FAQs on VIU’s 2021-22 Academic Year

***Update: March 10, 2022: The public health office is removing restrictions such as the mask mandate as of March 11 and proof of vaccination as of April 8. Read our message to community for more details.***

VIU is following the BC Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training’s Return-to-Campus guidelines. Everyone can contribute to the health and safety of our campuses and facilities by following the guidelines outlined in our Communicable Diseases Plan. Below we answer frequently asked questions about provincial health orders on mask wearing and proof of vaccination, and how courses, programs, services and supports will be delivered during the 2021-22 academic year. 

If you have a question that isn't answered here, please email students@viu.ca

For questions specific to international students, visit: 

BC Vaccine Card

Update: Showing proof of vaccination to access VIU social and organized gatherings and events is only required until April 8, 2022.

Full details about BC's Vaccine Card in many languages are available on the BC Government website

Activities/locations requiring proof of vaccination on VIU’s campuses and facilities: 

  • Mariners games or any other indoor sporting events taking place at our campuses
  • Events at the Malaspina Theatre (Nanaimo Campus) that have more than 50 people in attendance
  • any organized indoor social or recreational events at any of our campuses or facilities including conferences and workshops
  • the VIUSU pub
  • the VIU gym
  • Discovery Room on the Nanaimo Campus
  • extra-curricular activities not related to your course or program that have more than 50 people in attendance (for example choir, pottery, art, student clubs) 
  • VIU’s residences

You do NOT need to present your BC Proof of Vaccination to access: 

  • your classes or any required activities related to courses or programs
  • the cafeterias on our Nanaimo and Cowichan campuses
  • the Starbucks and Subway on the Nanaimo campus
  • the libraries at all VIU locations

Please find a summary HERE

Follow the instructions on the Get the Vaccine Card website to receive yours.

For international/out-of-province students: follow the instructions outlined in this blog postYou can upload your proof of WHO approved vaccine and PHN to the BC Immunization Record. Your vaccine may not be on the same list as Canada approved vaccines but will be acceptable. 

Also, here's a downloadable version of the instructions for internation/out-of-province students: vaccine-scheduling-general-health-poster.pdf

Academic

For any "blended" delivery courses, your instructor may have a room booked that could be used during any online session. Remember to bring headphones/ear buds to campus! 

Check out the list of recommended study spaces below. 

study-spaces-nanaimo-campus.pdf
Download the list of study spaces

Building 108 (Trades Discovery Centre)

Room 110 (student commons)

Room 105 (innovation space)

100.1: corridor/lounge

170.1: lounge

Building 180: 

Room 270: corridor - north end

Room 472: student area

Room 580: corridor - north end

Building 170 (Shq'apthut - VIU's Gathering Place)

lounge is open

Building 210 (Health & Science Centre)

Room 100: corridor/commons

Room 200: corridor/loft

Room 300: corridor

Room 400: corridor

Building 250 (Faculty of Management)

Room 200: study/tutorial area

Room 230.1: surf centre

Room 230.2: surf centre

Room 230: undergrad centre

Room 302: the exchange

Building 255 (Centre for International Education)

Room 100: student lounge

Room 101: group study

Room 102: group study

Room 103: group study

Room 104: group study

Room 100: corridor - west/north

Building 305 (Library)

Room 345: silent study

Room 340: silent study

Room 338: group study

Room 339: group study

Room 425: group study

Room 426: group study

Room 428: group study

Room 440: graduate study lounge

Room 500: corridor

Building 310 (Malaspina Theatre)

Room 201: lobby

Building 320 (Music)

Room 201: lobby

Building 340 (Arts & Humanities)

Room 135: student study

Building 355 (Arts/Sciences)

Room 211: multipurpose room

Building 356 (Education/Social Sciences)

Room 200: atrium study area

Building 360 (Math/Chemistry)

Room 318: study area

Room 303: study lab

This will depend on whether your courses are fully online or have some face-to-face components. Please see the course timetable for more details. 

In-store purchases can be done at the Nanaimo Campus Store. Campus Store hours are 8 am to 4:30 pm Monday to Friday. Cowichan Campus store hours are Monday to Friday, 9 am to 3:30 pm.

Online textbooks, digital materials and course supply orders can be done by visiting the Shop Course Supplies link, which also includes online ordering instructional videos. Sponsor students can now order course materials through the Campus Store website. When selecting a method of payment, the sponsor student will have the option to select SPONSORSHIP and enter their Student ID Number and the dollar amount the sponsorship is authorized to cover. These steps can be viewed in the Ordering physical textbooks video at the 2-minute mark. For instructions on how to print documents on campus, please visit How Does Student Printing Work? For bus passes, visit the Students' Union website.

Health & Safety

VIU is following the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training’s Return-to-Campus Guidelines. An institutional-level Communicable Disease Plan has been developed and VIU has transitioned away from COVID Safety Plans. In a nutshell, here are the protocols for on-campus activities: 

  • If you’re sick, stay home: If you’re experiencing cold or flu-like symptoms, including mild symptoms, stay home. You can use the BC Thrive App to assess your symptoms to see if you need a COVID test.
  • Wash your hands. Wash hands regularly with soap and water. It’s the single most effective way to reduce infection spread.
  • Clean surfaces frequently. Clean personal and community shared surfaces to reduce the risk of spreading viruses.
  • Cover your sneeze and cough. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or sleeve and turn your head away from others when coughing or sneezing.
  • Follow the direction of public health, including the public health orders, contact tracing and isolation requirements. Here’s what to do if you have COVID-19 symptoms or have been diagnosed with COVID-19.

For more information, check out VIU’s Communicable Diseases Plan.

