(University of Victoria/Facebook)

UVic students will soon be able to return to campus, after temporarily moving to online classes in an effort to mitigate rising COVID-19 cases.

In a statement issued Thursday by Kevin Hall, UVic’s President and Vice-Chancellor, the university announced they would be returning to in-person classes on January 24th. 

The news comes shortly after UBC announced they would be delaying the start of in-person classes to February 7th.

“Thanks for your patience as we enter into 2022 and continue to experience challenges related to the ongoing pandemic,” Hall said.

“Our direction aligns with current, evidence-based advice from BC’s Provincial Health Officer (PHO), who is confident that the layers of protection on campuses will help to minimize transmission of COVID-19—as they have throughout the pandemic. The PHO also continues to emphasize how important it is for students to be in classrooms, including to support mental health and wellness.”

The announcement came after UVic saw an increasing number of COVID-19 cases emerge on campus and ceased in-person exams in December.

On December 13th, 2021, Island Health released a joint statement with UVic after 124 cases of COVID-19 were linked with people who attended two off-campus parties.

The decision to cancel in-person exams immediately was made to reduce the frequency and number of students sitting together for extended periods of time in examination gyms and rooms.

On December 23rd, UVic announced they would begin their winter term online in response to the changing situation of COVID-19 and the rapid spread of the Omicron variant.

Some courses, including those with clinical, performance, studio or lab components could continue to operate in person with appropriate approval and safety protocols.

“We are actively developing academic and operational contingency plans that build in flexibility throughout the term,” Hall said.

“Faculty, instructors and students can expect a follow-up email from the Vice-President Academic and Provost that includes options to create greater flexibility over the academic term, ideas on how to best manage absences, and supports and resources for instructors and students.”

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