Update on the fall term and road ahead for the University of Victoria

May 11, 2020 - University of Victoria

Message from President Cassels

Dear members of the UVic community,

As you know, the university has been actively planning for the fall term while we all watch closely what’s happening with COVID-19 in BC, across the country and around the world. 

Our planning principles have always been clear. We will continue to provide high-quality academic programs and services while keeping the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff at the centre of our decision-making.

We also know that we need to proceed with decisions for September so that students, staff and faculty have time to plan for a successful academic year ahead. 

Guidance from the premier and provincial health officer indicates that physical distancing measures will remain in place and that gatherings with over fifty people will not be permitted for the foreseeable future.

Undergraduate and graduate programs

We are committed to offering students options for staying on track, graduating on time, and meeting their learning goals. With these factors in mind, we will be offering programming predominantly online for the fall term.

Where health and safety permits, we are also exploring opportunities for in-person instruction to support essential experiential learning, graduate education and work-integrated learning; the fall timetable will be available later this month.

Continuing Studies professional and community courses will be offered online, while looking at options for in-person delivery where viable.

Research and remote working

We recognize the importance of resuming our on-campus research and we will be gradually resuming research activities for faculty and graduate students while complying with physical distancing and other health and safety requirements. A gradual return to campus for employees working in academic, administrative and support units who have been working remotely is also being planned.

Health and safety

As we plan for the months ahead, we will be introducing specific measures to protect the health and safety of all members of our university community. These measures will be informed by enhanced protocols developed for our sector through a process involving university health and safety experts, union representatives, ministry representatives and WorkSafeBC.

Online resources and support

Since the rapid shift away from face-to-face course delivery in March, we have made significant investments in new and expanded platforms, technology and other resources to support excellence and success in online learning and teaching. Our resource-rich Teach Anywhere website is now joined by a Learn Anywhere resource hub so that we can fully support and stay connected with our students.

We are also planning to build an online community that provides various social platforms to help students connect as well as opportunities to interact in both social and academic forums.  Stay tuned for more information about these and other exciting developments in the coming weeks.

Working together for a strong future

Our university leaders and multiple teams are meeting regularly to plan with creativity and flexibility for the current circumstances and the coming months. While we can’t answer some questions yet, the university will provide updates as details become available so as to alleviate as much uncertainty and anxiety as we can.

Know that we are dedicated to continuing to meet the immediate needs created by this global challenge, and look forward to the day we can welcome all our students, faculty and staff back to campus. As we navigate these uncertain and challenging times together, I thank you again for your patience, perseverance and strength. Together, we will emerge from this crisis as an even stronger and more connected community.


Jamie Cassels, QC  
President and Vice-Chancellor