Photo credit: Charlotte Riethman

“I was expecting to be in class and super excited to get to work with the live animals we have access to,” said Faith Conway, first-year veterinary technician student who was anticipating a different start to the program when she first got accepted.

On June 11, Christopher Janzen, senior vice president academic, sent an email to staff and students, explaining the remote delivery plan for programs being offered during the fall 2020 term.

“In May we received an email saying we would be partially in class,” said Conway. “But that changed.”

The veterinary technician program was one of the many programs to be delivered virtually.

“All classes are being run through Zoom,” said Elodie Addesso Gareau, second-year veterinary technician student. “It’s 21 hours of online a week. It’s extremely difficult to stay focused, especially when we have two, (four-hour long) classes back-to-back.”

Not being on campus means veterinary technician students won’t have the hands-on experience working with live animals they had in previous years.

Instead, students are having online lectures this term, followed by the lab portion next term.

“The only thing I hope to get out of this semester is passing grades, as I’m not getting hands-on experience,” said Addesso Gareau. “This is only lectures. What is really important; I will learn again in the lab portion next semester, hopefully.”

Dr. Vera Etches, Ottawa’s medical officer of health, has warned about a second wave of cases.

Because of the surge in COVID cases, restrictions were announced for Ottawa, (Toronto and the Peel Region) to follow modified Stage 2 measures.

“While much could change in the coming months,” said Janzen, in an email to staff. “It has become apparent that it is highly unlikely that we will be able to return to pre-pandemic approaches by the winter term.”