Douglas College’s top priority continues to be the health, safety and wellbeing of our employees and students as we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. With this in mind, the College will be delivering the Winter 2021 semester in much the same manner as the Fall 2020 semester.
This means that the majority of Winter 2021 courses will be delivered remotely. As is the case this Fall, a few classes, labs and tutorials will be permitted to go ahead on campus and in-person as long as:
- students and faculty are able to meet in small groups and appropriate physical distance measures are in place; and,
- instruction cannot reasonably be delivered in an online format.
A specific class’s mode of delivery (remote learning, in-person, hybrid or some combination) will be identified clearly in the catalogue in the run-up to registration in November. Additional information may also be provided in the course section notes, so please review your course selection carefully when registering.
This year is certainly different from any other that I have experienced. The need to conduct most classes remotely means that we are unable to do some of the in-person activities that we usually do at the start of a Fall semester. However, our Student Life team has been working hard to provide excellent events to help get you started in fun and engaging ways using various online applications. If you are a new student, I hope you participated in Strong Start, the orientation program for new students. New and returning students may also enjoy fun events like The Edge, which take place later this month. These events offer great opportunities for students to get to know one another and to feel connected with the College.
Although most students will be studying remotely, some of you may have in-person labs or classes. Before coming to campus for any reason, please make sure you read the information posted on our website about on-campus safety. The information will guide you through expectations for safety protocols such as performing daily self-assessments, wearing a mask in all common areas, and following posted signage. Please help us to keep our campuses safe for everyone.
If at any time during the year you have questions or need support, I encourage you to take advantage of the College’s advising and student services. All student services are available remotely. Some in-person options are also available if you need to come to campus. In-person hours are limited this Fall, so please check the college website before coming to campus.
Those of you who have not taken post-secondary courses remotely before may be feeling nervous about what to expect. However, I can tell you that our experience with remote classes this summer was very positive. Not only did students report high levels of satisfaction with their courses, but their grades were higher, on average, this summer compared to last summer. Douglas College faculty and instructional support staff work hard to provide students with an excellent education, whether online or in-person.
Although this Fall semester is different from any other, everyone at Douglas College is excited to get started. Douglas attracts amazing students who never cease to impress me. Watching you all learn and grow as you progress through your studies is truly inspiring for us, and can be transformational for you.
Have a fantastic semester,
In preparation for the Fall semester, the College has developed the Douglas College COVID-19 Safety Plan: Protocols for Safe Campus Operations in alignment with the Ministry's COVID-19 Go Forward Guidelines for the Post-Secondary Sector . These documents provide guidelines for a cautious, controlled and phased return to campus operations. All community members are encouraged to review both documents. Douglas College is taking all appropriate measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 and to ensure a safe place to work and learn.
Douglas College is working hard to finalize our academic plans for Fall 2020 and we wanted to give students an update on what this means for course registration.
As always, our top priority is the health, safety and wellbeing of our employees and students. With COVID-19 continuing to create global challenges, out of an abundance of caution the vast majority of our Fall 2020 courses will be delivered synchronously online. This means that for most classes this Fall, students will attend online at the scheduled time. Some classes, like labs and tutorials, will be delivered in-person and will be conducted following appropriate guidelines set out by the Provincial Health Officer.
Students are encouraged to check the Fall 2020 schedule regularly, as ongoing updates will be made leading up to registration.
By now you may have heard that BC’s research universities have announced their Fall classes will be online only and you are probably wondering what will be happening at Douglas.
I’m writing to let you know that we are working on our plans right now, but much is still to be decided. I’m sure many of you are feeling frustrated by this uncertainty. It is frustrating for us too. The fact is, a lot will depend on the Provincial Health Officer’s assessments and advice, and that information continues to evolve.
This Fall, we will do our best to provide you with as many opportunities as is possible to allow you to come to campus and meet other students, instructors and staff, working within the safety guidelines prescribed by the Provincial Health Officer. However, it will certainly not be a return to “normal” – that simply isn’t an option yet.
