Ottawa post-secondary institutions asking students living in residence to leave amid coronavirus pandemic

University of Ottawa students living in residence have been asked to move out by Sunday afternoon due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Nick Westoll / File / Global News

Following the announcement of Ontario’s state of emergency due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, the University of Ottawa, Carleton University and Algonquin College are asking students in residence to vacate their rooms by Sunday.

As of early Wednesday morning, Ottawa has 13 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the city.

READ MORE: Ontario government declares state of emergency amid coronavirus pandemic

An email sent to University of Ottawa students on Tuesday said international students and those with “exceptional circumstances” will not be forced to move out.

“This difficult and drastic decision has not been taken lightly, but we deem it an appropriate response to the public health emergency caused by the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. It is another critical step in our necessary efforts to employ social distancing to flatten the infection curve and reduce the impact of the virus,” the email said.

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The university is saying those who can move out should be gone by Sunday at 4 p.m.

A statement on Carleton University’s website, posted Wednesday morning, also asked students in residence to leave their rooms by Sunday at 4 p.m.

“Residents who move out by 4 p.m. on March 22, 2020 will be provided a pro-rated refund for residence and meal plan costs,” the Carleton statement read.

Algonquin College asked students “who are able to move out” to leave their residences by end of day Sunday.

“The Ottawa campus will be refunding residence fees on a pro-rated basis for students who voluntarily choose to move out of residences by Sunday, March 22,” an Algonqin College statement, posted to the school’s website Wednesday, said.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to change rapidly. On Tuesday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford declared a state of emergency in the province.

READ MORE: Coronavirus — Classes to move online for University of Ottawa, Carleton University, Algonquin College

Last week, along with Carleton University, the University of Ottawa announced it would be moving to online classes starting March 18 but that campus would still remain open.

Now, most students in residence have until 4 p.m. Sunday to leave their rooms.

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As for the provincial state of emergency, although many “essential services” will continue operating for the time being, the following have been closed:

  • Facilities providing recreational programs
  • Libraries
  • Private schools
  • Licensed child-care centres
  • Bars and restaurants (takeout and delivery permitted)
  • Theatres, cinemas and concert venues

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