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Students asked to complete one online form for each day they are requesting accommodations

As concerns around the COVID-19 pandemic continue to grow and final exams approach, the University of Ottawa has launched an online self-declaration form for students to request academic accommodations.

“If you cannot participate in course learning activities, write an exam or hand in an assignment for medical or other reasons due to changes in learning conditions caused by COVID-19, complete and submit the form found on the COVID-19 website within 10 business days of your absence or your assignment deadline,” the university wrote in an email to students. 

Students are asked to complete one form for each day they are requesting academic accommodations and also inform their professor as soon as possible “if special arrangements must be made.”

On the form, students can list a course, exam date, or assignment deadline and a reason for requesting accommodation, including being diagnosed with COVID-19 by a medical doctor, experiencing flu-like symptoms but with no official COVID-19 diagnosis, or caring for someone diagnosed with COVID-19 or who has flu-like symptoms. 

The U of O moved classes online on Wednesday and says exams will not be taken in person in response to COVID-19.

Among the other changes to campus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic include the closure of most campus food services, along with all libraries and athletics/recreation facilities.

Clinical placements for nursing and medical students have been suspended and counselling services have shifted online.

Additionally, the U of O says everyone but international students and those with “exceptional circumstances” must leave residence by Sunday evening

Some students are pushing the U of O administration to give them the option of choosing a pass/fail final grading system for their courses, rather than a typical alphanumeric grade, due to inequalities and barriers caused by COVID-19. The faculty of engineering’s executive committee has proposed introducing the optional grading system, pending approval from the faculty council on Monday.

As of Saturday, there are 20 positive cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa but no confirmed cases in the U of O community. The latest case is a man in his 30s who was in close contact with someone with COVID-19 and is now self-isolating. The city’s medical officer of health Dr. Vera Etches says “there could now be hundreds to even a thousand cases in the community now.”

Across the province, there have been three deaths from COVID-19 and at least 368 confirmed cases of the virus as of Saturday, with six labelled as resolved. There have been at least 1,048 confirmed cases of the virus and 13 deaths in Canada.

COVID-19 has infected more than 299,000 people and killed over 12,000 globally since emerging in China in December 2019. There have been over 91,000 recoveries from the virus.

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