With most of its students now working to finish their terms at home, Selkirk College has also moved a majority of essential services to an off-site and working-at-home model at all its campuses and learning centres.
The college’s leadership at the regional post-secondary has given staff and any remaining students until 2 p.m. on Tuesday to gather materials and equipment needed to continue working from home where possible.
The college will only be maintaining basic business continuity and asset protection functions with a small number of key employees, it said in a news release. Access to facilities for staff and students is now at absolute minimum in accordance with recommendations from federal and provincial governments and the B.C. Provincial Health Officer.
“The urgency of the situation regionally and across Canada has increased substantially in the last couple of days,” says Selkirk College president Angus Graeme. “The transition to alternative delivery methods of instruction by our education division has gone well. As we work out some remaining details with that delivery, we can shift to making sure all our staff remain as safe as possible and take their work home.”
The college suspended classes on March 17, asking students to stay away while instructors and administrators devised ways to deliver curriculum and provide proper assessment to get more than 2,700 students through more than 50 programs. Though getting access to technology for every single student remains an issue, educators continue to fill in the gaps where possible.
After meetings with college sector colleagues from across the B.C., Graeme sent a letter to all staff on Monday evening advising them of the deadline to gather their materials for working from home. There will be restricted access for minimal staffing in essential service areas such as finance, IT, human resources, maintenance, custodial and specific administrative functions.
On-campus housing facilities in Castlegar and Nelson’s Tenth Street Campus will remain in operation to provide a home for those students who are not able to find alternative accommodation. The operation of the housing will be reconfigured and deep cleaning will take place to allow for proper physical distancing reflected in the spreading out of room assignments. Student services like the cafeteria, bookstore and libraries were previously limited, but will be closed entirely after 2 p.m. on Tuesday.
“This was a very difficult adjustment that was made in a very limited amount of time,” Graeme says. “It has been a massive undertaking that required a tremendous amount of hard work by every single employee. It has been transformative for Selkirk College. We now feel the students have the tools to continue working from home where our instructors and staff can continue to help them find success, even at this very challenging and unprecedented time.”