Yes. Free rapid antigen test kits (5 individual tests) can be picked up at any of the following locations with a student card. Kits are available for pick up every 28 days.

B170 – Shq'apthut (the gathering place)

B193 – VIUSU

B255 – International reception

B300 – Welcome Centre

B305 – Campus Store

Employees can pick a test kit up in Human Resources with an employee card

B305 – Human Resources

Please visit the BCCDC for more information on using a rapid test kit.

Wearing masks in public indoor settings is no longer required by public health. Mask removal is a personal choice, as is choosing to continue to wear one. VIU supports these personal decisions and asks our community to be respectful of these choices and make an effort to gauge the comfort level of those around you. Thank you for leading with kindness and consideration.  

Masks are encouraged on public transit and BC Ferries, but not required. 

If you are experiencing any cold or flu symptoms, you are expected to stay home. Please visit What to do if you have COVID-19 symptoms or a positive test result for instructions. 

Students who miss class due to illness should reach out to their instructors for instructions on how to get caught up. We suggest starting this conversation early in the semester so you are prepared to catch up if necessary. Many profs are including this information on the course syllabus. If you have medical documentation to support a formal accommodation, please contact Accessibility Services.

Employees who miss work due to illness should follow the guidance of Human Resources.  

VIU is encouraging open discussions among students and instructors as well as VIU employees about how to support the wellness of the entire community. We are also prepared to adapt in response to emerging health orders from the public health office and changes in the local health conditions in the region.

VIU works directly with Island Health to manage exposures and/or outbreaks. VIU’s Case Management team has a process in place if there is an outbreak on campus. VIU will continue to work with Island Health to ensure we fully support our community in our return to campus in Fall 2021. The process is based on the foundational principle of keeping our students and employees safe and healthy, and ensures timely and relevant communications are delivered.

While we support people being vaccinated against COVID-19, vaccines will not be mandatory to be present on campuses or in facilities. Proof of Vaccination will be required across the province for certain settings and to take part in discretionary events and recreational activities. Discretionary non-educational activities and businesses on post-secondary campuses captured by the requirements include restaurants, coffee shops, pubs, gyms, and indoor ticketed events. The proof of vaccination will be phased in -- by September 13, proof of one vaccination will be needed for certain setting and activities (this date is moved up for students in residence to September 7); by October 24 proof of full vaccination will be required. Proof of vaccination is NOT mandatory to attend classes. The exception is students participating in health science programs must be fully immunized as required by the COVID-19 Vaccination Status Information and Preventative Measures Order dated August 20, 2021 in order to participate in student practicums and clinical placements.

COVID-19 vaccines are available at no charge to everyone ages 12+ living, working or studying in BC during the pandemic. This includes international students and their families. For more information, visit How to get vaccinated for COVID-19.

VIU will continue to work within the parameters set out by WorkSafeBC around indoor air quality for all occupied spaces. This includes any additional requirements in response to the COVID-19 virus. A review of VIU spaces has been undertaken by Facilities. Occupancy will not be allowed in spaces that do not meet or exceed these safety requirements. 

Please see our Building Ventilation FAQs for more details. 

Housing

Visit VIU Residences for information on COVID-19 protocols in residence. Proof of vaccination will no longer be required for post-secondary student housing as of April 8, 2022. 

There are several options for students looking to live off-campus. Long-term accommodation options can be found on Places4Students or other external sources such as Nanaimo Rentals and Nanaimo Housing Rentals Facebook groups. If you are hoping to find a place to live without making any long-term commitment, you can choose from a number of Hotels/Hostels in the Nanaimo Community. VIU International Education also has a great website with lots of information for all students who have questions about living off campus.

Contact IE.Housing@viu.ca to discuss your options or visit the Off-Campus Housing site for more details. Another great resource is the Where Should I Live While Studying at VIU? blog post.

Travel

Please visit the COVID-19 Updates for International Students website for more details on travelling to Canada to begin your studies at VIU.  

With recent changes to the Global Affairs Canada travel advisories and GuardMe insurance that reinstates the insurance available for outbound student travel, VIU-sanctioned international travel may proceed. VIU's Travel Advisory Committee (TAC) continues to enhance risk assessments and travel approval processes for any VIU-sanctioned travel. 

Before you travel outside of Canada, please complete a Travel Risk Assessment – Intake Form. This form is provided to the TAC to review (email trina.forrest@viu.ca). Once reviewed, the TAC will request that you join them to conduct a travel risk assessment. The recommendations from this assessment will aid your travel authorizer to make the final decision to approve/not approve your travel.

While these processes are being enhanced, individuals contemplating international travel are asked to email edabroad@viu.ca. Students considering international travel can find further information at Education Abroad. VIU faculty/staff considering international travel can find further information at Travelling Abroad.

Individuals should monitor and follow Government of Canada/host country travel advisories, as well as their own insurance providers’ policies for regular updates. Proof of vaccination is required to travel by air within and outside of Canada further information can be found at Canada Travel Vaccination Requirements.

The VIU Education Abroad office continues to support VIU students in planning for future international mobility programs. Weekly drop-in sessions are offered and individual appointments are available upon request by email (EdAbroad@viu.ca). Learn more about VIU Education Abroad program updates and drop-in Zoom sessions. VIU students may apply to participate in virtual exchange programs, field schools, internships and summer programs, where available. These experiences provide interesting opportunities to explore new perspectives from home while earning credits that can be applied towards VIU degrees.  

The Education Abroad office continues to also support Inbound Exchange students, who may participate in programs, through virtual or hybrid delivery where available. 

Contact EdAbroad@viu.ca for more information.