During the pandemic & online classes, Queen’s must continue offering support for students

Cassidy photo
With classes now online, many students are restricted to their homes when completing course work this year, whether in the University District or scattered across the globe. To support all its students’ needs and ensure success, regardless of location, Queen’s needs to maintain and increase the quality of its student resources.
While there’s a heightened demand for mental health support during the COVID-19 pandemic and online classes, there’s also a newly heightened disparity between students who can and can’t access services through Queen’s while taking courses remotely.
In offering various mental health services available to students remotely—including having the AMS Peer Support Centre and counselling services from Student Wellness Services available online—Queen’s has adapted to support students as it would in regular years. 
However, when students are off-campus, access to online services can be a struggle. International students will likely face barriers in accessing Queen’s services due to significant differences in time zones. Likewise, students in remote rural areas might experience poor internet connection, making both classes and support services inaccessible.
Queen’s should also provide more adequate academic support to ensure students are still receiving the same quality education as they would have on campus. 
With courses changing structurally, asynchronous lectures being significantly shorter than traditional in-person ones, and courses such as ARTH 292 having course content significantly limited, students across multiple faculties have had to adjust to new ways of learning. 
While supports such as QSAS (Queen’s Student Accessibility Sevices) and tutoring are still being offered, the inability to access these services in person further contributes to the overall barriers to support services. Whereas in previous years students could simply drop into a professor’s office hours or visit QSAS in the back of Stauffer, online access to these services forces students to wait longer for the help they need. 
If Queen’s truly hopes to maintain a similar quality of student experience to previous years, it must take student needs into consideration, especially when preparing remote supports. By requiring professors and TAs to hold drop-in office hours for students, as well as creating support networks among students in different provinces and countries, Queen’s would better look after the overall remote academic experience.
While the University has adapted on a major scale to allow for students to continue learning online, it needs to not only maintain its current remote services, but continue to improve them to keep the student experience up to par with past years.
Cassidy is a fifth-year Philosophy student and one of The Journal’s Assistant 
News Editors.

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