Conestoga news

April 15, 2021 11:31 AM

Students will support COVID-Safe Ambassador program

Students in Conestoga’s Bachelor of Environmental Public Health program will support Waterloo Region’s new COVID-Safe Ambassador program - an initiative to help the local business community.

Through the program, which is free and voluntary for businesses, BEPH students will serve as ambassadors to provide businesses with customized information and resources based on Ontario’s colour-coded stages and framework. Businesses who work with the program’s ambassadors will receive a sticker to be displayed in the workplace’s window. The intention is to provide business owners, employees and patrons with additional confidence in the safety of the workplace.

“Since the onset of COVID-related safety measures, businesses have been asking for increased clarity and information on how to operate safely in different stages of the province’s framework,” said Helen Jowett, regional councillor and Regional Economic Development Committee chair in a news release. “The COVID-Safe Ambassador Program is a direct response to this need and is the first of its kind in Canada. We are certain it will help increase customer confidence as our region moves into economic recovery.”

The program -- designed by NSF International, a global public health and safety organization, in cooperation with Conestoga and local business organizations, and reviewed by Region of Waterloo Public Health -- is targeted to launch in early May and will support up to 5,000 small- and medium-sized enterprises across Waterloo Region.

Waterloo Regional Council approved funding for the COVID-Safe Ambassador program on March 31.

“The program will be staffed primarily by BEPH students who will visit retail settings and workplaces to ensure businesses understand the evolving COVID-19 practices and regulations,” explained Curt Monk, chair, Informatics & Life Sciences. “This will be a great formative experience for BEPH students as working with operators to gain compliance to protect public health will be the core of their work going forward.”

Conestoga’s Bachelor of Environmental Public Health (BEPH) is an innovative four-year program, delivered at the honours level, that prepares graduates for a number of progressive public and private sector careers as environmental public health professionals. Accredited by the Canadian Institute of Public Health Inspectors, students will obtain applied and integrated knowledge and skills in environmental public health sciences, emphasizing environmental epidemiology, toxicology and risk exposure and assessment.