COVID-19: Employee Information

The safety of our university community, and our responsibility to the health and safety of others is paramount in this time. For this reason, we have transitioned away from face-to-face instruction for the time being, as well as encouraged our employees where possible, to work from home.

TRU is open and our focus remains on supporting the educational needs of our students. This will look and be delivered differently during COVID-19, but we are still here.

Read the announcement below

Below are answers to some of the questions you may have. Should you not find an answer, send us an email and we will either post the question here, or put you in touch with someone directly.


 

Additional questions? Connect with us by email.

Faculty FAQ

 Does the July 27 revised Public Health order mean we will be adjusting how we will offer classes in the fall and having more face-to-face instruction? Added Aug. 5

On July 27, BC’s provincial health office issued an amending order on gathering events that exempts universities from adhering to the 50-person limit for educational activities. It does not, however, exempt TRU from doing our utmost to ensure your safety, following the ministry’s Go Forward Guidelines on July 31. Given the comprehensive planning that has already occurred for fall, TRU will not be making adjustments to its plans for the fall term. The university will review the amended order and its implications for the winter term and will provide updates of any planned changes.

 What resources are available to help faculty move to alternative forms of delivery? Updated July 31

The Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT), the Learning and Innovation Team in OL, and IT Services are here to support faculty with the move to alternate forms of delivery and assessment and grapple with synchronous and asynchronous learning.

 What can faculty expect for the fall and winter terms? Updated Sept. 1

TRU is guided by the principle that the health and wellbeing of students, staff and faculty is paramount above all other considerations in accordance with guidance from the Provincial Health Officer. While TRU plans to offer our full breadth of courses this fall, we will do so in alignment with the maximum group size, physical distancing and any other guidance or order issued by the Provincial Health Officer, various ministries, and public health agencies.

For both the fall and winter terms, a small number of courses will continue to be delivered in person and on campus with strict safety protocols in place. These courses will appear in the course schedule with buildings and room numbers as well as scheduled days and times. All other courses will be delivered virtually.

Most courses that are delivered virtually will be a blend of scheduled virtual meetings (i.e. synchronous activity) as well as assignment of work that does not require specific meeting times (i.e. asynchronous activity). These courses appear in the course schedule with the building listed as "virtual delivery".

The course schedule still includes times and days for courses delivered virtually to ensure conflict-free timetables; however, not all weekly scheduled meeting times will be required for synchronous activity in all courses.

Instructors will identify during the first week of the semester which, if any, weekly scheduled times will require virtual synchronous activity.

Students should select virtual delivery courses with the understanding that they may be required to participate virtually in synchronous activity during the scheduled days and times indicated.

Throughout this important transition, we will maintain a risk-based approach to re-opening campus, with strict adherence to all provincial directives.

 The fall 2020 course schedule includes dates and times. Are faculty expected to deliver courses only during these set times? Added May 26

Course delivery is not expected to be synchronous with the dates and times included in the schedules but this information is included to provide a framework for students and instructors to plan for any touchpoints throughout the semester without conflicting with other course demands or obligations outside of school.

 How do I find out how each course is delivered in the fall? Added June 16

A small number of courses will continue to be delivered in person and on campus with strict safety protocols in place. These courses will appear in the course schedule with buildings and room numbers as well as scheduled days and times. All other courses will be delivered virtually.

Most courses that are delivered virtually will be a blend of scheduled virtual meetings (i.e. synchronous activity) as well as assignment of work that does not require specific meeting times (i.e. asynchronous activity). These courses appear in the course schedule with the building listed as "virtual delivery".

The course schedule still includes times and days for courses delivered virtually to ensure conflict-free timetables; however, not all weekly scheduled meeting times will be required for synchronous activity in all courses.

Instructors will identify during the first week of the semester which, if any, weekly scheduled times will require virtual synchronous activity.

Students should select virtual delivery courses with the understanding that they may be required to participate virtually in synchronous activity during the scheduled days and times indicated.

 Do faculty have to use Moodle for course delivery? Updated July 31

Faculty are encouraged to use Moodle since it brings a high level of cybersecurity for both faculty and students.

To help you, TRU has launched automatic Moodle course shell creation and faculty/student enrolment for all fall courses so that when you log into Moodle you will see all of your courses. When you use Moodle along with these other tools, the Learning Technology and Innovation (LTI) team in Open Learning and IT Services feel confident in the protection of your online security and that of your students.

In appreciation of the personalization you each bring to your courses, it is worth noting that Moodle is not restrictive and supports the use of other technologies within the Moodle shell, allowing you to develop and make the course your own.

