Canadian universities plan return to in-person classes in fall

Some good news for students of many of Canada’s universities emerged this week: post-secondary institutions are planning to return to in-person classes this fall. With the government announcing their intent to have everyone vaccinated by September, universities and colleges are optimistic about being able to return to their normal operations.

Each university will decide for itself whether it feels confident in implementing in-person classes again in the fall. As of right now, some universities have already released statements that they will be re-opening, while others are holding off until they can be more certain.

For international students studying in Canada or planning to join, this news comes as a relief. Many students were only permitted to come to the country if their school had a COVID-19 readiness plan. Coronavirus has forced many of them to remain in their home countries, which often leads to difficulties due to factors like poor internet connection, and major time zone differences.

Many Canadian universities show numbers rising in international students enrolment each year. These institutions, of course, want to support these students as best they can but with the challenges they faced under the pandemic, these students were primarily left to their own devices.

For students hoping to continue living in the country after graduation, being present here to gain work experience alongside completion of their degree is an advantage. Thus, the announcement of the return to in-person classes gives hope. With this, it is likely more of those international students currently stranded abroad will be granted entry to come study, regardless of potential travel restrictions in the fall. 

Some of the universities that hope to open are in B.C., Alberta, Manitoba, and Ontario. These schools are expecting to return to class with reduced-capacity class sizes, to allow for continued social distancing measures. Quebec announced a more gradual return to in-person operations, with likely one session a week being in the classroom.

The Atlantic provinces are much more optimistic about fall classes. Most classes are expected to return to meeting on campus, while larger class sizes may be kept online until further notice for the safety of students and staff. A hybrid system may also be implemented, which will start with mainly online lectures, gradually shift more and more to in-person meetings. 

Several schools are expected to continue assessing the situation as it evolves and making changes when possible. To learn more, visit your school’s website over the coming weeks.

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