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University of Calgary moves to ‘remote learning’ after classes cancelled at several Alberta universities Friday

Classes cancelled at some Alberta universities amid COVID-19
Classes were cancelled at several Alberta universities on Friday, March 13, 2020 amid coronavirus concerns. Lauren Pullen has an update on COVID-19 in the province.

Students at the University of Calgary will be back in class on Monday, but it won’t be in person.

The university announced late Friday afternoon that after a day of consultation which cancelled classes on Friday, the decision was made to resume classes via “remote learning.”

The school said it would be using the “alternate forms of course delivery until the COVID-19 situation has stabilized.”

Classes at the University of Alberta, University of Calgary and University of Lethbridge were cancelled Friday in response to the ever-evolving COVID-19 situation.

On Thursday, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, said the emergency management cabinet committee had approved her recommendation that all large gatherings of more than 250 people in the province are to be cancelled.

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READ MORE: Coronavirus: Calgary cancellations and postponements due to COVID-19

Hinshaw said the measure did not apply to places of worship, airports or shopping centres and that schools and daycares could remain open, but she urged schools not to have more than 250 students in one room at any given time.

On Friday, all three universities posted notices on their websites, saying that though their facilities would be open with “all services available and staff at work,” classes are suspended for the day.

“This will allow consultation with public health experts, government officials and other post-secondary institutions on appropriate next steps,” the statements read.

READ MORE: What’s cancelled amid the novel coronavirus pandemic? Here’s a full list

The University of Calgary, University of Alberta and University of Lethbridge all have classes that exceed 250 students.

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On its website, the University of Calgary noted that classes are expected to resume on Monday.

READ MORE: How are Calgary schools and post-secondary institutions preparing for COVID-19?

At the University of Lethbridge, classes were also cancelled Friday. On Friday night, that university announced the continued suspension of classes on Monday and Tuesday as it shifts delivery to an alternative model to eliminate the need for on-campus classroom attendance beginning Wednesday.

“Following significant consultation with Alberta Health and fellow post-secondary institutions throughout the province, we will continue to suspend classes March 16 and 17 as we support this transition,” the university said on its website.

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“This approach is designed to limit large gatherings of people on campus — enhancing campus safety — and will be in place until the COVID-19 situation is stabilized.”

The university said students will be supported through the move to ensure credits or their ability to graduate is not affected.

Due to smaller class sizes, some facilities remain open

Other post-secondary institutions in the province will be operational on Friday, citing smaller class sizes.

Calgary’s Mount Royal University posted an update on its website on Friday that said it will remain open until further notice.

“The health and safety of our campus community is our top priority and we continue to follow the advice of Alberta Health Services,” the statement reads. “We’re continuing to work with the Ministry of Advanced Education and the Ministry of Health as this matter evolves.”

In addition, the Southern Alberta Insitute of Technology stated on its website that its campuses remain open.

In Edmonton, NAIT has said classes will continue as scheduled.

At Concordia University, they have moved to level 2 of their emergency plan, which means select classes are in session. However, some classes may move to “distance delivery.”

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In an email to Global News, a spokesperson for MacEwan University said classes haven’t been cancelled, and there are “no interruptions” to their other operations.

In Lethbridge, Lethbridge College tweeted that it remains open on Friday with no disruptions to classes.

Confused about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials say the risk is very low for Canadians, but they caution against travel to affected areas (a list can be found here). If you do travel to these places, they recommend you self-monitor to see whether you develop symptoms and if you do, to contact public health authorities.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. And if you get sick, stay at home.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.