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COVID-19 info for faculty & staff

Updates

Supporting international students

Now that UVic's Winter Session 2021/22 timetable is live, learn how you can support international students this fall.

BC Restart plan released

On May 25 the BC government released "BC’s Restart: A Plan to Bring Us Back Together", laying out a four-step process to gradually and safely restart our social connections, businesses and activities.

Post-Secondary Virtual Town Hall with Dr. Bonnie Henry

On May 10, the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training hosted a Town Hall to discuss the preliminary public health guidance for September 2021 provided in the COVID-19 Return-to-Campus...

View update archive

Health & safety

Our safety programing is informed by guidance and direction from the provincial health officer, COVID-19 Go-Forward Guidelines for B.C.’s Post-Secondary Sector and WorkSafeBC.

Learn about:

Returning to campus

We are working on a plan to transition faculty and staff safely back to campus. In the meantime, if you need a medical or family status accommodation for online teaching or remote work, please request one using our existing accommodation processes for faculty and staff.

Learn what you can expect if you visit the UVic campus right now.

Course delivery for Winter Session

In alignment with guidance from the provincial health officer and Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training, UVic is planning for a return to face-to-face teaching and learning in fall 2021.

We acknowledge the challenges associated with planning for the fall term while in a rapidly changing pandemic environment and want to assure you the planning team is watching the development of the pandemic carefully and working closely with government health officials to ensure that our planning parameters are aligned with provincial direction. Should we need to update our plans, we will communicate those changes as quickly as possible.

Course design and delivery

The timetable was released on May 31, with the majority of courses offered face to face. To help ensure equity and access for students who are not able to attend campus this fall, about 100 courses normally offered face to face will be taught online. The spring 2022 term is expected to be entirely in person, as it was before the pandemic. However, we are exploring opportunities to offer more online courses going forward, building on successes and learnings from the past year.

If instructors wish to supplement their in-person delivery of courses with online or virtual elements (such as holding virtual office hours, conducting online quizzes or posting recorded content), they may do so as long as lectures, seminars and/or labs are delivered as they were pre-pandemic. Instructors will not be expected to teach a course section in multiple modes.

Whether your course is online or in person, you are always welcome to consult the Division of Learning and Teaching Support and Innovation for teaching advice and support.

Changing health environment

We expect to receive updated Go-Forward Guidelines from the provincial government in early summer, which will help us determine necessary health and safety protocols (e.g., Classroom Safety Ambassadors). In the event these updates impact our plans for September, we will consult with academic leaders on how best to offer fall programming within the Go-Forward parameters.

International student mobility programs

Outbound mobility programs (e.g., international co-ops, internships, field schools, volunteer opportunities, practica, etc.) remain on hold until Global Affairs Canada changes its travel advisories to level 1 or 2. Students may continue to request special authorization to travel, which will be approved on a case-by-case basis.

Inbound mobility programs continue to be offered with consideration given to academic program capacity and in compliance with travel, immigration and public health requirements.

Download the international student mobility programs for fall 2021 memo for more information.

Supporting students

Students who are ill or self-isolating

There are several strategies for providing class materials to students who are ill, self-isolating or otherwise unable to attend classes for a short period of time. For instance, students could be provided with the PowerPoint or other class materials.

Starting in September, we also expect to have "lecture capture" technology available in some high-use classrooms for high-demand courses so that instructors can record live lectures should they wish to do so.

Medical documentation for absences

Faculty and instructors are asked to waive the medical documentation requirement (i.e. a health care practitioner’s note) for students—regardless of how long they are ill—starting March 2020 and until further notice.

Students with disabilities

All accommodation information can be found in a student’s Letter of Accommodation, accessible on the Centre for Accessible Learning website. Questions about how specific accommodations can translate to an online academic environment should be directed to the Centre for Accessible Learning (CAL) Advisor appearing on the Letter of Accommodation.

There are accommodation pathways available for immunocompromised students, and we are reviewing our accommodation supports throughout the summer to ensure students are well supported come fall.

Graduate students

Please continue to recruit international graduate students into your programs, in cases where you would normally do so. Where feasible, some flexibility may be needed in response to current travel and quarantine requirements.