The LTI team is available to work with you to identify alternative tools and strategies that can be supported, and that align with privacy and security practices.

To support our students to become familiar in the Moodle environment, new and returning students will have an orientation course in Moodle to help them prepare for their fall courses that will take place in this platform.

 Is other financial support available to students facing financial pressures? Updated April 27

Yes. Emergency funding is available through Student Awards and Financial Aid for students are experiencing financial pressures. There are also resources for those who have been laid off from their jobs under Student Information Emergency Funding FAQs.

 What other TRU services can students access during this time?

TRU’s Student Services specialists are available to help students with everything from writing, studying, time management and learning effectively at a distance, to looking after their emotional, mental and physical health and well-being, to exploring special accommodations through Accessibility Services.

Should students need to connect with Accessibility Services, please direct them to email as@tru.ca to book appointments and ask questions. For Counselling Services, students can email studentservices@tru.ca to book appointments and ask questions. Students can also call 250-828-5023 to leave a voicemail and have someone return their call.

FAQ for all employees

 Where can I learn more about the university’s safety plan and other details on what is being done to keep everyone safe? Added July 31

Along with Health and Safety FAQS, the COVID-19 section in our Risk Management Services area of our website is dedicated to our institutional safety plan and the steps we are taking to ensure the safety of everyone on campus and in our community.

 Does the July 27 revised Public Health order mean we will be able to hold our regular events? Added Aug. 5

No. The amended order that was issued on July 27 that exempts universities from adhering to the 50-person limits is specific to educational activities. Other events and gatherings are still not to exceed the 50-person maximum.

In regards to the order’s impact on our educational activities, given the comprehensive planning that has already occurred for fall, TRU will not be making adjustments to its plans for the fall term. The university will review the amended order and its implications for the winter term and will provide updates of any planned changes.

 What areas of campus are currently open? Updated Sept. 1

The Campus Services and Spaces page provides information on what parts of campus are open. Although some spaces are closed to students, employees can access offices in all building.

 I understand some areas have returned or will soon be returning to campus. When will I get to go back? Updated June 24

Although the majority of teams are successfully working, some areas may need to be on campus to effectively do their work (examples include Payroll and the Mail Distribution Centre). A limited number of teams and individuals will be granted an exception to allow their return to campus. Authorization is required from either the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) director Matt Milovick (VP, Administration and Finance) or deputy director Christine Bovis-Cnossen (Provost and VP, Academic and Research). The above approval process is required for teams or individuals that need to return to campus to conduct all or the majority of their work. For short one-off visits to offices, please see the question ‘What is the process to return to campus?’

For those who are successfully working remotely, this will continue until further notice. Work is underway for a careful and gradual transition back to campus during the month of August. This will be for a limited number of employees only, based on department needs, and will take place once department safety plans have been reviewed and approved. As part of these safety plans, we expect remote work will remain in place for a significant portion of employees throughout the fall. For now our current remote work strategy remains in place.

 Am I able to access my office or labs? Updated Aug 18

Faculty members can now access their private offices without dean’s approval or a safety plan specific to their own individual offices. This ‘exclusion’ from safety plan requirements is only for accessing private offices and no other common spaces. If faculty members share an office, arrangements must be made between the parties that only one person is in the space at a time. Although this means you now have easier access to your office, this is not the case for common spaces (shared kitchen, washroom, printers, lounge, mailroom etc.). Access to these areas will only be permitted once the safety plan for your building and common spaces is approved. You can learn the status of your building’s safety plan from your dean.

Otherwise, please follow what is outlined below:

TRU has restricted access to most buildings, and closed some entirely, to protect the community. For short one-off visits to your office, please see below. For other instances where you require access to a building or zone that is closed, you will need to contact campus security (250-828-5033) and show valid photo ID. For longer or recurring visits, see the question, “What is the process to return to campus?”

Short one-off visits to one’s office (15 minutes or less): if needed, you are able to return to your office for very short visits that are 15 minutes maximum. If doing so, visits to the washroom or common areas such as lounges are not permitted since there are no plans in place to clean these areas.

Other options to work on campus: the third floor of the Industrial Training and Technology Centre, where there are student study spaces, is available for faculty and staff on a first-come, first-served basis. The area has been arranged to allow for appropriate physical distancing. You do not need to obtain approval to use this area since there are appropriate cleaning and physical-distancing measures in place.

