The World Health Organization has officially declared the coronavirus as a global pandemic on Wednesday. In the midst of the quick spread globally, it looks like Ontario universities are prepping for shutdowns. In fact, coronavirus school closures have already begun. Laurentian University announced today that classes will be suspended and moved online, effective immediately.According to the Globe and Mail, the University of Toronto will still be holding exams as usual until further notice. However, McGill is considering an alternative way to hold exams "should the situation warrant it."Yesterday, CityNews reporter Tina Yazdani spoke with University of Toronto staff, who agreed it would be likely the school could see a closure during the pandemic. "What we need to do is to be ready to have that happen," University of Toronto's Colin Furness said in the interview."What we saw in Italy is they waited too long. In China, they waited too long," he added.However, while many schools are observing the developments globally and cancelling class trips abroad, schools, for the most part, remain open but alert. The University of Guelph released a Pandemic Plan and U of T also has had a contingency plan in the works since January, according to CityNews.
🚨 BREAKING 🚨 "We have therefore made the assessment that #COVID19 can be characterized as a pandemic"-@DrTedros… https://t.co/sDXhYYqy5g— World Health Organization (WHO) (@World Health Organization (WHO))1583944013.0
Narcity reached out to media relations at Laurentian University and they revealed that amid the shutdown, they are planning on having "a solution to the exam situation soon."
On March 5, it was reported that McMaster University had asked faculty to consider online teaching at this time. As per their website, it is "business as usual at the university" because the risk remains low in Ontario.
The university has been monitoring the coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19) and as a precaution, we have determined that… https://t.co/xjkhtUTu36— Laurentian University (@Laurentian University)1583940258.0
Ottawa, Carleton, York, Guelph, Western, McMaster, York and U of T are still open at this time. York University active chief spokesperson Yanni Dagonas told Narcity in an email that "the university activated an emergency planning team in January that includes senior administrators from across the institution to plan and respond quickly and effectively to any health and safety situation that might arise."
"We have already implemented a number of health and safety measures and remain ready to adjust or change our approach as the situation changes, including the possibility of moving to online instruction."