COVID-19 pandemic prompts Calgary post-secondary institutions to cancel in-person classes
Calgary's three largest post-secondary institutions have cancelled all in-person classes for the remainder of the week after the provincial government declared a pandemic-related state of emergency.
The University of Calgary, Mount Royal University and the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology each announced the cancellation of all classes that were scheduled to take place on campus in the coming days. Online classes will run as scheduled.
The MRU campus and SAIT's campuses will also be closed to all activity through the weekend.
The cancellations follow the Alberta government's declaration of a COVID-19-related state of emergency Wednesday evening as ll as new public health measures including the reintroduction of two-metre physical distancing guidelines in indoor public spaces.
University of Calgary will resume in-person classes Sept. 20, according to an email from president and vice-chancellor Ed McCauley, but students and staff attending campus bust be fully vaccinated or have a negative test within 72 hours.
The email said in-person classes were cancelled at U of C this week because physical distancing wasn't possible in classrooms and hallways.
"Starting on Monday, (Sept. 20), provincial rules will require that the University of Calgary allow only those who are vaccinated or who have had a negative rapid test within 72 hours to attend campus if we do not want to be subject to two-metre physical distancing and other restrictions," it read.
"Our COVIDSafe Campus program aligns to these requirements, protects our safety, and allows us to maintain operations as previously planned. More than 37,000 members of our campus community already registered in the app to come to campus, and 91.3 per cent of those community members are fully vaccinated.
"To ensure that we can prove full compliance with government regulations in a timely fashion, everyone on campus who has attested to being vaccinated must be prepared to provide proof of vaccination status. This ability to prove vaccination is a requirement to be on campus and in the coming days, you will be asked to upload this proof into the COVIDSafe Campus application.
The province had previously announced printable vaccine cards would be available Sept. 16 but that has been delayed until Sunday, Sept. 19.
With Alberta's newly announced proof of vaccination program set to start on Sept. 20, Health Minister Tyler Shandro assured Albertans they'll still be able to use their existing vaccination records as proof when the new rules take effect.
Shandro added that screenshots or photos of vaccine documents would also be acceptable.
On Thursday morning, more than 100,000 people were trying to log on to the province's MyHealth Records website.
Rapid testing is being accepted as an alternative to vaccination until Jan. 1, 2022, then "it will be a requirement for all members of our community, unless they have an exception based on a protected ground, to be vaccinated to be on campus," read the email.