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Rise of omicron delays start of UCN’s winter term and the return to in-person learning for most students

The Northern Manitoba post-secondary institution announced in late December that classes would not resume until Jan. 10, a week later than previously scheduled, and that most classes would continue to be delivered remotely.
ucn thompson campus exterior
University College of the North’s Thompson campus.

Plans to have all students, staff and faculty back on campus for the start of the winter term at University College of the North (UCN) have been at least partially scuttled by the rise of the COVID-19 omicron variant.

UCN announced in a Dec. 24 press release that the first day of classes following the Christmas break would be delayed by one week to Jan. 10 and that remote delivery would continue for most courses, apart from those that demand face-to-face in-person learning.

"We know that remote learning is not the best for our students' academic success or mental health. However, remote learning is the responsible option we have before us given the circumstances," said UCN academic and research vice-president Dan Smith, . "While UCN will seek to maximize stability and predictability for students, as circumstances warrant, UCN may consider a return to in-person learning for selected courses and programs."

A January return to in-person learning, teaching and working was announced by UCN in late September, when it looked like increasing vaccination rates and decreasing infections would result in the coronavirus being more of a nuisance than a health crisis by 2022. 

UCN has required since Nov. 1 that all students, staff, faculty and visitors be fully vaccinated to attend campuses in The Pas and Thompson and other UCN locations in other communities.