Dear Saints, Including Our Many First-Year Students:
I hope this message finds you healthy, safe and well during these extraordinary times. It is an understatement to say that St. Clair College’s Spring 2020 semester commences under unusual circumstances and in a somewhat unconventional manner. All of you will be studying, for the time-being, at home … and, for many of our new international students, in your homelands, due to the travel restrictions which have temporarily prevented your journeys to Canada.
The entire St. Clair family of employees and student leaders regret that the COVID-19 pandemic has kept us from welcoming you in face-to-face fashion. And we very much look forward to the day when this health crisis has eased, when you will be strolling the hallways of our campuses, be seated in classrooms with your professors, and afterwards enjoying the social atmosphere unique to college life.
As we await that wonderful day, let me assure you that you will be very well served by our alternative academic plan: namely, the on-line delivery of your program’s curriculum.
When the pandemic arose in mid-March, we had to convert the final six weeks of the Winter 2020 semester from in-person to on-line format. In the span of one week, our remarkable faculty members switched all of their lectures, lesson plans and assignments to video-linked and electronic formats. That permitted the successful conclusion of the semester; and, for many students, the culmination of their graduating year. That newfound expertise will now be applied to this, the Spring semester, providing you with an on-line education which still allows you to interact with your professors and classmates.
All St. Clair departments and student support services are still very much active and accessible to you as well. Our Information Technology Department, for instance, has arranged for numerous free downloads of software packages that you may need in your courses. You’ll be directed to electronic versions of your textbooks. The College’s Library has vastly expanded its on-line reading and research materials. Our international education, academic and mental health counsellors are accessible on-line. Even your student organizations are still providing you with services – just a few weeks ago, they arranged for students to connect to a series of on-line musical concerts. And the Registrar’s Office is always standing by for your enquiries about enrolment and finances. Whenever you need help with anything, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. That is our general “clearing house” for submissions; staffers there will either immediately provide you with assistance or forward your enquiry to someone who will.
Please, also, take a comprehensive tour of the College’s website at https://www.stclaircollege.ca – and, especially, the student-based section of that (https://www.stclaircollege.ca/st-clair-space). There, you’ll find a description of virtually every department and service at the College and email addresses so that you can directly communicate with our helpful staff.
Your responsibility in all of this entails being extremely disciplined in your studies. The on-line format, especially, demands that you be conscientious about logging in for your lectures, asking questions when you need clarifications, doing your assignments with integrity, and practicing good time-management. I encourage you to please seek help and advice as soon as you need it: don’t wait and let your difficulties multiply, reach out for assistance at the first sign of feeling unsure.
As mentioned previously, this is not the way we wanted to stage this semester. We fervently wished to have you on campus, in-person, both to welcome you and to teach you.
But this is the next best thing: to at least have you face-to-face with your professors on computer monitor screens, while we all await the resolution of this global health crisis.
I hope that we’ll all see that pandemic-free day soon, when we can all gather as one – as the St. Clair family of students and staff, jointly pursuing excellence in education.
Patti France, M.Ad.Ed.