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Halifax’s Mount Saint Vincent University shifting to online learning for fall 2020

Mount Saint Vincent University on Sept. 19, 2019. Alexa MacLean/Global News

Mount Saint Vincent University announced Thursday that it will shift to online course delivery for the fall 2020 semester due to COVID-19.

“Given anticipated need for continued physical distancing, and based on an assessment of our space relative to that need, it was felt that this was the best way forward,” said Gillian Batten, spokesperson for MSVU, to global news in an e-mail.

“Making the decision now provides the time needed to prepare for a successful fall. Fortunately, MSVU’s long history in distance education means we have a solid foundation from which to build.”

READ MORE: Fall classes will mostly be done online amid COVID-19, some Canadian universities say

Batten said that through a new personalized advising program, “every new and returning MSVU student will be individually contacted this summer toward planning for their success this fall.”

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Dr. Mary Bluechardt, president and vice-chancellor of the university, also said in a statement that staff is currently exploring what the university’s on-campus operations, such as the library and students’ resident, might look like based on the latest Public Health advice.

In the meantime, MSVU’S Student Experience team is planning online orientation and support programs for new and returning students.

READ MORE: McGill University looks to take fall semester online amid coronavirus pandemic

“We will also continue conversation about our University’s 2020/2021 budget. This dialogue started much earlier this year, but budget approval was deferred as we sought to focus on our response to the pandemic,” said Bluechardt.

She said that these are fiscally challenging times, and that the university is working on measures like cost containment — “to balance the unprecedented financial challenges ahead.”

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