View the current list of closed buildings

 What is the process to return to campus? Updated June 24

For those who are successfully working remotely, this will continue until further notice. Work is underway for a careful and gradual transition back to campus during the month of August. This will be for a limited number of employees only, based on department needs, and will take place once department safety plans have been reviewed and approved.

For short one-off visits to your office, see the question, “Am I able to access my office and labs?”

Longer visits to your office (from 15 minutes to three hours maximum and up to two times per week on an occasional basis, not ongoing): for these visits to take place, the dean/department head must first approve and forward the approval (including date and start/end times) to the Office of Safety and Emergency Management at osem@tru.ca. This approval process is necessary so that appropriate cleaning measures occur after you leave your office and the building. It also ensures that Security is aware that the space is occupied.

More than two visits per week (from 15 minutes to three hours max) or visits that occur on a regular basis are considered a return to campus. Please review the next item to understand the limits in place and approvals required for these requests.

For those who need to be on campus to effectively do your work (i.e. full return to campus), authorization is required from either of the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) director Matt Milovick (VP, Administration and Finance) or deputy director Christine Bovis-Cnossen (Provost and VP, Academic and Research). These approvals will be limited and only when being on campus is essential (e.g. essential services, time-critical research, imminent face-to-face operations (Trades, International Training Courses), and those involved in planned summer moves). All others are asked to continue working remotely.

To obtain approval, make your request to your dean/department head who will make the request to the EOC director or deputy director. Before any group returns to campus, they will be required to develop and implement a return-to-work safety plan which follows WorkSafeBC guidelines, and undertake training.

This process can be time-consuming (approximately three weeks), so ensure you provide adequate lead time.

Access level Time frame Requirements (approvals/plans)
Short Less than 15 minutes None
Temporary access 15 minutes to three hours (twice a week maximum, occasional and not ongoing) Dean/department head
Regular access More than two visits in a week of 15 minutes to three hours or recurring weekly visits or 15 minutes or more Provost/VP Admin and Finance
Fully approved and implemented safety pan and completed training

Individuals found to be using their offices outside of what is outlined above will be asked to leave and persistent unauthorized use will lead to complete building lock-outs for all.

 Is it safe to handle mail and parcels?

According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, products shipped within or from outside of Canada could be contaminated. However, because parcels generally take days or weeks to be delivered, and are shipped at room temperature, the risk of spread is low. There is no known risk of COVID-19 entering Canada on parcels or packages.

To protect yourself from COVID-19, make sure to do the following when handling products shipped within or outside of Canada:

  • Use good hygiene measures.
  • Regularly clean and disinfect surfaces.
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose and mouth.
 Why is access to campus areas so limited and require approvals? Added June 5

These limitations are in place to ensure our compliance of the ministerial order and to avoid WorkSafe BC fines. Individuals found to be using their offices outside of what is currently permitted will be asked to leave and persistent unauthorized use will lead to complete building lock outs for all.

 Since office access is very limited, are there other options to work on campus? Added June 5

The third floor of the ITTC, where there are student study spaces, is available for faculty and staff on a first-come, first-served basis. The area has been arranged to allow for appropriate physical distancing. You do not need to obtain approval to use this area since there are appropriate cleaning and physical-distancing measures in place in this area.

 When can we expect more access to campus areas? Added June 5

Changes to our current limitations to being on campus will be possible only after the university’s safety plan is complete, which would allow us to move ahead with reopening other buildings. We expect to be in this position sometime in August.

  I heard TRU is allowing international students arriving in Canada the ability to quarantine in one of the residences. Is there an increased risk of spreading COVID-19 on campus or in our community? Added July 31

TRU is setting up a temporary quarantine space for international students in McGill Residence. Each student will have their own washroom and living space.

Before arriving, each student must submit an online quarantine plan which will be checked upon their arrival by the Canadian Border Services Agency.

During the required 14-day period, quarantined students will have no physical contact with the outside. The TRU World team will work with the students to ensure they have everything they need (meals, wifi, etc.) so that they do not leave their quads or interact with others until their quarantine period is complete.

Everything we do is in compliance with the federal travel restriction policy and the public health to protect the health and safety of our students, faculty and the community. In accordance with provincial guidelines, TRU Housing has updated cleaning and sanitization measures, and implemented physical distancing protocols to protect students and staff.

  Is there training required before returning to campus? Updated Aug. 14

Yes. As part of our plan to welcome more employees back to campus for the fall, there are three training courses that all individuals must complete:

These course are available now.

  I am unable to work due to family circumstances related to COVID-19. What should I do?

