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Dalhousie, UKings move all courses online until January

Dalhousie.
Dalhousie. Alicia Draus / Global News

Several Nova Scotia universities have made final decisions to move all fall term courses online as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

Joining Cape Breton University and Mount Saint Vincent University, Dalhousie University and the University of King’s College announced Friday that all in-person classes are shifted to online until January 2021.

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

“Our top priorities are the safety of our entire community and our continuing high-quality academic experience,” said Dalhousie president Deep Saini in a press release.

This decision comes with limited exceptions for programs involving extensive experiential learning, such as medicine, dentistry and agriculture.

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

Dalhousie also announced it is investing over $1 million on additional online classes and increased virtual support for students.

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According to the press release, more details about the university’s reopening plan will come in June.

In the meantime, international students at Dalhousie have started an appeal on Change, a petition website, asking the university to reduce or waive its international tuition fee for the upcoming fall and winter term.

The appeal, which now has over 900 signatures, is being addressed to Dalhousie president Deep Saini, Provost and Vice-President Dr. Teresa Balser and the International Centre.

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“We are requesting for the reduction of the tuition fee given the current COVID-19 pandemic which has led to the pause in our families regular income in addition to our ability to get summer jobs,” the petition reads. “This is severely straining our financial equilibrium.”The petition states that international students are not eligible for financial stimulus from the Canadian government, which makes them mainly dependent on their summer jobs and family income for the payment of tuition fees.
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“The pause of our expected incomes, because of the pandemic, would make it severely difficult to impossible for us to pay the fee for the upcoming Fall and Winter terms,” the statement reads.“Given that we could not have predicted such a global pandemic, it is the duty of the university to support their International students by reducing the burden given the grave impact that this situation has had financially on us.”

University of King’s College releases its plan

On Wednesday, the University of King’s College released its plans for teaching and learning in the coming fall term.

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The university said it will be offering its courses online in September. However, some in-person teaching may be delivered in the winter term in ways that comply with public health directives on physical distancing and the size of gatherings.

Should this happen, students will be able to continue taking any course at King’s they want to take through online learning.

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

“In other words, if a student’s preference is to continue their studies on-line throughout both semesters in the coming year, they will be able to do that at King’s,” said the university in a statement.

King’s also announced that it is working on a plan to reopen its campus to first allow staff and faculty, and then students, to be once again physically on-site if they so choose.

“This plan is being developed to ensure compliance with the public health requirements on physical distancing and limiting the size of gatherings that are likely to remain in effect over the coming year in Nova Scotia and across Canada,” stated the university.

READ MORE: Coronavirus is changing how university works. What does the future hold for students?

The university hopes to have the plan in effect before Sept. 1.

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King’s also noted that during this challenging economic time, in addition to the bursaries they always offer, the university will be offering supplementary funding to help students facing financial difficulties caused by the pandemic.

“These bursaries are meant to supplement the support being provided through the governmental responses to student need in the form of both student employment and student loans,” ukings said.