The North Cariboo Community Campus in Quesnel, which houses the University of Northern British Columbia and the College of New Caledonia. (File photo)

UPDATE: UNBC’s last day of face-to-face classes will be March 18; no classes at CNC March 18-20 as college transitions to alternative delivery

College of New Caledonia says students will receive instructions about how courses will be delivered

The last day of face-to-face classes at the University of British Columbia (UNBC) will be Wednesday, March 18, as the university transitions to “alternate delivery models” during the evolving COVID-19 pandemic.

UNBC interim president and vice-chancellor Geoff Payne provided the update Saturday afternoon (March 14) on the university’s website.

“The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is a fluid, rapidly evolving situation. Your health and safety is my top priority,” he wrote. “In consideration of that, we are actively planning for all contingencies across the university, including transitioning away from face-to-face classes and exams.”

Payne says the March 18 final day for face-to-face classes may move earlier, but it will not move later. UNBC will complete the semester, including assessments and exams, using alternative service delivery models.

“I understand that some situations, such as labs and practicums, present a challenge,” wrote Payne. “We do have some flexibility regarding in-person attendance in these cases, based on guidance from public health officials. To facilitate this, faculty can work with Program Chairs, Deans and the Safety and Security office to ensure a safe learning environment for all involved. Faculty must approve their plans for these exceptional circumstances with the Deans.”

In his update, Payne says all UNBC campuses remain open at this time.

“We will continue to follow guidance provided by Northern Health, the Provincial Health Officer (PHO), and the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training,” he wrote. “Services such as the library, food services, Northern Sport Centre, and student housing will remain open. Some service levels may need to be changed, or have already changed (such as food services) in order to support public health. We are taking these steps to ensure the safety of our UNBC community and are seeking alternate methods of ensuring we meet learning outcomes while continuing to serve our students in the best possible manner.”

Payne encourages people to visit UNBC’s website at unbc.ca/coronavirus for information.

College of New Caledonia (CNC) will be suspending face-to-face classes March 18-20 so instructors can transition to alternative delivery methods.

CNC announced Sunday night (March 15) it is taking proactive measures to minimize impacts from COVID-19 at its campuses.

“The week of March 16 will be one of transition for CNC, allowing faculty, operational staff and leadership time to implement alternate forms of program delivery, as well as determine how best to continue providing other services,” according to the news release.

Most face-to-face classes will be suspended from Wednesday, March 18 through Friday, March 20, to allow instructors to complete transition to alternative delivery methods.

Students will receive instructions from instructors and deans on how courses, labs, shop, clinics and practicums will be delivered from March 23 on. Information will be sent to students via the email provided to the college, and CNC encourages students to ensure they are monitoring this email address regularly.

“Our campuses will remain open and services will continue to be provided, modified and reviewed as necessary while this situation continues to evolve,” CNC president Dennis Johnson said in the release. “Online and alternate delivery will be adopted where practical, but this strategy is intended to support social distancing and lower on-campus density. During this time of transition, our principle focus at CNC continues to be on the health and safety of our students and employees.”

A Friday, March 13 bulletin on the college website states in response to COVID-19, CNC is continuing to work very closely with Northern Health and is monitoring all appropriate health agency websites to communicate information as timely as possible as things progress.

CNC is encouraging community members to practice “information hygiene” and examine sources to reduce the spread of misinformation and encourages students to visit cnc.bc.ca/services/counselling/crisis-information for crisis and mental health resources. The college says Homewood Health continues to provide ongoing support to all CNC employees and/or family members experiencing anxiety or who would like to speak to someone about the COVID-19 outbreak and encourages employees and their family members to contact Homewood Health at 1-800-663-1142 for support.

CNC has also established a COVID-19 Emergency Operations Centre to discuss and respond to risks.

“This team will continue to monitor the situation closely and provide updates either directly through email or on our website,” states CNC. “We appreciate your continued co-operation, and we encourage everyone to be respectful and supportive.”

For updates, visit cnc.bc.ca/about/campus-notifications.

READ MORE: Two COVID-19 patients now in self-isolation at home in Northern Health



editor@quesnelobserver.com

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