Our primary concern has to be the health of our community. Any return to face-to-face interactions will have to be done through a strict occupational health and safety lens with appropriate measures regarding physical distancing, hygiene, cleaning, etc. Work is currently underway at the Ministry level to establish these guidelines for all post-secondary institutions. These guidelines will then inform planning within Douglas College.
Over the coming weeks, the College will be finalizing plans for the Fall semester. The majority of classes will likely be conducted remotely. Whether or not a given class will have an in-person component will depend on the guidelines we receive, as well as the type of activities and number of students in the class. I can assure you that by the registration period you will know exactly what kind of class you are signing up for – whether that means remote learning, in person, hybrid or some other combination. Importantly, most courses will be available entirely through remote learning for students who are concerned about attending class in person.
In regard to services for students, we will do our best to have in-person options available there as well. As good as our online services are, we know that seeing a friendly face in person can sometimes make a big difference. But again, this has to be done safely.
We all want to return to the life and the freedoms we had pre-pandemic, but we need to manage any return to in-person instruction and services carefully to keep our community healthy. We also need to be prepared to transition quickly to being all-remote again if we have another wave of COVID at a later date. This is simply the reality of the times.
On behalf of Douglas College, thank you for your understanding and patience. We look forward to welcoming you this Fall.
President, Douglas College
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, we have made the difficult decision to suspend Summer 2020 graduation ceremonies at Douglas College. We understand many of our graduates have been looking forward to celebrating this moment with family and friends; however, the safety of our students, faculty, and staff is a top priority.
We are actively looking at alternate ways to celebrate and recognize our graduates and will share more information as it becomes available. In the meantime, graduating students who apply for graduation by April 15, 2020 and have met requirements for their program will have their credential awarded in June 2020 and their parchment mailed to them. All students are awarded credentials in June 2020 will be invited to attend either the February 2021 or June 2021 ceremonies. More information about these ceremonies will be shared at a later date.
We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your patience as we continue to navigate this unprecedented situation together.
Summer Tuition Update
Tuition and fees, other than U-Pass, will remain unchanged for the Summer semester. While the delivery format of our courses has changed, they continue to be taught by the same experienced faculty as they would be in person. Students continue to earn full academic credit and the College continues to provide student services like library, academic advising, career services and counselling through alternative delivery modes. We remain focused on delivering the best education possible in a safe environment.
Douglas College has worked with other post-secondary institutions, student associations and Translink to temporarily suspend the U-Pass BC program as of May 1, 2020. We understand that for those who rely on the U-Pass for inexpensive transportation, this decision may add to financial pressure. With proper documentation, some students may be eligible for Emergency Funding to help purchase a transit pass. More information can be found on the Financial Aid web pages.
DSU & The Other Press
Fees collected on behalf of the Douglas Students’ Union (DSU) and The Other Press are the responsibility of those independent organizations. Questions about fees can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com respectively.
Financial Aid Update
During these unprecedented times, many people will face financial hardships, including our students. Douglas College is here to help. To help reduce hardship during this time, Douglas College students have access to a just-announced [link to media release] emergency financial aid fund totaling $600,000.
These funds are available for both domestic and international students enrolled in either the Winter or Summer semester.
To learn whether you are eligible for emergency funding, please contact a Student Success Advisor. Eligible students can expect to receive funding within two weeks after approval.
Please visit the Financial Aid webpage for more information on the types of financial aid available to Douglas College students.
Winter Term Grading
Douglas College is using the current grading model for the Winter 2020 semester to preserve students’ academic records. As a university-transfer institution, a considerable number of our students transfer their credits to other institutions after leaving Douglas College. Moving to a pass/fail grading method could limit potential progression into degrees, or to other institutions, and compromise future educational opportunities for students.
While we strongly encourage students to complete their courses for Winter, you do have some options:
- Withdraw from classes by April 9 and end the term with a W notation on your record. This official withdrawal date was extended from March 15 to April 9.
