Every year, registered practical nursing students at Humber College are required to complete 100 community service hours. While giving back to our community is always a rewarding task, COVID-19 has made this requirement difficult to complete in a safe and effective manner.
Although every establishment is required to follow set safety protocols put in place by the government, as students, and some of us who are parents to young children, there is still a great risk. Not all charity establishments are strictly following these protocols as many still have volunteers touching unsanitized donations and do not practice effective safety protocols nor supply adequate PPE, to keep students protected from COVID-19. Many, in fact, are not even accepting volunteers at this time because they realize the risk it has to the community.
As nursing students, we realize our career path requires us to come face to face with health and safety risks on a regular basis. We understand that community services are beneficial, however given the circumstances, they are an added potential risk that do not necessarily relate to the field of nursing.
Many educational institutions have removed parts of their curricula to adjust to the current circumstances and future unknown possibilities related to the health risks of COVID-19. Ontario Tech University has replaced practicum with group projects instead to decrease the spread of the virus and protect the health of their students. Several high schools have also followed suit and we request Humber College to take part in modifying their program requirements for student safety.
Humber College has already pushed back our return to campus to fulfill lab requirements and informed students of the strict protocols that will be in place such as; limited amount of students in each lab at a time, social distancing, proper sanitation, PPE and practicing nursing skills on mannequins instead of other students. We would like to ask that Humber College apply the same concern for our safety when considering a change in the obligation of community service hours to help flatten the curve of cases.
Given that this pandemic has also caused a lot of financial strain on families, now is not the best time to give up a lot of our hours to volunteer. Especially when most of us have families to provide for.
We would like the Nursing faculty at Humber College to reconsider the requirements regarding the community service hours by reducing the amount of hours needed or completely erasing them from the curriculum for the 2020-2021 year given the circumstances at hand. Please sign the petition for our voices to be heard and our concerns to be recognized.