U of O announces winter term to be ‘primarily’ online

Students, faculty notified in memo late Monday afternoon

CBC News · Posted: Sep 21, 2020

A University of Ottawa student walks through campus on Sept. 1, 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. The school’s students and staff were notified in a memo on Monday afternoon that the 2021 winter semester would be composed “primarily of remote learning.” (Andrew Lee/CBC)

The University of Ottawa has notified students and faculty that its 2021 winter semester will be composed “primarily of remote learning, with only a few exceptions.”

The school has been adapting to teaching remotely, according to Jill Scott, the provost and vice-president of academic affairs, but the university also needs to look ahead as the public health risk COVID-19 poses persists.

“Due to the ongoing pandemic, it is now clear that there will be no large-scale return to campus soon,” wrote Scott in a memo sent to students and staff late Monday afternoon.

“… This is not a decision that has been taken lightly. Nonetheless, after extensive research consultations with faculty and staff, and with public health officials, I am confident that this is the responsible choice for uOttawa.”

According to an emailed statement from university spokesperson Isabelle Mailloux-Pulkinghorn, the school will provide updates as it prepares for the next term. 

“We are working hard to continue to provide a world-class teaching and research experience, without neglecting our number one priority: the health and safety of our greater community,” Mailloux-Pulkinghorn wrote.

Carleton University and Algonquin College have also taken steps toward a mostly online winter term. Queen’s University’s statements so far have put the focus on faculties to craft their own plans.