How Humber students are affected by COVID-19

by | Mar 30, 2020 | News

Ashley Radcliffe, News Reporter

The winter semester continues although the buildings at Humber College campuses were shut down March 16 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chris Whitaker, president and CEO of Humber College, said in a press release classes moved online as the campuses will remain closed for the duration of the semester, which ends April 17. 

One student, however, was concerned she wasn’t refunded the portion of their money for the amenities on campus she can’t access anymore such as gym, swimming pool, and parking passes.

Michelle Clark, an Event Management student, said she believes students should have been also been compensated for the five-week faculty strike in 2018.

“And now half way through the semester I’m required to stay home without a refund once again,” she said. “I simply don’t think this is fair.”

Humber joins the province’s colleges and universities by switching to online classes while businesses considered non-essential were ordered closed by Ontario in a bid to slow down the spread of the highly contagious virus.

Businesses, including retail giants such as Nike and Starbucks, are closed for at least two weeks to ensure the safety of employees and the public. The closure also affects small businesses.

“Due to the health and safety of my employees and customers, I have chosen to close my store until further notice,” said Carla Klouster, the owner of Yoka, a fashion shop in the Toronto Beach area.

“I can see that this will affect one of my employees especially seeing how she’s a student, but I will be sure to help her financially for the time being with her assisting to move my business online,” Klouster said.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced the state of emergency for the province on March 17. 

Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced a state of emergency March 17 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Flickr/Bruce Reeve)

The precautionary measures affected many students who worked for non-essential businesses because they had been laid off from their jobs. Non-essential businesses face a fine if they choose to ignore the order by Ford. The federal government has offered a plan to fund payrolls for small businesses.

Thanh Huynh, a Marketing Management student at Humber Lakeshore, said she works in a shop called Footaction, which shut down all of its locations.

“I understand the severity of the situation but seeing how I’m not having the option of being compensated while I’m away from work, raises many concerns for me,” she said.

list of essential workplaces was posted by the province on March 23 and updated six days later. These businesses include supply chains, grocery stores, food services and accommodations, and transportation.

A select amount of utilities has changed their policies to help people pay their bills. 

Phone companies such as Rogers have adjusted to their phone plans to accommodate clients’ needs.

“Any overage fees will be waived automatically, so customers don’t need to make any changes to their accounts,” Rogers said in a March 15 statement.