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

Students from AW Neill Elementary School in Port Alberni write anti-bullying messages and draw colourful chalk art around their school for national anti-bullying Pink Shirt Day, Feb. 24, 2021. (PHOTO COURTESY LISA ARBANAS)
Chalk art brightens public walkway on Pink Shirt Day

Students from AW Neill Elementary in Port Alberni write messages of hope

Mary Mason of Owls Path Foundation presents plans for a Nuu-chah-nulth Cultural Centre to Port Alberni city council. The structure pictured in this image is the Copenhagen Opera House. (SCREENSHOT)
Nuu-chah-nulth cultural centre pitched for Port Alberni

Three possible locations put forward for multi-million-dollar centre

An endangered Vancouver Island marmot suns itself on rocks at Mount Washington, near the Comox Valley. Learn more about this endangered species with the Alberni Valley Nature Club. (PHOTO COURTESY SANDY MCRUER, AV NATURE CLUB)
Marmots, underwater mysteries part of Alberni Valley Nature Club lineup

Club kicks off membership drive with series of Zoom chats

The current exhibit at the Rollin Art Centre. The art gallery has COVID-19 protective measures in place. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
ARTS AROUND: Rollin Art Centre puts out a call to artists

Port Alberni’s Community Arts Council will hold a pandemic-inspired art exhibit

Staff and students at Shelter Farm work in a greenhouse during the last growing season. The farm has wrapped up for winter and is setting its sights on expansion of programs for spring. (PHOTO COURTESY GUY LANGLOIS, SHELTER FARM)
Port Alberni Shelter Farm grows with the seasons

Food production, processing the next step

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

Grand Forks’ Gary Smith stands in front of his Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster float. Photo: Submitted
Grand Forks’ Flying Spaghetti Monster leader still boiling over driver’s licence photo

Gary Smith, head of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster of B.C., said he has since spoken to lawyers

A Cowichan Valley mom is wondering why masks haven’t been mandated for elementary schools. (Metro Creative photo)
B.C. mom frustrated by lack of mask mandate for elementary students

“Do we want to wait until we end up like Fraser Health?”

(Pxhere)
B.C. research reveals how pandemic has changed attitudes towards sex, health services

CDC survey shows that 35 per cent of people were worried about being judged

Some Canadians are finding butter harder than usual, resulting in an avalanche of social media controversy around #buttergate. (Brett Williams/The Observer)
#Buttergate: Concerns around hard butter hit small B.C. towns and beyond

Canadians find their butter was getting harder, blame palm oil in part one of this series

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The Regional District of Nanaimo’s board is forwarding a motion on illegal dumping to the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities’ upcoming annual general meeting. (Kane Blake photo)
Island communities asked to join forces in seeking help fighting illegal dumping

RDN resolution to be forwarded to Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon speaks in the B.C. legislature, describing work underway to make a small business and tourism aid package less restrictive, Dec. 10, 2020. (Hansard TV)
B.C. extends deadline for tourism, small business COVID-19 grants

Business owners expect months more of lost revenues

Protestors against old growth logging gather in front of the courthouse in Victoria on Thursday morning. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
Protesters gather at Victoria courthouse to oppose Port Renfrew logging

Logging company seeks injunction to remove blockades near its Port Renfrew operation

Most Read