B.C. universities cancel in-person graduation ceremonies in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Pixabay)

B.C. universities cancel in-person graduation ceremonies in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Pixabay)

COVID-19: B.C. universities opt out of in-person spring graduation ceremonies

UVic, UBC in-person convocations postponed

B.C.’s largest universities are making tough decisions about convocation ceremonies for students set to graduate this spring as COVID-19 continues to spread.

In mid-March, the University of Victoria’s (UVic) convocation ceremonies were still scheduled for the week of June 8 to 12 as staff continued to monitor the global health crisis. By March 30, UVic announced spring convocations would be postponed to align with the advice from the provincial health officer.

READ ALSO: B.C.’s largest universities move classes online amid coronavirus spread

An email sent to the class of 2020, signed by UVic President Jamie Cassels and Chancellor Shelagh Rogers, explained that the university is “working on an alternative way for graduates to celebrate [their] achievements.” Students will be updated when plans have been made.

UVic also confirmed students who have successfully completed their required courses will graduate on time. The university is developing a plan to ensure that all grads receive degree parchments and regalia rental fees will be automatically refunded for those who ordered grad gowns and hats online.

READ ALSO: ‘The Office’ star John Krasinski offers Some Good News in trying times

The University of British Columbia (UBC) also cancelled its in-person graduation ceremony in light of the global pandemic.

“This was not an easy decision, and I know how disappointing it will be, not only for our graduating students but also our faculty members, staff and the broader UBC community,” said UBC President and Vice-Chancellor Santa Ono, in a written statement on March 26.

UBC grads will come together to celebrate their achievements virtually, Ono wrote, noting that while no electronic ceremony can match the fanfare of a traditional graduation ceremony, “it will be special and it will be meaningful.”

READ ALSO: Canada to spend $2B more on procuring medical supplies for COVID-19 fight

Ono added that both the Vancouver and Okanagan campuses will host postponed, in-person graduation ceremonies for the class of 2020 when it is safe to do so.

The Thompson Rivers University (TRU) spring convocation was also cancelled on March 31. University president and vice-chancellor Brett Fairbairn explained in a written statement that graduates will receive their degree parchments by mail along with a commemorative booklet featuring the names of every grad and messages from the valedictorians, the chancellor and others. Fairbairn added that the university is also looking for ways to bring the graduating class together virtually to celebrate.

“It is perhaps more important now than ever to recognize and celebrate the wonderful accomplishments of all our graduates,” he said.

As of March 31, Simon Fraser University (SFU) and the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) had yet to make decisions about their respective spring graduation ceremonies. A statement on the SFU website indicated that staff are closely monitoring the updates from health officials.

According to Dave Pinton, UFV director of communications, the university is “carefully considering” what to do about the June graduation ceremonies and “how to best honour graduates’ achievements during this challenging time.” He added that students can expect a decision by mid-April.


@devonscarlett
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

CoronavirusUBCUniversities and CollegesUniversity of Victoria

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sara Guenther, 102-years-old is the first resident in Vanderhoof to have received the COVID-19 vaccine. (Northern Health photo)
Vanderhoof receives first shipment of COVID-19 vaccine

Long-term care residents at the Stuart Nechako Manor along with staff were vaccinated Friday.

The COVID-19 outbreak at the two Coastal GasLink workforce lodges has officially been declared over. (Lakes District News file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak at Coastal GasLink worksites declared over

In total, 56 cases were associated with the outbreak in the Burns Lake and Nechako LHAs

Brett Alexander Jones is wanted on several warrants province-wide, in connection with multiple charges. Jan. 21, 2021. Kitimat RCMP photo
Kitimat RCMP searching for man wanted on several warrants province-wide

Jones is described as a five-foot 10-inches Caucasian man, with blond hair and blue eyes.

Administering naloxone to a person experiencing a benzo-related overdose event won’t help. Naloxone is used to neutralize opioids. (Jenna Hauck/The Progress file photo)
Northern Health warning drug users of potential benzo contamination

The drug does not respond to naloxone, and is being included in street drugs

Toronto Public Health nurse Lalaine Agarin sets up for mass vaccination clinic in Toronto, Jan. 17, 2021. B.C. is set to to begin its large-scale immunization program for the general public starting in April. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
B.C.’s COVID-19 mass vaccinations expected to start in April

Clinics to immunize four million people by September

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a daily briefing in Ottawa. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)
31 cases of COVID-19 variants detected in Canada: Health officials

Dr. Theresa Tam made announces 13 more variant COVID-19 cases in Canada

Daily COVID-19 cases reported to each B.C. health region, to Jan. 20, 2021. Island Health in blue, Northern Health green, Interior Health orange, Vancouver Coastal in red and Fraser Health in purple. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays stable with 508 cases Friday

Vaccine delivered to more than 110,000 high-risk people

The District of Saanich’s communications team decided to take part in a viral trend on Thursday and photoshopped U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders into a staff meeting photo. (District of Saanich/Twitter)
Bernie Sanders makes guest appearance municipal staff meeting in B.C.

Vancouver Island firefighters jump on viral trend of photoshopped U.S. senator

School District 57 headquarters in Prince George. (Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter)
Prince George school district settles with sexual abuse victim

Terms were part of an out-of-court settlement reached with Michael Bruneau, nearly four years after he filed a lawsuit

Surrey provincial court. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
New COVID-19 protocols set for provincial courthouses

The new rules were issued on Jan. 21, and took effect immediately

Police in Vancouver looking for male suspect who allegedly spat and attacked a store manager for not wearing a mask, at 7-Eleven near Alma Street and West 10th Avenue just before noon on Dec. 17, 2020. (Vancouver police handout)
VIDEO: Man spits on 7-Eleven manager over mask rule, sparking Vancouver police probe

‘Unfortunately, the store manager sustained a cut to his head during the assault’

The Vancouver-based SAR team successfully rescued two lost snowshoers off of the west side of Tim Jones Peak in the early morning of Monday, Jan. 19. (North Shore Rescue photo)
B.C.’s busiest SAR team raises alarm after 2021 begins with fatality, multiple rescues

‘People beyond ski resort areas of Seymour, Grouse, and Cypress go without cell reception,’ SAR warns

Police are searching for an alleged sex offender, Nicole Edwards, who they say has not returned to her Vancouver halfway house. (Police handout)
Police hunt for woman charged in ‘horrific’ assault who failed to return to Surrey halfway house

Call 911 immediately if you see alleged sex offender Nicole Edwards, police say

Most Read