March 18, 2020 - 6:00pm

Today we were reminded again by BC’s Provincial government that all of us must take proactive steps to protect and support each other and, in particular, the most vulnerable in our communities as we continue to face this unprecedented situation.

Everyone can do their part by following these guidelines to minimize transmission and reduce risk. Another important piece to remember is that all of us are impacted, and it’s critical that we are patient and kind to one another. Thank you to everyone for continuing to support each other.

Please note: New information in our Daily Update is included below in the New Items section. There is a section for students and employees a section for student-specific updates and a section for employee-specific updates.

If you have questions not answered by the content on the website or in this latest update, please email universityrelations@viu.ca, or contact specific emails below to get more detailed and timely information for International Students and students using the Writing Centre.



Students and Employees:

1:Today, BC’s government declared a state of emergency, which will allow the province to take extraordinary measures as needed to address COVID-19. The province has also:

  • developed a self-assessment tool to help individuals decide whether further assessment or testing for COVID-19 is needed. 
  • Created a non-emergency line for those with non-medical questions related to COVID-19: 1-888-COVID19. It will be staffed from 7:30 am to 8 pm and offered in more than 110 languages. 

2: IT Department Update: Please review these guidelines from our IT department for working remotely and promoting social distancing:

  • Employees – please see the employee update section below for important advice on VPN usage. In short: please only connect to the VPN when using a service that requires VPN 

3: Library Update: Please review this information from our Library team to learn more about the available supports that are available and opening hours.

4: Many of the buildings on VIU’s Nanaimo campus will be locked and accessible only to employees and students who have card/fob access. This is to increase the safety and security of those still accessing our lower-traffic buildings. The buildings that will remain open are: B120, B200, B210, B255, B300, B305.


Student-specific updates:

1: Alternate Course Delivery: Instructors have been working hard this week to ensure students can see the semester through to completion. You will hear from each of your instructors by end-of-day, Thursday, March 19, 2020 with the changes and requirements for remaining work and assessments.

2: Intersession and Summer session classes: These courses will go ahead in an alternate course delivery model with no face-to-face classes. Students who are registered for these programs will receive information from their course instructors outlining what this will entail within 2-3 weeks.

3: Internships and practicums: We know many students are experiencing frustration in securing internships and practicums and we are working to find alternatives and solutions. More information will be coming out early next week regarding these activities.

4: Counselling: Telephone counselling for VIU students is available 24/7 through Homewood Health by calling 1-800-663-1142.

5: Medical Clinic: The Medical Clinic on VIU’s Nanaimo Campus remains open and is focusing resources on providing service to existing patients and students in VIU Residences. Modified Clinic hours are 11-3 pm, Monday – Thursday. Students who had existing booked appointments with a VIU counsellor will be contacted directly by their counsellors.

6: International and Study Abroad students:

Students recalled from VIU-sanctioned activities:

    • Students who have been recalled to Canada from VIU-sanctioned activities abroad need to review their travel insurance with GuardMe and/or any other insurance provider, keep copies of travel-related receipts, and consider beginning the claim process for any covered expenses. 
    • Students should also confirm with their host institution whether courses can be completed remotely. Institutions are rapidly changing their course delivery methods; it is recommended that you connect with your host faculty regularly for updates. 
    • Please contact eduabroad@viu.ca if you have any questions or need support.
    • Summer term payment deadline for international students:
      • The April 1 deadline for international student payments for summer term has been pushed out to April 20, 2020. This date will be reviewed again should the summer session start dates be pushed out. (Individual cases of delays for work terms and other placements should be directed to your academic faculty office.)
      • Please contact support.international@viu.ca if you have any questions or need support.

Employee-specific updates:

  • Important update from IT:
    • Information Technology is experiencing a high volume of VPN access requests and VPN usage. Due to current capacity limitations, please only connect to the VPN when using a service that requires VPN and be sure to disconnect from the VPN when you are no longer using that service.
    • Services that DO require the use of VPN include: files on network shares (U drive, department drives).
    • Services that DO NOT require the use of VPN include: most VIU resources such as Email, VIU Learn, FRS, Unit 4, SRS, InVIU, VIUTube, all websites.
    • Also please be sure you apply all security updates and have updated virus/malware protection if connecting from a personal device. (VIU owned/managed devices are updated automatically). This is critical to protect VIU data.


Students and Employees:

  • We have cancelled all internal and external events at VIU’s campuses and facilities until May 1. This decision will be reviewed on April 15 and an update shared.
  • VIU’s Starbucks on the Nanaimo campus has moved to a grab and go model – there is no seating in the location and reduced hours are also in place; the location will be open Monday to Friday, 7 am - 3 pm.
  • VIU’s Writing Centre is no longer open for face-to-face meetings; all of the appointments will be through e-tutoring. If you have any questions, please contact john.hill@viu.ca.
  • VIU’s Deep Bay Marine Field Station in Bowser, Milner Gardens & Woodland in Qualicum Beach, and the gym on VIU’s Nanaimo Campus are closed to the public until further notice.
  • Cafeterias at both Nanaimo and Cowichan campuses are open to ensure employees and students can continue to be supported with food services.
  • The VIU Students’ Union office and pub are closed until further notice.


Student-specific reminders:

International Students:




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

  • 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

Tags: Announcements

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