Fleming College moves online; landlord worries about vacant rentals

By Kirk Winter

Beginning Sept. 8, Fleming College in Lindsay and Peterborough will start its fall semester using online and alternative delivery methods.

The college hopes that through the implementation of its Fleming Safe plan the school will be able to ensure that students can complete their programs while maintaining the highest possible safety standards in compliance with all government and public health directives.

A Lindsay landlord who rents regularly to Fleming students and who didn’t want to be identified was contacted for background on the story. He is concerned since he is normally fully rented for the fall by now.

“I have a house full of students from India. They told me in March they wouldn’t be coming back until the pandemic was done and borders were open, and even then, they might be looking for a school closer to home.”

The landlord added he knows other students are hedging their bets and working online until they are called back by the college.

Maureen Adamson, president of Fleming College, says in a recent press release that the fall semester “will be delivered through alternative models as we prepare for multiple scenarios for our campuses and classrooms to create the utmost in safe learning environments.”

“We will follow guidelines from public health and the province, and our delivery decisions will be focused on the health and safety of everyone in our community.”

Adamson continued, “The plan allows flexibility to react to loosening the health and safety restrictions by being ready to begin face-to-face, applied learning responsibly and appropriately. We do not anticipate that all health and safety restrictions will be lifted at once. We are ready to respond swiftly to advance students effectively given the circumstances that will present themselves.”

The Lindsay landlord notes that if the pandemic drags out closer to Christmas, “you just might see a lot of rental property come on the real estate market.”

“Renting to Fleming kids has always been predictable and an easy way to fill a house. Maybe the gravy train has come to an end as we figure out a world with this virus.”

The landlord added, “The bars and grocery stores are going to take a huge hit to their bottom line if the kids either come back late or don’t come back at all in the numbers we are used to seeing.”

The press release added that Fleming will be working with community partners to re-establish field placements, field trips, clinical placements and other applied learning opportunities aligned with health and safety directives. Other issues identified by the college as areas of concern included assessing how students will safely access residence, food services and athletics.

Fleming is joining dozens of post-secondary institutions across North America, including McGill University in Montreal and Trent University in Peterborough, which are planning for a fall semester with no face-to-face classes.

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