The University of Calgary joined the University of Alberta and the University of Lethbridge in announcing further delays to the return of in-person learning.
In a statement made by U of C President and Vice-Chancellor Ed McCauley to the campus community on Friday, he said that classes would remain online to help stop the spread of the Omicron variant.
“Our decision to temporarily hold off on returning to in-person teaching and learning will allow the University of Calgary to play its part in reducing the spread. This should help ease the burden on our health-care [sic] system at this key time,” he said.
Most classes will remain online until Feb. 14, and then resume in person on Feb. 28 after reading week.
The University of Alberta, and SAIT also delayed the return to in-person learning until Feb. 28.
Not an easy decision
McCauley said that the shift from online to in-person and back to online again had been difficult on staff and students at the university.
“Students need to know how their classes will be held, teaching instructors need time to adapt their materials; and researchers, grad students and staff need to understand when and if they should be back on campus,” he said.
The University of Calgary campus is not closing. Staff, researchers, and grad students not working from home are able to remain on campus.
The statement asked anyone working from home already to continue to do so.
The Students’ Union at the University of Calgary supported the decision.
“Like everyone, students want a return to normal. Students and the SU know that omicron makes this not possible,” said SU president, Nicole Schmidt.
Over the next six weeks, there are a number of things the university and provincial government can do to increase the likelihood that students can return to class. This work must start now and there must be a campus wide plan in place to ensure the safety of our university community ahead of any possible return in March.”
The SU would also like to see that all students, staff and faculty are fully vaccinated. Further, they’d like to see some of the same supports provided to K-12 learners, including rapid test kits and masks.