Calgary, Lethbridge post-secondaries keep classes online through February

A stock photo of a student on a video call during an online class. (Getty Images)

A number of post secondary institutions in Calgary and Lethbridge will be extending online classes, with no return to in-person learning until February.

The move comes after the institutions announced in late December that classes would be moving online temporarily in January due to the spread of the COVID-19 Omicron variant.

UNIVERSITY OF CALGARY

The U of C says online classes will remain until Feb. 19, with in-person learning resuming on Feb. 28.

"Thus far, this variant has led to fewer hospitalizations than previous variants, but it is very contagious," president and vice-chancellor Ed McCauley said in a letter.

"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 system at this key time."

Classes originally planned to be offered remotely will continue online.

"Shifting from remote to in person and back online again has been difficult on everyone," McCauley acknowledged.

Members of the University of Calgary Students' Union (SU) say they support the decision. 

In a Friday news release, the SU said it was thankful that the university listened to student feedback and gave students a reasonable amount of notice.

"Like everyone, students want a return to normal. Students and the SU know that Omicron makes this not possible," SU president Nicole Schmidt said.

MOUNT ROYAL UNIVERSITY

Officials with Mount Royal University said Friday that the facility would take a phased approach to bringing students back for in-person instruction.

"The intent of this gradual return is to extend some in-person instruction as of Jan. 24 and to have all the courses originally scheduled for in-person instruction back on campus Feb. 28 after reading week," president and vice-chancellor Tim Rahilly said in a letter.

"I am mindful that with the Omicron variant there may be disruptions as we move through the phases, but we are committed to this plan, your health and well-being, and the long-term academic success of our students."

For more information on the phased approach and to keep updated, you can visit the MRU website.

SAIT

Officials with SAIT said Friday that online learning has been extended to Feb. 28 due to the rapid increase in Omicron cases in Alberta.

On-campus labs will continue to run in person as scheduled.

Officials with Bow Valley College announced earlier this week that online classes at the post-secondary institution, which had been set to end on Jan. 21, would be extended until Feb. 14.

BOW VALLEY COLLEGE

Officials with Bow Valley College announced earlier this week that online classes at the post-secondary institution, which had been set to end on Jan. 21, would be extended until Feb. 14.

UNIVERSITY OF LETHBRIDGE

Officials with the University of Lethbridge say in-person learning will not return until Feb. 28.

"We are making this decision now to give our students, faculty, and staff the certainty needed to move forward through this semester," U of L president and vice-chancellor Mike Mahon said in a letter.

"Moreover, fewer people on campus provides additional space for those faculty, staff, and students who must complete their work and learning activities in person."

Mahon says the additional four weeks of online classes will "push us past what we anticipate will be the peak of this latest COVID-19 Omicron wave."