Our return to in-person education this term

- University of Victoria

Dear students,

As President Hall reaffirmed last week, UVic is committed to returning to in-person learning on Jan. 24, as planned. Over the past few weeks, we have reviewed and enhanced our layers of health and safety protection, and we are ready to welcome you back.

I recognize that some of you may feel anxious about the return, and I want to assure you that our plans align with the latest evidence-based guidance from public health officials. BC’s Provincial Health Officer continues to express confidence in our safety measures while reaffirming that university campuses are lower-risk settings for COVID-19 transmission. We have also consulted and learned from other BC colleges and universities, many of whom began offering in-person education on Jan. 10.

The student experience at UVic is about making meaningful connections with your peers and instructors, meeting new friends, and participating in hands-on learning in classrooms, labs and studios. We want you to be able to experience as much as possible that UVic has to offer, as part of a vibrant community of engaged learners, teachers and researchers. While this will be a far-from-typical term, we are committed to doing everything we can to provide you with a meaningful, and safe, in-person experience.

While the majority of your classes will be in person, your instructors have flexibility to offer some materials and activities online, should they wish to do so. This means that some of your classes may include some online quizzes, assessments, discussions or lectures.

We have also strongly encouraged instructors to record and post their lectures where possible and practical, as many of you have shared that this is the most important thing an instructor can do to support your learning during the pandemic. We know there may be times when you have to miss classes, and while lecture recordings do not replace in-person learning, they are a helpful tool to support short-term absences. If you are feeling unwell, stay home and connect with your instructor or a classmate to catch up on missed materials.

All campus supports and services are open, including academic advising, the Centre for Accessible Learning, the International Centre for Students, CARSA, the Student Wellness Centre, and our 24/7 SupportConnect program for mental health and wellness support. We are preparing for possible staff absences or service disruptions and putting plans in place to ensure that the supports you need remain available. Some may be available both in person and online. Unit websites are the best place to find up-to-date service information.

While we are excited to welcome you back to in-person learning on Jan. 24, we know some of you are feeling hesitant. As a reminder, UVic has extended the last day to drop a course with a 100% reduction of fees to Jan. 30, 2022, so you have more time to decide about your course selection, without academic or financial penalty.

We know the pandemic and these ongoing changes can be stressful, particularly alongside your academic work. Please remember to take time to care for yourself—take breaks, be active and stay connected with friends and family. Thank you also for reviewing and continuing to follow UVic’s updated health and safety guidelines.

Best wishes for a successful term, and we look forward to welcoming you to campus next week.


Yours sincerely,

Valerie S. Kuehne, PhD
Vice-President Academic and Provost
University of Victoria