Welcome from Dr. David Wickes, President
It’s great to welcome back our students, staff and faculty from the summer recess as we begin the 2020-21 academic year. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which certainly nobody expected as we began the last academic year, we experienced challenges like never before. Like every other college and university across Canada, on-campus classes and laboratories came to a grinding halt, but through the perseverance of our students, faculty and staff we were able to quickly transition to online learning and working. Our Class of 2020 students all completed their clinical requirements and we were able to provide a meaningful virtual degree conferring ceremony for them. We stand together to proudly recognize the accomplishments of our students in these tough times.
We are excited to welcome another class of approximately 200 students to CMCC. Unlike any previous class, our new students are bravely beginning their chiropractic education in a virtual setting, with even our Orientation Week being done online. Fortunately, we have worked nonstop over the summer to develop and implement a plan for the safe return of students to laboratory classes – such as anatomy, chiropractic technique, and many diagnosis labs. As people begin to return to campus on September 8, they will be surprised by the many physical changes. These range from the conversion of the CCPA Hall into a giant technique lab, to one-way walking paths through the hallways, the blocking off of seats in many rooms so that we have safe distancing, and the placement of multiple portable handwashing stations.
All of our safety measures, new procedures, control protocols and guidelines have been consolidated into a single document, the CMCC Return to Campus Playbook. Every student and employee at CMCC must methodically read through the Playbook, and the accompanying Implementation Plan (both of which are featured on the CMCC website) and understand the “new normal” at our institution and how we can each participate in ensuring the safety of everyone learning, working, and providing patient care at our institution. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of preventive measures to protect against infection. I also must stress the importance of following public health guidelines while off campus. All the hard work we have accomplished in mitigating risk for persons on campus can quickly be undermined by students or employees engaging in reckless behaviours while off campus and unknowingly bringing the virus back to CMCC.
Our heavy investment in technology over the past several years has been a major advantage in preparing for much of our virtual learning necessary during the pandemic. Advanced technology devices such as our Anatomage® virtual dissection tables can be leveraged to help first year students safely learn the intricacies of the human body while still preserving the ability to learn through cadaveric dissection in the laboratory. Our iPad® requirement ensures that every student has access to our abundant digital learning resources and can take examinations online. The Panopto® lecture recording system we implemented several years ago has enabled our faculty to pre-record all lectures and make them available online. The Zoom® platform we have licensed is facilitating not only small-group sessions, but also the provision of telehealth services in our clinic system. Our Governors’ Club has donated funds to allow us to purchase a fourth high-fidelity training mannequin for the Simulation Lab. The new 85” interactive monitors in the lower-level multipurpose lab will be used to augment anatomy instruction, and other monitors have been deployed to the CCPA Hall.
We are pleased that our clinics are gradually resuming care in the GTA. It has been frustratingly slow progress while we deal with the many restrictions imposed by the province and the profession’s regulatory body. Many of our clinics are also embedded within centres operated by other organizations, so we must also abide by the additional limitations set by them. And unlike small private practices, we also have to take the time and deliberate steps to train more than 200 clinical faculty members and students in the new processes and protocols involved in delivering care in a pandemic. Some of our clinics and their pods were able to resume care more quickly than others and our clinic management team is working tirelessly to not only get all of our clinics back to full function but to also seek out additional opportunities for our interns.
I look forward to seeing and getting to know many of you over the next several months at CMCC events, even if it has to be done virtually for a while longer. Please stay safe and do your best to promote the health and emotional wellbeing of your colleagues and classmates.