The University of Guelph has considered the possibility of moving courses online amid coronavirus concerns.
U of G spokesperson Lori Bona Hunt said because the spread of COVID-19 is a rapidly evolving situation, the university is preparing contingency plans which range from continuity plans (that allow services to run) to moving courses online. Any changes and updates are posted on their COVID-19 web page.
The Public Health Agency of Canada estimated that the risk in relation to COVID-19 in Canada is currently low. The university is working with Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health to observe the situation and is said to follow Public Health’s recommendations if any cases arise.
Hunt said currently, the university has no confirmed cases of COVID-19 on any of their campuses or research stations.
“As you will see from the FAQs on our COVID-19 web page, we are following the advice of public health in terms of prevention, providing students, faculty and staff with information, resources, etc., and following the advice of the government of Canada as it relates to travel,” said Hunt in an email.
“To date, we have not cancelled any gatherings or events, or restricted travel outright on the Guelph campus.”
The university is not excluding or banning students and faculty from attending class or work but is requesting that if anyone has flu-like symptoms with a fever, or has travelled to an area where COVID-19 is prevalent to contact Student Health Services.
The university also made temporary modifications to its biosecurity protocol for animal and livestock facilities to protect staff and animals.
The university has a pandemic plan in place and is working with its emergency operations committee, chaired by Don O’Leary, and includes representations from academic and administrative units.
It is also in the process of creating continuity plans in order to maintain its academic and administrative services in case there is a local COVID-19 outbreak.
The university says their emergency operations committee is frequently meeting to assess the changing situation and modify the plans as needed.
Currently, the committee is focusing on:
Communicating information about the rapidly changing situation with the university with faculty and students
Providing support for those affected by sharing best practices in relation to containment, health in student residences and providing counselling for those in distress
Maintaining accessibility to courses
Maintaining business continuity by allowing programs and services to run