Spring is here, ushering a time for renewed hope and heightened activity levels for our College Community. Learners and employees are preparing for the end of the Winter term and plans are fully underway for Convocation 2022. 

This year, there has been the additional excitement of the Jack Doyle Athletics and Recreation Centre (ARC) officially opening. It was incredible to recently attend the Students’ Association ribbon-cutting ceremony in person with so many learners, employees, and guests. 

As I said during my remarks at the event, we have spent years anticipating how this facility would change and enhance life at Algonquin College. Seeing people enjoying all these new features since the fall has been wonderful. Our Algonquin Wolves varsity teams have a new home, and they’ve already shown great success this season. The ARC brings our community together, which will be so important as we continue to prepare for a more robust return to our vibrant in-person campus life.  

Looking ahead to this increasing activity, the College announced some upcoming, planned changes to its COVID-19 policies and procedures. The changes are based on recent lifting of most Provincial restrictions, advice from our public health and government officials, population immunization and high efficacy of vaccines, as well as feedback from our employees and learners.  

Contingent on the current state of the pandemic and corresponding public health considerations, the College will be implementing the changes effective May 01, 2022. The changes include active screening for COVID-19 and proof of vaccination checks no longer being required at campus entrances, masking being optional for all those required to be on campuses, and physical distancing of 2 metres being encouraged but no longer mandated.  

You can see the full scope of the planned changed at this link here. If a heightened risk to health and safety for employees and learners is indicated by local public health experts, the College could reimplement any or all of the previously mentioned protocols and safeguards. 

You may have also recently read a notice in regard to this year’s Convocation, which will be offered in a hybrid format for the first time. It will look slightly different from our previous ceremonies, allowing each graduate to choose their own individual experience. We will be hosting eleven different ceremonies, making this the largest potential graduating ceremony in the College’s history. Please check this link for more information. 

Finally, I would like to mention some fantastic news that was recently announced by the Minister of Colleges and Universities, Jill Dunlop. Colleges across the province will now be able to develop and offer new three-year degree programs. It is a historic breakthrough that ensures more learners will acquire the professional expertise to succeed in their careers. This will also enable the College to better meet the needs of regional employers through the development of new degrees in fields such as Public Administration, Information Technology, Game Design and Animation. 

These last few weeks of the term, leading to final assessment week, can be an exciting and challenging time. Please know that the College is here for you. If you or someone you know needs support, help is just a click away. Whether you are a prospective graduate or a returning learner, I wish you great success on your final assignments and assessments. 

Take care and stay safe.