Laurentian, Cambrian residences still open in Sudbury, with extra measures in place

While classes have been moved to online formats amid the COVID-19 pandemic, officials with Cambrian College and Laurentian University in Sudbury say student residences will continue to remain open. 

While many students have moved out, officials at both institutions said there are no plans to close residences

Classes have moved online amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but student residences at Laurentian University remain open. (Erik White/CBC)

Officials with Cambrian College and Laurentian University in Sudbury say student residences will continue to remain open even though many courses are now on-line due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We have a number of international students that we need to keep in our residences so that they do have a roof over their heads," said Serge Demers, interim vice president academic at Laurentian. 

"There is also a subset of our domestic students who have opted to remain on campus, perhaps for fear of going back home into a larger setting. They feel safer here on campus and so that's, we've certainly permitted that."

Demers said some students are also staying on campus because of placements that are ongoing, even as on-campus classes are suspended. 

Changes to food services 

While residences are still open, Demers said many students have left, and the campus is quiet. In an effort to encourage social distancing, and to follow directives from the province, food service is now being offered as a take-out service. 

Food service has also shifted at Cambrian College, where there are about 175 students still in residence, down from the usual 500. 

Many students living in residence at Cambrian College have left, but some are still on campus. (Olivia Stefanovich/CBC)

The residence cafeteria is currently offering take-out to students, but later this week, staff will start delivering meals to students instead. 

"We want to make sure that they're fed, and we want to make sure that they're housed," said communicatins manager Dan Lessard.  

'There to help'

With many people across the country being asked to self-isolate, officials with Laurentian and Cambrian said they are prepared to assist students, if anyone living in residence must do so. 

And even now, as people are asked to stay home as much as possible, and keep their distance from one another, officials on both campuses said they're doing what they can to support students. 

"Whether that includes grocery bags to get them through the next few days, whether it's providing them with a taxi chit to get them to a grocery store," said Benjamin Demianiuk, director of business development at Laurentian. 

"It's really a case by case basis, but from what we've heard so far, students are appreciating the support, and that's what we intend to continue to do."

Benjamin Demianiuk with Laurentian University said the university is doing what it can to assist students amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. (Hilary Duff/CBC)

Demers said the university is also working with international students to see how staying in the country could affect their study visas.

Meanwhile Lessard said Cambrian has been updating its website regularly with relevant information. 

"We recognize, a lot of them are young adults. This might be their first time away from home, or their first time in the adult world. Especially international students who are a long way from home," Lessard said.  

"So we're going to do our very best to communicate to them all the updates that are relevant to their situation. And we are there to support them. Anything they need, any help that they require, we are there to help."