Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }
Coronavirus information
Coronavirus information
The Zero Canada Project provides resources to help you make the most of staying home.
Visit the hub

On Friday, health columnist André Picard will take reader questions during a live Facebook Q&A. Email your coronavirus questions to audience@globeandmail.com.

Two of Canada’s largest universities are developing contingency plans to hold lectures via video conference and administer exams remotely if the spread of the novel coronavirus prompts calls to cancel public gatherings.

The University of Toronto and the University of British Columbia said classes and exams are proceeding as scheduled for now, but they’re preparing for the possibility that public-health agencies will recommend social-distancing measures to reduce the spread of the illness.

Story continues below advertisement

Across the country, universities are cancelling travel and conferences in response to the coronavirus and preparing for what may come.

University Canada West, a small private school in Vancouver, closed its doors Thursday after the father of a student came down with COVID-19. It is among the few cases so far connected to educational institutions in Canada.

At the University of Toronto, which has a population of more than 100,000 students and staff, a planning group has been meeting for several weeks to address the response to COVID-19. The group includes people responsible for academics, student life, facilities, international students and study abroad. Among them is Vivek Goel, vice-president of research and innovation, who also led Public Health Ontario when it was founded after the SARS crisis of 2003.

Dr. Goel said universities follow the advice given by public-health agencies, but most schools will now be preparing for scenarios that could interrupt the academic year.

“We always have to be ready for these types of contingencies. If people aren’t able to come into work because they’re sick, or if we get advice not to have large gatherings of students and faculty, then we would look to online means for continuing education," Dr. Goel said.

He said officials have made it clear it’s nearly inevitable that there will be community transmission in Canada in the weeks ahead. He suggested the university will soon be asking professors to consider how they would restructure grade evaluations if the traditional exam period is disrupted. It might mean giving extra weight to course work, for example, or having a take-home exam.

“We would look at other methods of evaluation,” Dr. Goel said.

Story continues below advertisement

At the University of British Columbia, the administration is looking at ways that exams could be administered to students remotely. A working group is looking into whether they could scale up the online administration of exams if such a step is necessary. The technology would “allow students to write exams remotely with the same level of scrutiny as they would experience writing an exam in a lecture hall,” said Matthew Ramsey, a UBC spokesman.

McGill University said it is considering alternative ways to hold exams should the situation warrant it.

At UBC, staff have placed hand-sanitizing stations in high-traffic areas and have stepped up efforts to inform staff and students about the measures they should be taking to minimize the risk of transmission.

Academic travel has also been affected. The University of Western Ontario, like many other institutions, has cancelled university-approved student travel to China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, Singapore, Japan and Hong Kong. McGill said it had recalled students from China, South Korea and from Northern Italy.

Trinity Western University in Langley, B.C., announced Thursday that it’s cancelling a planned conference on the Dead Sea scrolls, scheduled for late March. The Asia-Pacific Association for International Education also cancelled a conference planned for Vancouver this month.

Some students, such as those in medicine, could be placed in close proximity to the illness. Dr. Goel said the institutions in which they work are expected to protect those students as they would their own staff.

In the interests of public health and safety, our coronavirus news articles are free for anyone to access. However, The Globe depends on subscription revenue to support our journalism. If you are able, please subscribe to globeandmail.com. If you are already a subscriber, thank you for your support.

Your subscription helps The Globe and Mail provide readers with critical news at a critical time. Thank you for your continued support. We also hope you will share important coronavirus news articles with your friends and family. In the interest of public health and safety, all our coronavirus news articles are free for anyone to access.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies