PHOTO BY SARA SHEKIH / THE SPUTNIK PHOTOGRAPHY
The coronavirus has taken a toll on the 2020-2021 school year and has changed what a typical school year looks like. Due to the pandemic – with staff and students safety in mind – most services have been forced to move online, or have been shut down all together.
The lack of in-person service has created a new form of student interaction with faculty, and the pursuit of booking assistive student services.
“People are missing that human interaction, but we are so proud of the students. I’m so impressed with how students in this environment can engage with each other,” said Adam Lawrence, Dean of Students.
The Laurier Brantford YMCA, located at 100 Water st., was previously open for scheduled workout time slots. Now, it has fully closed. Students are not permitted entrance into this facility as per the recent guidelines to stay at home.
The unavailability of these services is detrimental to students of Laurier. Some students do not feel safe walking or exercising around downtown Brantford, due to the environment and location, while the YMCA was a safe space for Golden Hawks to get their exercise.
One Market, Laurier Brantford Campus / The Sputnik Photography
The lockdown, which has just been extended until February 19, also forced the study spaces Laurier had previously offered, to be shut down. One Market, located at 1 Market st, is now closed. The abundance of open chairs and tables that were available for students to use will remain unused for another term.
One Market, as a study space, offered a quiet environment, quick wifi, and comfortable seatings, which may not be available in the homes of all Laurier students.
“It sucks that One Market is closed, because it provided a different environment than being in my dorm room all the time. It was just newly built and now we don’t even get to use it during the lockdown,” said third-year Digital Media and Journalism Student, Nataly Manychanh.
Staff and students alike are all excitedly awaiting the reopening of campus, so students may use the services once more.
“We all need to work together, stay at home, wear a mask, keep social distancing, and hopefully, we’ll see each other back in the fall,” said Lawrence.
Although many student services have been totally shut down, or moved online, some remain in person, upon request. The Wellness Centre is deemed as an essential service, and will remain open for in person consultations, so long as students book an appointment and follow Ontario health protocols while attending a scheduled appointment.
Online appointments are also an option for the Wellness Centre, for those who may not be comfortable with person to person contact.
Learning Skills And Development has also moved online. This student support is offering online consultations for those that need assistance with their school work. Team members are available through Microsoft Teams to engage with , and provide support.
Students are able to use the screen share feature, enabling a team member to help guide and edit a paper in real time, as if they were working together in-person.
The live video chat and screen share adds a sense of connection between the student and team member, while making the learning process easier for communication and understanding, compared to a completely virtual, speechless interaction.
Scheduled appointments for Learning Skills and Development can be booked through the student success portal, where you are able to pick an exact date, time, and student success consultant to assist in your school paper.
“We do our best to provide students with tools, strategies and resources that they can use to address any concerns they may have, or to feel more engaged in their learning. We want them to feel connected, supported, and engaged in their learning,” said Jenna Olander, manager of the Brantford campus Learning Skills and Development.
As of Jan. 18 in Brant County, there have been 1263 confirmed cases of Coronavirus, while 955 are made up from Brantford alone. Of the 1263, 91 are active, and seven new cases have been reported in the last 24 hours. There have been six deaths, and one patient is currently in hospital.
Due to the high number of cases, student services may remain online for the remainder for the term.
Though most student services are online and may not be the exact same as in person consultations, students are encouraged to take advantage of the offerings that are still open, regardless if they are currently virtual.