80 per cent of U of A classes expected to be back in the classroom this fall

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The University of Alberta is expected to hold 80 per cent of classes in person this fall after a year of virtual learning.

Steve Dew, the school’s Provost and Vice-President of Academics, said in a statement on the university’s website on Monday that there will be a varying degree of learning online and in the classroom between different faculties but that about 20 per cent of classes will be offered online. The mix is intended to allow flexibility for students, Dew said.

“With the significant increase in courses being offered in person, U of A students, faculty and staff should be prepared to be on campus this fall and plan for more regular on-campus experiences,” wrote Dew. “Campus activities will resume gradually when public health restrictions are lifted and sufficient support resources are available.”

Meanwhile, across the North Saskatchewan River, a statement posted online by MacEwan University’s President Dr. Annette Trimbee on April 23 says the school is committed to making greater use of their campus.

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“Fall classes have been configured to fit the size of our classrooms and scheduled at specific times to allow us to engage students face-to-face in keeping with physical distancing guidelines that are in place at that time,” wrote Trimbee. “This flexible plan was created with the aim of having students and faculty return to the classroom fully at some point during the semester.”

Trimbee said that if COVID-19 cases rise and a full return is not allowed, MacEwan will hold as many face-to-face activities as possible.

“We will continue to closely monitor the COVID-19 situation as we make plans over the spring and summer months and are committed to sharing information with you as quickly as we can,” said Trimbee.

A statement posted on the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT)’s website on March 19 says the school will reintroduce in-person classroom learning as health guidelines allow.

Minister of Advanced Education Demetrios Nicolaides issued a statement on March 18 encouraging all post-secondary institutions in Alberta, as well as students and family members, to prepare for a full return to on-campus learning by September.

“Alberta’s COVID-19 immunization program continues to move forward. As per recent announcements by the Minister of Health, we anticipate that we will offer every adult Albertan their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by the end of June,” said Nicolaides.

Premier Jason Kenney has said on several occasions that as long as vaccines continue to be distributed to Alberta he expects most public health measures to be lifted by the end of June.

There had been 1,419,188 doses of vaccines administered in the province as of April 25.

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