McGill University looks to take fall semester online amid coronavirus pandemic

McGill University said fall 2020 courses 'will be offered primarily through remote delivery platforms.'. Global News File Photo

McGill University students will be able to access classes online during the upcoming fall semester amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The academic institution, which physically closed in March under Quebec’s orders, announced the decision in a statement on Monday.

“To allow McGill students to begin, or continue, their academic path no matter where they are, fall 2020 courses will be offered primarily through remote delivery platforms,” the university said.

The Montreal-based university said the fall semester will start on time. It is also looking at having on-campus learning and other activities as the COVID-19 health crisis evolves and social-distancing restrictions are lifted.

“Keeping health and safety as its primary consideration, the university will aim to replicate virtually these activities to allow maximum participation by all,” McGill said in the statement.

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The Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) says it supports the decision from a health perspective, but that students are lacking too many details after the announcement.

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“I’m a bit disappointed in terms of the lack of information provided by the university regarding things like tuition and fees, whether or not certain services will be available to students,” said Madeline Wilson, vice-president of internal affairs at SSMU.”

The decision comes as elementary schools and daycares reopen in parts of the province outside of Greater Montreal. Quebec is the first province to reopen schools despite having the highest number of cases and deaths attributable to the virus.

In Quebec, high schools and post-secondary institutions will remain closed until the fall.

Montreal remains the epicentre of the virus in Canada, accounting for roughly half of the cases in Quebec.

Testing is being ramped up in hard-hit Montreal in the coming weeks as public health authorities are trying to get a handle on the high infection rates and outbreaks.

McGill, for its part, admitted that the semester “may be different than in years past” but that it is committed to providing high-quality education for its students.

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The Université de Montréal announced last week that most of its learning will be done from a distance given the circumstances.

Click to play video: 'Regional schools in Quebec carefully reopen'
Regional schools in Quebec carefully reopen

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