The last day of face-to-face classes at the University of British Columbia (UNBC) will be Wednesday, March 18, as the university transitions to “alternate delivery models” during the evolving COVID-19 pandemic.
UNBC interim president and vice-chancellor Geoff Payne provided the update Saturday afternoon (March 14) on the university’s website.
“The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is a fluid, rapidly evolving situation. Your health and safety is my top priority,” he wrote. “In consideration of that, we are actively planning for all contingencies across the university, including transitioning away from face-to-face classes and exams.”
Payne says the March 18 final day for face-to-face classes may move earlier, but it will not move later. UNBC will complete the semester, including assessments and exams, using alternative service delivery models.
“I understand that some situations, such as labs and practicums, present a challenge,” wrote Payne. “We do have some flexibility regarding in-person attendance in these cases, based on guidance from public health officials. To facilitate this, faculty can work with Program Chairs, Deans and the Safety and Security office to ensure a safe learning environment for all involved. Faculty must approve their plans for these exceptional circumstances with the Deans.”
In his update, Payne says all UNBC campuses remain open at this time.
“We will continue to follow guidance provided by Northern Health, the Provincial Health Officer (PHO), and the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training,” he wrote. “Services such as the library, food services, Northern Sport Centre, and student housing will remain open. Some service levels may need to be changed, or have already changed (such as food services) in order to support public health. We are taking these steps to ensure the safety of our UNBC community and are seeking alternate methods of ensuring we meet learning outcomes while continuing to serve our students in the best possible manner.”
Payne encourages people to visit UNBC’s website at unbc.ca/coronavirus for information.
College of New Caledonia (CNC) campuses remain open at this time as well.
A Friday, March 13 bulletin on the college website states in response to COVID-19, CNC is continuing to work very closely with Northern Health and is monitoring all appropriate health agency websites to communicate information as timely as possible as things progress.
“The health and safety of students, faculty, staff and other community members is the highest priority at CNC,” states the bulletin. “At this time, according to the B.C. Provincial Health Officer, the risk of infection spread is low, however we all share the responsibility to act preventatively. Proper hygiene will help to reduce the risk of infection spread. Practising proper hygiene not only helps to protect you, but also your friends, family, and the wider community.”
CNC is encouraging community members to practice “information hygiene” and examine sources to reduce the spread of misinformation and encourages students to visit cnc.bc.ca/services/counselling/crisis-information for crisis and mental health resources. The college says Homewood Health continues to provide ongoing support to all CNC employees and/or family members experiencing anxiety or who would like to speak to someone about the COVID-19 outbreak and encourages employees and their family members to contact Homewood Health at 1-800-663-1142 for support.
CNC has also established a COVID-19 Emergency Operations Centre to discuss and respond to risks.
“This team will continue to monitor the situation closely and provide updates either directly through email or on our website,” states CNC. “We appreciate your continued co-operation, and we encourage everyone to be respectful and supportive.”
For updates, visit cnc.bc.ca/about/campus-notifications.