UPDATE: COVID-19, MARCH 23, 6:30 pm

March 23, 2020 - 6:45pm


We wanted to remind everyone in our community that even though we have moved into alternate course delivery modes and working from home, we are committed to providing supports and services to both students and employees. 

These details are usually shared in our Daily Updates in specific sections and on our COVID-19 webpage.

Today we thought we’d bring them front and centre, which means you will find separate Supports for our Community and Services for our Community sections in today’s update. 

Below the new supports and services sections, you’ll still find information for both students and employees highlighted in green; information specifically for students highlighted in yellow; and information specifically for employees is highlighted in blue.




  • If you are a student experiencing financial hardship, please email financialaidinfo@viu.ca with a request to access emergency bursary funds, which can be distributed quickly. Be sure to include your name, student number and reason for need. 
  • Don’t forget to fill out your Scholarship, Award and Bursary Profile. VIU is giving out $2 million in scholarships and awards this spring to students, and all you have to do to apply for all of them is fill out your profile, which can be accessed by logging into your student records page. The March 31, 2020, VIU Scholarship, Award and Bursary deadline is quickly approaching. Learn how to apply by visiting Financial Aid.

2: COUNSELLING: We wanted to reiterate the information about the counselling supports that are available to both employees and students. All of these details are also on our support for employees and students webpage: 

  • Students-specific update on counselling: 
    • If you have booked an appointment with a counsellor, your counsellor will be reaching out to you by phone or email to check in. Students can phone 250-740-6416 and leave a confidential voicemail message (including name, phone number and student number). The answering machine will be checked between 8:30 am and 4 pm, Monday to Friday.
    • If you are a student who has not yet connected with Counselling at VIU and would like to book a counselling appointment, distance counselling is available, 24/7, through Homewood Health by calling 1-800-663-1142.

3: Check out our Social Media pages where we will be sharing links and tips on how employees and students can support themselves and each other during this time: Twitter @viunews@viuniversity; Facebook: VIU News and Events; Vancouver Island University.

4: VIU’s Insurance provider, Homewood Health, has shared a helpful document for both employees and students with tips and resources: Managing the Impact

5: Students and employees can also access a free resource called iVolve. Confidential, anonymous, and immediately accessible, this self-paced cognitive behavioural therapy is designed to help you identify, challenge, and overcome anxious thoughts, behaviours, and emotions. You can log-in with your Homewood Health details or register on the site.

6: Please review this information from BC’s Ministry of Health, 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.



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

2: IT - If you need help with IT please contact 1-236-362-1121 or email ithelp@viu.ca to reach the IT Helpdesk. As well, IT has put together these helpful guidelines.

3: The Medical Clinic on VIU’s Nanaimo Campus is focusing resources on providing service to existing patients and students in VIU Residence. Modified Clinic hours are 11 - 3 pm, Monday - Thursday.

4: Food Services on the Nanaimo Campus: There is a convenience store set-up in the Upper Cafeteria (Bldg 300); hours of this service will be Monday to Friday, 11 am to 1 pm, with social distancing measures put into place.

5: International Education (Building 255): While most International Education staff, including advisors and counsellors, are working off-site, the front desk in Building 255 will continue to be open from 12 noon - 2 pm Monday to Friday to provide contact information for support and questions. Physical distancing precautions will be in place. As Building 255 is card access only, please ensure you have your student card.

6: 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.



Student and employee updates:

1: VIU’s Facilities Services department is working on a parking refund process. More information will be available in the next week.   

2: The temporary washroom trailers outside Building 300 are being removed on Wednesday, March 25 due to an urgent request from Island Health. The washroom upgrades in Building 300 will be completed by Monday, March 30. In the meantime, people can use the washrooms in Building 305 (card access only). Part of the Library Quad will be closed temporarily on Wednesday while the structures are removed. 


Employee-specific updates:

1: As there are some employees who are still coming to campus to support essential services, we wanted to remind all of them about the protocols when you are working on your own. The key point is if you are working alone on campus please call security at 250-753-3812 to let them know when you arrive and when you leave.

2: If you have a concern about a student, call 250-740-6416 and leave a message (all information will be kept confidential). Please let us know the best phone number to reach you and we will contact you as soon as possible. Our phone system is monitored hourly between 8:30 am and 4 pm, Monday to Friday.



Students and Employees:

1: 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: As 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 a need for a refund, please email Judy.Morris@viu.ca.


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. Physical 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.


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 Working on Campus or Remotely, 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.


To learn more, visit VIU’s dedicated COVID-19 website. And, as always, if you have a question, please connect with us through universityrelations@viu.ca

Tags: Announcements

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