Concordia University to move classes online for fall semester

Courses at Concordia University will be delivered "almost entirely" online for the fall semester due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the institution announced on Thursday.

“We need to prioritize the health of our community and exercise our civic responsibility as a large institution in the City of Montreal,” said Concordia president Graham Carr in an email to students. “Public health authorities have been clear that physical distancing will prevail in Montreal for an indefinite period.” 

The university says courses will be accessible any time and from “anywhere in the world.”

Experiments, labs, and studio work will still take place in person, but with fewer students per class and on a rotating basis. Courses that fit these criteria will be announced at a later date and in-person attendance isn’t mandatory – those who can’t or don’t want to go will still be able to participate online. 

“Whether you’re a student in your home country or your Montreal apartment, you will be able to fulfill your course requirements,” Carr’s letter reads. 

As of next week, the university says it will begin surveying students to factor their views into its plans, and that services will be adapted to ease them into this new reality. It says more student advising and mental health counselling will be made available online, as well as “virtual campus-life opportunities to help combat isolation.” 

“As at so many North American universities, proper physical distancing is very hard to maintain on our two campuses,” Carr said. “Moving the bulk of our fall term online is the responsible choice.”

The announcement comes after several Montreal universities said they've been planning to move their courses online, should it come to that. l’Université de Montréal announced it was officially making the move last week.

Student associations at several Montreal universities have expressed concern over the quality of remote learning, saying online courses over the past few weeks have been messy. Some students are calling for tuition rates to be reduced because they say the learning experience isn't the same. 

As of Wednesday, there have been 20,232 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 2,063 deaths in Montreal since the start of the pandemic. The volatile situation in the city has caused Premier François Legault to delay reopenings originally scheduled for the beginning of May multilple times. Health officials are now working to do mass testing in neighbourhoods hardest-hit, like Montreal North. 

  Cases in Montreal by age and region


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