A growing number of universities across Canada have discontinued in-person exams due to rising COVID-19 cases among students. 

These include Queen’s University in Ontario, the University of Victoria in British Columbia and St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia.

Queen’s University announced on Sunday that “(a)ll remaining in-person exams scheduled for the remainder of the examination period to Dec. 22 will be changed to an alternative delivery format wherever possible. Should an alternative delivery not be possible, then exams will be rescheduled in the new year.”

Queen’s students were told they would be contacted by their departments with more details. The announcement did not apply to online exams, which will “proceed as planned.” 

Exams scheduled for Dec. 13 and 14 would be rescheduled for a later date to provide faculty with time to change to a different format. 

Queen’s announcement included a recommendation from Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington (KFL&A) Public Health that all students should be tested for COVID-19 before leaving for the winter break “(d)ue to the prevalence of the Omicron variant.” 

Other Canadian universities have taken a similar approach. 

The University of Victoria (UVic) has also cancelled all in-person exams because of increasing COVID-19 cases on campus.

UVic said it made this decision based on advice from public health officials who are concerned about a “new trend” in COVID-19 cases. 

As with Queen’s, Uvic students will be writing exams online or in another format, and  professors will be contacting students about how their exams will be held. 

St. Francis Xavier University cancelled in-person exams because of a Nova-Scotia-wide COVID-19 outbreak as of Friday. 

All contacts close to this outbreak, regardless of vaccine status, have been told to self-isolate until receiving a negative test. 

“For clarity, public health reiterated that in-person exams are safe; however, this new provincewide change will almost assuredly increase the number of students required to isolate and test, affecting their ability to attend an in-person exam,” said St. FX vice-president, academic and provost Timothy Hynes. “Staff and faculty are likely to be impacted as well.”