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Educating in a Pandemic

Faculty Members and Industry Supporters wearing Harris masks

TORONTO, ON, CANADA, September 25, 2020 / -- Harris Institute opened for in-person classes on August 10, 2020 with a wide range of safety protocols. The reopening has gone smoothly and a number of our protocols may be of interest to other post-secondary schools.

Universities and colleges across North America are spending tens of millions of dollars on sanitizing their campuses. We have a system in place that ensures continuous sanitation at a moderate cost. At the entrance to all rooms students take disinfectant wipes and clean the areas they are using before and after use. All surfaces are continually disinfected with students taking responsibility for the safety of their environment. This has worked well, is relatively inexpensive and can be maintained indefinitely.

A number of faculty who are in the vulnerable age or health category are teaching from home to students in the classroom via Zoom. The modest cost of additional cameras in the classroom has enabled enhanced connectivity and students benefit from in-person interactions while keeping the vulnerable safe. This method will be used in the future for busy faculty members with travel commitments.

Relaxing and eliminating safety protocols will be more challenging than creating them. Governments are currently experiencing this. We have established a Health & Safety Committee comprised of members from each class. They will be responsible for deciding by a qualified majority (4 out of 5) changes in all the current protocols. Students will be involved in and take responsibility for maintaining their safe environment. I have witnessed over many years, starting with students creating our Academic Policies, that giving responsibility leads to responsible behaviour.

John Harris
President, Harris Institute

John Harris
Harris Institute
+1 416-836-5569
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