Nova Scotia

Several N.S. universities stop in-person exams as COVID-19 precaution

In-person exams at Dalhousie University, Cape Breton University, Acadia and Mount St. Vincent University will stop being offered this week.

Alternate arrangements are being made, including moving exams online

A student walks on campus at Dalhousie University in Halifax. Dalhousie is one of 2 Nova Scotia universities that announced changes Monday to how exams will be offered in light of COVID-19. (Eric Woolliscroft/CBC)

Dalhousie University, Cape Breton University, Acadia University and Mount St. Vincent University have announced they will stop offering in-person exams this week, while Saint Mary's University is also making changes, in an effort to control the spread of COVID-19 on their campuses.

This follows a decision by St. FX in Antigonish, N.S., to allow professors to switch to in-person exams following a COVID-19 outbreak on campus. 

As of 3 p.m. AT on Monday, there were 13 confirmed cases of COVID-19 at Dalhousie. Thirty-two people had tested positive on a rapid test and were awaiting PCR test results.

CBU had one confirmed case, with a number of people also awaiting PCR test results.

On Monday, the province announced 40 cases of the Omicron variant have been found in Nova Scotia.

At Dalhousie, remaining exams will either be postponed, moved online or cancelled.

CBU said it's working on options like take-home exams, online exams, alternative assignments and other options deemed appropriate by teaching staff.

Acadia said starting Tuesday, all remaining exams will either be online, postponed or cancelled. Anyone scheduled to write an in-person exam Tuesday should hear from their professor on how to proceed. Employees are also encouraged to work remotely, when possible.

All in-person events have also been cancelled at Acadia.

Mount St. Vincent University became the fourth university to cancel in-person exams following the latest outbreak, linked to the recent X-Ring ceremony at St. FX University in Antigonish, N.S. The change comes into effect at 8 a.m. local time on Thursday, so any exams scheduled before that will go ahead as planned.

In-person exams schedule after 8 a.m. on Thursday at MSVU will either move online or be in a take-home format, at the discretion of the instructor, according to a news release from the school.

Saint Mary's, meanwhile, is continuing with some in-person exams, but with new guidelines beginning Wednesday.

The Halifax-based university announced Tuesday that masks would be required for all students writing in-person exams.

In-person and remote exams are continuing as previously scheduled. Rooms used for in-person exams will not exceed 75 per cent capacity and most are below 50 per cent capacity, according to the university.

All other December events are being cancelled, postponed or moved online, including any holiday-related gatherings. Masks are also now required for all common areas on campus unless people are seated to eat or drink.