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University of Calgary students call out last-minute shift to online learning

Online learning. Getty Images

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact operations at Alberta universities.

The University of Calgary’s student union is speaking out over a change they say is hitting students hard financially.

Read more: University of Calgary planning return to in-person learning this fall

The U of C allowed instructors until Aug. 20 to determine how they would deliver courses for the fall semester.

Officials say 10 per cent of course components were shifted online over the month of August as COVID-19 cases rose.

Click to play video: 'Students, faculty voice concerns over UCalgary return-to-campus plan' Students, faculty voice concerns over UCalgary return-to-campus plan
Students, faculty voice concerns over UCalgary return-to-campus plan – Aug 11, 2021

The union says the shift was made too close to the start of the semester, as many students have arranged to be near campus for in-person classes.

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Read more: Universities of Alberta, Calgary, Lethbridge to require unvaccinated students, staff to undergo rapid COVID-19 testing

“The students union is calling on the university to re-examine this decision and offer course formats in the manner in which students signed up for them originally,” said Nicole Schmidt, U of C Students’ Union president, on Friday.

“We don’t feel this short notice change is fair to students, and secondly, we feel the university should reimburse students for their living and travel expenses.”

In a statement, the U of C said: “New bursaries and financial supports have been established for students who have been significantly affected by these changes.”

Read more: University of Alberta’s COVID-19 vaccination plan relies on honour system with random checks

The university said it is “committed to continuing to prioritize the health and safety of our community and working with all groups to address concerns that arise.”

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