Our plans for fall 2021

- University of Victoria

With today’s rapidly changing pandemic circumstances, planning for the fall is a challenging process. We are watching the development of the pandemic carefully and working closely with government health officials to ensure that our plans align with provincial direction.

Despite the current health and safety environment, we have reason to be hopeful. Vaccination programs continue, and public health officials confirmed in late April that UVic—along with other post-secondary institutions in BC—should continue to plan for a predominantly in-person fall term. We look forward to welcoming you back safely to the vibrant on-campus life at UVic! 

The province has released a COVID-19 Return-to-Campus-Primer to assist universities with their planning. The Primer provides more detail about key public health planning assumptions and safety measures needed for a safe return to campus. Our decisions around fall program delivery will be guided by the direction of BC’s provincial health officer (PHO).

Course delivery

As President Hall indicated in March, and following direction by the province, we are planning for a full return to face-to-face teaching and learning this September. We are also exploring some online offerings for students who are unable to be on campus due to challenges like study permit processing delays. We aim to release the Winter Session timetable, including course delivery details, at the end of May.

Your health and safety remains our top priority. At any point that public health orders call for a temporary halt to face-to-face classes or other on-campus activities, we will scale back our plans accordingly, including returning to a predominantly online delivery on an emergency basis if needed. We are better prepared to do so now than we were in March 2020.

Health and safety

The PHO expects that BC’s population will be substantially vaccinated by the end of June. As a result, they expect transmission rates to be lower. As conditions improve, we anticipate some of the more restrictive public health measures affecting our personal and professional lives will be relaxed. Based on these assumptions, the PHO advises that physical distancing will not be required in controlled post-secondary classrooms and instructional settings this fall.

Core measures that are expected to remain in place for September, until otherwise determined by the Provincial Health Officer, include:

  • Completing a daily COVID-19 self-assessment and not attending campus when ill
  • Following handwashing and hygiene protocols
  • Continuing daily cleaning protocols in all indoor settings and on high touch surfaces
  • Requiring non-medical masks in indoor common areas
  • Discouraging crowding and managing pedestrian traffic flow

COVID health & safety at UVic


Any BC resident who is 18+ (born in 2003 or earlier) can register for a COVID-19 vaccine. This includes international and out-of-province students living in BC. According to the PHO, COVID-19 vaccines are safe and protect against infection from the severe disease that can occur in people of all ages.

The COVID-19 vaccine is not mandatory in order to study, work, visit or live on campus. No vaccines in Canada are mandatory. Public health authorities encourage all British Columbians to learn about the benefits and safety of the vaccine and consider vaccination to protect themselves and others.

On-campus housing

Residences will be open this fall. We will focus on building healthy, positive communities in residence while maintaining the health and safety of our staff and students. We are working with guidance from the provincial health officer to determine how many student housing beds will be available.

First-year applicants entering UVic during their high school graduation year will be given first priority in residence. A limited number of spaces will be available for other undergraduates and graduate students as well.

The deadline to apply for on-campus housing is June 30. Room offers will be sent to students between July and August.

International students

If you haven’t already applied for a study permit, you will need one to study in Canada. Even if you are starting your program online outside of Canada, we recommend applying for your study permit as soon as possible because the application process can take weeks or even months.

Anyone arriving from outside of Canada must self-isolate for 14 days upon their arrival, whether or not they have COVID-19 symptoms. UVic students required to self-isolate can access our self-isolation program for help arranging accommodations, necessities and supports. 

COVID-19 info for international students

Student life

Having a meaningful and engaging campus experience goes a long way to ensuring student success. Throughout the summer we will gradually expand our in-person student programming to support an increasing on-campus population and will share more details as soon as possible.

Connecting with peers and getting to know campus is important for all students, but especially to those incoming first- and second-year students who have not yet experienced the vibrant on-campus life at UVic. We’re working hard to ensure you’re supported with initiatives that include campus-wide orientation and pre-arrival programs.

Over the course of the last year, online programming like Support Connect, New Student Connect and virtual advising have been very successful. We plan to maintain virtual services like these when they are preferred by our students, while also offering appropriate face-to-face options safely.

We look forward to welcoming you safely this fall! There are still many unknowns and many of you will have questions. We’ll share more information as soon as it is available.

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