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University of Waterloo extends remote learning into February

Distance learning for students at the University of Waterloo has been extended until at least February 7.

Most students were expecting to return to in-person learning after Jan. 27, but university officials said in a press release Monday that the Omicron variant has affected those plans.

“There are some early signs that this wave is at or near its peak. However, the impact on the health system will be significant in the weeks after the peak. Therefore, we need to continue to do our part to reduce the pressure on the community and the local health system by continuing limiting personal contact.

“We will return as soon as this becomes practicable on the advice of public health officials,” the press release read.

While the University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University, University of Guelph and Conestoga College have hampered in-person learning after the winter break, all schools except the University of Waterloo have plans to resume in-person learning on Monday, January 31.

A spokesperson for Wilfrid Laurier University said the school continues to monitor public health information and will confirm more details “over the next two days” about plans to return to campus.

A Conestoga College spokesperson said the hope is to bring students back to campus on January 31, but discussions are ongoing and any changes will be announced in the “next few days”.

Meanwhile, the University of Waterloo said it will continue to provide basic in-person instruction – including clinical classes and some lab-based programs – and also said it plans to give students at least two weeks’ notice before resuming in-person learning.

To help answer students’ questions about the impending return to campus, the university is hosting a keynote forum on February 2. There are also health resources available for students who are struggling.

To help flatten the curve, the university is encouraging people to vaccinate, wear a mask and limit social contacts.

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