The University of Victoria suspends international travel and cancels large classes following announcements by the provincial health officer on March 12. (Photo courtesy of UVic)

The University of Victoria suspends international travel and cancels large classes following announcements by the provincial health officer on March 12. (Photo courtesy of UVic)

University of Victoria cancels classes with more than 250 students, international travel

UVic following advice of health officials to protect students, staff

In response to growing concerns over COVID-19 spreading in B.C., the University of Victoria (UVic) has suspended international travel for students and staff and cancelled large gatherings including some classes.

As of Friday, all UVic classes with more than 250 students have been cancelled. This announcement came after the B.C. government announced on March 12 that a ban had been placed on all events with more than 250 people. Public gathering limits will also impact the institution’s non-academic events.

READ ALSO: UVic students call for closure of campus due to COVID-19

“We have to do our best to slow transmissions here in British Columbia,” said provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry during a daily briefing about the coronavirus on Thursday.

As of Friday morning, nearly 5,000 students had signed a change.org petition created on Wednesday for UVic to cancel all classes but for now, the school has only called off large lectures. There are currently no COVID-19 cases reported on the campus.

Following the advice of government health officials and the World Health Organization (WHO) labelling COVID-19 as a pandemic, the university has also suspended all international travel effective March 16.

All university-sponsored outbound international travel for students, staff and faculty has been cancelled until May 31. According to a UVic web statement, sponsored travel includes exchanges, work-term placements, conferences and any activities through university courses or programs.

READ ALSO: UVic waives doctor’s note requirement for missed classes amid COVID-19 concerns

Members of the UVic community are also being asked to assess the risks of personal international travel and consider cancelling trips to areas impacted by the virus spread. Canadian health officials have advised against non-essential travel outside the country and anyone who must travel internationally is being asked to self-isolate for two weeks.

UVic acknowledges the situation with COVID-19 is evolving and says it will continue to update decisions to support containment in an effort to protect those most vulnerable in the community.

Black Press Media has reached out to UVic for comment on how the cancelled classes will affect students’ course credits and if tuition refunds will be considered.

-With files from Ashley Wadhwani


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