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B.C. universities will offer fall classes primarily online

Last Updated May 12, 2020 at 10:52 pm PDT


The way the classes are being delivered now -- online -- will continue as is in the fall

UBC, SFU, Langara and Kwantlen all suggest the possibility for some in-person classes

Post-secondary institutions across Canada were forced to close their campuses in March due to COVID-19

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Online classes will be part of the new normal for post-secondary students in B.C. and across Canada.

The summer semester is now underway for local universities, and it appears the way the classes are being delivered now — online — will continue as is in the fall.

Statements from UBC, SFU, Langara, and Kwantlen have all stressed that there could be a possibility for some in-person classes come the fall, but that depends on guidelines from health authorities.

Santa J. Ono, UBC president and vice-chancellor, confirmed in an email sent out Tuesday the approach that school is going to take for students in fall 2020.

UBC will primarily offer larger classes online, with selected smaller classes conducted in-person, while adhering to physical distancing and other public health requirements, he said,

“We will maintain a clear focus on ensuring high-quality face-to-face instruction, where possible, and high-quality remote instruction.”

Further in-person learning will be phased in under the direction of the provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, while individual faculties will sharing updates about specific programs in the coming weeks.

Ono also said the university is still working to ensure supports are in place for students, particularly those who are experiencing financial challenges, or who need extra advising or counselling.

“The requirement to maintain physical distancing also includes planning for any potential impact that travel restrictions might have on our international students, such as obtaining study permits or having difficulty travelling,” Ono added.

Plans for residences and co-curricular activities have not been finalized.

SFU Provost Jon Driver announced Monday that most courses will continue to be offered by remote delivery in the fall.

“At the same time, we will be working closely with health authorities and the province to ease some COVID-19-related restrictions on our campuses,” he wrote online.

“So much has changed for our community. But what hasn’t changed is our determination to stick together, to find new ways to connect, and to deliver a world-class education while protecting the health and safety of all members of the SFU community.”

Meanwhile, Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s David Connop Price said the school is adjusting to the new normal.

In recent days, McGill University, the University of Ottawa, and others laid out plans for how they will handle the fall semester amid evolving health and safety measures.

In Montreal, students at McGill will see classes delivered largely through remote platforms, while the Universite de Montreal says only a few courses or parts of courses will take place on campus.

The University of Ottawa, meanwhile, says all its classes, with some exceptions, will include a distance-learning option in September.

Post-secondary institutions across Canada were forced to close their campuses in March due to the COVID-19 health crisis, and rapidly shifted their classes online.