UPEI quickly pivots to online exams as Omicron spreads

·1 min read
Students at UPEI are in the final throes of writing exams for the fall semester, and will now do so online or not at all.  (Shutterstock - image credit)
Students at UPEI are in the final throes of writing exams for the fall semester, and will now do so online or not at all. (Shutterstock - image credit)

Students at UPEI in the midst of final exams for the fall semester will write any remaining exams virtually, at a later date or not at all, due to the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation on Prince Edward Island.

Friday, P.E.I.'s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison announced 31 cases of COVID-19, the highest single-day total since the pandemic was declared 21 months ago. There are also 75 active cases, another record.

In an effort to stem the "exponential" spread of the Omicron variant, Morrison introduced new restrictions including a legal requirement for physical distancing of two metres in public spaces, and a capacity reduction of 50 per cent in public spaces such as retailers, gyms and entertainment venues.

"All exams will be either online, postponed, or cancelled," the university's interim president Greg Keefe said in an emailed message a few hours later.

Instructors will decide how to proceed and communicate directly with their students. Students scheduled to write exams on campus Saturday "should wait for instruction from their instructor," the email said.

Keefe said UPEI will help employees work from home if possible — they must first consult their supervisors and get approval.

Some departments providing essential services, including the Atlantic Veterinary College teaching hospital and diagnostic services will continue to do so, Keefe's email noted.

The campus sports centre's gymnasium and fitness centre will stay open but will operate at 50 per cent capacity, as will the university's Robertson Library.

Campus buildings will remain open until the end of Thursday, Dec. 23, then close for the holiday break.

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