March 27, 2020 - 6:00pm

It’s Friday, which means we have made it through the first full week of alternative learning delivery and doing our work from home. We want to thank everyone in the community for the countless hours they have put in supporting this momentous adjustment. Extraordinary times have certainly called for a major - and sudden - shift in the way we learn and do business.

We wanted to remind everyone to disconnect and do something to lift their spirits this weekend. On that note, just a reminder that the email updates will be taking a break over the weekend. Look for the next update in your inbox on Monday evening.  

You can connect with us at any time through universityrelations@viu.ca and visit our COVID-19 website for the most up to date information. 



Students and employees:

1: A huge thank you to the Financial Aid & Awards team for their amazing work this week in processing more than 230 student emergency bursary forms so that cheques could be mailed out today. A second shout out to the VIU Students’ Union and the VIU Foundation for their leadership in launching a campaign to raise $250,000 for the student emergency bursary fund. Our VIU community has proved yet again that we come together in times of need.

Student-specific updates:

1: International Students: Students currently insured under the guard.me plan have free 24/7/365 access to the mobileDOCTOR program which allows you to connect with Canadian doctors on Maple, a telemedicine company, as a part of your health benefits. Maple provides access to doctors, Canada-wide, on your phone, tablet or computer anytime, anywhere. Seeing a doctor on Maple is safe and reliable, and can help prevent the need to go to a walk-in clinic or emergency room. For more information about mobileDOCTOR and other guard.me services please consult the VIU International guard.me website.

2: Online Social Strengthening Events: Join VIU’s Office of Co-Curricular Engagement and Learning for an online version of their final Co-Curricular Record Talks on Monday, March 30 from 2:30 - 3:30 pm. Four VIU students will be sharing their experiences over the past year via Zoom. Learn more and sign up on Eventbrite. The Office is also planning eight weeks of virtual #socialstrengthening activities to keep our community connected. Stay tuned for more info! Questions? Email ccr@viu.ca.


Employee specific updates:

1: ProPass Program on Hold: As Nanaimo Regional Transit has made bus travel free of charge for the near future, Payroll will suspend the ProPass deduction for all employees currently accessing it until regular fares resume. The next affected payroll is April 3, at which time employees taking advantage of the program will notice that the deduction will not come off. 

2: Mindwell Challenge: A reminder to employees that VIU has a subscription to Mindwell U - an evidence-based, 30-day Mindfulness Challenge available at MindwellU. VIU employees can invite a buddy to take the Challenge with them. 

3: Employee and Family Assistance Program: A reminder to employees that the Employee and Family Assistance program (EFAP) continues to be available. EFAP is a confidential counselling and information service sponsored by VIU. This program is designed to help you and your eligible dependents with any personal problems that affect your family life, your work life or your general well-being.



Student and Employee reminders:

1: PARKING REFUND INFORMATION: In recognition of the emotional and financial stress the COVID-19 situation has placed on students, WestPark and VIU have modified the refund policy for parking permits to allow more students to be refunded and increase the amount of the refund. Parking permit refunds given during this period will be pro-rated, based on the number of days that are remaining on your permit, and retroactive to Friday, March 13, 2020.

Please send a request to cancel your parking permit directly to WestPark’s Guest Services Department at guestservices@westpark.com no later than April 30, 2020. Refunds will be processed back to the credit card that the original purchase was made on as quickly as possible. Please note the on-site VIU Parking Office is temporarily closed for precautionary measures. WestPark can be reached at 1-778-746-7588 to answer any questions or concerns.

2: Privacy guidelines:We’ve put together these guidelines to help everyone protect their personal and confidential information while they are working and studying away from campus.

3:Library: 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.

4: 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.

5: 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.

6: We have created a list of both VIU and community supports that are available for everyone – please reach out if you need to and encourage others to do so as well. 


Student-specific reminders:

1: Financial Supports for Students: 

  • 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 approximately $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: Are you struggling with the transition to alternate delivery? VIU’s Centre for Innovation and Excellence in Learning has a three-part blogpost – How to be a successful student during COVID-19 – to help students navigate the changes to courses, assignments and their own personal well-being. It includes three key strategies to help students manage these changes: stay connected to key people, make a plan and use good strategies.

3: The front desk in Building 255 (International) is no longer open as of Thursday, March 25. All services will continue to be delivered remotely. Students can also visit the COVID-19 Updates for International Students page.  

4: E-tutoring available: International Academic Support (IAS) and VIU’s Writing Centre have moved to e-tutoring models. If you have any questions, email sylvia.arnold@viu.ca (IAS) or John.Hill@viu.ca (Writing Centre).

5: International Students:

  • International Education has created a specific page for all new information for international students related to COVID-19. The page includes the updated refund and deferral policy for new applicants, information about intersession and fall admissions, and other information relevant to current and prospective international students.
  • VIU has received many inquiries from international students who wish to attend for the fall term. A separate letter for new applicants has been 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 reminders:

1: Experiencing Internet problems while working from home? Here are some Tips and Tricks from IT.

2: If you have a concern about a student’s mental well-being and if you would like to consult with a VIU Counsellor or have a counsellor to reach out to the student, please 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 at 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.

3: 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.

4: 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. 



Tags: Announcements

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