UPDATE: COVID-19, MAY 13 | News


As you know, VIU, along with many other universities, announced on Monday that our the fall semester will be a model hybrid program of education, with most courses offered in online format. This decision was not made lightly and was made in order to support the safety and well-being of our community and ensure that VIU follows the guidelines of the BC Office of Public Health. You can read more about this in our Student Update below under NEW ARTICLES.

Today was good news from the federal government: Beginning May 15, 2020, students can apply for the Canadian Student Emergency Benefit. Similar to how the CERB application process was implemented, students are asked to apply for the new benefit program for four days, depending on the month of their birth. Under the Canadian Student Emergency Benefit, eligible applicants will receive $ 1,250 per month from May to August. Applicants who have a disability, or are caring for another person, will receive $ 2,000 per month.

We also wanted to take a moment to reiterate our gratitude to all of our employees who have gone above and beyond, adapted, and found innovative and creative ways to support our students and others. Take a moment to watch this short video from Dan VanderSluis, Associate Vice President of Human Resources, as he shares a thank you message and encourages everyone to take time to rest and relax this long weekend.


Student and employee updates:

1: Move into May with Athletics and Recreation: During the month of May, VIU Mariners Athletics and Recreation is encouraging all students, staff, faculty and their families to get involved with them through a series of virtual activities aimed at to build a community. Follow their social media channels to find engaging prerecorded workouts; wellness challenges; the cooking series “Meals with Mike”; tips, tricks and vlogs with great people; he relived moments from recent national championships and even an old game of HORSE (the basketball game). Keep an eye out for our Mariner athletes as they share their home training tips and health regimens.


2: New BCcampus Resources: During the COVID-19 pandemic, people may experience feelings of anxiety, stress, isolation, and more. To assist students, staff, and faculty in BC’s post-secondary public sector, BCcampus has created a website with mental health support. All the resources developed by BCcampus are openly licensed and published with accessibility in mind. In association with experts from across the province, BCcampus will host webinars on topics such as effective online learning, mental health, and resilience. All events will be recorded and stored on the website for those who cannot attend. Visit Adapting to COVID-19 for more information.

3: Introducing the Active at Home Challenge: The Youth Edition: campVIU is encouraging families to stay active at home with weekly active and healthy living challenges for children. Join Isabella Kortbeek, leader of the campVIU program, every Tuesday and Thursday on VIU Mariners Facebook, Instagram and Twitter channels for a different challenge. These activities for children will make you move, create and have fun! Follow the directions or make your own spin on the ideas. Be sure to share your version by tagging @viumariners and #activeathome.

4: The BC Center for Disease Control has released a survey asking about your experience during the COVID-19 pandemic. It takes about 10 minutes. The survey will be open until May 31, 2020.

Specific updates for students:

1: Hybrid Fall Semester Model: As we shared earlier and on Monday, VIU will be moving to a hybrid education delivery program model for our fall semester. Although this is a new approach, VIU has always taken a student-centered approach and we will continue to do so even in this new model. Additionally, all of our supports and services will continue to be offered. You will receive news from your teachers no later than June 8 with specific details about your courses, but in the meantime, you can expect that most of the courses that will normally be delivered as a class or seminar in class will be delivered using online tools. Courses that include an experimental component (labs, practices, etc.) are being reviewed and may continue to include an on-campus experience that meets rigorous health guidelines. You can also expect some creative simulations and experimental learning at home. We are still working on all the details on this approach and will update our Fall Semester FAQ website as often as possible to try to answer your questions. You can also email us at [email protected].

