With 20 confirmed novel coronavirus cases in Ontario, the college has implemented multiple measures to ensure the health of students.
“The Students’ Association is participating in a committee with the college,” said Shanti Consentino, president of the Students’ Association. “It is focused on infection prevention, infection control, and discussing potential impacts from the illness within the college community and the City of Ottawa.”
The cross-college coordination committee includes Risk Management, Emergency Management, Occupational Health & Safety, Student Support Services- Health Services, Academic Services, Registrar, President’s Office & Communications, International Education Centre, Campus Services-Residence, Facilities Management, Finance & Administrative Services and Students Association.
Even though the SA has not received any complaints regarding the issue, “it is a concern for everyone,” said Consentino.
A document was issued by Colin Bonang, director risk management, to members of the Algonquin College Leadership Team on Feb. 7, 2020.
“While the college is not in a position to provide medical advice in these matters, we want to assure you that the college is monitoring this situation very closely,” wrote Bonang.
There are some practical measures the college is taking right now.
“The College is increasing the cleaning of common surfaces, such as doorknobs, light switches, elevator buttons and posters encouraging hand washing will also be displayed across campus,” said Chris Lanker, communications officer.
There has been an increase in the number of hand sanitizing stations, stocked with alcohol-based hand rub around campus including in the the SA main office, Starbucks and other facilities.
The Public Health Agency of Canada continues to asses the public health risks associated with coronavirus as “low for Canada and Canadian travellers.”
Some students are taking a very practical approach to the situation.
“There isn’t really anything the college can do at that point,” said Andre Larocque, 24, a computer engineering student.
“You see a couple of students with masks and that stuff,” said Damian Plummer, 20, electrical engineering technician. “Some people wear masks and take precautions, some people just go about their daily lives, no problem.”
The college’s health services department also issued some advice shared with the students on the college website.
“If you are sick, you should stay home, regardless of whether you are concerned about COVID-19. Ottawa Public Health provides information to help you determine whether you should self-isolate or not, based on your travel history and symptoms.”
The college has also launched an FAQ page with all the common queries by the students.