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Calgary Universities & Colleges Are Preparing Students And Staff For Potential Closures

As COVID-19 cases continue to be detected across the province, post-secondary institutions have started to brace for potential changes. A number of Calgary universities have been monitoring the situation and are preparing to make changes to their operations as needed. Though no universities have announced closures yet, students and staff and standing by. 

The University of Calgary is still observing the current situation, as mentioned in their official press statement regarding COVID-19. As of Thursday, March 12, classes are ongoing and the campus is still open.

However, the university is "preparing a number of contingency plans, including online learning options in the event in-person classes need to be cancelled." 

The statement explained that, as per Alberta Health Services, the risk of exposure to the virus in Alberta is still being rated as low. They do acknowledge that the situation is "rapidly changing" and they will have to adjust their plans accordingly. 

They urge students, staff, and employees to follow self-isolation guidelines if they feel any of the usual symptoms of the coronavirus. The University will continue to pay employees without interruption, including benefits. 

The Calgary Herald reported that the only events cancelled on the U of C campus so far are two international speedskating competitions, which were to take place in mid-March. 

The COVID-19 cases across Alberta have been quickly rising since the first case was announced.

Now the province has recorded 19 cases, including seven in Edmonton, 11 in Calgary, and one in Central Alberta. 

An email was sent to students on behalf of the Mount Royal University's President and Vice-Chancellor Tim Rahilly, Ph.D. on Wednesday, March 11.

An Interior Design student from Mount Royal shared the email with Narcity, in which the university outlines its plan regarding the matter. 

Mount Royal University is still perceiving the risk of the virus as low based on advice from health authorities. 

"We have not had any confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the MRU community. For that reason, campus remains open and all operations continue as usual." 

In the case that the institution is impacted in the future, they are conducting a number of measures to ensure safety for all students, staff, and employees. 

Those measures include contingency planning, extensive cleaning protocols, increasing signage around campus about handwashing, and preparing campus residence for self-isolation possibilities. 

The Calgary Herald reported that Bow Valley College has cancelled all their on-site events. They're encouraging participants to hold all meetings either virtually or by phone. 

Saint Mary’s University in south Calgary has accelerated its cleaning procedures while their classes are continuing as usual. 

They stated that they don't have huge lecture halls as is the case with big universities. They will be trying to use that to their advantage. 

Global News explained that SAIT, or Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, has not confirmed how they are moving forward amidst the pandemic. 

They have, however, cancelled all their StudyAboard programs. They're continuing to monitor the current situation. 

The Calgary Board of Education has also made a press statement urging all members to follow safety protocols. They will be taking direction from Alberta Health Services on the next steps. 

Universities across Canada have been preparing for campus shutdowns and online classes, instead. The first university to do so was Laurentian University in Sudbury, who announced their decision on Wednesday, March 11. 

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