UPDATED: Laurier cancels in-person classes amid COVID-19 concerns

After back and forth decision-making that initially included cancelling or postponing all events not part of courses or academic requirements from March 13 to Apr. 30, Wilfrid Laurier University has just announced their decision to suspend on-campus classes effective Monday amid growing concerns regarding the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

President and vice-chancellor, Deborah MacLatchy, stated in a press release that “the university and university buildings will remain open. Facilities such as the library, recreation centres, food services and health services will remain operational,” and “Laurier’s residences will remain open to ensure the students who need housing have it. All students who have the option of going home are encouraged to do so.”

There have been eight confirmed cases of the virus in the Waterloo Region, with 80 total across Ontario.

Laurier joins a growing list of Ontario universities that include Western and University of Waterloo who have also chosen to move their classes online as a response to the outbreak.

There have been numerous online pleas for Laurier to take precautionary measures against the spread of the virus, as well as a petition titled “Cancel In-Person Classes at Wilfrid Laurier University due to COVID-19” that has since garnered over 4,000 signatures.

A letter from the Students’ Union president detailing plans for the operation of campus services was released earlier today.

Wilf’s and Veritas have announced that they will be closed until further notice.

The Food Bank will continue its regular offering of Hot Meals and Parcels, but it’s uncertain (as of the time of the release) how services like Foot Patrol will be affected for the remainder of the academic semester.

With the infamous unsanctioned St. Patrick’s Day street gathering that attracted 33,000 students last year on Ezra Avenue only a few days away, it’s still unknown how many people it will attract or what this will look like with classes no longer taking place on the Waterloo campus.

Laurier has activated a COVID-19 Information Centre to address questions and concerns and will be receiving phone calls (519-884-0710 ext. 2684) and responding to emails (coronavirusquestions@wlu.ca) from Monday-Friday, 9:00 am-noon, 1:00 pm-4:00 pm.

More information to come. 

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