It's like a snow day that doesn't end for post-secondary students even though there's no white stuff on the ground. Responding to novel coronavirus in the province, five major B.C. universities cancelled their IRL classes. Everything is being moved online. While classes might be empty, campuses are staying open and business is proceeding as usual.
As of Monday, March 16, classes in many universities are transitioning online. The news follows days of debating and preparation.
The universities affected include the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, the University of Victoria, Trinity Western University, and Emily Carr University.
"These are unprecedented times. And we are working to ensure that the health and safety of our community is protected in any way in every way that we possibly can," said Matthew Ramsey, a spokesperson for UBC, to Narcity.
Even though in-person instruction is on hiatus, for now, campuses are still open. Students who live in residence are allowed to remain in residence, and laboratories and worksites will continue on like normal.
For students, the change could mean that your exams and grade distributions change. Several universities are still trying to iron out the kinks in exam timing and grading, so keep your eye on their websites for more info.
According to UVic, for example, it's up to the instructors on how they want to continue teaching their classes, and how the examinations will go.
We recognize this is an unprecedented situation and that you may have questions. There are still many details to wo… https://t.co/b7a9KJ8ctK— University of British Columbia (@University of British Columbia)1584151512.0
The change follows close to an announcement by provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry on Thursday, March 12, banning all gatherings of more than 250 people in one location.
"We are taking all of our direction from the various health agencies at this time," said Ramsey to Narcity.
Ramsey reminded that students who go to these universities should keep their eyes peeled for more information in the coming days.
"We will update our community if and when there is more information, and I would encourage everybody to go to ubc.ca for information as we have it," said Ramsey.
@uvic reminder that your website says “Every member of our university community has the right to be treated with re… https://t.co/pLi1US2lvP— carly rage jepsen (@carly rage jepsen)1584149329.0
It's not just universities that are taking precautions. B.C. urged locals to avoid international travel, and soon after, so did the federal government.
As of Sunday, March 15, there are 73 cases of coronavirus in the province. Panic-buying in stores and the pillaging of the toilet paper aisle are the new normal.
Narcity has reached out to SFU, UVic, Emily Carr, and Trinity Western for comment. This article will be updated when we hear back.