Carleton University and the University of Ottawa have decided to cancel all classes at the start of next week and put all of their sessions online for the rest of the term.
In a statement Friday morning, President and Vice-Chancellor Benoit-Antoine Bacon said the school is cancelling classes on March 16 and 17 "to give teaching staff time to prepare for alternative modes of content delivery." Any assessments planned over those days will be rescheduled.
He reiterated that there are no COVID-19 cases in the Carleton community, but said the number of people self-isolating is going up.
"The safety of our community is our first priority and we have reached a point where it is advisable to cancel face-to-face classes and move to alternative modes of instruction for the remainder of the term," said Bacon.
Starting Wednesday, March 18, the school president explains, "Instructors will make arrangements to complete their classes in the way that is most appropriate for their course material and learning objectives, and they will be communicating these plans with students. Specific methods and approaches will vary across programs and courses. We are aware that the scale of this shift will be a significant challenge. As communicated previously by the Provost, resources are available to all teaching staff who would like support in making this transition."
Information on contingency alternatives to final exams is being finalized and will soon be communicated to all teaching staff by the Provost.
The university remains open. The campus is fully accessible, and residences, the library, the sports centre, health services and other services all remain open.
Events on campus scheduled to take place before April 30, are expected to be postponed to a later date.
As announced Thursday, Bacon said, "University travel outside Canada that is not vital to our academic mission has been suspended until April 30, 2020. More detailed information will be communicated Monday at the latest. The university will reimburse cancelled plane tickets and any other reasonable expenses incurred."
"I am aware that the measures we are taking will cause inconvenience and disruption," he wrote. "These decisions are not being taken lightly, and are guided first and foremost by the safety of our community. We are also very much conscious of the need to contribute to the broader efforts to slow the progression of COVID-19 in Ottawa, Ontario and across the country."
For more information on uOttawa's class cancellations, click here.
The University of Ottawa has also cancelled all of its March Break camps, the open house for prospective undergraduate students, all university-related travel by uOttawa staff and students and any events that involve visitors arriving from international destinations.
Algonquin College has cancelled its March Break open house events at both its Pembroke and Ottawa campuses. It's calsses are scheduled as usual.