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COVID-19-related changes, cancellations at Lower Mainland post-secondary schools

Last Updated Mar 16, 2020 at 12:15 am PDT

FILE: This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, yellow, emerging from the surface of cells, blue/pink, cultured in the lab. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, NIAID-RML

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Public elementary and high schools in the province are on spring break, but there’s no similar pause in the semester for post-secondary students amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

All campus events and activities expected to draw crowds of more than 250 people have been called off. Students and staff are being urged to adhere to public health recommendations to self-isolate upon returning from abroad or if experiencing symptoms.

Here is what public colleges and universities are doing amid warnings from health officials to limit gatherings and practise social-distancing.

University of British Columbia 
Starting Monday, March 16 the university is “transitioning to online classes.” The change to online instruction is set to last the rest of the term. The university remains open, and is urging students whose programs require in-person instruction to consult their faculty. The possibility of online or remote final exams is being considered and graduation has not been cancelled.

Simon Fraser University
Like UBC, campuses remain open. Starting Monday, March 16 the university is “transitioning to online classes.” The change to online instruction is set to last the rest of the term. Campuses remain open. International exchanges have been cancelled for Spring and Summer 2020 following warnings from the federal government.

Kwantlen Polytechnic University
The university has not announced any changes to classes, or campus closures.

Capilano University
All classes on Monday, March 16 and Tuesday, March 17 have been cancelled. The school is taking this “pause” in order to “prepare for a shift away from in-person instruction for the remainder of the semester.” The campus remains open.

University of the Fraser Valley
A statement from the school says: “Beginning Monday, March 16, with the exception of classes in the Trades programs and Health Studies, all classes, both face-to-face and online, are paused for one week to allow faculty to transition course content for delivery via remote learning and assessment.” The campus remains open and classes will resume March 23. However, all in-person final exams have been called off. Students who are participating in off-campus placements, internships, co-ops, and practicums may continue after consulting with the host organization.

Langara College
“The College will temporarily cease face-to-face instruction on March 16 and 17,” reads a statement. This closure will allow the college to transition to online or “alternative forms of delivery”  for regular and continuing studies classes. The campus remains open, but seating in the cafeteria has been reduced to 200. 

BCIT
In full-time technology and trades programs, classes are cancelled for this Monday and Tuesday while the administration works on the transition to online instruction.  As for students working on part-time studies, classes have been completely cancelled. The institute says, given the hands-on and practical nature of BCIT’s programming, the transition has been complex. Campus remains open.

Vancouver Community College
VCC is open, but transitioning to alternative delivery to allow students to continue programs. “it will take time to transition to these new measures. Classes will continue as scheduled unless students learn otherwise from their instructors, who will be taking guidance from their department leaders and deans,” reads a statement.

Douglas College
“In response to the evolving situation with COVID-19, Douglas College will be transitioning away from in-person classes. Last day of classes will be no later than March 20,” reads a statement. “Instructors will provide students with information this week on how to complete course work for the period of March 23-April 6. This could be online, through self-directed study, or other means, depending on the nature of the course or program.” Exams will go on as scheduled, but in smaller groups that originally planned.