In-person signatures will not be required in letters of recommendation for graduating graduate students at this time. Graduate Admissions and Records will accept an email confirmation of your approval. Please be specific in your email that you are recommending the graduate student for graduation. We will also accept digital signatures on the Letter of Recommendation document. Consult with your graduate secretary if you have questions about submitting this information.

International students

There are currently challenges with obtaining study permits and navigating travel and quarantine restrictions, and we are hopeful the situation will improve in the coming months. We do plan to continue supporting students through UVic’s self-isolation program for the fall term.

Please refer all international students to International Student Services for support with immigration, settlement and travel to Canada.

Counselling & mental health

All UVic staff, faculty and librarians can access support through our employee and family assistance program (EFAP).

Students can contact the UVic Student Wellness Centre (250-721-8563) to find support options. 

SupportConnect is a 24/7 mental health support for students. You can use the service too when supporting a student who is struggling. 

Handouts for:

 Other resources:

Working from home

Find information on deducting working from home office expenses for your 2020 tax return.

The criteria for determining whether employees can work from home include whether:

  • direct service is required
  • the service can be delivered remotely
  • face-to-face interactions with students are necessary
  • the necessary equipment is available to enable working from home
  • privacy issues can be addressed
  • health and safety issues can be properly addressed
  • the home space is suitable for working

We acknowledge that this does not mean everyone can work remotely. We continue to work on supporting those who must come to campus by ensuring the safety of our work environment, including through Safe Work Plans.

UVic equipment

To support at-home work, certain computer and related equipment can be taken home with the permission of your supervisor. In some circumstances, you may be allowed to bring other furniture home. Review the Working remotely; furniture and equipment protocol on the HR website.

Reasonable requests for equipment needed to teach or conduct research from home should be funded through each Faculty’s equipment reserves. This covers necessary computer hardware, software, or discipline-specific equipment. If the purchase is significant, access to matching funding for faculty members is available through the central Computer Acquisition Fund. You may choose to use your Pro-D funds for these purposes instead, but those funds are intended for professional development.

Faculty workload

Speak with your chair/director or dean if you are a faculty member who is experiencing workload challenges due to COVID-19. If your ability to complete all of your academic responsibilities is impacted, it may be possible to alter your employment obligations or extend deadlines. 

Childcare

Many kids programs have changed or been cancelled due to the pandemic. Some members of the university community may have limited child care options. We encourage supervisors, managers, chairs/directors and deans to exercise flexibility when responding to requests related to child care responsibilities. Your manager might choose one of the following flexible options:

  • flexible remote or other work arrangements
  • the use of vacation time or banked overtime/compensatory time off to continue normal pay
  • a personal leave of absence without pay

Vacations

While COVID-19 has unfortunately disrupted vacation plans for all of us, time off work to recharge is as important today as it has ever been. Supervisors and employees are expected to ensure that all staff take their full annual vacation during this calendar year. This is subject only to any normal vacation carry forward limits in the applicable collective agreement or terms and conditions handbook.

Sick leaves

Please contact your supervisor to report your absence if you would normally attend campus, but are self-isolating. You can also discuss temporary remote work arrangements, if practical. If you are not able to work remotely, you will be placed on a leave of absence without loss of pay for scheduled shifts during the self-isolation period in accordance with the applicable collective agreement or any COVID-19 sick day agreement between the unions and the university.

Study leaves

The University and the Faculty Association have agreed to a process for faculty members with current or upcoming Study Leaves to request a deferral or cancellation on the grounds that they are unable to meet the commitments in their Study Leave plan due to COVID-19-related restrictions.

Please work with your unit leader on any requested adjustment.

Hiring

New hires can begin to work remotely either here in Canada or elsewhere. Please ensure you are working with the Faculty Relations or Human Relations Consultant for your area.

If your new hire is non-Canadian please ensure you and your new hire are working with Lori Shaw on addressing any immigration matters. Given current travel restrictions, your new hire may not be able to enter Canada even with a positive Provincial Nominee decision.

Your new hire will still receive an employee number and NetLink ID.

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