Transition to online classes at UBC

As you know, governments and institutions around the world are grappling with the spread and impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. The situation continues to evolve and it has become an unprecedented scenario for the university.

Today I am announcing the transition to online classes effective Monday March 16, 2020 for the remainder of the term. For classes that cannot be accommodated online, we will be issuing further information through our Faculties. This will apply to UBC Vancouver, UBC Okanagan and UBC Robson Square. Information regarding exams will be shared next week.

UBC’s campuses will remain open and all university operations will continue as normal, as we transition. Updates continue to be posted to

We are working as quickly as possible to inform our faculty, in order to assist them in preparing their materials for online. We understand this shift in delivery will have a significant impact on our community and you have many questions. I would ask for your patience as we seek to answer those questions.

It is important to note that the Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, the BC Centre for Disease Control, Ministry of Health and Vancouver Coastal Health are leading the coordinated response to COVID-19 within British Columbia. UBC’s actions are aligned with advice from the Provincial Health Officer announced on March 12, 2020.

A working group is also exploring the potential to offer exams remotely and considering any potential impacts on graduation ceremonies. We will communicate further updates and decisions as they become available.

Additional measures taken this week include:

  • As of March 13, UBC has cancelled all on-campus and off-campus events with more than 250 people (including sporting events), whether indoors or outdoors, that are organized by students, faculty and staff.
  • Events at the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts are also cancelled for the time being.
  • All inbound and outbound study abroad programs for students are cancelled. Further, the Vancouver Summer Program for both June and July have been cancelled.

To be clear, we are not aware of any presumptive or confirmed cases of COVID-19 among our students, faculty or staff. However, we understand the need to be prepared as a university and act accordingly – aligned with guidance from the Provincial Health Officer and working with the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training.

I would also like to offer my thanks to all UBC faculty and staff who have assisted in moving the university through this uncharted territory. Many people are involved in UBC’s response to COVID-19 and they are working as hard as possible.

To the faculty engaged in research about this global issue, your work is invaluable and I thank you.

Finally, to all of the students, faculty and staff that make up UBC’s community, I want to say I am inspired by the level of support and assistance you are providing one another during this immensely challenging time.

Santa J. Ono
President and Vice-Chancellor