Updates from North American Trade Schools on the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

January 12th 2021, 12:00pm

Dear NATS Family,

Based on today’s announcement by the Ontario government, I wanted to provide an update on where we at Medix College & NATS currently stand:

Post-secondary institutions can remain open for virtual instruction, with limited exceptions where in-person instruction is required (e.g.,clinical training, trades), subject to physical distancing with limited exceptions. In-person teaching (each instructional space at the institution at one time) and in-person examinations cannot exceed 10 persons, with limited exemptions for programs that have been deemed essential to the fight against COVID-19.

As an organization, we encourage and will continue to accommodate all employees working remotely. For those employees who are required to be onsite at the campus, all existing COVID-19 protocols must continue to be strictly adhered to. I also want to sincerely commend and thank all of our essential front line staff whose daily efforts ensure that our campuses continue operating smoothly – we couldn’t do this without you.

I understand that there is some concern around attending in-person instruction at the campus in light of the government extending elementary schools’ remote learning. As a fellow parent, I understand firsthand how our schedules and patience will be challenged in the coming weeks but we must continue to persevere and move forward. Remember, we are essential in this fight against COVID-19 and must continue to train the healthcare and trades workers of tomorrow. I am confident that we will prevail as we have repeatedly demonstrated over the past 10 months just how adaptable and flexible we can be in the face of adversity.

I wish you all continued strength in your work and studies, and good health to you and your loved ones, as we move forward in confidence together.

Peter Dykstra, Vice-President

December 9th 2020, 12:00pm

I trust by now you have all heard the good news and share in our excitement of the announcement from the Minster of Colleges and Universities regarding a “Phased Approach to Reopening Post Secondary Education in Ontario that Prioritizes the Health and Safety of Students and Staff”.

We’ve been preparing for this eventuality and are ready to proceed with our own detailed plan to reopen that will involve a blended approach to online and in-class learning. This first phase will prioritize lab recovery and graduation requirements. In the interim, only a minimal number of students and employees will be physically present on our campuses at any one time.

Students, faculty and staff who will be asked to report to campus next month will be contacted directly in the coming days. For everyone else, our work-at-home and online programming will continue for the majority of our operations.

I want to emphasize the following: staffing on campus, at this stage, will be restricted to key-related functions for student lab completion and essential services. For further clarity, ONLY those students currently unable to complete their programs because they need physical time in our labs will be considered for this phase.

Due to the tremendous efforts and dedication of faculty and staff, the transition to remote learning over the last 3 months was very successful. We found an array of innovative ways to ensure students continued to receive high-quality programming during the pandemic. That being said, some programs require lab work and other in-person activities to fulfil the programs’ requirements.

Medix & NATS has developed a plan that includes guidelines for physical distancing, protocols for cleaning and rules for using personal protective equipment (PPE).

We will be sharing more details about our plans for limited July lab instruction in the coming days.

Peter Dykstra, Vice-President

May 1st 2020, 9:00am

Considering the provincial and federal mandates on essential services and physical distancing, we are unable to commence classes in person on May 11 as initially planned.  Our team has been tirelessly looking at ways to bring students back via distance learning despite the challenges I mentioned in my last update. We now anticipate it could take several months before we are able to physically return to class and as such, we have found ways to overcome many of these challenges. Depending on where you are at in your program, you may or may not start online instruction as of May 11, 2020. Your instructor will be in touch with you directly in the coming days to advise accordingly.

Please note the following:

  • Facilities will continue to remain closed. Only virtual interactions will be available starting May 11th, until we receive further direction around in-person gatherings from public health.
  • If you are a current student in the earlier stages of your program, your program will be taught online as of May 11. If you are nearing the end of your program or have completed all of the theoretical aspects your program, your student status will continue to be on hold and your end date will be extended accordingly.
  • If you are concerned about technology and your ability to attend classes virtually, we have taken this into consideration and will be sending you a survey to complete. Following the receipt of your response, we will do our best to support you accordingly.
  • We recognize that with school and daycare centre closures, attending class during your regularly scheduled time may be challenging. Therefore, attendance will be taken within a 24-hour period to provide you with the time to continue your learning at a time most convenient to you. For greater clarity, all full-time students must complete the daily lesson plan which could include: required readings, attend/watch a live/recorded video lecture, take an online exam as applicable or other daily activities as assigned by your instructor in order to be considered present for that day. You will then have 24-hours to view/complete all required work to be marked “Attended” for that day.
  • For HVAC Students, the TSSA requires mandatory attendance to live lectures daily. Your instructor will work with your class group to determine the most convenient time within your regularly scheduled class times to run the lectures for approximately 2-4 hours daily.
  • If you are considering starting a new program with NATS, you may apply online and complete a virtual tour, interview, assessment and complete registration. Some NATS programs will be starting virtually in the coming months.

