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U of T, York U and Ryerson cancelling in-person classes over COVID-19

Last Updated Mar 13, 2020 at 1:17 pm EST

The sign for York University's Keele Campus is seen in Toronto on March 2, 2018. CITYNEWS

As concern continues to grow at home and across the globe, the city’s three universities are cancelling in-person classes in response to COVID-19.

Ryerson University, York University and the University of Toronto made the announcements on Friday.

As well, Seneca College, will be suspending all in-person classes for one week starting March 16. George Brown will be suspending all in-person daytime and continuing education classes at all campuses from March 14 to 22. Centennial College says all classes will be suspended from March 16 to Friday, March 20 and from March 23 to April 3 all courses will be delivered online.

Ryerson University

Ryerson said that as of today all in-person classes will be switching to virtual or alternative forms.

As well all exams will be conducted by alternate methods.

“The week of March 16 will be a week of transition for the university, allowing faculty and staff time to explore and implement alternate forms of program delivery,” Mohamed Lachemi, president and vice-chancellor of Ryerson, said in a statement.

“All courses will have these alternate arrangements finalized by Monday, March 23. Students will be hearing from their departments on course delivery during the week of March 16.”

Student and faculty travel is also being cancelled.

Ryerson said effective immediately, the university is undertaking the following additional actions:

  • All university-sanctioned international travel by students and staff is cancelled until August 31 or further notice;
  • All faculty travel to level 3 countries is cancelled until August 31 or further notice;
  • All other international travel by faculty is strongly discouraged;
  • All discretionary Ryerson events on and off-campus scheduled from now until May 1, 2020 are being cancelled or postponed, including those planned by student groups. Detailed information regarding the postponement/ rescheduling of all events that are not vital to the academic mission of the university will be forthcoming shortly.

Those living in residence at Ryerson will continue to be supported and will be contacted directly by student housing with additional information. Food services at the university will also remain open at this time.

“I understand that this is a stressful situation for many people and I want to remind all of our community members – students, faculty and staff – that counselling and health services are available, should they be needed,” Lachemi said.

University of Toronto

University of Toronto president Meric Gertler announced on Friday that all in-person undergraduate courses, as well as well as research-stream masters and doctoral courses, will be cancelled from March 16 to April 3 in response to COVID-19.

The cancellation spans across all three university properties – the downtown campus, the Scarborough campus and the Mississauga campus.

Gertler said that school officials have been monitoring the situation since January and has been “taking action as necessary in light of the global situation, the advice of public health authorities and the concerns of our community.”

All University-sponsored learning programs abroad have also been cancelled.

University operations will continue, and all three campuses will remain open. As well, libraries, residences, food services, health & wellness centres, athletics and recreation facilities and other public spaces on all three campuses will remain open.

As for professional programs, Gertler says consultation is ongoing to determine the appropriate course of action and professional students as well as faculty members, other instructors and staff in these programs will be advised by this coming Monday morning, as soon as decisions have been made.

York University

“Beginning on Monday, March 16, 2020, we will be suspending all face-to-face instruction and moving courses to online formats,” York University president and vice-chancellor Rhonda L. Lenton announced on Friday.

“We are committed to completing the term and will deploy all of our resources to support faculty and students through this transition.”

Along with in-person classes, all non-essential events that are not required as part of an academic program will also be cancelled or postponed.

The Tait Mackenzie Centre and the Glendon Athletic Club will also be closed until April 30, 2020.

However, York’s Keele and Glendon campuses will remain open, and research activities will continue.

“I know this is an anxious and upsetting time for everyone. Let me say, without reservation, that York will be there to support every member of the community as we face this pandemic together,” Lenton said.

“For students, my commitment is that you will have the academic and wellness supports you need to thrive in and beyond the current situation. For faculty and staff, know that the University recognizes your dedication and is, in turn, committed to your health and wellbeing.”

York will also be introducing new policies in the days ahead on working from home and doctors’ notes to minimize risk and maximize flexibility for the community.