University of Saskatchewan managing coronavirus impact heading into fall semester

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WATCH: University of Saskatchewan leadership has worked out a plan and is currently operating a balanced budget – Jun 26, 2020

The University of Saskatchewan has outlined its steps to withstand the economic impact of the novel coronavirus.

The post-secondary institution appears to have mapped out its financial future for the upcoming academic year.

Read more: Petition calls for reduced University of Saskatchewan tuition with classes online this fall

University leadership has worked out a plan and is currently operating a balanced budget.

“The university will have to make significant changes to continue to keep that budget sustainable and solid,” sad vice-president of finance and resources Greg Fowler.

So far those changes include online classes through the fall semester and limited on-campus services.

Read more: University of Saskatchewan temporarily lays off more than 300 employees

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The university has laid off more than 300 employees temporarily and dozens permanently.

One of the unions is concerned about the number of students who will come back to the school, virtually or otherwise.

“The funding levels are going to be hard to come back to especially if tuition revenue continues to fall. I mean if we don’t have any international students coming back to Canada, that’s going to impact a lot of universities across the nation,” ASPA president Curtis Larson said.

According to the university’s snapshot of enrolment for 2019-20, more than 25,700 registered for classes and more than 3300 were international students.

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However, that ratio increases when looking at graduate students. Nearly 40 per cent of all graduate students are listed as international students.

Read more: University of Saskatchewan freezes tuition in 2020-21 for most programs

Fowler is sure students who are already enrolled will continue their education with the university.

He’s focused on capturing and retaining first-year international students in undergrad and graduate programs.

“You know it’s something we’re confident we’re doing as much as we can. Of course, we are concerned about the ability of international students to attend and that enrollment number,” he told Global News.

The university said it has seen increases of three and 19 per cent in enrollment over the spring and summer semesters respectively.

Fowler added while the budget is balanced on an ongoing basis, the university will have to tackle financial adjustments over the next several years.

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

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To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out. In situations where you can’t keep a safe distance from others, public health officials recommend the use of a non-medical face mask or covering to prevent spreading the respiratory droplets that can carry the virus.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

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