COVID-19 update – DC next steps

We are living in a rapidly evolving time as we face and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Durham College’s (DC) commitment to our students, employees and the broader community is unwavering, as is our dedication to ensuring the continuity of high-quality education. While the risk of infection in Durham Region currently remains low, DC has made a number of decisions which we have outlined below. 

Academic/class

  • In-person classes will be cancelled until Monday, March 23. This will allow our faculty and academic leadership the necessary time to review and consider what components of our courses can be delivered online, as well as prepare their curriculum for delivery.
  • On Monday March 23, courses, where possible will transition to an online or alternative delivery format until further notice. More information will be shared with students as it becomes available over the coming week.
  • All existing online courses continue as scheduled.
  • The Oshawa and Whitby campuses and Pickering Learning Site remain fully operational and open.
  • On-campus residences remain open and operational.
  • Exams and assignments for in-class courses that are due between Friday, March 13 and Sunday, March 22 will be rescheduled. For online courses, assignments and exams continue as scheduled.
  • Most labs, shops and studios remain open for student use. A full list of open facilities will be communicated next week.
  • Placements, co-ops and clinicals will continue for the time being.
  • While the goal is to offer classes online, the applied, hands-on learning at the heart of many of the college’s programs cannot be replicated virtually. As such, faculty-led lab and studio instruction are under review and students will be contacted to let them know how the remainder of their semester will be managed.

Events

We are suspending all large events and public gatherings of over 250 people, as per the recommendation of Ontario’s chief medical officer of health.

All other events are being assessed. Should a cancellation occur, the appropriate parties will be notified.

Travel

All nonessential college-related travel, for business or academic purposes, is cancelled until further notice.

Employees

While DC continues to remain operational, in order to support our students through this learning transition, employees are expected to remain working. We understand that there are new complexities that have arisen due to local cancellations and closures affecting families with children. 

These challenges call for flexibility and creative problem solving from our teams and departments. We ask that those directly impacted speak with their supervisor to discuss alternative arrangements. Human Resource generalists are available to work with and assist as needed.

Support reminders

These are stressful times for all and it’s important to take care of yourself. Good mental health is just as important as the physical health. There are a number of supports available, including:

Supports available for students

  • Well-being Centre, Student Centre, Room 220, Oshawa campus
  • Coaching and Support Centre, Room 180C, Whitby campus
  • DC Students Inc. Outreach Services:
  • Oshawa campus, Student Centre, Room 214
  • Whitby campus, Room 175B
  • Good2Talk Helpline (24/7): 1.866.925.5454
  • I.M. Well Student Assistance Program: 1.877.554.6935     

Supports available for employees 

  • Employee and Family Assistance Program: 1.844.880.9142 or 1.877.338.0275 (TTY service) or www.workhealthlife.com

Hygiene reminders:

  • As a reminder DC is encouraging students and employees to:
  • Wash your hands frequently. Use alcohol-based sanitizer if soap is not available.
  • Stay home if you are feeling ill.
  • Practice social distancing.
  • Avoid large crowds.
  • Sneeze or cough into your bent arm.

Current information and frequently asked questions about COVID-19 and DC’s response can be found at www.durhamcollege.ca/coronavirus.

In these uncertain times we are asking for your patience, cooperation and understanding as we work to balance the academic needs of our students, and the professional and personal needs of our employees, while also doing our part to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The college will continue to closely monitor the situation, knowing we need to remain flexible and responsive as things change. As always, we are committed to keeping the college community informed of the latest developments and plans.

We are not an institution to back down from a challenge. This is an opportunity for us all to come together locally and globally to support each other. 

We will get through this,

Don Lovisa,

President, Durham College