- Or, students who believe their final grades have been negatively affected by the changes in mode of instruction will be able to request to withdraw from a course with a ‘W’ – after final grades have been assigned – by submitting a Request for Exception to the Office of the Registrar by May 1, 2020. The ‘W’ notation will appear on the student record and will not impact your GPA. In addition, no tuition refund will be made.
We do caution that opting for a ‘W’ notation may have impacts on financial assistance funding and immigration. If you are considering withdrawing, we strongly encourage you to speak with the appropriate areas regarding the impact on your personal situation:
We would like to thank all our students for their on ongoing patience and flexibility as Douglas College responds to the evolving challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. We know that students are working hard to finish the semester and, the College is also working hard to provide the resources needed for students to be successful.
Below are updates on how the Winter term will conclude, as well as how Summer semester will operate.
Summer semester courses will be online only
In support of the Public Health Officer’s social distancing directive, and in recognition of students’ planning needs, Douglas College has made the difficult decision to move all Summer 2020 courses online. There will be no in-person classes for the Summer term. Summer semester starts May 4, as originally scheduled.
As the situation continues to evolve, Douglas College cannot guarantee ongoing access to our physical campuses, so students registering for the Summer term need to ensure you have access to a computer and internet to be able to meet the requirements for instructional delivery. Some courses may have specific technology requirements, which will be identified in the course catalogue.
In addition, services for students have also moved to alternative delivery modes and will continue throughout the Summer semester in this manner. We are continuously working to improve the virtual experience. Contact information and services information can be found on the website.
Summer semester tuition deadline extended
The Summer semester tuition deadline is extended to April 27, 2020 for both domestic and returning international students.
Winter withdrawal deadline extended
The withdrawal deadline, with a W notation on the student record, is extended to April 9, 2020 from the prior deadline of March 15, 2020. Students are encouraged to try to complete their courses for the Winter semester, and continue to keep in touch with their instructors.
Exams for the Winter semester will not be hosted in-person. Instructors will provide information directly to their classes about how to complete the Winter term. Please check the exam schedule on the website, as it is regularly updated.
Fraser Health has notified the College that a student has tested positive for COVID-19. Those who may have come into direct contact with the individual in a classroom setting have been contacted. The last time the student was on campus was Friday, March 13. The College has reached out and offered our support to the student, who says they are doing well.
Out of an abundance of caution, we are notifying the greater College community as requested by Fraser Health. The student was at the New Westminster campus library on March 13 between 10am-1pm. If you were at the above location on the same date and time, Fraser Health asks that from now until March 26 (14 days after the exposure) you:
- Monitor your health for fever, cough, sneezing, or sore throat
- Avoid crowded public spaces and places where you cannot easily separate yourself from others
If you do not have symptoms, there is little risk to you or those around you. You do not need to isolate yourself, visit a doctor, or get tested. If you experience symptoms or develop symptoms, isolate yourself from others as quickly as possible and remain isolated for 14 days from the onset of symptoms.
Due to privacy legislation, Douglas College is unable to release personal information about its students or employees. This is the only member of the College community with a known positive COVID-19 diagnosis.
Our primary concern is to the protect the health and safety of our campus community. Douglas College has been actively planning for and responding to the COVID-19 situation since the first case in BC was confirmed on Jan. 29, and continues to act on the advice of the Provincial Health Officer.
Douglas College will be moving to alternative student service delivery models, effective March 19. Our campuses will remain open; however, all in-person student services will be temporarily suspended.
Supports for students and College operations will continue through other means including email, teleconferencing, video conferencing, and other tools specific to service areas.
Employees college-wide are working hard to provide the best support possible to our students while maintaining the social distancing recommended by health authorities.
Thank you for your continued patience and flexibility.
Douglas College is shifting to alternative modes of instruction, effective immediately, for the rest of the Winter semester.
Instructors will provide students with information on how to complete course work, including final exams. This could be online, through self-directed study, or other means, depending on the nature of the course or program.
Douglas College campuses will remain open at this time, with some reduced service levels during normal service hours.
