Last week, several universities in Canada announced plans to go online for Fall 2020 semester. As countries struggle to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and advise social distancing, university learning is likely to continue virtually across the globe including Canada.
Until provinces declare it safe to return to campus, students at McGill University, University of British Columbia, University of Montreal, and the University of Victoria can expect most of their courses to remain online. However, they may be able to have smaller classes face-to-face and attend lab sessions. Further decisions on what campus sessions will be allowed also depend on the health guidelines at the start of the new academic year. These uncertainties are likely to increase for international students, particularly those who returned home when campuses closed.
As each province follows its own guidelines to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, universities will have to base their activity around timely measures. Several universities may take a mixed approach at the start of the academic year. A flexible model for programme instruction will include online teaching when coupled with only a few, carefully-selected campus activities.
However, a proportionate drop in tuition fees is not expected despite students not having access to the type of learning and resources being charged for. However, universities are exploring a reduction in service fees and boosting bursary funds.
Given the volatility of the situation, international students should reach out to their university for updates before final acceptance of admission.