If you’re a student at uOttawa or Algonquin College, you better start packing! On Tuesday, both institutes announced that students would be required to move out by Sunday, due to COVID-19 in Ottawa. Students have been given until 4 p.m.

Sharing a notice at 4 p.m. on Tuesday evening, the University of Ottawa explained, “We are now requiring all students currently living in uOttawa residences to fully vacate their rooms as soon as possible, and no later than Sunday, March 22 at 4pm."

While this will exclude international students and those with “exceptional circumstances,” everybody else will be given five days to pack up and move home.

The university described the move as a "difficult and drastic decision," and noted that it was "not taken lightly." 

In a similar statement, Algonquin College said, "In order to minimize the risk of spreading the coronavirus (COVID-19), we are requesting students who are able to move out of Residence to do so by the end of the day on Sunday, March 22."

The college also added that refunds would be given to any students who move out by the weekend, and noted that all remaining meal-plan balances would be returned. This will also benefit those who have already moved out.

Sharing a similar message with their students, Carleton University also strongly encouraged their students to move off campus wherever possible.

"Residents who move out by 4:00 pm on March 22, 2020 will be provided a pro-rated refund for residence and meal plan costs," their statement said.

However, the university also noted that those who cannot get home “will be taken care of not only to the end of the semester but through the summer as well."

Both notices come on the same day that Premier Doug Ford declared a state of emergency in Ontario, which closed down schools, libraries, bars, theatres and churches until the end of March.

Speaking on Tuesday, the premier explained, "It is imperative we protect every person and every family across this province ... The government must be in a position to take any and all actions necessary."

Across Ontario, there have been 183 confirmed cases of the virus, a number which almost doubled over the weekend. One person in the province has died.

Classes at both uOttawa and Carleton will resume on Wednesday, with most of the learning expected to take place online.

Algonquin College students will resume online starting Monday.

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