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  • Manini Sethi

Winter is Coming... And it's Going to be Online.

On 7th October, Cape Breton University announced that that the upcoming winter semester would be conducted completely online. Not that I'll miss walking in knee deep snow or slipping on black ice twice a week, but this means that in March 2021, we would have had an entire year of campus closure with little to no in person classes. This decision was made by CBU in the light of the global coronavirus pandemic which has disrupted almost every aspect of life as we knew it and which has impacted almost every industry in the economy in complex and irreversible ways.

CBU also announced that as per the current plan, campus is expected to open for students on 3rd May, 2021. This decision is subject to change depending on the social distancing regulations and the spread of the virus at that time.

This decision on whether classes would be conducted in person or online in the upcoming January semester was much awaited by current students as well as those planning on joining the university. Harmanjot Singh, a student considering joining CBU from overseas in January 2021 told Caper Times that he has now decided to defer his education to May 2021 as he would prefer to take his classes in person and as he would also like to “get a feel of University life” along with quality education.

CBU isn't the only university in Canada that recently announced it's plan for the upcoming Semester. On 17th August, 2020, Dalhousie University in Halifax announced that "a significant majority" of their courses will continue to be delivered online. The university aims for a "mix of online and in person instruction" and stated that "some courses with particular accreditation requirements or significant experiential learning components will be delivered in person, provided this can be done safely".

Saint Mary's University recently announced that they will be opting for a mix of online and in person learning methods for the upcoming winter semester. On their website, Saint Mary's announced, "Undergraduate lectures will be delivered online primarily for first, second, and third-year courses and the goal is for every discipline to have opportunities for on-campus experiences, including small class discussion groups, experiential courses, labs, seminars and tutorials. There will also be opportunities for graduate students to meet on campus and in-person in small groups. Other in-person activities will be designed to allow students to experience more peer-to-peer learning, build community, and increase overall engagement. For any students unable or not comfortable moving forward with in-person experiences during the Winter 2021 term, online options will remain available."

Even though classes are being conducted completely online, students who returned to their home countries and those who recently joined a Canadian Designated Learning Institution (DLI) which has a COVID-19 readiness plan approved by their province or territory will be allowed to enter Canada on a Study Permit from 20th October 2021 even if their classes are currently being conducted online. Government of Canada also announced that a new list of DLIs with approved COVID-19 readiness plans will be published before the 20th of October. They also suggested that those planning on travelling to Canada on study permits should ensure that their university or college is on this list. They also stated that this change does not affect those who are already in Canada. Therefore, those students who have a study permit and are currently staying in Canada would not be required to leave the country if their university or college is not on the DLI list. However, if you leave Canada, you may not be able to return if your university or college doesn’t have a COVID-19 readiness plan approved by the province or territory in which you live.

In the light of this announcement, CBU also stated that they will be supporting international students who decide to come to Canada by providing supporting documents. Even though the University can not guarantee approval of one’s application to enter Canada, it will support these applications and will help guide students who are seeking to come to Canada to pursue their studies online. CBU students can contact to request for enrolment certificates from CBU which would support their application to enter Canada.

If you are planning on travelling to Canada, continue to check for updates regarding travel restrictions.

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