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Classes begin at Algonquin

By Stephen Uhler, The Daily Observer

Algonquin College's Waterfront Campus in Pembroke, Ont.

Algonquin College's Waterfront Campus in Pembroke, Ont.

The college strike is over, and now it is time to pick up the pieces.

 

Students attending Algonquin College returned to class Tuesday following the legislated end of the five-week long strike by their instructors.

As expected, the Ontario Legislature passed back-to-work legislation on Sunday following a special weekend sitting, after the NDP blocked swift passage of the bill on Thursday.

The law brings to an end to a strike which saw around 500,000 students left out of class since 12,000 professors, instructors, counsellors, and librarians began their job action Oct. 15. Binding arbitration will be used to deal with the dispute between the colleges and their faculty.

On Monday, faculty got together on campus to try and figure out a way to salvage the semester without putting further strain on their students. Faculty members were working out recovery plans for their courses, which will differ from course to course, depending on the nature of the program.

On an information page set up online by the college for its students, it states fall semester classes will be extended until Friday, Dec. 22 and will start again on Tuesday, Jan. 2. If students have regularly scheduled Saturday classes, they may have a class on Saturday, Dec. 23 but they will be notified as soon as possible if this is the case.

Final exam week, Dec. 9 to 16, has been postponed and will now be used for classes. The 2017 fall term will now end on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018 for most programs.

The college will be closed for Christmas break from the end of day on Friday, Dec. 22, 2017 until Jan. 1, 2018. This time period is guaranteed and will not be used for classes or exams, no matter how the semester is restructured. The February Study Break Week of Feb. 19 to 23 will still be happening.

The business of compensating students for lost time, cancelled travel plans and the like will be dealt with at a later date.

In a pair of online letters sent to students and staff, Algonquin College President Cheryl Jensen encouraged everyone to work towards getting everything back on track.

“We have come through a challenging time, but I believe we have tried to work through our situation in the best way possible — caring for each other, learning from each other, upholding our integrity and respecting each other through it all, I would like us to continue on in the same way, with a good mind,” she wrote.

“Now, we all need to focus on the process of rebuilding relationships and routines across the college community. This will take time and understanding, but I am confident we are ready to face this task. I ask for your patience as we take care of all the details that will get us back on track,” Jensen said.

Representatives of OPSEU were unavailable for comment by press time.

SUhler@postmedia.com