KPU finally announced online classes, temporarily

While the update is helpful, it would have been nice to hear it sooner

KPU classes are being moved online until Jan 14. (file photo)

KPU classes are being moved online until Jan 23. (file photo)

With the infectious Omicron variant of COVID-19 becoming a larger problem, cases have risen rapidly in British Columbia. This led to tighter restrictions being implemented just days before Christmas, and more health measures for schools.

Some restrictions included a non-professional sports tournament ban, an indoor personal gathering limit to households with some visitors and customers at restaurants, cafes, and pubs staying where seated are in place until Jan. 18.

Until Jan. 31, a ban is in place on organized indoor gatherings and indoor physical activities, and bars and nightclubs have to be closed during that time. Restrictions on restaurants that have “full meal service” have not changed, but they must continue scanning the QR vaccine code, seat a maximum of six people at a table, not allow socializing between tables, and enforce mask requirements when customers aren’t seated. 

However, in a letter to leaders of universities, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry wrote that provincial health officials still “strongly recommend” for in-person classes on campus to return. But many universities in the province have decided to move all in-person classes online for the spring semester. 

On Dec. 22, University of British Columbia president and Vice-Chancellor Santa Ono announced they would move to having most of the classes online until Jan. 24 after COVID-19 breakouts occurred during the fall semester exam period

Joy Johnson, president and Vice-Chancellor of Simon Fraser University, announced a day later that the university would move most classes online until Jan. 24. 

British Columbia Institute for Technology also announced on Dec. 30 they would have most of their classes originally planned in-person to be online for Jan. 4 to Jan. 10. Douglas College also said most of its classes will shift online for the first week.  

Kwantlen Polytechnic University also only announced an update on Dec. 30, a week after many other universities did, and days before the start of the spring semester. As a result, KPU not only moved most classes from in-person to online until Jan. 24, but the start of the semester has been delayed from Jan. 4 to Jan. 10. 

The university does not intend to extend the semester to make up for the lost week. The deadline to add or drop classes has been extended from Jan. 23 to Jan. 27 with waitlists being extended from Jan. 4 to Jan. 8. 

Some students and faculty don’t appreciate that KPU announced an update a week before the spring semester was scheduled to start, instead of updating the community on Dec. 22 like UBC and SFU did. However, it was at least better to hear about this in an update than nothing at all. 

While the delay gives faculty extra time to plan how the semester will proceed, losing a week with no make-up time scheduled in the current plan for the end of the semester could be worrying to some who may need extra help. Others could however view this as more preparation time to get off to a good start in the spring. While it would have been nice to hear an update sooner from KPU, it’s appreciated that the university is taking the initiative to protect the community.