2: VIU’s Office of Co-Curricular Engagement and Learning is organizing virtual social strengthening activities for students. View the full calendar and access individual events on VIU’s online event calendar. Upcoming events include:

  • Thursday, May 14: Call for Contributions for a Home Self-Care Film Festival – Check out the Fun @ VIU Facebook tomorrow for more details!
  • Thursday, May 14: 4:30 – 5:30 pm: Yin Yoga
  • Thursday, May 21: 4:30 – 5:30 pm: Flow Yoga

Employee specific updates:

1: Share Your Favorite ‘Keep Your Cheer Up’ Strategy: For the next issue of Working Remotely Chronicles on VIU Voices, share with us your favorite playlist, cup of coffee / tea / drinks, ‘Way to Take a Break During day job ‘, and any other favorite thing to help you keep your spirits up while working remotely. We love it when you illustrate your idea with a photo. Please send your submissions to [email protected].

2: In case you’ve missed it before, check out this message from Dan VanderSluis, Associate Vice President of Human Resources, where he shares a message of thanks and encourages everyone to take time out to rest and relax this long weekend. We also wanted to take a moment to reiterate our gratitude to all of our employees who have gone above and beyond, adapted and found innovative and creative ways to support our students and others during this time.

3: Global Engagement Program Development Grants: To help faculty and staff focus on delivering online / alternative programs that encompass new forms of global engagement in the context of COVID-19, the College of International Education is pleased to offer early admission to the Global Commitment Development Grants Program (up to $ 10,000). Applications are now accepted through June 1, 2020 (starting regular fall intake on September 30). This will allow recipients more time to implement new online / alternative global engagement initiatives in time for the start of the fall period. You can find more information on eligible activities here. Contact: [email protected].

4: Important update on employee parking: WestPark and VIU understand the tremendous stress that COVID-19 has placed on everyone. In response to this, WestPark suspended payments beginning March 30, 2020 for VIU employees on a monthly payment plan. For those with prepaid passes, we will extend the expiration date of your employees’ prepaid parking pass to account for the period of time they have so far been unable to use. For example, if your pass would expire on May 31, 2020, when you go to renew your pass, you will have a two-month credit on your account. Employees may be eligible for a refund if their parking permits expired after March 30, 2020, and they will not work at VIU again. Contact the Campus Facilities and Development Services office for consideration at [email protected]. Provide your name and employee number. If you have any questions, please contact WestPark’s Guest Services Department at [email protected] or call 1-778-746-7588 if you have any questions or concerns.


Student and Employee Reminders:

1: New VIU Playlist President: Dr. Deborah Saucier has a new set of songs to keep you moving during the month of May called May.be Playlist. Check it out on Spotify for more information on the name.

2: VIU Campus Store: While our physical bookstores are currently closed, our online store is open for business with new items added to the website every week. Campus Store offers free shipping within Canada for course web material orders and an in-store pickup option for web orders Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. at 1 p.m. For more information about the Campus Store, visit https://campus-store.viu.ca/default.asp.

3: Virtual Gallery Exhibition: Graduate students of the visual arts have held their final exhibition online instead of their traditional exhibition at The View Gallery, which is closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Pandemonium is a celebration of the hard-earned achievements of the 2020 class of graduates. Students hope it serves as a reminder that while the world has changed, our creativity and tenacity will help us navigate to a joyous future.

4: Vision2020 is live – This year’s VIU Graphic Design Grad Show has been transformed into an online experience. So stay safe, stay home and watch the show from the comfort of your couch as we celebrate our graduates.

5: Do you have a virtual event that you want to promote? Don’t forget to add it to VIU’s calendar of events! To add your event, go to campusevents.viu.ca, click on the menu on the right hand side and scroll down the list of options to click “Submit event”.

6: The VIU Faculty of International Education organizes Culture Kitchen: a weekly live cooking program on Facebook organized by the coordinator of the VIU intercultural program, Simón Schachner, on Tuesdays from 5 p.m. M. Each week features a different student or recent alumnus who demonstrates how to cook one of their favorite dishes. Follow VIU Cultural Connections on Facebook to join the fun. Live feedback and encouraged greetings.

7: Facility Updates: Reminder: Please visit our closed / open website for updated information on all VIU facilities.

