are asking members of our community with someone in their household who just got back to Canada to also self-isolate for the prescribed 14 days. This additional precaution is in recognition of the importance of family units, and to alleviate pressure for people.

We have a dedicated and professional team working around the clock to respond to this global pandemic. I cannot thank them enough for their work, and I also want to thank the entire SLC community for your patience as we figure this unprecedented situation out, at times minute to minute. Please watch for future correspondence regarding future events such as convocation.

As always, please refer to our website for updates.

Glenn Vollebregt

Update March 15, 2020, 3:57 PM

Update from President and CEO Glenn Vollebregt:

"I would like to assure our community we are responding accordingly and are taking an abundance of caution. The decision to close was made to ensure appropriate social distancing could occur within our campus community and allow extra cleaning protocols to take place. I appreciate the care and consideration being shown for our students and community partners.”

“While the COVID-19 situation is new territory for us as a college, campus, and community I am confident in the team working on this, and know we are being diligent as we look at the multiple factors. As everyone knows, we had already begun to limit events and travel in order to do our part as responsible community citizens. We continue to act in the best interest of our students and staff.”

Click here to read more

Update March 15, 2020, 11:30 AM

A member of the SLC Cornwall campus community has tested positive for COVID-19 after returning from a recent trip to the United States. They were diagnosed at a local hospital, treated, and are at home under self-isolation. 

Effective immediately, the Cornwall campus of St. Lawrence College is closed. This means no employees, students, or members of the community are to access the campus. We are taking the appropriate precautionary measures and will let our community know when campus opens again. 

Please note SLC students from the Cornwall campus in all programs are instructed to not attend placement until further notice. This is an additional precautionary measure while staff who support our students during placement are not on campus. 

SLC would like to assure our community we are responding accordingly and are taking an abundance of caution. We continue to work with the local public health authorities, and appreciate the care and consideration being shown for our students and community partners.

Update on March 13, 2020, 12:47 PM

Update from President and CEO, Glenn Vollebregt

I wanted to provide an update as there have been several recent developments related to COVID-19. Firstly, I appreciate the care and consideration being shown within our community for our students and colleagues and I thank everyone for their input to date.

This morning several decisions were confirmed at the provincial level with respect to COVID-19 and college academic operations. While the risk to our community remains low with no active cases at this time and no community spread, St. Lawrence College will suspend in-person classes effective Monday, March 16th for one week. We will move to alternate program delivery and I will elaborate on this below.

Please note our college campuses, residences, and services remain open during this time. Cancelling in-person classes is a measure to further reduce large gatherings and possible exposure/spread of infection. This, in addition to the cancelling of campus events hosting external guests, will permit campus operations to proceed in an environment that is as safe as possible. By remaining open we continue to support our students who depend on things like the computers and internet we provide to continue their studies, and who require access to things like campus health, counselling, or food services.

I am providing some detail about academic operations but wish to assure everyone more information will be coming shortly from leaders within the academic division.

• All in-person classes will be suspended from March 16-20 to allow time for faculty to move classes to an alternative delivery. We appreciate your patience and cooperation during this unprecedented, evolving situation.

• Details about placements, labs, and options for practical instruction will be shared in coming days. Please watch your student email for updates.

As new developments emerge, I encourage everyone to visit the dedicated SLC COVID-19 webpage for updated information and remember the simple things we can all do to help prevent the spread of infection. These include proper handwashing, cough etiquette, and ensuring if you are ill with cold or flu symptoms, that you stay home.

The health and safety of our students, faculty and staff remain our top priority. We will continue to work closely with our public health experts and provincial counterparts to navigate this global situation. Lastly, with elementary and secondary schools closed for the next three weeks we recognize people are dealing with added pressures. We will be providing regular updates and communications in coming days to help people know what options are available to them.

Sincerely,

Glenn Vollebregt

Update on March 12, 2020

St. Lawrence College (SLC) continues to closely monitor the outbreak of COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus.

The college has initiated its emergency management plan process and is in regular communication with local public health officials. We will continue to update this site as new information becomes available. We encourage everyone to check this site frequently for new information.

Kingston: KFL&A Public Health
Brockville: Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit
Cornwall: Eastern Ontario Health Unit
Current information on the status of the COVID-19 virus can be found on the Government of Canada’s website.