Fanshawe prepares for summer return of winter students

Header image for Interrobang article CREDIT: PROVIDED BY PETER GILBERT
Screening stations have been set up at Fanshawe's entrances, where students returning to finish their winter term will be screened for COVID-19 daily. Additional photos show floor markings, the 911 lab, a reduced classroom, the C-building gym, and the dental lab.

Better late than never.

Around 1,200 students will return to campus next week to complete unfinished work from their winter term courses.

Beginning July 20, students from technical programs such as plumbing techniques, dental assisting, and costume production will be spread across the Oxford Street, Downtown, Woodstock, St. Thomas, Simcoe, and Aviation campuses. For two to four weeks depending on the program, they will at last tackle tasks that had been left on hold since the College closed its doors in March.

Navigator. Londons student lifestyles magazine.

Peter Gilbert, Fanshawe’s chief infrastructure officer, said thousands of hours went into safeguarding the spaces against the risk of spreading COVID-19. When faced with the unprecedented challenge of protecting college students from a pandemic, the toughest part lies in keeping up with constantly changing information.

“The challenge in the whole thing is that we’re using advice based on multiple layers of health units. Local, Ontario, Canada, the World Health Organization (WHO); hierarchically, there’s a lot of work left to local areas to determine,” Gilbert said. “Every day it seems like the advice that is received changes, and that requires us to review and change our plans accordingly.”

The first step was to determine the number of rooms that would be required, and how many students could fit into the rooms while accommodating physical distancing measures. For example, an 80-person room has now been restricted to 20 people, plus barriers.

Third-party contractors were hired to install plexiglass barriers, floor markings, washroom markings, and set up screening stations and floor pedal-based sanitizers. Gilbert said the total expenses for the add-ons have yet to be tallied but estimated the number will land in the hundreds of thousands.

There will be physical screening stations at each campus entrance, where only “invited” students will be allowed admittance. Once inside their classrooms, faculty members will direct students to their seating.

The College will implement an “educate first” principle towards students found violating safety protocols. However, refusal to comply will lead to their removal from the building.

Only first floor bathrooms will be open for the winter session students, with multi-use bathrooms padlocked to be single use.

Gilbert said that plans for the return to Fanshawe are going to be done on a term-by-term basis. At this point, foreseeable changes for the fall include no personal screenings at the door. Instead, students will most likely be required to use a mobile screening app before going to class.

He is also hopeful that by then, working around the virus will be a second way of life. 

“My hope is that people will use the experience that they’ve already gained through everyday interactions and as they enter our facility, they will see some familiarity. As they enter their spaces, they will see quickly the precautions that have been taken to secure their safety,” he said. “We’re excited for them to come back. We’re in this for the students. It’ll be nice to have them back.”

This article has been updated to include the following information about masks: within a classroom if a student cannot reach their desk without maintaining a 6’ distance from their peers, a mask will be provided.  It is only in this situation where a mask would be worn. There are a lot of questions regarding masking in the hallways, washrooms.  To date the College has not required that.

PHOTOS BELOW PROVIDED BY PETER GILBERT Click on the thumbnails below to view a larger version of each image.
Fanshawe prepares for summer return of winter students photos
Fanshawe prepares for summer return of winter students photos
Fanshawe prepares for summer return of winter students photos
Fanshawe prepares for summer return of winter students photos
Fanshawe prepares for summer return of winter students photos