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

16500-block of 24 Avenue. (Google image)
Council pushes forward applications for 400-plus dwellings in South Surrey

Loss of trees, pressure on schools cited by public, council members as areas of concern

The Anti-Racist Coalition Vancouver started a petition calling on B.C.’s education officials to make Black Shirt Day official. The inaugural event in solidarity with Black and racialized Canadians takes place on Friday, Jan. 15. (Screenshot/Change.org)
Surrey students, staff to take part in first-ever Black Shirt Day

Special day in ‘recognition of the struggle for civil rights fought by Black and racialized Canadians’

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Surrey, Langley twin brothers who own companies together battle in court

Presiding judge described Surrey resident Kerry Hawley and Langley resident Kelly Petersen as ‘self-made successes’

The COVID-19 test centre at Peace Arch Hospital is located on the building’s south side. (File photo)
Peace Arch Hospital staff did not jump COVID-19 vaccine queue: Fraser Health

Director who received leftover dose defined as ‘priority staff’ member

Members of the community participate in the 7th annual Coldest Night of the Year event Feb. 22, 2020. This year’s event will have a virtual aspect to it because of COVID, says organizer Courtenay van den Boogaard. (Photo Submitted: Amanda Grewall)
Coldest Night of the Year fundraiser to support Cloverdale Community Kitchen

Annual events raises funds to help homeless community

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
536 COVID cases, 7 deaths reported as B.C. find its first case of South African variant

Henry said 69,746 people have received their first dose of the COVID vaccine.

Alan Davidson was sentenced to almost six years for abusing seven boys in the late 1970s and early 1990s. (Canadian Press file)
Full parole granted to former Mountie, sports coach convicted of sex abuse of boys

Alan Davidson convicted of abusing boys in B.C. and Saskatchewan in late ’70s, early ’90s

Letisha Reimer died Nov. 1, 2016 after being stabbed at Abbotsford Senior Secondary.
No evidence that killer was in ‘psychotic state’ during Abbotsford school stabbing: Crown

Second day of closing arguments at ‘not criminally responsible’ hearing for Gabriel Klein

The first COVID-19 vaccine arrives in B.C. in temperature-controlled containers, Dec. 13, 2020. (B.C. government)
More vaccine arrives as B.C. struggles with remote COVID-19 cases

Long-term care homes remain focus for public health

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 first Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine dose in Canada is prepared at The Michener Institute in Toronto on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Doses of COVID-19 vaccine expected in 60 B.C. First Nations by next week

B.C. has allocated 25,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine to First Nations for distribution by the end of February

Kamloops-South Thompson MLA Todd Stone questions the NDP government in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 25, 2020. (Hansard TV)
Todd Stone says he’s not running for B.C. Liberal leadership

Kamloops MLA was widely viewed as a front-runner

Wireless voice and data services are out for those on Telus as of Thursday (Jan. 14) afternoon across Western Canada, Telus Support said in a recent Tweet. (Black Press file photo)
UPDATE: Telus services restored across Western Canada

Telus said they are monitoring the situation to ensure connections remain stable

Screenshot from video.
2 students arrested in assault of transgender girl at Lower Mainland school

Mother says daughter was targeted because of how she identifies

Most Read