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Coronavirus: UBC to offer online instruction for larger classes in fall term

The UBC sign is pictured at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver on April 23, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

The University of British Columbia says it will offer online instruction for larger classes during the fall 2020 term, while some smaller classes will be conducted in person, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

“We will maintain a clear focus on ensuring high-quality face-to-face instruction, where possible, and high-quality remote instruction,” president Santa Ono wrote in a letter to students, faculty and staff.

Each faculty will provide details about specific programs in the coming weeks, he added.

READ MORE: UBC, SFU, UVic moving to online instruction amid coronavirus crisis

Most post-secondary schools in B.C. moved to online learning in mid-March to finish the spring term, after the province enacted a ban on gatherings of more than 50 people in a bid to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

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Now, as B.C. slowly begins to reopen its economy, administrators are grappling with how to offer courses in the fall.

Advanced Education Minister Melanie Mark is working with institutions across the province to establish guidelines.

UBC is working to especially support students who face financial challenges or who need extra advising or counselling.

There is no solution yet on how international students will obtain study permits or deal with travel restrictions, nor are there plans on how students will live in dorms or take part in co-curricular activities such as student council, clubs and sports.

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B.C. unemployment numbers for April – May 8, 2020

UBC is still looking at ways to safely bring more people back to campus in the fall, but officials acknowledged there are unique challenges with more 60,000 students.

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Simon Fraser University Provost Jon Driver announced on Tuesday most courses will continue to be offered by remote delivery in the fall fall. At the same time, the university will be working with health authorities and the province to ease some COVID-19-related restrictions on the SFU campuses.

“So much has changed for our community. But what hasn’t changed is our determination to stick together, to find new ways to connect, and to deliver a world-class education while protecting the health and safety of all members of the SFU community,” SFU President Andrew Petter wrote online.

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