New Brunswick universities have announced a change to their academic year by extending the winter break for self-isolation. This comes as many students and staff have voiced their concerns for several months of being mentally and physically exhausted.
When Jonathan Ferguson found out the Atlantic travel bubble had ended, his plans to spend the holidays with family in Charlottetown went up in the air.
The president of Mount Allison University's student union said many of his peers are also waiting to see if travel restrictions continue when exams end on Dec. 12.
But many are expecting to stay in Sackville for the holidays."Now with the collapse of the bubble a lot of Maritimers, a lot of Atlantic students are more in favour of the idea of staying, because we know that we have friends around that we might
be able to see once we go back to the yellow phase," Ferguson said.
Universities across the province have decided to extend school break for the Christmas season, pushing back the start of January classes. With many students expected to leave New Brunswick, the extension is designed to provide enough time to self-isolate
People travelling to Newfoundland and Labrador, or Prince Edward Island are now required to self-isolate for 14 days. Nova Scotia does not require Atlantic Canadian residents to self-isolate.
That rule also applies when returning to New Brunswick. That means a student returning home to Prince Edward Island would need to spend 28 days total in isolation.
Those requirements prompted several Nova Scotia universities to also make calendar changes.
Mount Allison decided to adjust its academic calendar earlier this term to allow students to have a longer break and time to self-isolate before classes resume for the winter semester. The next term will start on Jan. 18.
Ferguson said students have welcomed the change.
"That was done with out-of-bubble international students particularly in mind, but thankfully it's really forward-thinking planning that was done," he said.
About 60 percent of Mount Allison's more than 2,000 students are from outside the province.
The university had a mix of virtual and in-person classes, before the remainder of the fall term went online last week in response to rising COVID-19 cases in the region. Exams will also be held entirely online.