COVID-19 Update: GTA universities and colleges suspend classes

Mar 13, 2020 | News

Geography teacher Dinar Pamukci stands in front of the multimedia board after the last student left her classroom in Hesse, Germany. Authorities there closed most schools due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on March 13. Ontario is following suit by closing elementary and secondary schools for two weeks after March Break. Post-secondary schools are implementing various closures. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

Tyler Biggs

Schools all over the GTA are suspending classes to prevent further spreading of COVID-19.

York University and the University of Toronto both said they would suspend classes starting next week.

Ryerson University said they would start online classes today.

Humber and Centennial Colleges say they will be suspending classes for the week of March 16 to 20.

McMaster University said it would be suspending in-person classes for the time being.

Nothing is known regarding make-up dates for classes, tests or exams that will be missed at the schools.

Ontario reports 19 new COVID-19 cases

Health officials report another 19 new cases of COVID-19 has been discovered in the province.

This brings the total number of cases to 79 with Toronto hospitals reporting receiving 12 of the new cases.

A man from Niagara Region was taken to hospital for the virus, becoming the second patient in Ontario to require hospitalization since the outbreak began.

The remaining new patients are in self-isolation at their homes. Of the 79 cases in Ontario, five patients have made full recoveries.

Ontario health official recommends cancellations

Chief Medical Officer of Ontario recommended suspending all events and public gatherings with 250 people or more.

Dr. David Williams released a memo today saying organizers of small gatherings should consult with their local public health unit before planning an event.

The province hasn’t released any guidelines regarding public gatherings, but many events have already been cancelled and some schools have already announced closures.

Sunnybrook researchers isolate the virus

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre researchers, from left, Dr. Rob Kozak, Dr. Samira Mubareka and Dr. Arinjay Banerjee. They worked on isolating agents in the pathogen which could led to better testing and treatments. (Courtesy: Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre)

A group of researchers from Sunnybrook hospital, McMaster University and University of Toronto has isolated the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 agents (SARS-CoV-2).

This is the COVID-19 pathogen responsible for the recent outbreaks. Dr. Samira Mubareka says this isolation of the virus will help researchers around the world develop better testing, treatments and vaccines.

The researchers say once they have a better understanding of SARS-CoV-2, they will be able to understand and work towards a vaccine for COVID-19.

Parliament suspended over COVID concerns

The House of Commons and it’s 650 members agreed to shut down parliament to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

All parties agreed to suspend the House for five weeks. No meetings were planned for next week or the for the first two weeks of April.

The House is expected to resume on Monday, April 20.

Ontario Community Newspaper folds its gala

The OCNA decided to suspend all events due to concerns over the COVID-19 virus.

It originally planned to meet on April 2 and 3 for their annual general meeting, spring convention, the Better Newspaper Awards gala and other events.

Although no make-up date has been set, the OCNA does plan to reschedule when possible.

CN Tower closes its doors

The CN Tower will be closed until April 14 amid growing COVID-19 concerns.

The CN Tower will remain lit at night but have a reduced number of employees to work the tower.

The landmark will begin its closure this evening.

Entire countries shutting down

A man wearing a protective mask carries shopping bags on March 13 as he walks on the streets of Oslo following an outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Scanpix/Hakon Mosvold Larsen via REUTERS

Norway took extreme measures by closing down their entire country yesterday evening.

The country faces a significant outbreak with 632 cases which included a 20 percent increase on Wednesday.

Norway had already halted going to movie theatres, sporting events and other highly trafficked areas. The Norwegian institute of public health believes that 2.2 million Norwegians might be infected.

There currently is no time frame for when the shutdown will be lifted.

Italy is already shut down while other European countries are exploring measures to deal with the outbreak.

PGA cancels Players Championship and Masters

The PGA tour was one day into the annual Players Championship in Florida before the COVID-19 virus forced them to shut their doors.

The announcement also brought the postponement of the Masters Tournament in Augusta, Ga., scheduled to begin next month.

No make-up dates have been set.

Around the Bay run cancelled

Hamilton’s Around the Bay 30k run has been cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns.

The race was originally scheduled for March 29. Race officials have not yet announced if this was going to be a cancellation or if the race would be postponed to a later date.

The Around the Bay road race is the oldest on the continent, beginning in 1894, three years before the start of the Boston Marathon.

Sophie Trudeau diagnosed with Virus

Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, seen here leaving Rideau Hall in 2019 after her husband Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asked Governor General Julie Payette to dissolve Parliament, tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. Justin has self-isolated himself. REUTERS/Patrick Doyle/File Photo

Last night Sophie Trudeau, the wife of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.

She will remain in isolation for the time being. In a statement, she is said to be “feeling well” and “taking all recommended precautions as her symptoms remain mild.”

The Prime Minister will continue to self-isolate himself.