By Julieanne Acosta, December 22 2021—
Today, the University of Calgary sent out another email written by President and Vice-Chancellor Ed McCauley three days after the cancellation of remaining in-person exams.
In the email, McCauley announced that the U of C, along with the University of Alberta and the University of Lethbridge will start their respective Winter 2022 semesters virtually.
Almost all Winter term classes will be held online for the first three weeks in session, with the exception to those that must remain in-person. This does not include block week courses, which has already been moved to a virtual setting. Unless otherwise noted, in-person practicums will remain as they were originally planned.
Faculty and staff supporting on-campus activity, such as student services and research, will remain on campus. Any other support functions have been asked to revert to remote working.
These temporary measures are expected to end on Jan. 31 when the U of C plans to have the return to in-person learning. Students can expect an email from their respective department or faculty offices to confirm how the courses that were scheduled in-person are to shift to online learning.
McCauley writes that on Dec. 21, the Government of Alberta announced that the Omicron variant had become the dominant variant in Alberta, with Calgary seeing a spike in cases in the past 48 hours. McCauley notes the effect that the new Omicron variant has had on this decision and the benefits of starting the upcoming semester virtually.
“Starting the semester online will allow our communities the time we need to assess the new variant’s potential impact, particularly after the holiday season,” wrote McCauley. “By reducing the number of people on our campuses, we can allow the research and learning activities that must be in person to continue while also doing all that we can to help support the healthcare system.”
The U of C continues to encourage COVID-19 vaccines and now, vaccine boosters, to the U of C community stating that early evidence on the Omicron variant still continues to suggest that vaccines protect individuals against severe illness.
“What the Omicron variant will mean for Alberta remains unclear but what we have learned to date leads us to act cautiously,” writes McCauley. “This temporary move online is part of that caution. We look forward to returning to the in-person learning experience as soon as appropriate and, as always, we will keep you up-to-date on information as it becomes available and decisions as they’re made.”
Alberta announced yesterday that vaccine boosters are now available to all Albertans over the age of 18. The vaccine booster can be booked on the Alberta Health Services website.