DAILY UPDATE: COVID-19, MARCH 20, 5:10 PM

March 20, 2020 - 5:15pm

This week has seen lots of changes for our community as we made the decision to transition to alternate course delivery and assessment and moved most of our employees to a work from home model.

Understandably, this rapidly evolving situation is causing anxiety and stress for both students and employees. We wanted to remind everyone of the counselling supports that are in place for both students and employees and encourage people to reach out and access support if they find they are not coping. And, if you think someone needs help, please share this information with them. 

Finally, as we move into the weekend, we hope everyone will take a few moments to disconnect and do something to lift their spirits. We are all focused on trying to manage the impacts of this crisis, but it is critical that we look after ourselves so that we can, in turn, continue to look after each other, our community, and those in our community who are most vulnerable.

One way we are going to do this is by giving everyone a small break from the Daily Update so there will not be an update sent out tomorrow, Saturday, March 21. The next Daily Update will be on Sunday, March 22, in the evening.

However, we are still here for you. If you need something, please connect with us through universityrelations@viu.ca.

Please note: New information is in the New Items section; information that’s already been shared is in the Reminder section.

In both the ‘New Items’ and ‘Reminder’ sections, you’ll find information for both students and employees highlighted in green; information specifically for students is highlighted in yellow; and information specifically for employees is highlighted in blue.

 

NEW ITEMS:

Students and Employees:

1: PLEASE READ - IMPORTANT IT INFORMATION: The IT help desk phone number has temporarily changed. Please call 1-236-362-1121 or email ithelp@viu.ca to reach the IT Helpdesk.

2: The Federal and Provincial Governments have developed comprehensive websites with information on their responses to the COVID-19 crisis, including supports for individuals. On the BC site you will also find a self-assessment tool

3: The Upper Cafeteria on the Nanaimo campus is closed as of 3:30 pm today for the grab and go options that were previously available. Food Services will be refunding all meal plans as quickly as possible. If you have an urgent need for a refund, please email Judy.Morris@viu.ca.

To ensure some options remain, Ancillary Services will be opening a temporary convenience store in Building 300 for students and employees. Hours of this service will be Monday to Friday, 11 am to 1 pm, with social distancing measures put into place.

4: VIU’s Scholarship, Research and Creative Activity Office has prepared these guidelines for those involved in research at VIU.

5: VIU’s Ethics Research Board has prepared these guidelines for those who need their support during the COVID-19 crisis. 

 

Student-specific updates:

1: International Academic Support (IAS) has moved to an e-tutoring model. If you have any questions, email sylvia.arnold@viu.ca.

2: International Students:

  • Building 255 is now card-access only. Please ensure you bring your access card to campus.  
  • The front desk in Building 255 will continue to be open from 12 noon – 2 pm Monday to Friday to provide support and answer questions in-person. Social distancing precautions will be in place. 
  • VIU has received many inquiries from international students who wish to attend for the fall term. A separate letter for new applicants will be sent directly to new applicants, and an international FAQ document has been created to answer many of the questions we are hearing from current/returning international students. Further questions can be directed to support.international@viu.ca. We will continue to update the FAQ resource as new questions come in.

 

Employee-specific updates:

1: Working remotely guidelines and checklist: VIU has developed two documents outlining the process to support employees to work from a remote location. These are called the VIU Remote Work Checklist and Remote Work Guideline. They are located on a web page titled VIU Human Resources Documents Regarding COVID-19, which can be found in the menu on the main COVID-19 page. Managers will be reaching out to employees very soon to discuss and complete the checklist. 

2: The Facilities Services work order system is currently not accessible. For support requests, please email facility@viu.ca, or call 250-740-6500 until further notice. 

 

REMINDERS:

EMPLOYEES AND STUDENTS:

1: IMPORTANT: IT Department Update: Please review these guidelines from our IT department for working remotely and promoting social distancing. The IT help desk phone number has temporarily changed. Please call 1-236-362-1121 or email ithelp@viu.ca to reach the IT Helpdesk.

  •  Cyber Security Update: It is imperative that we all take steps to protect our IT infrastructure from cyber-attacks during this vulnerable time. Please follow the guidelines closely, especially regarding VPN usage for employees. Use it only when you absolutely need to, for accessing files – and log off as soon as your actions are complete. If we all do our part, we can ensure everyone’s online safety.  

2: Updates on Campus Facilities/Services:  

  • Are you wondering what services/facilities are open or closed at VIU and how to access services now that the University is following the provincial government’s social distancing guidelines? We’ve created a webpage with more detailed information.

 

Student-specific reminders:

1: Keeping Student Record Info Up-to-date: As correspondence between VIU and students is increasing, we ask all students to ensure that their email, mailing address and security passwords are up to date. For some specific services, students will need to know their security information. For example, Financial Aid will ask students to answer their security question to verify identity before conducting a phone meeting with them. To update, please log into My Student Record.

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. VIU Counsellors will continue to conduct telephone wellness checks with the students they have already been working with.

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 Residence. 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 outside of Canada:

  • Students who have been recalled to Canada from VIU-sanctioned activities abroad need to review their travel insurance with guard.me 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.caif 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.caif you have any questions or need support.

7: 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.

 

Employee-specific reminders:

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.

 

SUPPORTS FOR STUDENTS AND EMPLOYEES

 

TRAVEL GUIDELINES

 

LIBRARY RESOURCES

Please review this information from our Library team to learn more about numerousavailable services, resources and supports - we’re here for you! Website updated daily on weekdays.

 

MORE INFORMATION: 


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