Red Deer Polytechnic is extending online classes until Feb. 27 because of the Omicron variant. (Contributed photo)

Red Deer Polytechnic is extending online classes until Feb. 27 because of the Omicron variant. (Contributed photo)

RDP extends online learning to Feb. 27

Rapid spread of Omicron variant prompts RDP to limit student and staff exposure

As the Omicron variant continues to spread, Red Deer Polytechnic has decided to continue online learning until Feb. 27.

“With the ongoing spread of the highly contagious Omicron variant, Red Deer Polytechnic has determined that the best way to keep our campus community healthy and safe is to continue primarily with online learning and service delivery until Feb. 27,” said RDP on its Facebook page.

“We intend to resume more in-person learning and services starting Feb. 28, following Reading Break.”

RDP advises students to check their class schedules and timetables online.

Any class changes will take effect on Monday and schedules should be updated by Friday.

Many services will continue to be delivered online. Exceptions include Red Deer Polytechnic Library, Advising, Red Deer Polytechnic Counselling, and Registration Desk opening for more in-person services, as well as still offering online.

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RDP announced in late December that courses would be online for the first three weeks of 2022.

Exceptions where learning outcomes require in-person engagement will be permitted, including shops, labs, practicums and clinical placements. This includes Apprenticeship (Shops), Animation and Visual Effects, Bachelor of Science, Nursing (Clinical Placements), Health Care Aide (Labs at RDP’s downtown campus in Millennium Centre), Medical Lab Assistant (Labs), Practical Nurse (Clinical Placements), Welding (Testing), CPR Training, and Visual Art.

Meanwhile, instructors will communicate with students via Blackboard or other platforms as soon as possible to share information regarding course work.

Starting Thursday, Red Deer Polytechnic Athletics competition will resume as scheduled.

No spectators will be permitted at practices and games, until further notice. Select games will be broadcast online through ACAC TV.

Meanwhile, free rapid testing clinics will continue to be hosted on main campus now through Feb. 24 for continuing and returning students and current employees who are not fully vaccinated and who attend main campus in-person for any purpose.

RDP also requires mask wearing and students must check in daily using the SAFE RDC App, and continue eating and drinking in designated areas.

Other Alberta universities have taken a similar approach. University of Alberta, the University of Calgary and the University of Lethbridge say virtual classes will continue for another six weeks.

Students who have been online since their return from the holiday break are to go back to their campuses on Feb. 28.

The schools say data shows that Omicron cases continue to rise and won’t peak until late this month or early February, making it prudent to extend online classes.

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