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Winter term start for Manitoba’s University College of North delayed two weeks due to COVID concerns

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Winter term will be delayed two weeks at the University College of the North (UCN) due to the expected rise of COVID-19 cases after Christmas.

The first day of classes will now begin on Jan. 18. Previously, the first day of classes was set on Jan. 4.

“This change is meant to help ensure that students, faculty, and staff returning from the holiday break are healthy,” said Dan Smith, UCN’s Vice-President Academic and Research in a press release.

“We’ve seen in Canada the impact that holidays can have on COVID cases, with spikes attributed to Thanksgiving in October. Delaying the start to the term helps ensure that UCN does not become a site of transmission should there be a post-holiday spike in January.”

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Most courses offered at the UCN during the winter term will use remote and online delivery methods. Some classes will take place in-person as there are programs, such as nursing, which require hands-on training.

The two-week delay will also push back UCN’s academic schedule throughout the remainder of the academic year.

To add, UCN will be offering a short Health Care Aide Assistant program to support pandemic response in various Northern communities starting January of next year.

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UCN has partnered with the Northern Health Region (NRHA) and the Northern Manitoba Sector Council to deliver this program across Manitoba.

“This offering demonstrates the value that UCN provides to northern Manitobans,” said UCN’s President and Vice-Chancellor Doug Lauvstad.

“These new graduates will provide the essential care needed in our long-term care homes, in a time when COVID is ravaging our most vulnerable.”

Nicole Wong is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Winnipeg Sun. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

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