Concordia University has announced that it will conduct its fall 2020 semester mostly online. The university joins McGill and the Université de Montreal, both of which have announced online fall semesters. In a statement, Concordia President Graham Carr said that online classes will be accessible from anywhere in the world and that "the vast majority of our faculty and staff will continue to work from home for the foreseeable future." 

Carr outlined the specific steps that the university will take to ensure a smooth transition to online-only classes. He stressed that this plan is "by no means comprehensive" and that details will be ironed out in the coming months. 

"From a community health standpoint, we need to make responsible choices both for the Concordia community and for the region of Greater Montreal of which we are such an integral part," he said. 

One of the biggest challenges facing Concordia is the several logistical issues with social distancing in a university setting, according to Carr. 

"Based on what we know today, the wisest course of action is to acknowledge that in-person, on-campus activities will be extremely limited this fall."

"We must instead focus our energies on developing the best-quality online experience for our students," said Carr.

While the student experience will undoubtedly be changed, Concordia hopes to "ensure that being part of the Concordia community remains exciting and that we retain the vibrant student experience that happens in parallel to in-class learning." 

To ease the transition, the university has partnered with HomeRoom to provide a new virtual space for students to interact with each other. 

Concordia will also adapt its mental health, student advising, and peer mentoring services to online service, promising to provide more access to these services. 

The university, however, has decided to suspend residence services for the semester.

Concordia will "find accommodation for the few remaining students in residence who cannot go home" and will "work directly with prospective students who were hoping for a residence room to help them find alternative accommodation." 

The school will provide technical assistance and guidance for all professors and will "develop protocols to establish how in-person activities" can respect social distancing. 

Libraries remain closed, but the university's digital archives will still be accessible, as will online librarian services. 

Despite these contingency plans, a recent CTV News report indicates that some students in Quebec are concerned about "the quality of online classes for the fall semester." 

Stay tuned for more news. 

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