We recognize that the current situation has placed strain on many of our employees. Please discuss your personal circumstance with your manager.

  I’m struggling with working from home. What can I do? Added Aug. 10

First, talk to your manager. And check out some of the resources for working remotely shared by HR and others:

For leaders:

 I’m struggling — full stop. Added Aug. 10

This is a difficult, uncertain time. It’s normal to experience feelings of anxiety, stress, fear and worry. It is advised to keep the influx of news and social media to a minimum (a few times per week) and only choose credible sources for COVID-19 information.

Mental and emotional health
  • LifeWorks — TRU’s Employee and Family Assistance Program — provides TRU employees, their spouse and dependents free short-term counselling and consultation services, and access to a wide variety of online resources to help manage family, health, life, work and money.
    • Call 1-877-207-8833 to schedule an appointment.
    • Log in with username: tru and password: lifeworks to access the wellness platform.
  • HR Health and Wellness has created a comprehensive list of ‘Coping with COVID’ Resources ranging from crisis and mental health supports, to workplace and parent resources, and much more.
  • In the community, there are a variety of mental health supports and resources offered by CMHA and the Interior Health Authority.
  • The federal government and other organizations have also established Wellness Together Canada: Mental Health and Substance Use Support as a free, online resource that includes self-assessment tools, self-guided courses, group coaching and counselling by text or phone.
  • For tailored mental health and wellness information, schedule a consultation with Campus Wellness Advisor, Sam Nielsen, at snielsen@tru.ca.
Financial wellness

For additional staff health and wellness resources, contact Sam Nielsen, campus wellness advisor, at snielsen@tru.ca.

 What is happening with convocation and commencement? Updated July 31

In lieu of TRU’s traditional Spring Convocation and Commencement ceremonies, we held a virtual convocation ceremony on June 22 to recognize and celebrate our graduates' achievements.

Class of 2020 graduates can also join in future convocation ceremonies in fall of 2020 or spring of 2021, depending on circumstances at those times.

 Is there anything we can do to help with contact tracing? Added Sept. 3

If there is a confirmed case on campus, Interior Health takes the lead on contact tracing. To better assist Interior Health in finding and notifying contacts, we ask you to take some simple steps:

  • All employees — if you are on campus regularly, make a note of when you are absent. If your visits are occasional, make a note of when you are on campus. When face-to-face meetings are needed, schedule them in advance as much as possible, make note of who is present and where the meeting took place.
  • Faculty — please take attendance for your face-to-face classes. One option is to leave a sheet of paper on a table that includes your students’ names and the class date, and ask students to initial (with their own pen). Please save this in case it is needed. Also, please ask students to sit in the same place in each class throughout the term.
 Where do I find information about COVID-19 signage? Added Sept. 3

Information on the suite of signage developed for units and building is available on our signage page. There you can learn about what signs are being arranged and installed by OSEM and Facilities, and which ones are the responsibilities of departments and units to arrange.

 Where can I find more information about developing a safety plan? Added Sept. 3

Visit the safety plan page on our website.


Updates

Winter course delivery update

Sept. 1, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

Weyt-kp

I hope this message finds you and your loved ones in good health.

I would like to thank our faculty for the tremendous efforts that have been put into getting courses and programs ready for largely virtual delivery, as well as our staff for the planning and support to ensure our students are well-supported and our campuses are ready for the academic year. I know that many of you worked tirelessly over the summer to be ready for fall term, and I want you to know your work is greatly appreciated.

With fall semester now one week away, I’d like to provide you with an update on the delivery of our winter courses. The information below is aligned with the update we are providing students and making available throughout our website.

As with the fall semester, for winter, a small number of courses will continue to be delivered in person and on campus with strict safety protocols in place. These courses will appear in the course schedule with buildings and room numbers as well as scheduled days and times. All other courses will be delivered virtually.

Most courses that are delivered virtually will be a blend of scheduled virtual meetings (i.e. synchronous activity) as well as assignment of work that does not require specific meeting times (i.e. asynchronous activity). These courses appear in the course schedule with the building listed as “virtual delivery”.

The course schedule still includes times and days for courses delivered virtually to ensure conflict-free timetables; however, not all weekly scheduled meeting times will be required for synchronous activity in all courses.

Instructors will identify during the first week of the semester which, if any, weekly scheduled times will require virtual synchronous activity.

Students should select virtual delivery courses with the understanding that they may be required to participate virtually in synchronous activity during the scheduled days and times indicated.

