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Canadian Universities Respond to COVID-19 (a student perspective)

The global pandemic has changed the way Canadian universities are offering courses for the current semester, with most universities offering online courses to maintain social distancing and to reduce the spread of COVID-19. While the world is on a lockdown, universities are doing their best to continue providing support to their students.

The online classes usually consist of video conference with the professor, online access to notes and PowerPoints, and online assignments and quizzes. These online classes are not necessarily difficult to navigate and have been a learning experience for a lot of students as well as professors who are trying them for the first time. Many universities have also eased up on the grading system in midst of the pandemic. From my personal perspective as a current student at Saint Mary’s University, I think that the schools are putting in a lot of efforts to understand the situation and aid Canadian as well as international students.

With the classes being delivered online, students who wish to return home, are able to do so while continuing the remaining semester virtually. A lot of professors have also shown sensitivity to the issue and have been considerate of any individual concerns related to the online classes by offering office hours virtually to the students. I think that the overall response of the Canadian universities in general has been noteworthy.

We must understand that this global crisis has had an impact on the professors and administrative staff of the university as well, but their response has been relatively quick so that the students do not have to extend their degree program. Since the universities have switched to online learning, Canadian immigration has also eased up their guidelines for post graduate work permit application allowing international students who have opted for online classes and have returned home during this period to still be eligible for the PGWP. As Canada has become home to a lot of international students in the recent years, the needs of international students have not been ignored even with the ongoing uncertainty.

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