by Gloria Welton
Holland College management and staff are implementing the new “normal” to ensure students and staff are protected against COVID-19.
Holland College campuses and centres across the province have a total of over 900,000 square feet of classrooms, labs, shops, and common spaces. Most of these areas are open for use this semester, as about one third of programs are being delivered through online distance learning, and the rest are a blend of distance and face-to-face delivery.
“We have a strong COVID-19 Operational Plan that has been approved by the provincial Chief Public Health Office, we are excited to have our students back, and we are confident it will be a successful year,” said Justin Dunn, Director of Facilities Management at Holland College, who has an engineering background and has been with the college for 16 years.
Justin says the journey to college for staff, students, and visitors begins before getting there. “First, anyone experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms is not to come to the college and should contact the provincial Chief Public Health Office for direction and advice.”
COVID-19 questions provided by the Chief Public Health Office are posted on the entry points of college buildings.
“If all is fine, then students and staff use their Holl Pass card to swipe in and enter the building. After using the hand sanitizer provided, they can safely move through the building, following the directional arrows and signs.
“For the upcoming term, we anticipate up to half of our students will need to come on-site to receive face-to-face elements of their training. Many of our programs are full and we are glad to be back in business.”
Face mask and sanitization requirements
Wearing a mask at the college is not mandatory. However, it is highly recommended that students and staff wear a mask when physical distancing is not possible, such as in labs, shops, and hallways.
Classroom desks are spaced six feet apart. Hallways and stairways are marked to maintain physical distancing so that people can move throughout the building with ease and confidence.
The college provides a hospital grade disinfectant in every program area so that students and staff can clean their work stations and any equipment and tools used.
Each college program has adjusted
The college’s facility management department looked at each program across the province and worked with each learning manager to determine the steps needed to get ready to open for the 2020-21 school year.
“We had to look at what needs to be done through face-to-face learning, what could be done through distance learning, how to make the best use of space while maintaining physical distancing, and many more considerations. More tweaks will be needed as we go along, but we are confident that we are on the right track.”
The Heritage Retrofit Carpentry program is an example of a setting needed to be completely redesigned to ensure each person can work safely. “Staff built dividers for each workstation and placed plexiglass in key areas.”
Plan for staff or students who develop COVID-19 symptoms
“If a person starts to feel unwell during their day at the college, the person is to put on a mask, sanitize their hands, and leave the facility immediately,” says Justin. “After leaving the building they need to contact their learning manger or supervisor.
“The person should then call 811 to schedule a test for COVID-19. If test results are negative, the person must not return to college until they feel better. If test results are positive, they must follow the provincial Chief Public Health Office, and our college committee will work with the province to make further decisions.”
Need for more custodial staff
“We already had rigid cleaning measures in place at the college,” says Justin. “But now disinfecting and cleaning measures have been raised to a new level to maintain health standards during the pandemic. As a result of increased measures, additional custodial staff will be hired as required throughout the year.”
For more information about how courses are being delivered, visit www.hollandcollege.com/academic-delivery-plan-2020-2021.html
For a list of job opportunities at Holland College, visit www.hollandcollege.com/about/full%20career%20listing.php