Photo credit: Meara Belanger

Counselling services has moved online, according to a statement issued by college president Claude Brulé on Friday, March 27.

Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, only staff considered essential to college operations are allowed on the premises, said the statement. In lieu of face-to-face counselling, Algonquin is offering a variety of supports online.

Friday’s statement included a link to a Coronavirus information page, which contains an FAQ listing counselling resources students can access through telephone or online.

Doug Stringer, manager of counselling services, the Spiritual Centre and student support services, says it’s important for students to maintain a routine while in isolation.

“Going to bed and getting up at the same time each day,” Stringer said. “Eating well and having a routine that includes eating. Exercise is another one – and that’s going to be one that’s going to be more difficult, but find a way to move that complies with physical distancing requirements. Find ways to connect socially. That would all be a really good start.”

Stringer says that students in isolation who feel they are in need of counselling should reach out by email or phone, although he believes some will lean on the supports they have at home.

The Mamidosewin Centre has been working in collaboration with counselling services to counsel Indigenous learners online. They’re offering virtual outreach to students by posting frequent updates on their Facebook page and hosting daily beading sessions from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. via Zoom.

Students currently registered with the Centre for Accessible Learning can email their disabilities counsellor, learning strategist or assistive technologist for questions or to set up a virtual appointment. Anyone not registered with CAL but seeking their services can direct their questions to Additional CAL resources can be found here.

Algonquin’s International Education Centre is working with students on a case-by-case basis. They have helped students who have been displaced with finding new accommodations. The IEC is also offering appointments via Zoom and offering peer mentorship for international students. Additionally, the IEC is launching a campaign on Instagram using the hashtag #weareinthistogether which encourages students to send photos of how they are spending their time in isolation.

Stringer offered some words of advice for members of the Algonquin community now learning from home.

“We’ll get through this,” he said. “This will end and we’ll come out the other side and hopefully – not to sound cliché – we’ll come out stronger.”