Important information for students considering travelling home

To all university students:

The information on this webpage is intended to help you decide if you would like return home or stay in Edmonton/Camrose. It is your choice, and we want to make sure you have the information you need to make it.

We recognize how challenging these past few days have been for students. Please know that the faculty and staff of the University of Alberta are working diligently to get you the most up to date information possible, and the situation remains very fluid. Our COVID-19 website is updated regularly and contains essential information for all members of our campus community.

One important decision many of our students will need to make is whether to stay in Edmonton or Camrose or return home. Knowing that the university is moving to online and other remote delivery of classes, students now have greater options for travelling home and completing their term remotely.

Please read the full text of this message so you are aware of all options and implications that could affect you.

Key Questions Before Travelling Home

If you’re planning on leaving Edmonton, it’s important to understand how your classes will be delivered remotely, and clarify that you will have the appropriate technology (including internet connection) to participate successfully in remote delivery. 

The factors impacting the decision to stay in Edmonton or return home will be different for each student, but here are a number of factors that we encourage you to consider.


Remote delivery of classes will begin on Tuesday, March 17. 

All instructors will be opening an instance of eClass for each of their Winter 2020 classes. As of March 17, students should go to eClass to find the most current information about their classes.

Please review the updated plans for your class to ensure that you understand the class assignments and assessments going forward. Please also ensure that you will have access to eClass to be able to review course content for the remainder of the Winter 2020 term.


Prior to making a decision to travel home, it is important to take stock of your technical support situation. Do you have access to:

  • A computer (not a phone or tablet)?
  • A computer with a microphone and webcam if your class is going to be delivered in real time (synchronous delivery)?
  • Reliable high speed access to the Internet?

Assess the technical and self-isolation situation in your home location. Some questions to ask yourself:

  • Are Google products or other university e-learning tools available or blocked (for example, by firewalls)?
  • Are you travelling to an area requiring additional self-isolation or traveller quarantine in designated facilities? Will or could that limit your access to VPN, high speed Internet, or a computer for any length of time?
  • Time zones: are you prepared to stay on MDT (Alberta time) for exams or any real-time (synchronous) content delivery?
  • Once at home, will you have reliable access to a computer and space in which to complete your work (sharing computers, child and family care responsibilities, etc.)?
  • If you are from a rural or remote home community, what are the risks of unknowingly taking the virus home to your family and community?
  • Are there travel restrictions to/from your home that could prevent you from returning to Edmonton? 

Based on your learning and technical circumstances, will you need assistance with accommodation or accessibility needs? Key items to consider include: 

The Academic Success Centre is committed to supporting students already registered with Accessibility Resources with any necessary accommodations. We appreciate your patience with us while we work to manage an increased volume of inquiries.


Please ensure that as you make travel plans, you consider any restrictions that may be in place for countries you will need to transit through. Please ensure you are aware of the current situation in your home country. If you need any assistance, please contact an international student advisor at

Today, the Government of Canada placed entry restrictions allowing only Canadian citizens, permanent residents of Canada,  and US citizens to enter Canada. Please keep this in mind as you consider your return travel to Canada.

Key Facts for Staying in Edmonton


University of Alberta campuses, facilities, and services will remain open at this time. PLEASE do not come to campus if you are ill or have been instructed to self-isolate.

University operations will continue as normal with staff at work. Computer labs in Cameron Library (North Campus) remain open to support on-line learning. Other options are currently being explored and more information will be forthcoming.


The Office of the Dean of Students is open to provide supports and services. While we work to support all students, please be patient as we adjust our services based on the resources available. Connect to us by Google Hangouts, Google Meet, by phone or by email. 


All residences remain open and dining halls are operational. Residence Services has increased the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting of commonly touched surfaces in all residences and dining halls. Student supports and programs are continuing with social distancing protocols in place.

Residence Services will continue to follow Alberta Health Services (AHS) guidance on further enhanced cleaning and dining protocols to ensure the health of our residents.


Rental contracts are available to any student who lives off-campus (i.e. not in residence) who requires temporary or long-term housing. Available accommodations and rates can be found on the Residence Services Current Availability webpage and the Spring & Summer Housing webpage. For example, this may be an option for students who cannot go home over the summer due to COVID-19 in their home country or other travel restrictions.


Residence and meal plan fees will be refunded for any student who elects to move out of residence prior to March 31, 2020. Residence and meal plan contracts will be cancelled and fees will be prorated to the date of departure. 

Students who are planning on leaving residence temporarily (leaving their belongings in their rooms and not turning in their keys) should log into their residence account and fill out the Extended Absence form. 

Please note: Once a residence contract has been cancelled, a student may not return to residence under the same contract. The latest information on residences can be found on this site.

We will keep you apprised of the situation throughout the week on the U of A COVID-19 website and with additional emails as needed.

Please continue to check this site regularly for information on the current status of our community and campuses.