I extend my continued thanks to everyone who has helped in making the changes we have had to make for the delivery of our courses, and adapting to the variety of restrictions that are in place as a result of the pandemic. I remain confident that together, we are best prepared to ensure the safety our community and to continue delivering high quality education to our students.

Kukwstsétselp

In peace, health and harmony,

Christine L. Bovis-Cnossen
Provost and Vice-President Academic and Research

Moving Forward With Our 2020/21 Academic Year

July 31, 2020

On July 31, Go Forward Guidelines for reducing the risk of COVID-19 at post-secondary institutions were released by the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. They provide direction on physical distancing, cleaning and hygiene practices, in-person and online course protocols, mental health supports, student housing and much more to help ensure the safety of the entire TRU community. Read the President’s Message

Fall Course Delivery Update

June 16 2020

Dear Colleagues,

Weyt-kp

With fall and winter registration opening next week on June 23, I’d like to provide an update on the delivery of our fall courses. This information below is aligned with what we are providing students and making available throughout our website.

A small number of courses will continue to be delivered in person and on campus with strict safety protocols in place. These courses will appear in the course schedule with buildings and room numbers as well as scheduled days and times. All other courses will be delivered virtually.

Most courses that are delivered virtually will be a blend of scheduled virtual meetings (i.e. synchronous activity) as well as assignment of work that does not require specific meeting times (i.e. asynchronous activity). These courses appear in the course schedule with the building listed as “virtual delivery”.

The course schedule still includes times and days for courses delivered virtually to ensure conflict-free timetables; however, not all weekly scheduled meeting times will be required for synchronous activity in all courses.

Instructors will identify during the first week of the semester which, if any, weekly scheduled times will require virtual synchronous activity.

Students should select virtual delivery courses with the understanding that they may be required to participate virtually in synchronous activity during the scheduled days and times indicated.

Thank you to everyone who has been involved in the changes we have had to make for the delivery of our courses, and adapting to the variety of restrictions that are in place as a result of the pandemic. I feel confident that together, as a team, we are best prepared to ensure the safety our community and to continue delivering quality education to our students.

Kukwstsétselp

In peace, health and harmony,

Christine L. Bovis-Cnossen
Provost and Vice-President Academic and Research

Clarifying restrictions and access on campus

June 3, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

To follow up on the May 21 announcement, we’ve received a lot of interest to return to campus. We’ve also received many questions about being on campus so we’d like to clarify as much as we can for you.

We know that everyone is keen to return to our regular working environments and appreciate that the steps and limitations around returning to campus may seem complicated and time-consuming. These are in place to ensure our compliance with the ministerial order regarding the safe return to work, which is in place to protect the safety of every aspect of our community. As a result, we are only able to move slowly in the reopening of our camps and must strictly limit the number of approvals we can issue.

Areas currently open on campus: Trades is the only area on campus that is open. All other areas on campus remain closed. Below, we provide more information on obtaining access to your offices.

Short one-off visits to one’s office (15 minutes or less): if needed, faculty are able to return to their office for very short visits that are 15 minutes maximum. If doing so, visits to the washroom or common areas such as lounges are not permitted since there are no plans in place to clean these areas.

Longer visits to one’s office (from 15 minutes to three hours maximum): for these visits to take place, the department’s dean must first approve and forward the approval (including date and start/end times) to the Office of Safety and Emergency Management at osem@tru.ca. This approval process is necessary so that appropriate cleaning measures occur after the faculty member leaves their office and the building. It also ensures that Security is aware that the space is occupied.

Unlimited use of one’s office: at this time, we are unable to approve unlimited use of one’s office.

Other options to work on campus: the third floor of the Industrial Training and Technology Centre (ITTC), where there are student study spaces, is available for faculty and staff on a first-come, first-served basis. The area has been arranged to allow for appropriate physical distancing. You do not need to obtain approval to use this area since there are appropriate cleaning and physical-distancing measures in place in this area.

These limitations are in place to ensure our compliance with the ministerial order and to avoid WorkSafe BC fines. Therefore, we stress that the use of buildings and offices outside of the above options is not allowed. Individuals found to be using their offices outside of what is outlined above will be asked to leave and persistent unauthorized use will lead to complete building lock-outs for all.

Thank you for your understanding of our limited choices at this time. Changes to the above will be possible only after the university’s safety plan is complete, which would allow us to move ahead with reopening other buildings. We expect to be in this position sometime in August.

Please remember that we continue to update our FAQs for employees, including faculty-specific topics, on our COVID-19 area of our website. We encourage you to visit this page and to please let us know if you have other questions.

