By Lethbridge Herald on March 13, 2020.
Precautionary measures and cancellations in relation to COVID-19 continued around Lethbridge on Friday.
The University of Lethbridge remained open but classes were being cancelled through Tuesday before the university shifts its delivery of academic courses to a new model on Wednesday, eliminating the need for on-campus classroom attendance.
The U of L released a statement regarding the move late Friday:
“Following significant consultation with Alberta Health and fellow post-secondary institutions throughout the province, we will continue to suspend classes March 16 and 17 as we support this transition. This approach is designed to limit large gatherings of people on campus, enhancing campus safety, and will be in place until the COVID-19 situation is stabilized.
“The university will remain open, and staff and faculty will be at work. As well, all services will be available. Our Calgary campus at Bow Valley College will also transition to an alternative model of course delivery under the same timelines.
“We are taking this step as a precautionary measure and with the best interests of our students, faculty and staff in mind. It is important to note that Alberta Health continues to advise that the risk to our community is low.
“To support this transition, we have invested in new technology platforms that allow courses to be delivered in alternative formats, and will advise instructors how to prepare for remote delivery. Instructors will be assisted by a dedicated team of professionals during the two transition days so that they will be able to provide as robust an educational experience as possible, given the challenging circumstances. The process of building our alternative delivery model will consider course delivery, including laboratories and assessment.
“All students will be supported through this move and accommodations made to ensure no students lose credits or their ability to graduate. For those students who do not have the means to connect remotely, we will be designating areas to utilize the university’s resources in a manner keeping with Alberta Health recommendations.
“We also recognize that the graduate student experience differs from that of undergraduate students. Note that graduate classes are suspended, similar to undergraduate classes, but the university remains open and accessible for graduate student needs and lab and individualized work will continue. As well, for students in practicums, placements and co-ops, you can expect to receive communication from your deans addressing your specific needs.”
Lethbridge College remained open Friday with no disruption to classes.
“None of our classrooms hold 250 people, which keeps us within the Government of Alberta’s recommended guidelines,” LC tweeted Friday morning. “We continue to monitor this ongoing situation.”
The Lethbridge Senior Citizens Organization said Friday afternoon that its Community Centre will be closed to the public. This includes: all fitness programs and classes and the fitness centre; LSCO groups and activities; dining room; room rentals; and the volunteer program.
“Meals on Wheels will continue to operate as normally as possible, utilizing staff in the kitchen instead of volunteers,” says an LSCO news release. “It is expected that driver/courier volunteers will continue as usual. Subsidized Homemaking Services for Seniors will continue to operate as usual, with staff utilizing personal protection as recommended by Alberta Health Services.”
Lethbridge Public Library staff say all branches will remain open for the time being. However, it will be suspending all public programs and external room bookings effective from today to March 31.
Movie Mill owner Len Binning said they are taking extra precautions to keep guests and employees safe.
“The health, safety and well-being of our employees and guests is our top priority and we are following the lead and carefully monitoring the recommendations of Canadian public health authorities at this important time,” Binning said in a news release.
“As a result, we have further elevated our cleaning and sanitation protocols. There is no denying that COVID-19 has had an impact on our communities. Rest assured, The Movie Mill remains in close contact with governmental health agencies and is taking the proper precautions as this situation evolves.”
Beginning Sunday, in-person worship services at McKillop United Church will be cancelled until further notice. McKillop will continue to connect as a community exclusively through live online worship at 10:30 a.m. on Sundays.
“We will not take unnecessary risks when it comes to the health and welfare of our community. However, we are equally grounded in the practice of nurturing and caring for people,” said Trevor Potter, Minister at McKillop United Church, in a news release.
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