Thompson Rivers University to suspend face to face classes as COVID-19 concerns rise - InfoNews

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Thompson Rivers University to suspend face to face classes as COVID-19 concerns rise

March 15, 2020 - 2:18 PM

Thompson Rivers University is the latest B.C. school to deviate away from face-to-face classes as COVID-19 concerns continue.

"The events of the past weeks have been challenging as we all adjust to the realities of COVID-19 and its impact on our communities. Many of our TRU family have expressed concern about the current situation, and as a university, we have actively been monitoring and making decisions based on evidence-based information, including the expert guidance provided by the Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry," Brett Fairbairn, TRU president, said in a note posted to the university's website.

"Of primary importance is the safety and well-being of our university community."

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Like other public post-secondary institutions across the province, TRU has decided to move away from face-to-face classroom instruction and transition to alternative methods of instruction.

Effective Monday, March 16, TRU is temporarily suspending all face-to-face classes, meaning there will be no classes in session. This includes lectures, seminars, labs, studios, field school and field trips at our Kamloops and Williams Lake campuses, and our regional centres.

For students, the week of March 16 will be a study and catch-up week; for faculty, it will provide needed time to make arrangements for virtual or alternate forms of delivery of their courses, including final exams. Students, your instructors will connect with you directly as arrangements are made, so we ask for your patience during this time of change.

The week commencing Monday, March 23, courses will resume for most programs in alternate formats. For trades, given the extensive shop time required for learning, more discussions are required. Students will be informed as soon as possible on how these programs will resume.   

Libraries, student supports, administrative offices, and study areas will be open. However, there may be some modification to hours, or how service is delivered to support the health and wellbeing of all members of our university community.

"These are unprecedented times at TRU, and for our society. The measures above are our way of helping to contain the spread of the coronavirus, while at the same time, supporting students in their continued studies," Fairbairn said.

All UBC and UBCO classes are also moving online for the semester due to the coronavirus epidemic.

"For classes that cannot be accommodated online, we will be issuing further information through our faculties. This will apply to UBC Vancouver, UBC Okanagan and UBC Robson Square. Information regarding exams will be shared next week," UBC president Santa Ono said in a statement March 13.

Online classes will be in effect March 16 for the remainder of the semester.

"UBC’s campuses will remain open and all university operations will continue as normal, as we transition. Updates continue to be posted to," he said.

Two online petitions were created to urge the administration to cancel all UBC classes. More than 14,000 have signed a petition urging for the closure of UBC campuses, and a second petition to suspend in-person instruction has gathered more than 8,600 supporters.

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