Concordia Closed Until March 29 Due to COVID-19 Prevention

Some Classes Will Be Moved Online Starting March 16

Photo Elisa Barbier

In an announcement issued this afternoon, Concordia has extended its cancellation of classes from March 16 to March 29. All schools in Quebec will be closed until then as mandated by the provincial government.

“Our aim is move to online delivery of all courses on March 23,” said President Graham Carr.

As of March 13 at midnight both campuses will be closed. Exceptions include university residences and labs dealing with time-sensitive research.

Originally, the university was scheduled to be closed from March 13 to March 15, reopening on Monday, March 16. For now, the library will be closed, but the university remains open. March 13 remains a regular working day for Concordia employees.

Contrary to the university’s previous instructions, students concerned they may have symptoms should not call 811, according to Premier François Legault. Instead, they should call the dedicated phone line at 1-877-644-4545.

The new line comes after 811 was overloaded with calls. However, reports indicate the same issues are arising. Minister of Health and Social Services Danielle McCann said they are making a technical change and expect the line to be fully functioning later today.

“Essential functions will be maintained during closure and employees will continue to be paid as usual. More information will be communicated to faculty, staff, and students as they become available,” said Vannina Maestracci, spokesperson for Concordia.

“We have been preparing alternative scenarios for some time in case we needed to modify the delivery of courses and exams as well as travel and events on campus. This is part of Concordia’s communicable disease response plan activated in early February,” she added.

Courses with an enrolment of 250 students or more will be moved online starting early next week, according to Carr. At a Board of Governors meeting on Wednesday, Carr stated they are prepared for the possibility of finishing the semester through online learning. He said that Instructional & Information Technology Services has the capacity to implement an online learning system, but difficulties could arise when it comes to training teachers.

The government is banning all indoor events with more than 250 people, including sporting events.

Following the government’s announcement, all events taking place at Concordia from March 13 to April 15—regardless of the number of attendees—have been cancelled.

“Our goal at Concordia is first and foremost to ensure that members of our community are safe,” said Carr. “At the same time, we want to do everything we can to support students in the successful completion of their studies.”

Read more on Concordia’s response efforts here.

This article has been updated to add information about the implementation of online classes.

With files from Alexandre Denis