The University of Lethbridge has decided to make a decision early on which route it plans to take when it comes to learning and teaching this fall.

The local post-secondary will be offering primarily online courses for the Fall 2020 semester.

U of L President, Dr. Mike Mahon says in coming to this decision the safety of students, faculty, and staff has been and will continue to be the top priority.

“It was essential the University made a decision now so we can direct efforts and resources toward creating the best student experience possible,” Dr. Mike Mahon.

A special task force was struck back in April to look at various models for academic delivery at the university to try and limit the spread and impact of COVID-19.

“We must ensure we are maintaining a safe environment consistent with Alberta‚Äôs public safety guidelines and in line with public health directives. The welfare of our students, faculty and staff as they learn, teach and work is of the utmost importance,” says Mahon.

Even with the focus turning to online instruction there will also be situations to allow for some in-person experimental learning activities during the fall semester including select labs, studio sessions, practicum experiences, and clinical placements.

Mahon says the University of Lethbridge will end the Fall 2020 semester as it begins, subject to public health requirements, allowing everyone some certainty in the coming months.

The U of L, in a news release notes its campus will still be central to the student experience and the university is designing community-building initiatives to create a sense of connection and support and reduce isolation. These will include small group gatherings, the opening of the library for restricted in-person services and the utilization of residence spaces and food services to support the full student experience.