(Photo by Doug Clement Photography)

Both universities in the Greater Victoria region have announced that classes will be moved online in the upcoming fall semester scheduled to begin in September 2020.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, courses at most post-secondary institutions this spring and summer were transferred online, but questions remained about whether the same process would hold continue in the fall.

A statement from University of Victoria President Jamie Cassels shared this morning clears up some of those questions, as the university plans to offer “predominantly online” courses for the fall term.

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“Where health and safety permits, we are also exploring opportunities for in-person instruction to support essential experiential learning, graduate education and work-integrated learning; the fall timetable will be available later this month,” reads the statement.

The campus will gradually open to faculty and graduate students conducting research work, while ensuring that everyone can comply with physical distancing and other health and safety guidelines.

UVic is working with WorkSafeBC and union and ministry representatives to come up with the specific guidelines that will allow the campus to partially reopen in a safe manner.

In a similar move, Royal Roads University announced that all on-campus classes including residencies, have moved online until December 31, 2020 in response to the ongoing pandemic.

“In a few exceptional cases programs may be adjusted or deferred,” reads a statement from the university.

“Students in these programs will be contacted directly by their respective program office.”

A spokesperson from the university tells Victoria Buzz that unlike other post secondary institutions, RRU already provides a plethora of online courses and most students complete at least a portion of their program online under normal circumstances.

Royal Roads is not expecting a drop in the number of students expected to enrol in the fall semester, as they currently have a waitlist of students who have applied.

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The third prominent post-secondary institution in Victoria, Camosun College, has yet to announce their plans for the fall.

“UVic’s announcement has generated questions for us and we’re looking at plans. We’re a little bit different, because we pride ourselves on our applied learning element,” said Camosun College spokesman Rodney Porter in a phone call with Victoria Buzz.

Like many other institutions, the college expects a reduction in enrolment in the fall and will be planning their budget accordingly, once the application process begins in June/July.

Regardless of whether courses are held online or in person, tuition rates are expected to remain unchanged.

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