Coast Mountain College students have been receiving grocery gift cards to meet immediate needs. (File photo)

Huge uptake on college grocery gift cards for students

And some programs are now finished

There’s been a huge student response to Coast Mountain College’s offer of grocery gift cards, says its communications director.

“Within three days we had reached about $30,000 in requests,” said Sarah Zimmerman of a $40,000 student COVID-19 emergency response program set up late last month.

”This was meant to meet the immediate needs of our students so we are pleased we were able to distribute so quickly.”

Each card is worth $250 with half of the $40,000 coming from college employees who have been taking part through payroll deductions in a program to finance scholarships, awards and bursaries and half from a foundation set up by the college some years ago.

The impetus for the emergency distribution came from the realization that many students have part time jobs but now may be unemployed because of business closures or store opening reductions.

Aside from the emergency program, college instructors moved quickly in March to shift classes to online video-supported or other instruction.

The majority of the university credit programs wrapped up earlier than would normally be the case with instructors ensuring students met course completion requirements.

”Instructors of all our courses have been given the option of applying the 70 per cent substantial completion to their courses, however, that is the minimum and the priority is always oriented towards achieving the learning outcomes,” said Carrie Nolan, a dean in charge of a college department meant to assist instructors in course instruction.

“With learning outcomes in mind, each instructor assessed where their learners were at in the progression of learning and determined what would be required to support achievement of the learning outcomes, creating distributed learning plans specific to their area of instruction that addressed the shift to a distributed learning model, final assessments of learning and communication.”

More complicated are various trades courses because of the requirement for hands-on equipment use at the college’s trades building.

“Programs will be focusing on the theory components and practical assessments that can be administered from a distance,” said college trades dean Kelly Swain.

She said the provincial Industry Training Authority has also provided information and guidance on completing some programs.

”Students who have completed 70 per cent of their course work at a 70 per cent grade or higher will have hit the threshold for substantial completion and will have completed their program.”

Swain did say, however, that for many of the college’s trades programs, completion does require hands-on components.

“For these programs we will continue to teach through distributed learning models until these programs can either continue on campus in a manner that takes into account the health and safety of our staff, students and faculty,” he said.

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