Sincerely,

Christine Bovis-Cnossen
Provost and Vice-President Academic and Research

Matt Milovick
Vice-President Administration and Finance


Budget and staffing

June 2, 2020

Dear TRU Community,

Throughout the COVID-19 situation, we have endeavoured to keep all employees up to date on the impact of COVID-19, including how it has affected our financial situation. We are committed to keeping the lines of communication open as we move through the challenges we face.

As shared in the May 21 TRU Announcement, in Matt Milovick’s video of May 27, as well as in various employee meetings held over the past couple of weeks, discussions have been taking place regarding options to reduce expenses across the university, including labour costs (the largest category of expense at TRU). This has included the potential for furloughs (temporary unpaid leaves) and layoffs.

I wanted to let employees know that we are now at the stage where HR and managers will begin having meetings, starting Wednesday, June 3, with some of our support staff where employees will receive layoff notices. These meetings will take place over a week and involve approximately 80 staff members.

Through agreement with CUPE, we will be giving all employees affected by layoff four months’ notice, even in those situations where less notice is required. This means employees will still be working for the next four months. This notice period, while understandably difficult for those affected, allows us to prepare for future uncertainty and we truly hope it simply is a precautionary step. In the case where a CUPE employee is being considered for furlough, and not being given layoff notice, the notice period is likely to be much shorter. Should our fall enrolment and financial picture improve, we would be in a position to rescind these layoff notices.

As referenced in other updates, HR has also been meeting with our other employee groups and having similar discussions about our budgetary challenges. These discussions will continue and evolve as our fall enrolment and financial situation becomes clearer.

We are exploring other possibilities to mitigate the need for layoffs, which include furloughs, job-sharing and retirement options, and government programs. The reason we are moving ahead with layoff notices for support staff is due to the longer notice period required under the CUPE collective agreement.

As we move forward in these conversations, I am aware that we are all under immense pressure and change. This is a new situation for us, and we are adapting in a way that we haven’t had to before as a university community. I am appreciative of the productive discussions, everyone’s understanding, and our shared desire to see TRU come out strong on the other side of this pandemic.

Sincerely,

Larry Phillips
Executive Director, Human Resources


Moodle for alternate delivery

May 22, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

Weyt-kp

I want to express my sincere appreciation and admiration for all that you have done to support our students and their success as you shifted your normal face-to-face teaching to alternate modes. It has been a significant change for everyone and I know it has come with challenges.

As shared in my announcement on May 5, most fall semester programming will use alternate delivery modes in order for us to meet the guidelines from the Province of British Columbia and health officials. Face-to-face delivery will only occur for a limited number of courses, specifically those that require the in-person environment to meet the learning needs of students and where it is safe to do so.

As we move to alternative modes of delivery, our concern for your cybersecurity and those of your students increases. That is why I support and strongly encourage you to utilize the Moodle platform.

To help you, TRU has launched an automatic Moodle course shell creation and faculty/student enrolment for all fall courses so that when you log into Moodle you will see all of your courses. When you use Moodle along with these other tools, the Learning Technology and Innovation (LTI) team in Open Learning and IT Services feel confident in the protection of your online security and that of your students.

In appreciation of the personalization you each bring to your courses, it is worth noting that Moodle is not restrictive and supports the use of other technologies within the Moodle shell, allowing you to develop and make the course your own. Also know that the LTI team is available to work with you to identify alternative tools and strategies that can be supported, and that align with privacy and security practices.

Thank you to everyone who has participated in the Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) “Facilitating Learning in Moodle” workshops and LTI webinars—I’m very pleased with the commitment across the university to make this transition successful for our students.

Over the past two months LTI and CELT have done an outstanding job of supporting you in your transition to alternate modes of delivery and assessment and they are prepared to continue to support you as you prepare for the fall semester. Please let us know if there are other supports you need during this unprecedented challenging time.

In peace, health and harmony,

Christine Bovis-Cnossen
Provost and Vice-President Academic and Research


Remote working to continue

May 21, 2020

Dear TRU Community,

As BC continues to see low numbers of new diagnoses of COVID-19, the Province began the second phase of its reopening plan earlier this week. It is significant to have reached this stage where more British Columbians can start to move forward. With the spread of COVID-19 remaining a concern, TRU’s Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) continues its work and maintains regular communication with the Province as we coordinate our institutional response.

