The article published last week by Alex Usher, Fall 2021: Stop Fooling Around, challenges Canadian governments and educators to adapt, once again, to a continually evolving context. This time, the adaptation is not to the onset of a pandemic, but to emergence from it. Make no mistake, change is challenging no matter in which direction. As Mr. Usher points out, governments and institutions did adapt when COVID-19 hit. He also lays out valid data pointing to forthcoming changes as we emerge from the grip of this pandemic, and urges us to prepare for them now. What Mr. Usher highlights, among other issues, is the frustrating lack of clarity on how we will face the new, quickly approaching context of emergence and recovery.
The single most important action that governments and institutions can take at this time is to prepare for the coming changes and to announce how we will do that. We need a plan. First, we need governments to declare coherent plans for re-opening, in clear phases. Clear plans from governments will then allow institutions, partners, and students to make their own plans.
No one is asking for a crystal ball that provides guarantees, and of course, we need to be open to hiccups and even setbacks along the road – something we have all proven we can face. Languages Canada and representatives from other sectors like tourism and hospitality are advocating for clear plans from governments, and we encourage our members to stay in touch as we receive much-needed guidance from our country's leaders. While COVID-19 has taught us to take nothing for granted, some countries and economies are already shifting into recovery mode, and we risk missing important opportunities to embark on our own recovery if we are not ready to act as soon as health conditions allow it.