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St. Thomas University, UNB and Mount Allison to suspend classes due to coronavirus

St. Thomas University. Kevin Godwin/Global News

St. Thomas University in Fredericton has announced that as of Friday, all in-person classes will be suspended for the remainder of the teaching year, and any international or domestic student who wishes to travel home can do so.

“The situation is evolving throughout society and the impact on public institutions is starting to be profound and widespread,” Dawn Russell, the university’s president, said in a written statement.

READ MORE: New Brunswick’s chief medical officer of health supports possible closure of schools

Russell said she arrived at the decision in consultation with the university leadership, faculty and staff.

“Over the past three weeks, we have been taking direction from the Chief Medical Officer of Health/Public Health Website and we will continue to look to them for general guidance.”

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Russell said all instruction will be cancelled from March 16-18 and will resume on March 19 to provide time for students to return home and for faculty to determine alternative ways of delivering their course content and, if necessary, change their course syllabus.

READ MORE: New Brunswick confirms first presumptive coronavirus case, discourages mass gatherings

“Professors will communicate any course changes and deliver course material online where feasible,” she stated.

The university has also noted that it will continue with the dates set for the term, including the exam period dates.

“This is a decision taken with the best interests of our community in mind and in light of both the public health situation and growing anxiety,” Russell said.

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READ MORE: Coronavirus concerns prompt Princess Cruises to suspend operations for 2 months

“This will also create time and options so that the term can be completed.”

The University of New Brunswick has also announced that all in-person classes will be suspended for the remainder of the academic year effective as of Saturday.

According to a statement released by the university, starting Monday classes will resume remotely.

“We are working to ensure students will be able to finish their term on time, adhering to the current exam schedule,” the statement reads.

In the meantime, UNB’s campuses will remain open, including residences.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: New Brunswick public schools to close for 2 weeks, early learning centres still open

Beginning March 16, classes at Mount Allison in Sackville will also be suspended, according to a statement released by the university Friday night.

“Campus buildings will remain open to students, faculty, and staff only,” the university said.

The university is advising students to monitor their emails as faculty will be communicating to students the alternative arrangements that will be used to complete that component of the academic work.

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“Students will not be recalled to campus for final exams.”

On Wednesday, New Brunswick health officials announced the first confirmed case of COVID-19 — the disease caused by the novel coronavirus — in Atlantic Canada.

As of March 12, Canada has seen 150 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Globally, it has resulted in more than 125,000 infections and more than 4,600 deaths.

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