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Coronavirus fears prompt Ontario university to move classes online — should others?


As health officials scramble to contain the novel coronavirus outbreak that has now infected more than 121,000 people globally, many countries have implemented enhanced measures, including closing schools and moving university and college classes online.

In Canada, Laurentian University announced on Wednesday that it would be suspending all classes “as a precaution” amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

“As of tomorrow March 12, all classes will now be moved to online delivery until further notice,” the school said in a tweet.

Sudbury, Ont., where the school is located, reported its first case of COVID-19 on Tuesday.

Further south, in the U.S., a number of universities and colleges — including Princeton, Columbia and Stanford — have announced they will be moving their classes online and have asked students not to return after spring break.

READ MORE: Coronavirus — 6 things we still don’t know about COVID-19

Should more universities and colleges in Canada follow suit?

Here’s a look at what’s going on:

In Canada, more than 102 cases of the virus have been confirmed, with most in Ontario and B.C.

Those provinces’ largest universities say they are both waiting on advice from local health officials before making any decisions about moving classes online.

In a statement emailed to Global News, the University of Toronto said it is “following the directions of public health authorities” who have advised that the risk of community transmission of the virus remains low in the Greater Toronto Area.

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