Students back in class after five-week college strike College Strike, News

Picketers stand outside the entrance to a Humber College North campus parking lot. (Sulaiman Akbari)

By: Wrence Trinidad and Jason Ramroop

Half a million Ontario college students returned to class this Tuesday to eagerly pick up where they left off over a month ago.

The five-week long strike has officially come to an end, courtesy of back-to-work legislation passed by the provincial Liberal government on the weekend.

“It’s definitely nice to be back, especially because I’m the kind of person who likes routine,” said exercise science student Zach Skubnik. “The past five weeks have been kind of jaded.”

Humber College has made several adjustments to ease students back into the revised school year.

The academic calendar has had both the fall and winter semesters cut down to 13 weeks from 15. Instead of missing five weeks worth of class, students will now only lose two weeks of class from each semester.  

“I think one thing students do not understand or one thing students are unaware of is that in the education business, we don’t talk in terms of weeks of education, we talk in terms of learning outcomes,” said Andrew Ainsworth, Associate Dean at the School of Media Studies and Information Technology.

“So I think that the missing two weeks is unfortunate, but I think that faculty can adjust so that the learning outcomes are achieved or some learning outcomes might be combined or others might be deferred until another semester if they can be,” he continued.

The last day of class before the winter break will be pushed back to Dec. 22, a week after the original date of Dec. 15. Winter break will then proceed for two weeks and end on Jan. 7.

To compensate for the time lost during the strike, the fall semester will continue into January, starting from Jan. 8 until Jan. 23.

The winter semester will officially begin on Jan. 29, and the last day of classes/exams for all students will be on April 27, the original set date.

Subsequently, there will be no reading week from Feb. 19 to Feb. 23.

Despite the schedule revisions, Humber students still feel far from being on the right track.

“Everything is piling up right now,” said Kogul Bala, a computer engineering student.

“It’s the first day back and I already have three midterms next week.  It’s pretty stressful… everyone should get refunded.”

Ontario college students will be given the option to drop the current semester and receive a full tuition refund. Starting from the resumption of classes on Tuesday, students will have two weeks to decide whether to withdraw or not.

Additionally, full-time and international college students will also be eligible to receive up to $500 for incremental, unexpected costs they incurred because of the strike. Humber plans to launch the application process for the student fund at the end of this week.

While money can aid most people in any given situation, it is not the only resource Humber students need.

“With everyone coming back, they really need to focus in on students with stress, especially international students. [The last thing] they should be worrying about is their Visas expiring,” said Skubnik.

Students back in class after five-week college strike
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