Important: Winter term start delayed

Dear colleague,

We hope you have been enjoying the holiday break with those closest to you. We are communicating today to ensure you have sufficient time to prepare for the upcoming start of Winter term and to update you on important discussions and decisions regarding the rapidly changing circumstances caused by the Omicron variant.

We have learned throughout this pandemic that we must pivot quickly to overcome challenges caused by the virus, and so UFV is revising the plan for the start of the Winter 2022 term. After careful consideration, UFV will implement the following:

  • The vast majority of classes and educational activities will be paused for one week from Tuesday, January 4 until Sunday, January 9. This has also been recommended by the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training, and supported by B.C.’s Public Health Officer (PHO).
  • A small number of programs and courses will start the week of January 4. Start dates for these programs will be communicated by academic units to those impacted.
  • Transition to remote learning for most classes. Remote learning will start on Monday, January 10 through Sunday, January 23 — classes will be conducted online during this period.
  • Some courses, including those with clinical or other experiential components, will continue in-person with appropriate safety protocols in place on January 10. Faculties and academic units will provide further details on specific programs and courses before their start date.
  • Events on campus will be postponed until January 24, or canceled.
  • Campuses will remain open, including student housing, student services, and all libraries. Libraries will be running with capacity limits in place.
  • Students will be able to access campus services as of January 4.

Our campuses are open Tuesday, January 4. All current work arrangements for administrators, staff, and faculty will continue as scheduled. Employees impacted by the temporary adjustment of K-12 school schedules should contact their managers to discuss short-term needs.

Dr. Henry and her provincial health colleagues recently reassured the post-secondary sector in a community town hall on Dec. 8 and in a letter to presidents dated Dec. 21, that B.C. universities pose a lower risk of transmission of COVID-19 than many other settings.

UFV has relied on the expert advice of the PHO as we have navigated the pandemic. We continue to work closely with Fraser Health Authority to ensure we are prioritizing the health and safety for everyone on all our campuses. Getting vaccinated continues to be the greatest defence in fighting the spread of COVID-19. The BCCDC recently updated information regarding close contacts and contact tracing, as well as next steps following a positive test.

The decision to delay the start of the Winter term and transition to remote learning will provide certainty for our students and allow time for faculty and staff to prepare course materials and student supports to ensure that excellent teaching and learning activities continue.

UFV intends to return to in-person learning and instruction on January 24; however, we will continue to monitor the Omicron situation very closely and will update you as the situation evolves.

Thank you for your continued patience and flexibility. We recognize these changes require adaptation, planning, and work on your part. Thank you for continuing to provide excellent education and important services to our students.

Dr. Joanne MacLean