Calgary, Lethbridge post-secondaries temporarily move January classes online amid Omicron
A number of post secondary institutions in Calgary and Lethbridge are moving January classes online temporarily due to the spread of the COVID-19 Omicron variant.
The University of Calgary, Mount Royal University, SAIT, Bow Valley College and the University of Lethbridge have all announced they will be moving the majority of classes online in January.
UNIVERSITY OF CALGARY MOVES FIRST 3 WEEKS OF WINTER TERM ONLINE
A statement on the U of C's website said that while there are still many unknowns with Omicron, it has been spreading across Canada quickly.
"As a result of this latest phase in the pandemic, the University of Calgary, alongside the University of Alberta and University of Lethbridge, will start our respective winter semesters primarily online."
The U of C says starting the semester online will allow them time to assess the new variant's potential impact, particularly after the holidays.
"By reducing the number of people on our campuses, we can allow the research and learning activities that must be in person to continue while also doing all that we can to help support the healthcare system," the U of C said.
The U of C already announced earlier this week that it was cancelling the remainder of in-person exams for this semester and would be moving so-called "block week" classes (from Jan. 3 to Jan. 7) online as a precaution.
"We are now extending this shift to online classes for the first three weeks of the Winter Term."
There will be exceptions made for classes that require students to attend in person.
"Students registered for in-person classes will be contacted by a department or faculty office to confirm how their courses will be accessed during this temporary shift to online teaching and learning," the U of C said. "Unless noted otherwise, in-person practicums will carry forward as originally planned."
The U of C said it expects winter courses to resume in-person on Jan. 31, 2022.
"What the Omicron variant will mean for Alberta remains unclear but what we have learned to date leads us to act cautiously," the U of C said on its site.
"This temporary move online is part of that caution. We look forward to returning to the in-person learning experience as soon as appropriate and, as always, we will keep you up-to-date on information as it becomes available and decisions as they’re made."
SAIT SAYS THEORY CLASSES WILL BE ONLINE
On Wednesday, SAIT announced that due to the rapid increase in Omicron cases in Alberta it would move theory classes online from Monday, Jan. 3. 2022, until at least Friday, Jan. 21, 2022.
"SAIT will continue to monitor this evolving situation and will evaluate prior to Friday, Jan. 21, the return of in-person theory classes on campus," a statement on the SAIT website said.
On-campus labs will run in-person as scheduled.
SAIT said students, including those in continuing education and corporate training, can expect to be contacted directly by their program in the coming days with details.
MOUNT ROYAL UNIVERSITY ONLINE UNTIL AT LEAST JAN. 22
Mount Royal University is joining other post-secondary institutions in Alberta in temporarily moving the majority of classes online for the beginning of its winter semester.
When instruction begins on Jan. 10, 2022, the majority of courses will be delivered online until Jan. 22.
"This will allow us time to assess the new variant’s impact, particularly after the holiday season. By reducing the number of people on our campus, we can allow learning activities that must be in person to continue," MRU said in a statement.
BOW VALLEY COLLEGE ONLINE UNTIL AT LEAST JAN. 21
Bow Valley College is temporarily moving its upcoming winter term online until at least Jan. 21, 2022.
Classes resume on Jan. 10, 2022, and officials say students will be updated before that day with further direction.
"Students requiring in-person access to the library, Learner Success Services, and Academic Advising can do so by appointment only," Bow Valley said in a statement. "Virtual services are also available."
Health program labs will take place in-person, officials said.
LETHBRIDGE COLLEGE ONLINE UNTIL AT LEAST JAN. 21
Lethbridge College announced on Wednesday that all classes on Jan. 6 and 7 would be cancelled, except for apprenticeship classes which will resume in-person on Jan 4 as scheduled.
From Jan. 10 to 21, the college says as many classes as possible will move to alternate delivery.
"During this time, in-person delivery of apprenticeship classes and other hands-on labs will continue, following the same safety measures that have worked to keep the Lethbridge College community safe throughout the pandemic," a statement said.
All on-campus events scheduled prior to Jan. 21, including New Student Orientation, will be postponed or cancelled and employees are being asked to work from home if possible.
"We know this pandemic has been tough on everyone and we wanted to announce this today to provide all of our community as much time as possible to prepare for the changing environment in January," said Dr. Paula Burns, Lethbridge College President and CEO, in a news release.
"We are committed to returning to in-person delivery as soon as we can, but we feel these steps are the best way to do our part to once again support the health care system and the health and well-being of our entire community."