A student practicing good hygiene habits. Photo credit: Angeleah Brazeau-Emmerson

As of March 11, the COVID-19 outbreak has been classified as a pandemic by the World Health Organization.

With two cases of COVID-19 now in Ottawa, Claude Brulé, president of Algonquin College, sent his fourth email to students and faculty since Jan. 28 to update the community on how the college is handling the situation.

As of right now, Algonquin College is going to continue with classes and events as scheduled, with only updates to travel insurance plans through the college.

With 42 cases reported in Ontario, some institutions are taking precautions to combat the spread

In Sudbury, Laurentian University has decided to move its classes online starting March 12 and Windsor’s St. Clair College is preparing for cancellations.

The president has emailed the community about the issue three times in the last three months.

At the end of January, the college sent out two emails to students and faculty regarding the novel coronavirus. Citing Health Canada’s low risk assessment, the college asked students to stay home if sick and to practice basic hygiene.

Then, a month later, on March 3, Algonquin College launched a web page providing students and faculty a list of links to inform themselves on the facts regarding COVID-19 from sources like: Ottawa Public Health, Ontario Ministry of Health, Public Health Ontario and the Public Health Agency of Canada.

On March 11, in an email from Brulé, the response from Algonquin College was to continue regular classes and events while maintaining a more thorough standard of cleaning for “touch-points” across campus. As well, travel insurance plans through the college will no longer apply when travelling to China, Italy or Iran.

In the March 11 email, students and faculty were assured that key personnel from the college are assessing the potential impact of COVID-19 and developing contingency plans. However, any details of what the contingency plan would look like were left vague.

Students are encouraged to stay updated with information provided on the college’s page dedicated to COVID-19 updates and to take necessary precautions to protect themselves and others.

Until the guidelines set by municipal, provincial and federal health agencies change, it will be business as usual at Algonquin College.