Calgary

Alberta University of the Arts temporarily shifts online due to delay in rapid testing program

The Alberta University of the Arts, based in Calgary, is temporarily shifting classes online because of a delay in implementing a rapid testing program for unvaccinated staff and students.

A few dozen studio-specific classes are exempt from the move

The Alberta University of the Arts, based in Calgary, has moved all but a few dozen classes online to start the school year. (Alberta University of the Arts)

The Alberta University of the Arts has announced most of its classes are moving online for the first two weeks of school, because of delays in getting a rapid testing program off the ground.

President Daniel Doz said the move is temporary, and the Calgary university has every intention of bringing all classes back in person. But starting Sept. 8, for two weeks, all but a few dozen classes will be online.

"Because it's taking us some time to put the rapid testing procedure in place. We learned only two weeks ago that we could implement a rapid testing program for our community," he said.

"So we went after finding somebody who could administer that for us because we're so small, we don't have a health unit, we don't have the resources to do it ourselves."

The university has mandated rapid testing within 72 hours of accessing campus for those who are not fully vaccinated, or who will not disclose vaccination status.

And with so many universities, institutions and companies around the country implementing their own rapid testing programs — but few suppliers — Doz said he's been told there is a backlog. 

"We just signed a contract, but they could not just put it in place in time for [Sept.] 7, they need a little bit more extra time because there's background work that needs to be done with setting up the process and everything."

Doz said about 30 specific studio classes are exempt from moving online and will start as planned, on-campus, on Sept. 8.

The plan is to have the rapid testing program for unvaccinated staff and students up and running in order to welcome all 1,200 students back to campus by Sept. 22, unless changes to provincial health guidelines prevent it.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lucie Edwardson

Journalist

Lucie Edwardson is a reporter with CBC Calgary, currently focused on bringing you stories related to education in Alberta. In 2018 she headed a pop-up bureau in Lethbridge, Alta. Her experience includes newspaper, online, TV and radio. Follow her on Twitter @LucieEdwardson or reach her by email at lucie.edwardson@cbc.ca

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