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USask student blindsided by change to online courses days before school starts

Click to play video: 'USask student has classes switched to online unexpectedly' USask student has classes switched to online unexpectedly
WATCH: Some University of Saskatchewan students heading back to class this week had an unexpected surprise when they found out classes they thought would be in person, were switched to online. – Sep 2, 2021

University of Saskatchewan (USask) students headed back to school on Thursday, however, some students had a bit of an anxiety-riddled surprise just before their first day of classes.

With school expected to begin, a USask student checked to see which rooms her classes would be in.

To her surprise, four out of five of her classes had been switched to online learning rather than in person, without her knowledge.

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

The student’s father, Brent Hamilton, said the situation was frustrating considering they had just paid tuition and moved his daughter to Saskatoon all the way from British Columbia.

“It’s pretty frustrating. It was some anxious hours through the night and then yesterday and we were thinking, well, let’s get five online classes and just turn around and go back to Kelowna and see what happens in the winter term in January,” said Hamilton.

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He said his biggest concern was possibly having his daughter miss out on one of her lifelong dreams of attending USask to follow in her parent’s footsteps.

“My wife and I both went there so transferring from UBC Okanagan, she was really excited about it and that turns into pure apprehension and anxiety about, you know, ‘I’ve got my first day of school coming and now am I just going to be sitting in my apartment for the whole term?'”

Read more: Group of Queen’s University students start petition against vaccine mandate

The student did end up working with three separate people from USask to reframe her schedule and now many of her courses are in person rather than online.

However, Hamilton is still not impressed with the lack of notice from the university.

“Our understanding was that the professors were to be in contact with the students if they had gone this way. She didn’t have any emails from them so we had nothing to give us a twig that this is what was happening,” said Hamilton.

Read more: Open letter calls for flexibility in University of Lethbridge course delivery

In a statement, the university says with the rise in the Delta variant, some planned in-person classes have shifted to online in the past few weeks.

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It added that these changes have been made for the safety of students and staff.

However, the statement does not address why students affected were not informed before they arrived at school. It does say the university is working to inform students as soon as possible.

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