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Selkirk College Doing Its Part to Assist Vaccine Rollout

Selkirk College Vice President of College Services Kerry Clarke received his first dose of the vaccine in the first week of May on the Castlegar Campus. — Submitted photo

With the din of student activity on Selkirk College campuses dullened due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Campus Manager Tarunjit Jassar says providing space to Interior Health for its vaccination clinics has brought vital energy back to previously quiet hallways.

Since the vaccine clinics began on the Castlegar Campus and Nelson’s Tenth Street Campus in March 2021, residents from two of the region’s biggest population centres have been provided the doses aimed at getting life back to normal in British Columbia.

Utilizing spaces usually occupied by learners, teams of Interior Health nurses and support staff have been using the Castlegar Campus cafeteria and the Tenth Street Campus gymnasium for administering the vaccines.  

“We really wanted to support the community and its initiative to put the pandemic behind us,” Jassar says of Selkirk College’s contribution to the effort. “Our facilities are all about providing students the post-secondary education they desire, but obviously the shift to alternative methods of delivery has left a void. It’s a pleasure to see people on our campuses and in the hallways.”

When Interior Health was mobilizing for the vaccine rollout earlier this year, Selkirk College checked many of the boxes needed for success. With space to set up, ample parking for quick access and known locations, the partnership was a natural.

Waiving rental fees, the college helped adapt spaces to accommodate the clinics that have experienced a steady flow of people getting immunized.

“It has gone very well, it’s been excellent working with the nursing staff,” says Jassar, noting that many of those working on the frontlines of the clinics are Selkirk College Nursing Program alumni. “We have worked hard to make sure they have everything they need and they have been grateful in return.”

Showing Leadership During Times of Challenge

Selkirk College’s commitment to being part of the pandemic solution extends beyond providing space for clinics. As the college continues to work on its plans for a significant increase to in-person learning in September 2021, leadership is encouraging all residents of the region to do their part by getting the vaccine.

“We are very much looking forward to students safely returning to our campuses in the coming months, but this only works if we all make a commitment to the Provincial Government’s immunization plan,” says Kerry Clarke, Vice President of College Services.

“If we all do our part, it will be a successful year ahead with students and the community able to once again move about our campuses with confidence. It’s been a tough year, but the vaccines are the foundation we need for a return to more normal times.”

As the province counts backwards through the age groups to deliver the vaccines, Clarke happily received his first dose in early-May at the Castlegar Campus. Right down the hall from his office, the vice president’s smile at the immunization clinic was obvious under his mask.

“It’s a satisfying feeling to get the shot and know that you are part of making a small difference to a big problem,” says Clarke.

“Knowing that our facilities are an important part of the vaccine delivery, there is a certain level of pride that you take being a Selkirk College employee.”

Any resident who is 18-plus (born in 2003 or earlier) can now register for a COVID-19 vaccine, including all international and out-of-province students living in BC.

The vaccine is not mandatory to study, work or visit on campus, but Selkirk College is strongly encouraging all students and employees to get immunized.

The contract for use of space on the Castlegar Campus and Tenth Street Campus runs until August 2021 at which time it will be determined whether it is still required by Interior Health.

Find out more about Selkirk College’s pandemic health and safety plan at: https://selkirk.ca/COVID-safe