Haliburton School of Art and Design student Coyote Newell said after spending half the semester struggling with learning from home, it feels good to return to the classroom.
“It’s been really nice to be back in studio and actually have the space,” she said. “Creating art is really hard when you’re just working from your room … The teachers are working so hard to make sure we are having as much of a standard experience as we can.”
Fleming College has begun offering in-person classes again in Haliburton and elsewhere, with several fall semester courses starting on campus Nov. 2.
Vice president of student experience, Linda Poirer, said it has gone well so far, with many precautions in place, including limited entry, an app for self-screening, PPE and social distancing.
Poirer said classes are being kept small – ranging from around eight to potentially 20, depending on the size of the classroom. She said Fleming planned to start in-person instruction later in the semester and the circumstances allowed for it.
“The region itself was in very good shape, which was what public health was telling us. So, we felt comfortable and safe because we’ve been taking every measure we possibly can,” she said. “We may have had a different discussion if we were in Peel.”
Newell, who is taking a drawing and painting certificate, said she feels very safe with the precautions on campus.
But she added classes have had the occasional communication issue, and some technical difficulties as teachers manage with students split in different rooms and online.
“Everyone is so busy that things are sure to be missed,” she said. “But there are definitely workarounds and they’ve been very understanding.”
Poirer said they are still planning for winter, but she is optimistic about continuing classroom learning.
“It’s really nice to see the students back on campus,” she said. “I know it’s limited, it’s not ideal and it’s not the way we initially planned, but it feels like we’re moving in the right direction.”
Newell said it was hard connecting with classmates early in the semester and it feels good to start doing that on campus. But she added there is a sense of missing out on the complete experience of college years, adding they are supposed to be the best of your life.
“There’s a lot of disappointment to it,” she said. “It’s a loss to be in college and have all the restrictions and no parties … It definitely feels like a struggle sometimes, to get all the material and feel like it’s a full experience.”