Vancouver Island University’s Nanaimo campus. (News Bulletin file photo)

VIU suspends classes as a COVID-19 precaution

University transitioning away from face-to-face course delivery

Vancouver Island University students won’t be returning to classrooms tomorrow morning.

The university announced Sunday evening that it is “pausing all face-to-face classes” for the week of March 16-20 as it plans for the rest of the semester.

A statement from university president Deborah Saucier noted that the decision came following a recommendation from VIU’s academic continuity committee.

“We are taking the step of transitioning from face-to-face instruction to alternate course delivery and assessment (including exams) for the remainder of the term,” the statement reads.

The university notes that with more than 120 programs, there is no “one-size-fits-all approach,” and there are a variety of options for course delivery. The statement says faculty will hear from deans and program chairs, and students can expect to hear from instructors no later than Thursday, March 19, about how their courses will be delivered.

“We want to reassure our students that they will be supported to complete their semester,” the statement notes.

VIU campuses will remain open, including the library and cafeteria, at this time.

“While we are not aware of any cases of COVID-19 related to any of our campuses, and the risk of contracting the virus remains low in B.C., we know there is increasing anxiety among our community members. As well, we want to ensure we are supporting the recommendations of B.C.’s Public Health Officer to the best of our ability, particularly around social distancing,” the statement noted.

The university thanked members of the university community for their patience, flexibility and co-operation.

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