Rye has yet to announce preventative policies against COVID-19 spread

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By Alexandra Holyk

Ryerson students are still waiting to hear from the university about steps being taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

In an emailed statement to The Eyeopener from president Mohamed Lachemi, Ryerson is working with their risk management partner, International SOS, to provide status reports as requested for affected areas.

“As this is a rapidly evolving situation, all current and future travellers are encouraged to remain diligent and up to date regarding their travel planning and the potential for unexpected changes, cancellations and suspensions to other countries or regions,” the statement read.

Many Ryerson students have questions about policy changes and what the university plans to do to prevent unnecessary in-person contact.

A petition for the university to facilitate online courses to prevent the spread of COVID-19 was started by a Ryerson student on March 12. It has since received more than 350 signatures.

In a statement on March 3, Ryerson advised students who feel sick to “avoid close contact with others and stay home.” Students must still follow regular procedures to contact their instructors for academic accommodations in their courses.

Following this, Charles Falzon, the dean of Ryerson’s Faculty of Communication and Design, told students in an email that the planned study abroad trip to Cortona, Italy, was cancelled.

“It was a difficult decision for me and my team who have worked extremely hard to plan it this past year, but ultimately the students’ health and well-being are important to us,” the email read.

In response to COVID-19, several post-secondary institutions in the United States and Canada have shut down campuses to help prevent the spread of the virus by avoiding unnecessary contact.

Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ont. announced they will be facilitating classes online “until further notice.”

“We understand that changes in our day-to-day operations will create challenges and disruptions, however, we believe the risk of not taking action is of greater concern to our community,” the statement read.

At the University of Toronto, the dean of Arts & Science Melanie Woodin wrote in an email to students that the university “is temporarily suspending the need for a doctor’s note or medical certificate for absences because of cold or flu-like symptoms, or due to self-isolation requirements.”

Although Ryerson has not released an official statement addressing its plans for prevention, some instructors have taken matters into their own hands and cancelled classes.

On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) classified COVID-19 as a pandemic. This means the virus is prevalent around the whole world, with more than 118,000 cases in 114 countries, according to WHO’s website.

With files from Gary-Joseph Panganiban

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