The University of Calgary and Mount Royal University are among multiple Alberta post-secondaries cancelling all in-person classes for the remainder of this week, in response to the provincial government implementing new COVID-19 restrictions and declaring a state of emergency.
The measures, announced Wednesday, include a new program that requires people to provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test in order to gain entry to participating businesses and social events. Businesses that don't participate will be subject to additional health measures.
The University of Calgary said in an emailed release, sent shortly before 11 p.m., that the government told it in a follow-up communication that it would require post-secondary institutions to implement two-metre physical distancing in all indoor spaces until some of the new measures take effect on Monday.
"As a result of these new requirements, the University of Calgary is cancelling all in-person classes from Thursday through Sunday as we evaluate the implications of the new rules. We will assess the situation in the next few days and follow-up on the status of future classes," the university said.
Online classes would continue as usual, and research activities could continue with distancing and masks.
The U of C said more than 91 per cent of its campus community has attested to being fully vaccinated with the remainder undergoing rapid testing.
MRU said it would also be cancelling in-person classes for the remainder of the week, and will actively work with the advanced education ministry to determine how the new rules apply to post-secondary institutions.
The U of C, MRU and other universities had previously announced plans for students and staff to provide proof of vaccination in the coming weeks.
SAIT said it will also close its campuses for the remainder of the week due to the public health emergency, and University of Lethbridge and Medicine Hat College cancelled in-person classes.
In Edmonton, the University of Alberta said all in-person classes would be cancelled for Thursday and further clarification will be communicated about the status of classes and activities for Friday as well as the university's requirements and procedures for complying with the province's new proof of vaccination program effective Monday.
More than 18,000 people in Alberta currently have COVID-19, and without added surge beds the province's ICUs would be at more than 150 per cent of capacity.
A list of the province's new public health restrictions can be found on the provincial government's website.