For our TRU community, the actions we take to transition back from remote working will be done gradually and cautiously, as the health and safety of employees and students remains our highest priority. With that and knowing that physical distancing continues to be the most effective approach to minimizing the spread of COVID-19, we are extending the remote work strategy until June 26. Shortly prior to June 26, we will provide an additional update on plans beyond that date.

Although the majority of teams are successfully working from home and we ask that this continue, there are some areas that may need to be on campus to effectively do their work. It is for a limited number of teams and individuals that the exception will be made to allow their return to campus. Authorization is required from either myself as EOC director or Provost Christine Bovis-Cnossen as EOC deputy director.

To obtain approval, employees and researchers are to make their request to their dean/department head who would make the request to the EOC director or deputy director. Any group returning to campus will be required to develop and implement a return-to-work safety plan which follows WorkSafeBC guidelines. Please know that these approvals will be limited and only when being on campus is essential.

On behalf of all EOC members, thank you for your ongoing commitment to the university and its students. We truly have a great team here at TRU. I am proud of how everyone has adapted to the challenges we have faced over the past two months and demonstrated the ability to virtually keep our community strong.

Remember, we have employee information in the COVID-19 Response section of our website. There you can find several FAQs which are regularly updated. I encourage you to visit the page if you have any questions.

Keep well and stay safe.

Sincerely,

Matt Milovick
EOC Director & Vice-President Administration & Finance


Budget and staffing implications

May 20, 2020

Dear TRU community,

Further to the May 13, 2020 message from President Brett Fairbairn about the impact of COVID-19 on university operations and our budget, we are writing to provide you with a brief update.

As referenced in last week’s message, TRU has been in discussion with representatives of some of our employee groups about the university’s situation and how this may affect employees.

Starting this week, department leads supported by HR will hold meetings with employees to review the current situation and options presently being considered. These options are temporary unpaid leaves (furloughs), reassignments, and/or layoffs. It’s important to understand a few things. These discussions and options won’t affect everyone; they will be situational and limited. They do, however, reflect our need to consider both our current situation – where some work has been reduced due to COVID-19 – and the need to plan for possibilities for the fall term, best and worst case.

We appreciate individuals are concerned about possible layoffs; please know that this is not a discussion we have entered into lightly. Lay-off notices, if issued, are to help us prepare for uncertainty regarding student numbers in the fall semester and we have the ability to rescind such notices should the outlook for the fall student numbers improve. Our goal is to protect the university in the short-term so that we can preserve jobs in the long-term.

Having such discussions about financial realities and job security is never easy and we know this can produce concerns for you. As such, we encourage individuals to reach out to their supervisors and/or union representatives with questions they may have and for support. Additionally, employees are encouraged whenever there is need in their lives to access Lifeworks, our Employee and Family Assistance Program (EAP) which offers work-life/wellness resources such as confidential counseling services for employees and their families.

Sincerely,

Christine Bovis-Cnossen
Provost & Vice-President Academic & Research

Matt Milovick
Vice-President Administration & Finance


What BC's Go-Forward strategy means for TRU

May 7, 2020

Yesterday, BC Premier John Horgan announced a Go-Forward Strategy for the province as it relates to COVID-19.

President Brett Fairbairn has provided his initial thoughts on what this means for TRU in the following video message:

Additionally, in light of the provincial announcement, TRU’s Emergency Operations Centre will review the guidance provided by the province and consider strategies for how on-campus activities may resume. This also includes taking into account WorkSafeBC and public health protocols.

At this time, and as communicated in the April 29 Bulletin, working from home remains in place and was extended to May 22. Updates will be provided as plans are developed and prior to May 22.


Preparing for upcoming terms

May 6, 2020

Dear colleagues,

I want to thank all of you for all that you have done to support students in getting through the winter term and final assessments. The speed with which you pivoted to alternate forms of delivery and revised assessments is truly remarkable. Your grace, supportive attitude and professionalism during these unprecedented times are truly appreciated.

As TRU adapts to the evolving COVID-19 situation, we are preparing for our summer and fall semesters, with guidance from the Province of British Columbia and health officials.

Spring/summer semester

As many of you are aware, all spring/summer programming is being offered in alternate delivery formats, with some adjustments to start dates. For some of you, this first week of the semester is a prep week, while for others, your remote delivery classes began on May 4. Thank you for connecting directly with students regarding the specific arrangements for your course

.

Please also remember that the Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT), the Learning and Innovation Team in OL, and IT Services are here to support you as you move to alternate forms of delivery and assessment and grapple with synchronous and asynchronous learning.

