LETTER | Dear international students at UVic

Letters Opinions

Dear international students at UVic,

We know these are strange times, and that there is a great deal of uncertainty. We know that a lot of you are concerned about what is happening, and how the university will react to it. Today, March 19 2020, UVSS had a meeting with UVic administrators regarding these issues. As the Director of International Student Relations, it was my first time attending an executive meeting, and it was very helpful. During this meeting I raised your concerns, and asked questions you have brought up to me. 

Here are some answers we received that will hopefully be helpful to all of you:

All campus services except for the athletics remain operational, though some services are transitioning away from face-to-face interactions. Food services remain open, under the limitations provided by authorities. 

UVic will NOT be closing down residences. All students who can’t leave the campus to go home will be accommodated and moved into the cluster housing. This will allow for better social distancing and slow the spread of the virus. Students will have access to kitchens, and will be able to self-isolate if necessary. 

Family housing will NOT be affected by any changes on campus. If you are an international student in family housing, please don’t worry — you won’t be moved out of your home. You won’t be affected by these changes. 

 More information about residences will be available possibly next week, please follow UVic’s website as well as social media accounts. We will provide updates as information becomes available. 

Those who are concerned about their visas and student permits, UVic is working with authorities to help extend your stay in Canada and will be working on how you can apply for extensions. More information will be provided as time goes on. 

UVSS directors also asked for the potential for students to receive a pass/fail grade for this semester as well as the possibility of dropping classes without penalty. This is an issue that requires exploring further options, and will take some time to find an answer to. We will update everyone as time goes on. 

Lastly, UVSS is working on allocating a budget for accommodations to students. We will be purchasing a number of gift cards from Save-On Foods, and they will be available to all students. Hopefully this will ease the burden of day-to-day life under these extreme conditions. 

I understand these are hard times, and too many things are going on. As a community, I ask that we stay connected and be supportive of each other. The UVSS is working together with the authorities to ensure your safety and well-being, and will continue to have your best interests as our guide. Please feel free to reach me from internationalrep@uvss.ca or from any social media platform. We are here for you. 

Efe Türker

Director of International Student Relations