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University of Waterloo to continue with distance learning in winter semester

A University of Waterloo sign.
A University of Waterloo sign. Ahmad Fareed Khan / Global News

The University of Waterloo will join Wilfrid Laurier University in continuing to hold classes online during the winter semester.

“We had hoped to extend our gradual return to campus to more in-person classes next term, but the recent surge in COVID cases in Ontario means we are planning to continue our combined approach to learning for the winter 2021 term,” UWaterloo president Feridun Hamdullahpur wrote in a letter to students.

Read more: Ontario reports 478 new coronavirus cases, largest 1-day jump since early May

Waterloo Public Health reported 29 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, while the province announced 478 new positive tests for the coronavirus. Both are the highest totals the areas have seen since early May.

Hamdullahpur said the university made the decision now so students would have more time to plan ahead of the winter semester.

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Laurier made a similar announcement at the beginning of the month.

Hamdullahpur said some programs will continue to be held in person, giving examples such as “clinical programs, smaller undergraduate classes or seminars and research-based graduate students working in labs.“

Read more: Wilfrid Laurier University to continue remote learning in winter semester

The Waterloo president says the school has learned many lessons from previous online courses.

He said the school will continue to follow the advice of school experts and public health in making decisions on distance learning over the months ahead.

“We hope to enable on-campus experiences and supports for as many students as possible, subject to public health advice,” he said.

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