December 15, 2021
OUSA releases policy paper titled “Responding to COVID-19”
TORONTO - The Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA) is proud to release the second policy paper approved by OUSA’s Fall 2021 General Assembly, Responding to COVID-19. The paper was written, approved, and published by students with the purpose of bringing attention to student concerns and recommendations that address the educational, health, and financial needs of post-secondary students as they continuously adapt to the rapidly changing pandemic climate.
"The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are still severely affecting students and their post-secondary experience on a variety of fronts,” said Eunice Oladejo, OUSA President and VP External Affairs at the University Students’ Council at Western. “It is crucial that students receive substantial support to not only mitigate immediate pandemic-related effects, but also any long-term implications.”
An update from last year, this paper highlights a combination of student concerns that have carried over from the onset of the pandemic with new ones that have arisen given the gradual shift towards hybrid and in-person learning. In particular, students are worried about the quality of online learning, inadequate institutional response, and risks to their health and safety on-campus. They have also cited concerns about accessing mental health resources, support for student caregivers, financial security, and employment outcomes.
To address these concerns, students offer various evidence-based recommendations that enhance online learning spaces, add clarity to institutional responses, and protect their health and safety. Additionally, they provide recommendations that increase access to mental health support, ease the burden on student caregivers, address post-secondary affordability, and expand employment opportunities.
"Almost two years into the pandemic, students are cautious but hopeful about experiencing post-secondary either in-person or in ways that accommodate their learning needs,” said Austin Hurley, VP External Affairs at the Brock University Students’ Union and OUSA Steering Committee Member. "Looking forward to a pandemic recovery, we hope that the provincial government will seriously consider our recommendations to support the accessibility, quality, and affordability of post-secondary education."
This policy paper and its recommendations were developed by students at OUSA’s member schools. It was passed on October 31, 2021 at OUSA’s Fall General Assembly, held virtually.
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OUSA represents the interests of 150,000 professional and undergraduate, full-time and part-time university students at eight student associations across Ontario. Our vision is for an accessible, affordable, accountable, and high quality post-secondary education in Ontario.
Operations & Communications Coordinator
Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance