SJU Welcomes a Positive Start to Fall Term
With students starting their first full week of classes, there are many reasons why St. Jerome’s University (SJU) is feeling positive about the fall term. Campus re-opened last week to a modified level of on campus activities aligned with pandemic protocols, including 12 courses being offered on site, residence at 70% of capacity, and the library and Funcken Café services opening with adjusted hours of service.
“We are thrilled to see students back on campus, and following the safety guidelines put in place as part of the ongoing pandemic response,” noted SJU’s President and Vice Chancellor, Peter Meehan. “Our Campus Response Team has worked tirelessly with our partners at the University of Waterloo, government, and Public Health to offer a safe on campus experience. The fall term is just step one of getting back into on campus routines. We look forward to broadening our services and use of space as it becomes safe to do so.”
Students on campus face new expectations associated with the reopening, including a Proof of Vaccination and Daily Campus Check-in requirement, wearing masks, and signage to follow for room occupancy limits, safe travel in hallways, and eating in designated dining areas. The University has reinforced that it is a shared responsibility for all members of the community to keep to the protocols to ensure campus remains safe.
“SJU Student Affairs is thrilled to see a buzz of student activity on campus again,” noted Director, Student Affairs, Jessica Vorsteveld, “including our ability to offer in-person advising and wellness appointments. We are putting a lot of energy into ensuring students are aware of the new measures in place, emphasizing the importance of these in the context of responsible and intentional community building."
Instructors are similarly positive whether they are engaging with students in online courses or among those returning to reduced density classrooms to teach in person.
“It was lovely to be back in the classroom and to get to witness learning as a community endeavour again,” shared SJU’s Associate Dean, and Department of English Associate Professor, Veronica Austen. “Hearing student voices in real time again. . . recalling that learning can be loud rather than careful and poised . . .are wonderful things to remember. In essence, 3D existence is a nice thing to which to return.”
For students, the return to campus has been a welcomed change. The blended model of on campus interaction with online opportunities offers the best of both given the circumstances. Third-year Honours Science and Business student Solana Redway-Ziola is working her co-op term placement at SJU. She looked forward to having the opportunity to work alongside Student Affairs colleagues in person.
“After doing a year and a half of school online it is so refreshing to be able to be on campus again! I am able to complete my co-op at SJU and meet co-workers, Dons, and students in person, while maintaining all of the proper safety measures," stated Redway-Ziola. "Wearing a mask, social distancing and following all health guidelines has eased my anxiety and increased my excitement for what’s ahead.”