Fall semester

TRU, like every other post-secondary institution, is working through how we approach future semesters due to the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are currently reviewing our fall schedule to ensure it will meet the needs of our students.

TRU is guided by the principle that the health and wellbeing of students, staff and faculty is paramount above all other considerations in accordance with guidance from the Provincial Health Officer. Therefore, while I can reassure you that we plan to offer our full breadth of courses this fall, I must also emphasize that we will do so in alignment with the maximum group size, physical distancing and any other direction stipulated by the Provincial Health Officer, various ministries, and public health agencies.

While continuing as best we can to offer exceptional learning opportunities, we recognize and accept that the COVID-19 pandemic will impact how programs and services are delivered. Now, in response to current provincial guidance, we are planning to move forward responsibly with face-to-face course delivery where possible—especially for courses where experiential learning is required—understanding that these classes will look and feel different due to mandatory physical distancing and group size controls.

For many programs, alternate delivery will continue this fall. We are dedicating time and resources over the summer to ensure students, faculty and staff will have all the support they need in the fall to effectively teach, study and work remotely, as needed.

Throughout this important transition, we will maintain a risk-based approach to re-opening campus, with strict adherence to all provincial directives.

As we work through the various scenarios for the fall schedule, we have taken the reluctant decision to delay the release of the fall and winter schedules. We hope to have more to share in the coming weeks, but please know that we are carefully considering all options to ensure the most successful fall semester for our students, faculty and staff. Continued updates will be provided through email and at tru.ca/covid-19.

As we adapt to our new normal, we will uphold TRU's commitment to flexibility, recognizing that many of you have additional responsibilities due to the COVID-19 situation. How we serve our students this summer and fall will continue to look different as the pandemic continues, but our commitment to providing the best education possible will not change. Be safe and please be well.

In peace, health, and harmony,

Christine Bovis-Cnossen
Provost & Vice-President Academic & Research


Remote working extended Updated May 2

April 29, 2020

Given the continuously evolving situation due to COVID-19, remote working continues to be in effect to Friday, May 22. Shortly prior to May 22, we will provide updated plans beyond that date.


Message to employees

April 21, 2020


Remote working extended

April 14, 2020

On March 18, TRU announced it would be enabling faculty and staff to work from home wherever possible, to support social distancing at our campuses and regional centres and help control the spread of the coronavirus in our communities. Given the current situation, remote working continues to be in effect to the end of April, and shortly prior to May 1, an update will be provided with plans beyond that date.


Working from home and other transitions

March 18, 2020

Dear TRU Community,

Further to the announcement this week of moving away from face-to-face classroom instruction, TRU will be enabling faculty and staff to work from home wherever possible. This measure will support social distancing at ourcampuses and regional centres and help control the spread of the coronavirus n our communities.

Working from home arrangements will be made at a department level and factor in such considerations as department operational needs, technical requirements for working remotely, as well as employees’ individual circumstances. We are acutely aware that with yesterday’s provincial announcement of the indefinite closure of public schools, and the potential closure of daycares, some of our employees are facing particular hardship. These will all be part of the considerations on working remotely, as we want you to feel as safe and well as possible in this unprecedented time.

As we move through this next transition, it is important to remember that TRU is open, and that our focus remains on our students—providing for their education, supporting their health and wellness, but in ways that will be different than we are accustomed.

Working remotely will not be feasible for all employees, as there are essential operations that will need to be maintained in our physical locations. For those who remain on campus and at our regional centres, we remain committed to your health and safety. This means continuing with our enhanced cleaning and putting in measures that support social distancing.

For those who will be working from home in the future, IT Services has created tips for setting up your remote workspace. In addition, there are privacy and security matters that will need to be reviewed with your manager.

We are also in the process of establishing an employee section on our COVID-19 webpage, which will have answers to some of your questions. This section is anticipated to be up by noon today. Please check the page regularly, both the employee section and general areas of the COVID-19 page, to stay informed.

The measures we are taking have been well thought-out and are based on current public health guidance. Last Friday, TRU activated our Emergency Operations Centre, which allows us to make such decisions in a coordinated and swift manner in times such as these. I would like to thank our Provost and Vice-President Academic and Research, Christine Bovis-Cnossen and Vice-President Administration and Finance Matt Milovick for their leadership.

In closing, the rapidly changing nature of this pandemic has without question, placed enormous stress on many of us. I encourage you to practice care and kindness to one another and avail yourself of our Employee and Family Assistance Program (EAP), LifeWorks, for added support.

Sincerely,

Brett Fairbairn
President and Vice-Chancellor

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