VIU Phased Re-opening Plan

The Fall 2020 semester will look different at Vancouver Island University as we switch to a hybrid model of education delivery, where many of our courses and programs will be predominantly online. We are taking this approach at the direction of the provincial and federal governments and to follow our number one priority – ensuring the health and safety of our students, our employees and the broader community. While we are learning, working, networking and researching differently this fall, what hasn’t changed is the broad range of supports and services we offer, and personalized connections with your professors. Learn more in our FAQs about the Fall Semester.

Learn more about our response to COVID-19 and how we are implementing our Fall 2020 hybrid model of educational delivery on this page.

Background

Universities face a unique situation where many people are gathered in a small geographical area for long periods of time. The “connection points” – the number of individuals each person encounters during the day who could spread COVID-19 – are numerous and present a higher level of risk than in other organizations. Some of this risk is mitigated by moving many of our programs and courses online, keeping our on-campus population as low as possible. This approach ensures we maintain a safe learning environment for our students and are able to provide a consistent, high-quality experience for them in their programs and other supports we provide. This also protects our employees who are required to be on campus to support essential services to do their work in a safe environment.

In May, VIU announced a move to a hybrid model of program delivery for the fall 2020 semester beginning September 1, 2020, with limited on-campus activities and people.

The following groups make up the current structure for addressing issues arising specifically from the need to manage operations during the COVID-19 pandemic:

SMG (Senior Management Group)

Continues to support and develop the strategic directions for the University and make decisions regarding major operational, financial and best practice approvals upon recommendation from the Operational Continuity Committee (OCC) and Academic Continuity Committee (ACC).

OCC (Operational Continuity Committee)

Ensures the safe return of employees/students to the campus on a priority and as-needed basis; ensures the continuity of operations for VIU; makes any recommendations in reference to the above to Senior Management Group as required.  OCC Terms of Reference

ACC (Academic Continuity Committee)

This committee addresses issues in educational programming to ensure continuity of learning for students, approves Faculty-level plans for hybrid delivery and ensures coordination with Facilities and the OCC. ACC Terms of Reference

The following principles are intended to enable cohesive planning across the campus based on the same fundamental values and understanding of the current COVID-19 challenges now and moving forward:

  1. The University will place the health and well-being of students, staff and faculty above all other considerations.

  2. Decisions regarding in-person and alternative course delivery will be driven by program quality and fairness across all student demographics.

  3. The University will provide as much certainty as possible to students and staff by making and communicating decisions as early as possible.

  4. The University may have the option of increasing on campus activity mid-way through a semester due to a reduction in public health restrictions as they occur; VIU is committed to considering the impact of any of these decisions on students, particularly those that may not be residing close to our campus.

In preparation for the 2020/2021 academic year, public post-secondary institutions collaborated with key stakeholders, the BC Centre for Disease Control, WorkSafeBC, the Deputy Provincial Health Officer, and key education partners and stakeholders to develop comprehensive health and safety guidelines for campus operations during the pandemic.

For additional information see Post-Secondary Studies During COVID-19.

Stages of Return

VIU has developed a process that aligns with the four phases of BC’s restart plan. This process includes detailed procedures and safety planning templates to assist with the return to limited on-campus activities:

Stages of return to limited physical presence on campus

Campus Operations:

Campus activity allowed to support essential operations related to:

  1. Maintaining safety and security of campus infrastructure (facilities, security), financial requirements (Financial Services).
  2. Teaching, learning and student supports (residence, online instruction).
  3. Research supports (animal care).

Teaching and Learning:

  • Faculty and support staff involved in the development and delivery of the academic programming all working remotely.
  • Academic programs for spring and summer delivered remotely.
  • Some face-to-face Trades programs delivered in May/June/July.
  • Student supports and services offered remotely.
  • Strict expectations for health and safety plans, including minimum personnel, physical distancing, cleaning plans and training.

Preparations for next stage:

  • COVID-19 Health and Safety Planning template for face to face learning completed and available.
  • COVID-19 Exposure Control Plan training developed and available.
  • Enhanced Cleaning Plans.

Campus Operations:

Campus activity allowed to support essential operations related to:

  1. Maintaining safety and security of campus infrastructure (facilities, security), financial requirements (Financial Services).
  2. Teaching, learning and student supports (residence, online instruction).
  3. Research supports (animal care).

Teaching and Learning:

  • Faculty and support staff involved in the development and delivery of the academic programming all working remotely.
  • Academic programs for spring and summer delivered remotely.
  • Some face-to-face trades programs delivered in May/June/July.
  • Modified summer camp program delivery.
  • Limited access for faculty requiring offices for program preparation work.
  • Student supports and services offered remotely.
  • Strict expectations for health and safety plans, including minimum personnel, physical distancing, cleaning plans and training.


Preparation for next stage:

  • COVID-19 Health and Safety Planning template for face to face learning completed and available.
  • COVID-19 Exposure Control Plan training developed and available.
  • Faculties develop and submit COVID-19 safety plans for any proposed face-to-face learning activities.
  • Enhanced cleaning plans implemented.

Campus Operations:

  • Faculty allowed to return to campus to prepare for fall delivery.
  • Roll out of intake process for return to limited work on campus for office staff.
  • Phased return of some employees.
  • Re-opening of some services with appropriate protocols such as physical distancing, cleaning plans, exposure control plan and training.
  • Prepare buildings to safely accept employees and students back to campus on a limited basis
  • Faculties and Departments prepare to safely return.

Teaching and Learning:

  • Some face-to-face trades programs continue.
  • Faculties develop and submit COVID-19 Safety plans for fall delivery.

Preparation for next stage:

  • Prepare buildings for employees and students to safely return to campus on a limited basis.
  • Faculty and staff must build in plans to prepare for the need to modify, scale back or move to remote learning if needed.

To be determined in conjunction with BC’s restart planning.

Return to Limited Activity on Campus Process

Beginning in Phase 3, the following process was created to manage the safe return to limited activities on campus that fall outside the previously established process for face to face academic program delivery:

Return to Limited Activity on Campus Process

Step 1: Intake Process

Step 2: OCC Review

  • Each Faculty/Division plan will be reviewed using established criteria

Step 3: COVID-19 Health and Safety planning template

  • Mirrors the academic face-to-face COVID-19 safety plan template
  • Each Faculty/Division plan will submit a safety plan

Step 4: Health and Safety Review

  • Each Faculty/Division plan will be reviewed based on a set of criteria
  • Each plan must meet WorkSafeBC protocols and Post-Secondary guidelines

Step 5: Director/Dean sign off

  • Dean/Director sign off the safety plan for their area
  • Plan is posted and distributed to the Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee

For more information on the process, please email safety@viu.ca

Resuming Research Framework

VIU’s Research and Scholarly Activity Office has created a webpage to provide direction to faculty on how on-campus and field research activity can resume while following guidelines issued by the province and public health office. Visit COVID & Research at VIU for more details.

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