DAILY UPDATE: COVID-19, MARCH 13, 2020, 6 pm

March 13, 2020 - 6:00pm

We’d like to let everyone know that we are working hard to address this challenging situation and support our community. There is a lot of background work going on to try and implement best practices to do this. We’d like to thank our community for supporting each other – we all have a role to play to help minimize the risk of transmission. 

Some key information to share in this update is that VIU’s students will be supported to complete their semester. Please see the ‘Student Update’ section below. 



  1. Please watch this video message of support from Dr. Deb Saucier, VIU’s President and Vice-Chancellor.
  2. Please let us know at universityrelations@viu.ca if events are being cancelled – we will compile a list of cancelled events, share them in the Daily Update and cancel them in our campus events listings. 
  3. As we have been getting many questions around school closures, we wanted everyone to know that the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training plays a critical role in deciding if post-secondaries in BC will remain open or close. They are basing their decisions and direction on the experts in the Ministry of Health and BC’s Centre for Disease Control. Both Ministries are continually monitoring this rapidly evolving situation and are in daily contact with all of BC’s post-secondary institutions. 



  1. REMINDER: All VIU-sanctioned international travel, including to the US, has been cancelled, this includes VIU-sanctioned Professional Development – this will be reviewed on April 1 and updates will be shared in the Daily Update.
  2. Beginning March 13, 2020, if students or employees choose to travel internationally they must self-quarantine for 14 days 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. 


  1.      Educational support: 
  • We are committed to looking after the educational success of our students and the completion of our academic year is extremely important to VIU. We want to reassure our students that they will be able to complete the semester in the event that 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. 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. 

 2.     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. 



  • World Café to support VIU’s Strategic Planning Process in Powell River and Cowichan on March 16, 17
  • Events in Malaspina Theatre:
    • March 16: 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)
  • Culture Night: Tues, March 24, 2020
  • Semélshun, VIU’s Aboriginal Grad Celebration, April 3 



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.



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). Counselling supports are also available at VIU's Cowichan and Powell River campuses. 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 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.



  • VIU’s COVID-19 website (go 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 a 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. 

Tags: Teaching and Learning

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