UBC Okanagan is expanding hybrid class options for students in response to rising cases of COVID-19 in the Central Okanagan.
Some programs and courses have decided to move some content online for the upcoming fall term, said the university in a press release. The university says it made the switch to ensure an effective, inclusive learning environment for students who may not be able to come to campus due to travel restrictions. However, only one-quarter of UBCO courses are currently online or hybrid and students should expect to engage or learn on campus even if some of their lectures are delivered virtually.
“This does not mean that all courses at UBC Okanagan will be offered online. Nor does it necessarily mean that all components of any given course will be online only,” said the university in a press release.
In response, UBCO Students’ Union president Tashia Kootenayoo criticized the school’s slow response on Twitter. She said the school had the opportunity to act months ago and the students’ union has been pushing the administration to make a decision for weeks.
Listening to the @ubcosenate discuss hybrid classes and hearing instructors discuss the anxieties students have about full online courses… it’s sad that so much of the stress students are facing could’ve been resolved earlier in the summer w/ communication and clear decisions
— Tashia Kootenayoo🐝 (@TKootenayoo) August 30, 2021
Others have taken to other social media platforms to express their dismay. Numerous students on r/ubco, a Reddit page for UBCO students, were frustrated at the change, especially since many have signed leases and paid for parking passes for the semester.
The announcement comes after the school’s human kinetics and nursing programs informed students, on Aug. 27 and Aug. 30 respectively, they would be moving their efforts online to curb the spread of COVID-19.
The school also announced mask, vaccine and rapid testing requirements. Students, faculty, and staff must undergo COVID-19 testing to visit the campus if they do not wish to disclose their vaccination status. Everyone is also required to wear masks on campus, and those living in residence must be vaccinated before moving in.
UBCO says it is working to implement changes but the testing program will take a period of transition extending beyond the first week of classes.