Canadian colleges, universities tell students to vacate dorms amid coronavirus pandemic

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Students at several post-secondary institutions are being asked or told to move out of their dorms in response to COVID-19.

The University of Ottawa is requiring all students aside from international ones or those with “exceptional circumstances” to fully vacate their rooms by Sunday afternoon.

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The university says the move represents a “critical step” in reducing the spread and impact of the virus.

Toronto’s Ryerson University has issued a similar directive, but says students have until Monday to leave.

It says students who are unable to go home due to travel restrictions or need extra time to arrange an out-of-province move can apply for an exception.

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Wilfrid Laurier University also said all students need to move out of residences.

The university said only under exceptional circumstances will students be permitted to remain residence, which includes international students, out-of-province students who need extra time to move out, students who live more than five hours away, and students who are self-isolating.

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Other universities and colleges, including Algonquin College, say they are asking, but not requiring, students to move out of campus residences.

A spokeswoman for Algonquin says the school expects 50 to 75 per cent of students will voluntarily vacate its Ottawa dorm, which has 1,040 beds.