No instances of COVID-19 have been reported on campus. All measures being taken by Douglas College are being done out of an abundance of caution to help reduce the transfer of COVID-19 and in recognition of the stress and anxiety this situation is causing many students, faculty and other employees. COVID-19 represents an unprecedented health challenge and it is up to all individuals and institutions to follow the best advice available from provincial health authorities to help reduce the spread of the virus.
Please visit the College FAQs for more information on COVID-19.
Due to the rapidly evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, please also check the college website and emails regularly for updates.
In response to the evolving situation with COVID-19, Douglas College will be transitioning away from in-person classes. Last day of classes will be no later than March 20.
Instructors will provide students with information this week on how to complete course work for the period of March 23-April 6. This could be online, through self-directed study, or other means, depending on the nature of the course or program.
All Douglas College campuses will remain open and all services will be available during normal service hours. This includes the library, Registrar’s Office and all other service areas. The cafeteria will be open, but with modified food options under the direction of the Ministry of Health. Washrooms, food services, and other high traffic areas are all on accelerated cleaning cycles.
As advised by the Provincial Health Officer, all scheduled events and gatherings of more than 250 people have been postponed or cancelled. College-sanctioned international travel has been suspended and self-isolation is being observed for those returning to Canada.
The Provincial Health Officer advises that the risk of COVID-19 remains low. All measures being taken by Douglas College are being done out of an abundance of caution and in recognition of the stress and anxiety this situation is causing many students, faculty and other employees. COVID-19 represents an unprecedented health challenge and it is up to all individuals and institutions to follow the best advice available from provincial health authorities to help reduce the spread of the virus.
Please visit the College FAQs for more information on COVID-19.
Due to the rapidly evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, please also check the college website and emails regularly for updates.
Acting under the advice of the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training and the Ministry of Health, all Douglas College campuses will remain open and in-person instruction will continue unless otherwise advised.
Douglas College has small classes of approximately 35 students that fall well under the Ministry of Health’s suggested event maximum of 250 people. The Ministry of Advanced Education advises that there is no compelling reason to suspend our in-person classes at this time. However, all events of over 250 people have been cancelled or postponed.
Douglas College takes the health and well-being of our students, faculty and other employees very seriously. We are monitoring the COVID-19 situation and are in close contact with the Provincial Health Officer, as well as the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training to ensure that we are acting in the best interest of our community, as well as the public at large.
The College is also preparing to move to online classes, where appropriate, should advice from the Provincial Health Officer or the Ministry change. Please see the FAQs for more information.
On March 12, I took part in a conference call between the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training, the Ministry of Health, and the Presidents and Board Chairs of all of British Columbia's public universities, colleges and institutes. All of us are concerned about the health and welfare of our students, faculty and other employees in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. And all of us are receiving questions about the status of in-person classes and other activities at our institutions.
The Ministry of Health informed us once again that the health risk to the majority of us as individuals remains low and that the best way to fight the virus is to be vigilant about proper hand washing, cleaning, self-isolation during symptoms, and other recommended steps. The Ministry does not recommend that we suspend in-person classes.
Given this advice, Douglas College – along with the other public universities, colleges and institutes in BC – will remain open and in-person classes and most other activities will continue as scheduled. This is based on the best available evidence and advice from the Province's Chief Medical Health Officer. Should this recommendation change, public post-secondary institutions will work together to suspend activities as necessary in a coordinated manner.
Douglas College will continue to ramp up our capability to deliver course work online, so we are prepared should we ever need to suspend in-person classes, and look at ways to deliver alternatives to in-person exams should that become necessary. In the meantime, we have enhanced our cleaning regimens, curtailed non-essential international travel, and are working across the institution to maintain a healthy, safe and engaging learning and working environment.
I would like to thank the College community for remaining calm, but vigilant, during this challenging period. I encourage you all to follow the recommendations of the BC Centre for Disease Control to stay healthy and help reduce the spread of the virus, and to visit the College FAQs for more information.