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Coronavirus: St. Lawrence College, Queen’s University advise students, faculty to avoid campus

Both Queen's University and St. Lawrence College are advising students and faculty to stay away from campus following public health advise for social distance in light of the novel coronavirus pandemic. Global News

The heads of St. Lawrence College and Queen’s University are advising students and faculty to avoid coming to campus in order to avoid spreading the novel coronavirus.

READ MORE: Coronavirus — Queen’s, St. Lawrence suspend classes for a week

Late last week, both institutions announced they would be cancelling classes over the March break week to allow time to plan for  online delivery of classes. For St. Lawrence, the move to online applied to all students, whereas only undergraduate students at Queen’s were affected by the change.

On Monday, Queen’s University principal Patrick Deane and president and CEO of St. Lawrence College Glenn Vollebregt announced major changes in service delivery at the post-secondary institutions.

St. Lawrence College

On Monday, Vollebregt announced that following concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic, all three of the college’s campuses would be limiting access down to essential services.

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This means that faculty and students would be asked not to come to campus, if not necessary.

“We are asking people to work from home, starting Tuesday, March 17. We are informing students and members of the general public not to come to campus. This is a tri-campus decision intended to help our communities flatten the curve against the spread of this virus,” Vollebregt wrote in a statement.

READ MORE: Latest updates — Coronavirus in Canada

All three St. Lawrence College campus sites will remain open, but access will be limited to one entrance, where visitors will be screened by security.

Students living on St. Lawrence College campus will be asked to go home, Vollebregt said.

“Residence staff are available to help students with decisions and planning. We understand that international and a few other students may need to remain in residence, and our residence management teams are prepared to ensure their needs are met,” Vollebregt said.

All staff, save cleaning, security and what the college deemed “essential services” staff — like payroll, HR, custodial, IT, security, and facility management — will be directed to work from home.

All student placements will be cancelled, but Vollebregt said staff and faculty are working on ways to ensure that students will be able to finish their winter semesters.

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Queen’s University

Deane announced major changes in operations at the university starting immediately, including that graduate students would be also moving to remote delivery of classes following the week off.

“There will be no more in person classes or labs for the duration of the term for undergraduate or graduate courses,” Deane said in a statement.

Queen’s will no longer have in-person exams except for dissertation defences.

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“Despite this change in format, our expectation is that students will complete the academic year, gaining course credits as appropriate, and those who are set to complete their programs, will do so. We are working diligently to avoid shutting down operations, but we must change the way we do things,” Deane said in a statement.

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Queen’s, too, is suggesting that all students who live on campus should try to go back home, or live at another location.

“We are not, however, requiring people to leave,” Deane said. “We understand not everyone has that option and we will continue to strive to keep required services in order to support those that must remain.”

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He added that convocations, as they are usually held, will not take place this year.

“As we work out alternative arrangements we will communicate them, but it seems prudent to let you know now that traditional spring convocation ceremonies will not take place,” Deane said.

Summer programming at the Bader International Centre will not be taking place, and all summer classes that are not online will be cancelled.

Where possible, Deane said staff should try to work remotely.

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