Ey Swayel. Whether you are a new or returning student in the School of Health Studies, we are excited to welcome you back to UFV for the Fall 2020 semester. We gratefully acknowledge that UFV is situated on the ancestral and unceded territory of the Sto:lo people and we feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to work, learn, and play in such a beautiful place.
As a UFV Alumni myself, I remember all too well my own first day of classes and the excitement that accompanied that. I also recognize that along with that excitement can come nervousness as you adjust to life at university.
For all of us this semester, there will be new challenges we face together as we continue to navigate the world of remote learning during times of a Pandemic. We pride ourselves on providing students with high-quality education across all of our programs, regardless of the format the courses are offered in. I would like to reassure you that faculty have been working diligently to ensure your learning environment remains positive and engaging. We are here to help you.
We recognize that, for some, online learning can be scary. However, it does not have to be. If you find yourself challenged or feeling overwhelmed, UFV has excellent counselling services available to students. We highly encourage students to access these services by contacting Student Services and asking to set up a counseling appointment. We also encourage you to stay connected and supported with faculty, family, and friends.
For many of you, the return to class also means the return to the clinical setting. We know this can lead to feelings of uncertainty given the challenges that come in light of COVID-19. I would like to reassure students that their safety is of our utmost importance. We have been working with the Health Authority to ensure students will have access to appropriate PPE, and we have put guidelines in place to ensure your safety when returning to campus for labs and/or class activities. These protocols have been sent to students and we will ensure they are reviewed when classes resume.
I would also like to take this opportunity to address and acknowledge that racism of any form is hurtful and leads people to feel lonely, angry, sad and excluded. Especially now, in light of current events and the systematic racism rooted in our society, people may detach due to the prejudice and bias they experience. As the Director of the School of Health Studies, I recognize the role I play in ensuring students, staff and faculty feel supported in a non-biased and non-judgemental manner. I promise to work with Indigenous, Black and people of color to ensure we all have a better understanding of the challenges faced. I will help to amplify BIPOC voices and make sure their needs are listened to and met. I will connect with the people in UFV and advocate for change in curriculum, policies, and guidelines to ensure that everyone feels supported and welcome.
As part of the Faculty of Health Sciences, the School of Health Studies values excellence, collaboration, professionalism, and respect. These values do not change in the face of a global pandemic or racism. We are in this together, and I am once again pleased to welcome you back to UFV for the Fall 2020 semester.
Director, School of Health Studies