March 22, 2020 - 3:00pm

As promised on Friday, we are connecting again today, and first want to say we hope everyone did something this weekend to lift their spirits as we all continue to manage the impacts of this ongoing crisis.

We don’t have any new updates to share with you, but we wanted to take a moment to say we know this week is going to look different for all of us, as students and faculty start their alternate course delivery modes and many of our employees start their first full week of working from home.

While we have been working hard to help make this transition as smooth as possible, we know there will be adjustments that need to be made and again we thank you for your patience.We are here for you and will do everything we can to support our community in this new way of learning and working.

We also wanted to share this information from BC’s Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions, which has advice on how to manage the stress and anxiety that is arising because of this situation as well as a list of resources for people. And of course, don’t forget about the VIU specific supports that are in place.

If you have a question, please connect with us through universityrelations@viu.ca. We will continue to send out updates when we have new information to share. If you don’t receive one, please go to VIU’s COVID-19 website, where you’ll find our most up-to-date information. 

Please note: If there is new information it will be 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.



None for March 22, 2020.



Students and Employees:

1: Information on Campus Facilities/Services that are open or closed:   

  • 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.


2: 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.


3: 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


4: The Upper Cafeteria on the Nanaimo campus is now closed. 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.


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


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

7: IT Department Update: 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.  

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.


3: 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.


4: 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.


5: 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 this week regarding these activities.


6: 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.


7: 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.


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. 


3: Important information 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.






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.



Tags: Announcements

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