FREDERICTON (GNB) – After experiencing an interruption to in-person, on campus learning due to COVID-19, students, faculty and staff of post-secondary education institutions should expect in-person, on-campus learning to resume this fall. During the 2020-21 school year, schools were limited to online learning as they adjusted in response to the virus.

“With the first doses of COVID-19 vaccines expected to be available to all New Brunswick adults by early summer, we are optimistic that these institutions will be able to offer on-campus instruction safely and successfully during the 2021-22 academic year,” said Dr. Jennifer Russell, the province’s chief medical officer of health. “The virus and its variants must still be taken seriously, however, we realize the pandemic has had negative effects on the mental health and financial stability of students and staff. Permitting a safe return to in-person education with continued adherence to public health measures is in everyone’s best interests.”

The Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour continues to work closely with Public Health and post-secondary institutions to promote the safest possible learning experience for students. Each institution is required to have in place a COVID-19 operational plan approved by Public Health.

“Our post-secondary institutions have done an excellent job of adapting to the challenges of the pandemic,” said Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Minister Trevor Holder. “We are confident that they are up to the next challenge, which is holding in-person classes once again. Through the ongoing collaborative work between the department, WorkSafeNB, Public Health and the institutions, I know we are ready for this step and well-positioned to react should there be a change in circumstances over the coming months.”

Holder noted that since post-secondary institutions are academically and administratively independent of government, they will make their own decisions on whether and when to resume in-person learning. They will also remain responsible for implementing their respective COVID-19-related safety protocols, as they were during the 2020-21 academic year.