UBCO suspends classes, activities involving 250 people or more while TRU works on plan - InfoNews

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UBCO suspends classes, activities involving 250 people or more while TRU works on plan

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March 13, 2020 - 12:22 PM

While students at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops and the University of B.C., including the UBC Okanagan campus, are using petitions to urge administrators to cancel classes and move to online options to prevent the spread of COVID-19, at least one of the universities is responding.

Matthew Ramsey, director of university affairs for UBC media relations, said the staff and faculty are working to sort out the kinks after suspending all lectures and gatherings of more than 250 people, as imposed by the provincial government yesterday, March 12.

“The university is extremely busy as we look to respond to the latest developments on COVID-19,” Ramsey said. “UBC is taking direction from the province as we plan and consider the next steps.”

A information bulletin posted to UBC's website today, March 13, notified students that sporting events, lectures and other activities involving 250 or more people would be suspended.

Ramsey said currently there is no online option available for faculty and students to continue with their studies.

“We have folks working across campus working together to identify those classes with more than 250 students and ways in which to transition those lecture components to an online or alternative delivery,” Ramsey says. “We don't have a firm timeline as too when everything will move over, but we suspect it will be within days.”

When asked if UBC plans to move smaller classes to an online platform, Ramsey said they will take direction from the province.

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

In Kamloops, a petition was started urging Thompson Rivers University administrators to suspend operations until the outbreak is under control.

A page on the TRU website dedicated to COVID-19 said the university registrar is working to determine which classes will be affected by the ban on gatherings of more than 250 people. It is not yet clear if the larger classes will be cancelled or if an online option is available.

No one at media relations at Thompson Rivers University was immediately available for comment.


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