Six other Toronto post-secondary schools announced class cancellations before noon on March 13
Ryerson is one of the last post-secondary schools in Toronto to cancel in-person classes and activities amid COVID-19 concerns.
The school’s decision was announced Friday at 11:20 a.m. and is effective as of Friday. President Mohamed Lachemi stated in an announcement that the school will be shifting all in-person classes to virtual and other alternative forms of delivery. Lachemi added that exams will also be conducted by alternate methods.
“For now, Ryerson University and facilities including residences and food services will remain open. Residence students will continue to be supported and will be contacted directly by Student Housing and Community Care with additional information,” Lachemi stated. “As the university remains open, employees are required to report to work as usual.”
He stated the week of March 16 will be “a week of transition” for Ryerson, and that faculty and staff time will be allowed to explore and implement alternate forms of program delivery. The new arrangement must be finalized by Monday, March 23, and Ryerson said students will be hearing from their departments on course delivery next week.
In addition to the school’s closure, Ryerson announced that all faculty travel to countries classified by the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a “level 3” is cancelled until Aug. 31 or further notice, all other international travel by faculty is strongly discouraged, and all discretionary Ryerson events on and off-campus scheduled from now until May 1 are being cancelled or postponed.
Multiple Toronto post-secondary schools, including York University, University of Toronto, Centennial College, George Brown, Seneca and Humber College announced Friday that they are cancelling in-person classes for the remainder of the semester.
The University of Toronto (UofT) cancelled all in-person undergraduate and research-stream master’s and doctoral courses across its three campuses, noting it would provide teaching by other means, including existing online platforms. UofT’s decision is effective as of Monday, March 16 and will continue until the end of classes on April 3.
Both the Ram in the Rye and Oakham Cafe closed for the season at noon on March 13, an hour after Ryerson’s announcement. Staff were told to regroup at the end of August and are unexpectedly out of a job a month early. The restaurants normally close for the season in April.
The Student Campus Centre (SCC) building is closing at 5 p.m. on Friday and will remain locked 24 hours a day, aside from after hours OneCard access, until at least May 1.
In an emailed statement to building tenants, Jennifer Stacey, the general manager for the SCC wrote that all events booked in SCC and Oakham are now cancelled and that management will be contacting affected groups and students.
Ryerson has received criticism for a perceived slow response to the pandemic. An online petition asking the university to close, published on March 12, gained over 6,192 signatures before the university made the announcement to suspend classes. Similar petitions started by students at York University and U of T, have also garnered widespread responses.
YORK ANDDDD UOFT AND MAC IS CANCELLED BUT NOT RYERSON??? pic.twitter.com/HLglbInQ4z
— rostam™️ (@rossstammm) March 13, 2020
This week, Carleton University, Western University, and Laurentian University also announced they would also migrate their classes to an online format.
Please see below our plan to complete the term online @Carleton_U. I am aware that these measures will cause inconvenience & disruption, but the safety of our community is our priority. Many thanks everyone for adapting to these challenging circumstances.https://t.co/vrg9cNmjlT
— Benoit-Antoine Bacon (@CU_President) March 13, 2020
The University of Ottawa stated Friday it is “exploring the possibility” of continuing classes and university activities remotely, beginning next week.
On Friday, McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont., suspended all in-person classes.
McMaster had said Thursday it would cancel “all discretionary events” but classes and labs would continue as scheduled. The decision to continue classes resulted in online backlash against the university.
The Ryersonian has reached out to Ryerson University for comment, but at the time of publishing has received only the public statement.
The provincial government announced March 12 that all publicly funded schools in Ontario will be closed for two weeks in response to the spread of COVID-19. Schools have been ordered to remain closed from March 14 to April 5, following March break. COVID-19, more commonly referred to as the coronavirus, was declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) on March 11.
The outbreak was first identified in Wuhan, China in December 2019. As of March 13, there have been 138 confirmed cases in Canada, according to the federal government’s public health bulletin. There are 59 cases within Ontario.
Protecting oneself from COVID-19 has similar measures to flu and cold prevention. This includes good hand hygiene, not touching others, and disinfecting surfaces and objects. The Canadian government stresses to “stay home if you’re sick.”
This story is developing and will be updated with more information.
With files from Khalida Rixzan