Thank you for your patience and understanding while we work through this challenge together. I look forward to the day when we can resume classes in person however I am very excited to start our journey online on May 11.  We have done great things with our Healthcare College and will employ the best practices and lessons learned from them to ensure your transition online is as smooth and meaningful as possible. You may be interested in knowing that the recent satisfaction of our online students is as great or greater than that of our in school students.

I do ask for your understanding and patience as this is a big change for us all, including our instructors. I do however have full confidence that together we can make this a successful transition. The future of education may always be shaped with some form of virtual e-learning and you should be proud that you will be the pioneers for NATS and set the stage for those who follow behind you. We truly appreciate you being a NATS student.

Sincerely,

Peter Dykstra, Vice-President

April 2th 2020, 5:00pm

Considering the provincial and federal mandates on essential services and physical distancing, we are unable to commence classes on April 6th as planned.  Our team has been tirelessly looking at ways to bring students back via distance learning, however due the practical nature of our trades programs, regulatory body mandates and the challenges that you, our students, would face with increased daily hours, technology and accessibility, we have made the decision to mirror the government’s mandate and only re-commence classes when the provincial ban for schools & colleges has been lifted.

Please note the following:

  • Facilities will remain closed until May 7th for staff & faculty and May 11th for students.
  • If you are a current student, your program will be effectively on hold and your end date will be extended accordingly.
  • If you are considering starting a new program with NATS, you may apply online and complete a virtual tour, interview, assessment and complete registration for dates in the summer/fall.
  • In order to assist our students, we have not collected any tuition during the suspension. We will not require you to make any payments towards your tuition and other fees during this time.  Furthermore, as per the Ministry requirements, we are unable to release any student loans that would have come due during this period.
  • If you are a graduate worried about making student loan payments, please note that your student loan payment obligations will also be put on hold with no interest or principal due until September.
  • We recognize that these are trying times and we encourage you to make use of the supports that are available, remain positive and focus on your future. This is such a crucial time for education, the skilled trades industry is in desperate need of talent and will be even more so following this crisis.
  • Students, if you are feeling anxious or depressed during this unprecedented time, I would encourage you to reach out to the free, confidential hotline that has been set up by the Ministry:

www.Good2Talk.ca

1-866-925-5454

Thank you for your patience and understanding while we work through this challenge together.

I look forward to the day when we can resume classes and hope that you and your loved ones remain safe and healthy,

Peter Dykstra, Vice-President

March 24th 2020, 11:00am

Further to my March 20/20 notice, I first and foremost want to acknowledge the amazing work and dedication of our staff and faculty, particularly those whose roles have required them to be on site to support our students throughout the past week.  To our students, I look forward to sharing plans on how you will be continuing your programs despite the circumstances of not being able to be on campus.

Please note the following updates:

  • Premier Ford has ordered all non essential workplaces to close their doors effective tonight at midnight and Colleges & Universities have not been classified as essential therefore all our Ontario campuses will close March 25th until further notice. Essential Workplaces List
  • At this time, only individuals in identified critical positions are permitted on site.
  • All NATS Classes are being evaluated for distance delivery and alternative means without in-person meetings, labs or class sessions. Programs that are approved to be taught via distance delivery will resume on April 6th.  We plan to provide an update for all NATS students on or before April 2nd.

We recognize that these are trying times and we encourage you to make use of the supports that are available, remain positive and focus on your future. This is such a crucial time for education, the skilled trades industry is in desperate need of talent and will be even more so following this crisis.

In closing, I am confident we will all recover from this if we work together.  United, we can service with excellence the needs of our communities and the needs of you, our future graduates, by matching skills.

With care and concern for your well-being and in support of your academic studies,

Peter Dykstra, Vice-President

March 20th 2020, 11:00am

Further to my March 16/20 notice, our CCG Team has been working tirelessly to support you all during these challenging times.  First and foremost, our focus continues to be on ensuring the health and safety of our staff, students and our community by adhering to social distancing protocols. I also believe we have a responsibility to our community to continue to support our healthcare system in the province by continuing to train healthcare workers for the days ahead.

