U of O, Carleton announce gradual return to in-person learning
Universities hadn't planned to start this semester online — Omicron changed that
Post-secondary students at two Ottawa universities can expect a return to in-person learning in the coming weeks.
While both the University of Ottawa and Carleton University had tentatively planned for in-person classes to resume by the end of the month, that will only happen at the U of O, on Jan. 31.
In a letter to students on Tuesday, Carleton University's president Benoit-Antoine Bacon said students would instead return Feb. 7.
Bacon said the additional week will give students and staff more time to prepare and allow the university to assess how Ontario's public schools are faring, after they returned to in-person learning this week.
These announcements only apply to in-person courses planned for the winter semester. At both schools, many courses will remain virtual.
In a press release Wednesday, U of O president Jacques Frémont said COVID-19 hospitalizations and wastewater trends indicated this wave of the pandemic would be waning soon.
"This being the situation, it is essential that students be able to resume their normal activities, for their well-being and personal growth, including a return to classrooms and campus buildings," he said.
The winter semester at Carleton University was slated to have more in-person classes than the fall semester, but those plans were put on hold in mid-December when the Omicron variant ripped through the city.
At that time, Algonquin College and Queen's University in Kingston, Ont., announced plans to be online until March 6 and Feb. 28 respectively.
Kingston had the province's highest COVID-19 per capita rates of infection on record in December. Queen's said it would decide in early February about how to move forward after the university's reading week, which runs from Feb. 22-25.
As of Wednesday evening, neither institution had announced changes to those plans.