University of Ottawa asking students living in residence to leave amid coronavirus outbreak

Following the announcement of Ontario’s state of emergency due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, the University of Ottawa is asking students in residence to vacate their rooms by Sunday afternoon.

As of early Wednesday morning, Ottawa has 13 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the city.

An email sent to students on Tuesday said international students and those with “exceptional circumstances” will not be forced to move out.

“This difficult and drastic decision has not been taken lightly, but we deem it an appropriate response to the public health emergency caused by the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. It is another critical step in our necessary efforts to employ social distancing to flatten the infection curve and reduce the impact of the virus,” the email said.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to change rapidly. On Tuesday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford declared a state of emergency in the province.

Last week, along with Carleton University, the University of Ottawa announced it would be moving to online classes starting March 18 but that campus would still remain open.

Now, most students in residence have until 4 p.m. Sunday to leave their rooms.

As for the provincial state of emergency, although many “essential services” will continue operating for the time being, the following have been closed:

  • Facilities providing recreational programs
  • Libraries
  • Private schools
  • Licensed child-care centres
  • Bars and restaurants (takeout and delivery permitted)
  • Theatres, cinemas and concert venues

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