Durham College and Ontario Tech University shuts down classes at Oshawa and Whitby campuses, return to online learning this January

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Published December 20, 2021 at 3:27 pm

Durham’s local post-secondary institutions have announced a return to learn-from-home classes when the next semester begins in January, amid the rapid spread of the Omicron COVID-19 variant.

The University announced the move first via a news release on December 16. They said the current exam schedule will continue in concert with social distancing and protective measures like masking.

The winter semester at Ontario Tech will begin a week later than usual with classes returning on January 17. Classes will remain online for until at least January 31.

All buildings, including athletic facilities, shuttered on December 20 with University employees working from home starting January 10. Student residence will be closed for an extra week, with occupants allowed back January 14. Students may stay in the residence for remote classes until January 31.

The campus’ shared library will remain open offering curbside pickup.

“We urge our campus community to use this extended time off to get a booster shot to best protect yourself and others from COVID-19 and its variants,” the university said.

“Vaccinations are our best defence against COVID-19 and there was an outstanding response to our mandatory vaccine policy,” the statement continues, “As your opportunity for a booster shot arises, we encourage you to roll up your sleeve to continue to protect yourself, family, friends, and the campus community.”

The College meanwhile announced it’s plan in an email addressed to students, saying, “While concerns are mounting, there are many unanswered questions about the Omicron variant, and we are working closely with Public Health officials to monitor the situation.”

They will resume classes January 10 with as many as possible online. Students will still need to attend for labs, shops and clinical sessions, but will be limited in number.

Unlike the university, the college will keep it’s athletic facilities and FLEX centre open at 50 per cent capacity. However the gym will be closed for holiday break between, December 23 and January 4.

President Don Lovisa concluded his statement, “Your cooperation and patience are truly appreciated as we move through the COVID-19 pandemic together.”

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