8: Emotional Supports: We have created a list of supports from both the VIU and the community that are available to everyone; Communicate if necessary and encourage others to do so as well.

9. The following VIU Library services are available:

  • The Commons Library is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through card access and with established social distancing measures.
  • Our extensive electronic collections (magazines, e-books, databases, video streaming, and more) are available online.
  • Research help is available by email or phone on weekdays – visit https://library.viu.ca or email [email protected] to make an appointment.
  • Askaway chat research help is available during published service hours.
  • Photo ID, equipment loans and other services are also available, weekdays.
  • The staff is ready to help the VIU community, from 9 am to 4 pm, Monday through Friday:

Specific reminders for students:

1: Electronic tutoring available all semester! The VIU Writing Center and International Academic Support (IAS) have a joint schedule from May 4 to August 7 on our regular reservation system: https://vancouver.mywconline.com. If you have any questions, please email [email protected] (IAS) or [email protected] (Editorial Center).

2: Voluntary Tutor Service Still Available: Free tutoring is offered to students enrolled in Adult Basic Education (ABE) and freshman college courses through the VIU Volunteer Tutor Program. Tutors are dedicated and motivated community members who have experience working with students in an academic setting or who are experts on topics related to ACP programs. To access a tutor, fill out a Tutor Request Form here for Nanaimo students or here for Cowichan students. For more information, contact [email protected] at Nanaimo or [email protected] at Cowichan.

3: How to Obtain Your Student ID: If you need a new student ID, visit this page and scroll down to the section titled How to Obtain a Student ID Card During the COVID-19 Pandemic and follow the instructions.

4: Virtual Success Coaching – Work with a Success Coach to develop mindsets and habits for wellness and success. A successful coach can help you:

  • learn to maintain inner calm and confidence in difficult circumstances;
  • develop lifelong strategies for self-pity and acceptance; and
  • Improve your ability to adapt to change, uncertainty, and ambiguity.

Training is available through Zoom and you can book your appointments on your own. When your appointment time comes, go to the website and click on the “Join Zoom Room” button and VIU Success Coach Sharon Kelly will admit you to the room.

5: Student Affairs needs YOUR opinion: What online events or workshops would you like to see the most to support you during this time? Send your suggestions and comments to [email protected].

6: Student Financial Aid Resources: Are you facing financial difficulties as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic? VIU’s financial aid team has created a resource page that lists a variety of supports and support measures to help you through this difficult time. Includes VIU supports, government aid measures and other supports.

7: International students:

Specific reminders for employees:

1: Support for Those Who Work Alone: ​​VIU’s Health and Safety Services department has created a website with resources for supervisors and employees on best practices for working alone, whether at home or elsewhere. The “Tools for Working at Home or in Isolation” (located near the bottom of the page) have a complete list of things to consider when working alone.

2: Struggling with the pivot to alternate delivery and evaluation? VIU’s Center for Innovation and Learning Excellence (CIEL) has released a few podcasts that capture the stories of faculty members that reflect the challenges they face and, most importantly, how they are being overcome.

3: Are you curious about the new security features recently introduced by Zoom? See this new blog post from the Center for Innovation and Excellence in Learning (CIEL) that describes the new options.

4: New Employee Support Page: Human Resources has created a new page that lists all COVID-19 related resources available to employees. It has three categories: general, mental and physical health, with a variety of options to choose from. Take a look and see what fantastic media you can access.

5: Join Keeping Connected VIU – A Facebook group for VIU employees that aims to provide colleagues with a place to share posts and help each other smile during this time of social estrangement. Whatever you think would help brighten everyone’s day. Join by searching the Keeping Connected VIU on Facebook.


  • VIU COVID-19 website (go here first)
  • Employee and student emails (email will be used for extensive community updates and any major changes; website will contain all updates)
  • VIU security application
  • VIU Twitter sources: @viunews; @viuniversidad