Please know that as a Team we recognize the many challenges that you are experiencing. Together we have agreed to be flexible whenever possible and to act with understanding and compassion. We will continue to work with students as we understand this situation is stressful for you. When proposing modifications to the course, instructors are carefully considering potential impacts on you, their students, in mind.

Please note the following:

  • As the situation continues to evolve our plan, if possible, is to have All NATS Classes resume on Monday April 6th.  Until then, students will not be permitted to come to the Campus.
  • In order to make up for the missed classes, we are looking into distance options and other ways to make up the missed time by extending daily hours and/or adding Friday classes in the months ahead.  We recognize that with these changes, attending class outside your regularly scheduled time may be challenging, however we are pursuing all options to ensure your program and graduation date is on track.
  • Any additional details for your specific program will be communicated to you via email via your program instructor.
  • Our Campuses will remain open under reduced hours for administrative support with increased protocol for screening all visitors.

In closing, I would like to thank everyone on our CCG Team and our students, for their commitment and resilience during this challenging time. It is so true that character and integrity rise above all else in the midst of a crisis and watching you all step up this week has been a humbling experience for me to witness. I am so honored and proud to lead this organization.

With care and concern for your well-being and in support of your academic studies,

Peter Dykstra, Vice-President

March 16th 2020, 3:00pm

Further to my March 15 notice, preparations are underway by the Career College Group to work through the COVID-19 situation while ensuring the health and safety of our staff, students and community. Please note the following:

  • All classes remain suspended from March 14 to March 22.
  • Beginning March 23 to April 3, many of our courses will be taught at a distance using our Learning Management System (LMS) and/ or other tools, therefore during this time students will not be required to come to campus.
  • Students will be notified on March 20th about their specific program’s plan for distance delivery and accordingly about their schedule for the coming weeks.
  • Effective Monday, March. 17 until at least April 4th, all clinical and field placements will be suspended for students on externship. However, if you are onsite with a healthcare facility that requires you to stay and support the front lines and you are willing to, please send a note to your coordinator confirming your placement and please remember at all times to stay safe.  Your commitment to your community is appreciated during this difficult time.
  • Our Campuses will remain open for small group and individual activities from 9am-7pm Monday-Thursday.

We understand that there is a lot of uncertainty during a situation like this and people have a lot of questions. We will continue to provide detailed updates as often as possible.

 

Stay safe,

 

Peter Dykstra, Vice-President

March 13th 2020, 11:30am

At this time, there are no known cases of COVID-19 in any of our campuses, but public health officials have suggested that we should be actively planning for its potential impact in our communities.

Classes and Other Academic Activities 

  • All classes & clinics will be suspended from Monday, March 16th to Sunday, March 22nd. This is being done so that College faculty and staff can appropriately plan for course delivery, labs, and services.
  • This shutdown will also allow deep cleaning of our labs and classrooms.
  • From Monday, March 23 to Friday, April 3 the decision to run courses will be communicated next week as we prepare and monitor the situation.
  • Campuses will remain open during this time with staff to support administrative duties.

We are fully aware of the concern and wish to let you know that Career College Group is taking the situation very seriously. We believe it is our role and responsibility to prioritize the health and safety of our students and staff while prioritizing the role we play in supporting our local healthcare communities. Preparations are being undertaken should we be directly affected by the virus.

We hope we will be able to complete our classes without disruption, but we are making contingency plans should there be an interruption based on directives from the Ministry of Colleges & Universities and Public Health. Our primary concern will always be to ensure that our students, staff and community stay safe and healthy. We will follow the direction of Public Health and communicate to all if there are additional measures required. For more information on the latest information, please visit: Coronavirus Public Health Link

Please be aware of risks, take precautions and think about the potential impact your actions could have on others.  If you are sick, please stay home.  Seek advice from healthcare professionals and get the medical information you need to care for yourself and others.

Our Colleges have overcome some significant challenges over the years, and now we must all play our part in addressing a serious public health crisis. I am always amazed by the strength and resiliency of our staff & students in approaching such issues head on and working toward solutions in a cooperative and collaborative manner. I know we can count on you to demonstrate that spirit once again.

Sincerely,

 

Peter Dykstra, Vice President