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

Naramata Slow is almost at its goal of raising $850,000 to save Centre Beach from being sold.
Final push is on to save Naramata beach by Oct. 31 deadline

Village has already raised 90 per cent of the $850K goal

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media file)
Penticton RCMP cleared of wrongdoing after man seriously injured in custody

B.C.’s police watchdog found no evidence of harm caused by police in Sept. 21 incident

Apex Mountain Resort received 35 centimetres of fresh snow over the weekend, prompting some to head out for some early season turns. (Apex Mountain Resort / Facebook)
Stay off the mountain: Apex warns of early season dangers

Recreational use of the mountain before opening day comes with serious risks

The Penticton Indian Band is opposing any hunting of local big horn sheep which are an at-risk population. (submitted photo)
Penticton Indian Band oppose big horn sheep hunts

Local big horn sheep are an at-risk population

A house on Highway 3A caught fire Sunday evening, Oct. 25, 2020.
House fire on Highway 3A in Keremeos

Neighbours acted quickly to help save home

FILE – Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides the latest update on the COVID-19 pandemic in the province during a press conference in the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, October 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. shatters COVID-19 records with 817 weekend cases; masks now expected indoors

Three people have died over the past three reporting periods

Kelowna Secondary School. (SD23 photo)
Second case of COVID-19 confirmed at Kelowna Secondary School

Interior Health has confirmed the new case is unrelated to the one announced Sunday

Summerland’s fallen soldiers and nurses are displayed on banners displayed around the community prior to Remembrance Day. (Contributed)
Remembrance banners depict Summerland’s fallen soldiers

Efforts to create banners began in 2000

The Stuart Park ice rink in January 2020. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Popular Kelowna outdoor ice rink will open amid COVID-19 pandemic

City council approved COVID-related changes to the Stuart Park ice rink’s operations

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Interior Health sees 31 new cases of COVID-19 over record-breaking weekend

Eighty-six cases remain active and one person is hospitalized with the virus

Salmon Arm RCMP responded to a seven-vehicle chain reaction collision early Monday morning, Oct. 26. (File photo)
One person injured in seven-vehicle chain-reaction collision in Salmon Arm

Snow packed to ice, speed contributing factors behind collisions

RCMP responded to a single-vehicle collision on Highway 1 east of Salmon Arm early Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. (File photo)
Salmon Arm man killed in collision on Highway 1

RCMP say slippery road conditions contributing factor behind collision

Jordan Naterer, 25, was last seen Saturday Oct. 10. He planned a hike in the Manning Park area, and has not been seen since. Photo Facebook.
Parents not giving up, after official search for Manning Park hiker suspended again

‘We are determined, but eventually the money is going to run out.’

Most Read