UPDATE March 14, 6:50pm

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we work to get our daily update messages to you. And, as a reminder, if you have any questions that are not answered here, our COVID-19 website, please email universityrelations@viu.ca.

General Updates:

  1. Milner Gardens & Woodland and the Camellia Tea Room are closing for two weeks
  2. The Federal Government advised today that all Canadians who are broad should return home. Given this notice, Vancouver Island University is recalling all students on university sanctioned activities abroad. This means all students must either return to Nanaimo or to their home community in Canada at the earliest opportunity. VIU’s Department of International Education is reaching out to all students who are abroad and supporting them to return home. If you have any questions about this, please email: universityrelations@viu.ca.
  3. We want to reassure everyone that VIU is continuing to carefully analyze this rapidly evolving situation and we are preparing to move quickly should we decide to move away from on-site classes for some or all of our program areas. We continue to take direction and advice from the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training and the Ministry of Health – both Ministries are continually monitoring this situation and we are connecting with them daily. At this point, the Ministries and the Provincial Health Officer are still not recommending the closure of post-secondary institutions in BC or the suspension of classes that have fewer than 250 students.
  4. Please let us know if events are being cancelled at universityrelations@viu.ca – we are including a list of cancelled events in the Daily Update and will cancel them in our campus events listing. 

Reminder: Important Updates to Travel Guidelines:

  1. All VIU-sanctioned international travel, including to the US, has been cancelled. This includes VIU-sanctioned Professional Development, which will be reviewed on April 1 and updates will be shared in the Daily Update.
    1. Beginning March 13, 2020, if students or employees choose to travel internationally, they must self-quarantine for 14 days upon their return at their own cost. 
      1. Employees can choose to take leave without pay, use vacation time and may be able to work from home with their supervisor’s approval. 
      2. Students who reside in VIU Residences will need to check if they are able to self-isolate there. If they are unable to, they will have to find their own accommodation for the self-isolation period, which would be at their own cost. 
      3. Employees: For more information, check the employee protocols page
      4. For students, if your circumstances are unique to those outlined here, please contact safety@viu.ca

Reminder: Student-Specific Updates:

  1. Educational support: 
  • The educational success of our students semester is extremely important to VIU. We want to reassure our students that they will be able to complete the semester if the university needs to be closed. 
  • At this point, there is no direction from BC's Public Health Officer to close universities. However, VIU is prepared if that does occur. As you can appreciate, each faculty has different needs in terms of academic completion, and if VIU needs to close, specific details will be shared by faculties with their students at that time. Each instructor will contact their students and describe changes and requirements of completion. This also applies to work experiences, practicums and internships. The key message is that students will be able to complete their semester. 
  • VIU Library’s electronic collections (journals, ebooks, databases and more) are available 24/7/365, in support of research and assignments.
  • Research help services are available – visit the VIU Library website for hours and to make an appointment. 

 

  1. Leave Support: 
  • If students are experiencing any symptoms of illness, they should review these guidelines to find out what to do. 
  • If students are feeling ill, then they need to reach out to their professor or faculty to let them know they will not be in class.

 

Cancelled and Postponed Events:

  • World Café events to support VIU’s Strategic Planning Process in Powell River and Cowichan on March 16 and 17.
  • Events in Malaspina Theatre:
  • March 16: The Faculty of Education presents Flight of the Hummingbird
  • March 23: Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival Best of the Fest Tour 2020 (rescheduled to Sept 2020)
  • Maria Luisa Regalado (Honduran Activist) talk, March 16
  • Vancouver Island Leadership Conference, March 20 & 21
  • All intramural taking place in the gym 
  • Presentation: Catherine Clement, author and curator, March 24
  • Chamber of Commerce Lightning Talks, Malaspina Theatre, March 25
  • Culture Night: March 24, 2020
  • Semélshun, VIU’s Aboriginal Grad Celebration, April 3 
  • Trades Expo: April 24

 

Support for Our Community:

We know that many people are feeling anxiety and concern around this quickly changing situation. We encourage anyone feeling impacted by this situation to access supports. 

Students: 

Counselling and other services for students are provided by VIU’s Student Affairs (Building 200, third floor) as well as by International Student Services in the Faculty of International Education (Building 255). You can also access other resources in the community such as the 24-Hour Crisis Line that has text, chat and phone support. Counselling services are also available at VIU’s Cowichan and Powell River campuses. 

Employees: 

Counselling services are available to anyone who feels they may need support through VIU’s Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) through Homewood Health. The telephone number is 1-800-663-1142.

You can find more information and updates on COVID-19 at these places: 

  • VIU’s COVID-19 website (this site - come here first)  
  • Employee and student emails (email will be used for broad community updates and any major changes; the website will contain all the updates)
  • VIU’s Safety App
  • VIU Twitter feeds: @viunews@viuniversity

If you have any questions or need further information please let us know at universityrelations@viu.ca. We want to support our community as best we can and appreciate your feedback. 

Thank you for your patience as we work to provide the most reliable information during this rapidly developing situation.

VIU to close Milner Gardens & Woodland and Camellia Tea Room for Two Weeks

With the safety and well-being of our community at the top of our mind, VIU has decided to close Milner Gardens & Woodland and the Camellia Tea Room to the public and volunteers, for two weeks, effective immediately – Saturday, March 14, 2020. Milner Gardens & Woodland is located in Qualicum Beach. The Gardens will reopen on Sunday, March 29, 2020. 

We are taking this step for a number of reasons. An employee has exhibited mild symptoms of illness and BC’s Public Health Agency decided to take a precautionary step and ask this individual to go into self-isolation. 

The University is also committed to ensuring we are doing everything we can to support the health of our community and follow the Provincial Health Officer’s guidelines on minimizing the risk of transmission by adopting approaches such as social distancing. As there were school groups planned over spring break and larger groups of people come through the gardens on the weekend, we felt closing the gardens was the best way to support the Public Health Officer’s guidelines. As well, many of Milner’s volunteers are elderly and we want to ensure we are supporting them. 

We apologize for any inconvenience this will cause as we know that Milner is a beloved and much-visited attraction. However, we are committed to supporting the well-being of our community and closing the Gardens best supports this at this time. 

Thank you for your patience and understanding. If you have any questions, please email Geoff.Ball@viu.ca.

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