NAIT, University of Alberta, MacEwan University move classes online amid COVID-19 pandemic

The Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) has joined the growing list of universities moving classes and exams online in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Remote learning for the schools begins next week

The University of Alberta announced on Saturday it was moving classes and exams online over COVID-19 concerns. (Tricia Kindleman/CBC)

The Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) has joined the growing list of universities moving classes and exams online in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement emailed to students on Sunday, the university announced that all in-person classes on all NAIT campuses will be suspended from March 16 to 18.

The three-day suspension will give instructors time to prepare to teach online where possible, university officials said.

NAIT campuses will remain open. All classes will resume starting March 19. 

"We are committed to keeping our community healthy and safe during the COVID-19 pandemic," reads the statement. "We have heard the concerns of our students and staff and want to assure you that we are taking every precaution to protect the health and well-being of the NAIT community." 

Courses that are already offered online will continue as scheduled from March 16 to 18.

The King's University will suspend classes for two days in order to prepare for the delivery of online course, the university said in a statement.  However, the campus will remain open and student services will still be accessible.

'Lower the risk'

Lecture halls will be empty across the city. The University of Alberta and MacEwan University are taking the same measures. The changes will be in place for the remainder of the winter terms, scheduled to end on April 8, the universities confirmed on Saturday.

Classes and exams at the U of A will be suspended on March 16 to allow time for instructors to prepare for the changes. The university is working on how to deliver exams in alternate formats and expects those details to be finalized later next week. 

MacEwan University said it is also suspending classes between March 16 and 18 to allow faculty to prepare to deliver online courses. 

"Changing the way we deliver many of our courses will minimize the number of people on campus and, as a result, lower the risk of COVID-19 exposure to students and staff," said MacEwan University president John McGrath in a statement. 

Both universities announced that their campuses would remain open, with business operations continuing as per usual. 

"Making the transition from in-person classes to remote delivery will ensure that our students can complete the academic term and meet their academic goals," said U of A president David Turpin in a statement. 

Due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, the University of Alberta said it is also suspending university-related travel outside of Canada, suspending campus events expected to draw 250 or more people and recommending students studying abroad arrange to come home. 

The U of A urged students to check the university's COVID-19 website for the latest information about classes. MacEwan is also posting the latest information about classes on its website. 

As of Friday morning, the Concordia University of Edmonton said some classes will be delivered online.