The University of Windsor is set to welcome international students with a rigorous pandemic plan approved by federal, provincial, and local health agencies.
International students new to the University or returning students who left after the last academic year are expected to start trickling into the city this month. Students will have to complete a comprehensive checklist before travelling to Canada and undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine period upon arrival.
Among the details the University requires from students as part of its COVID-19 readiness plan is their date of arrival and the address where they will be staying during quarantine. Students must also detail what arrangements they’ve made to feed themselves and obtain other necessities during quarantine.
UWindsor’s International Student Centre will track the students and keep in contact with them.
The University’s plan is meticulous, right down to securing a COVID-compliant shuttle service to transport students from Toronto to Windsor, said Christopher Busch, associate vice-president, enrolment management.
“We’ve developed a comprehensive plan to ensure the safety and well-being of both our international students and the broader community,” Busch said. The plan helps students stay healthy and puts in place supports if they fall ill, he said.
International students last year made up nearly one-quarter of the University’s enrolment. Some have established residences in Canada or are enrolled in programs that require them to attend campus. Pursuing online studies is difficult for those whose home countries experience electricity outages or poor internet access, or are in different time zones making it difficult to attend online classes in real time.
Busch stressed international students are an important part of UWindsor and Windsor and Essex County’s fabric. Integrating an international or inter-cultural perspective is important to higher education and is one of Windsor’s key priorities.
“International students contribute actively to the community, both economically and culturally,” he said. “We are not whole without them.”
A recent study by KPMG showed non-local students contribute $133 million to the Windsor-Essex region’s economy.
The University is currently in an essential-services model where almost all classes are online, all but essential staff are working from home, and visits to campus are limited. Students in residence have been assigned single rooms and the university is prepared to offer quarantine housing to students who contract the virus while living in shared accommodations off-campus.