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The university is looking to provide alternative convocation experiences for graduates

The University of Ottawa announced on Thursday that in-person spring 2020 convocation ceremonies —  which are scheduled to take place from June 7-10 — have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This announcement will undoubtedly disappoint the thousands of members of the class of 2020 who have been looking forward to Convocation Day since their arrival on campus. We share your disappointment,” the university wrote in an online update.

However, the university also wrote that they are looking to provide alternative convocation experiences for graduates, such as hosting the ceremonies “when circumstances permit.”

“Rest assured that all students qualified to graduate in Spring 2020 will indeed officially graduate and will receive their degrees and parchments,” wrote the university.

The U of O moved the remainder of the semester online (including exams) on March 18 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Everyone but international students and those with “exceptional circumstances” were forced to leave residence by March 22. All athletics/recreation facilities have closed, along with most campus food services

The university’s Senate ruled last week to let each faculty make decisions about the conduct of their final assessments. 

The faculties of social sciences, engineering, arts, and the Telfer School of Management have all approved optional pass/fail final course grading, but it’s still unclear how the faculties of education, health sciences, medicine, science, and law will approach final assessments.

The U of O announced earlier this week that summer courses would be held online. The school has also launched an emergency fund that students can access for financial support.

As of Thursday, there were 32 positive cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa but none confirmed in the U of O community.

The five most recent cases in the city are a man in his 60s who recently travelled to Spain, a woman in her 60s who recently travelled to Egypt and Dubai, a woman in her 40s whose source of transmission is still pending, a man in his 60s who recently travelled to Spain, and a woman in her 70s who was in close contact with someone with COVID-19. All are self-isolating or hospitalized.

Etches urge everyone to remain home and only leave the house unless necessary, such as for a weekly grocery trip. Premier Doug Ford has declared a state of emergency and the province has closed all non-essential businesses

Across the province, there have been 13 deaths from COVID-19 and at least 837 confirmed cases of the virus as of Thursday, with eight labelled as resolved. 

There have been at least 3,555 confirmed cases of the virus and 35 deaths across Canada.

Globally, COVID-19 has infected more than 529,000 people and killed over 23,000 since emerging in China in December 2019. There have been over 122,000 recoveries from the virus.

— With files from Matt Gergyek

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